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New Reviews: The Shins Find Balance on 'Port of Morrow'

Also: New music by Radiohead, Slash, Regina Spektor, Spiritualized and more

The Shins perform for KLRU-TV 'Austin City Limits Live' at the Moody Theatre in Austin, Texas.
Andy Sheppard/Redferns via Getty Images
March 21, 2012 11:55 AM ET

In this week's slate of Rolling Stone reviews, Jon Dolan says that Shins frontman James Mercer "nails a balance of economy and sweep" on his band's new album Port of Morrow, "matching the studio lushness he craves with the secondhand melodicism that made 'New Slang' resonate beyond the vegan cookouts of his base in Portlandia." Also, Simon Vozick-Levinson praises two new songs Radiohead have been playing at recent concerts, and Joe Levy says that the Hunger Games soundtrack is "the rare soundtrack that feels like it's made by and for fans."

ALBUMS

The Shins - Port of Morrow

Various Artists - The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond

Esperanza Spalding - Radio Music Society

Kevin Gordon - Gloryland

SONGS

Radiohead "Identikit" and "Skirting on the Surface"

Spiritualized "Hey Jane"

Michael Kiwanuka "Lasan"

Regina Spektor "All the Rowboats"

The Gossip "Perfect World"

Slash "You're A Lie"

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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