Apologies for the radio silence. Things have been…int-er-esting…around these parts for the last little bit. Couple that with the Blazers exit from the playoffs, a weighty workload, and the fact that I’m going to Lowe’s today to purchase gopher wood with which to build an ark, and there’s been little time for blogging.

And then today happens and a whole big chunk of news about our beloved Shins falls from the sky. Remember back a few weeks ago when we told you about the band leaving their old label, Sub Pop? Well, that was just the tip of the iceberg…turns out there’s bigger news…like newly ex-members, new members, a huge backlog of fresh songs, collaborations with Modest Mouse and Carrie Brownstein, and a baby. Whew. Exhale.

Well let indie music blog Pitchfork, who broke the news, do their thing.

"When the Shins took the stage at Western Washington University on Saturday night for the first night of their spring tour, fans discovered that the band had changed. Keyboardist Marty Crandall and drummer Jesse Sandoval had been replaced by Ron Lewis from Grand Archives and Fruit Bats on bass and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse on drums. Crandall, Sandoval, and Mercer had been playing together since their mid-90s Flake Music days, and Mercer decided it was time for a change. "I started to have production ideas that I wanted to do that basically required some other people," he said. "It’s mainly about that. It’s an aesthetic decision. It’s kind of hard to talk abut stuff like that, isn’t it? Because I don’t want to bum anybody out. I’m on good terms with those guys, I hope to maintain that."

For the entire story, head over the Pitchfork

And, of course, don’t forget that the newly made-over Shins play tonight and Thursday at the Crystal Ballroom.

On to the weekend:

FRIDAY
80s Video Dance Attack
You don’t think they use that bouncy retro floor at the Crystal Ballroom just for rock n’ roll, do you? Jump in the time machine and venture back to the Golden Age of MTV, when Duran Duran, Toni Basil, a normal Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie ruled the airwaves. At this weekly dance happening you can shake, bounce, shimmy, and diddy-bop just like you did during the Reagan years. Nostalgia: it’s a cheap high. [9 p.m./$5/Crystal Ballroom]

SATURDAY
Oregon Sesquicentennial Film Fest
You’re no doubt sick of hearing about Oregon’s 150th birthday. We don’t blame you. But when given a visual record of the great state’s history, the taste of old birthday cake is quickly washed away. For ten days Marylhurst University will do its part to honor our state by hosting the Oregon Sesquicentennial Film Festival. Various evenings dedicated to screenwriting, directing, acting, animation, short films, and more, will include discussions and screenings of work by Oregon natives including James Ivory (of Merchant-Ivory fame), Bill Plympton, Jim Blashfield, Gus Van Sant, and Penny Allen. [7 p.m./$10-15/Marylhurst University]

SUNDAY
Benefit for Portland’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship Public Charter School
There are all-star benefits and then there is this world-beating lineup of do-gooders. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah frontman Alec Ounsworth, the Minus 5, Steve Malkmus, former Spinanes singer Rebecca Gates, and Los Lobos sax man Steve Berlin will lend their talents to the cause. Memorabilia from the Decemberists, Elvis Costello, and G. Love, among others, will also be auctioned off. [8 p.m./$30/Mississippi Studios]