This is definitely Shearwater’s biggest and loudest record—it’s easy to imagine these songs roaring from the stage—but it’s also their most detailed and intricate one. Front man Jonathan Meiburg and producer/engineer Reisch (who also recorded 2012’s Animal Joyand the off-the-cuff collaborations of 2014’s Fellow Travelers) spent two years crafting Jet Plane and Oxbow with help from drummer Cully Symington, longtime Shearwater associates Howard Draper and Lucas Oswald, and tourmates Jesca Hoop, Abram Shook, and Jenn Wasner.
But their secret weapon this time is film composer and percussionist Brian Reitzell, whose soundtracks include The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, The Bling Ring, and 30 Days of Night. Reitzell’s arsenal of strange instruments emphasizes Jet Plane and Oxbow’s cinematic depth and scope, and reflects the band’s choice to anchor the record in the era when digital technology was just beginning to transform the world of recorded music. In Shearwater’s hands this doesn’t feel like nostalgia; the racing synths and hammered dulcimers of heart-pounding opener “Prime” or the addled motorik of “Radio Silence” sound more like a metaphor for our own bewildering moment. (For a full bio, along with a conversation between famed music journalist Michael Azerrad & Shearwater frontman Meiburg, read here).
Shearwater will begin their 2016 tour in February with three warm-up dates in Texas and New York before heading to Europe for the rest of the month. (Full schedule below). A further North American tour will also be announced soon.
Jet Plane and Oxbow is now available for preorder through Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, and Amazon. LP preorders through megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited “Loser” edition on blue colored vinyl while supplies last.
Additionally, when you preorder Jet Plane and Oxbow you’ll get access to stream the album before its street date, and provide access to an exclusive Shearwater podcast, “Headwaters,” which features demos and outtakes from the new record and a conversation between Meiburg and WNYC’s John Schaefer (host of “New Sounds”).
“It’s like joining us on an expedition,” Meiburg says of the podcast, only half in jest. Along the way, he and Schaefer listen to field recordings of howler monkeys, musician wrens, and other strange creatures from remote parts of Guyana and Brazil, and they talk about everything from the ideas and influences that fed the new album to David Bowie’s idea of “social protest music”, the fearsome teeth of the vampire fish, and the last days of Lawrence of Arabia. Shearwater’s longtime fans won’t be surprised by Meiburg’s wide-ranging interests, but new listeners will enjoy meeting an unlikely front man who seems to be part rock star, part David Attenborough.
Feb. 03 - Austin, TX - North Door
Feb. 04 - Dallas, TX - Club Dada
Feb. 06 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
Feb. 10 - Berlin, DE - Frannz Club
Feb. 11 - Copenhagen, DK - Loppen
Feb. 12 - Hamburg, DE - Molotow
Feb. 13 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso Noord
Feb. 14 - Brussels. BE - Botanique
Feb. 16 - Lille, FR - Aeronef
Feb. 17 - London, UK - Islington Assembly Hall
Feb. 18 - Bristol, UK - The Fleece
Feb. 19 - Leeds, UK - The Brudenell Social Club
Feb. 20 - Glasgow, UK - King Tuts
Feb. 21 - Newcastle, UK - The Cluny
Feb. 23 - Dublin, IE - Button Factory
Feb. 24 - Manchester , UK - Night & Day
Feb. 25 - Brighton, UK - The Haunt
Feb. 26 - Paris FR, - Point Ephémère
Feb. 27 - Zurich, CH - Bogen F
Feb. 28 - Fribourg, CH - Nouveau Monde