26. The Shins
Years active: 1996 - present Influenced: Quiet, acoustic rock with literary elements Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico Jam: "New Slang." A winsome, wordy foray into the tension between rejection and romance.
Garden State was a turning point for The Shins. That Grammy-winning soundtrack exposed a whole new crowd to indie music, and the movie so casually romanticizes it when Natalie Portman urges Zach Braff to listen to "New Slang," by the group. "You gotta hear this one song. It'll change your life, I swear." It was a moment, and from that moment on, The Shins were at the forefront of a culture that was starting to shift, and the strangest part was that by the time of the movie release, they were already on a major label. As the group married their high-pitched, lilting harmonies with their newly romanticized image they broke a record for their label Sub Pop by selling over 100,000 copies of 2007's Wincing the Night Away. Although last year's album Ports of Morrow garnered less attention, it was still widely regarded as a success and received mostly positive feedback.