Shearwater (band)

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Shearwater (band).jpg
Shearwater in 2008.
Background information
Origin Austin, Texas
Genres Indie rock, psych folk, folk rock
Years active 1999–present[1]
Labels Misra Records
Matador Records
Sub Pop
Associated acts Okkervil River, Blue Water White Death, Whu Gnu, Swans, Angels of Light
Website Official site
Members Jonathan Meiburg
Kimberly Burke
Thor Harris
Danny Reisch
Past members Will Sheff
Howard Draper
Jordan Geiger
Kevin Schneider

Shearwater is an American indie rock band formed in Austin, Texas in 1999[2] by Okkervil River members Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff, although Sheff is no longer with Shearwater.


Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff, who began their collaboration as members of the critically lauded Okkervil River, founded Shearwater in 2001 as an outlet for quieter songs on which the two were working. The band's name comes from the shearwater, a tribe of seabirds related to petrels and albatrosses. Meiburg, who holds a master's degree in geography with a focus on ornithology, picked the name mostly for the sound of the word.[3]

Shearwater's debut, The Dissolving Room, introduced Meiburg's now ex-wife Kim Burke on upright bass; shortly after, drummer and vibraphonist Thor Harris joined the band.

The addition of multi-instrumentalist Howard Draper plus tours and support dates with The Mountain Goats, Akron/Family and Blonde Redhead brought them exposure. Shearwater developed their music through several initial albums such as Everybody Makes Mistakes and Winged Life, as well as the Thieves EP.

In May 2006, Shearwater released their fourth full-length album, Palo Santo, to much acclaim from critics and fans.[4] On April 10, 2007, Shearwater, then signed on Matador Records, re-released a two-disc edition of Palo Santo with bonus and re-recorded tracks from the original album.

Matador Records released the album Rook on June 3, 2008.[5] On the tour that followed, Shearwater opened for Clinic[5] and later Coldplay.[6] Additional touring accompanists were added at that time: Jordan Geiger of Hospital Ships and Minus Story(on cornet, synthesizer, and percussion) and Kevin Schneider of Black Before Red (on keyboard, bass, and guitar) replaced Howard Draper.

On February 23, 2010, they released their sixth album, The Golden Archipelago, which the band produced with John Congleton. The band toured extensively behind the record in 2010, with an international tours in the spring[7] (with Wye Oak and Hospital Ships opening) and additional U.S. dates in the fall[8] (with special guest Damien Jurado). Longtime live accompanists Geiger and Schneider notably did not come along on this tour.

On November 6, 2010, the band released an instrumental album, Shearwater is Enron, via their BandCamp site.[9] The album was recorded in the spring of 2010 and includes live material recorded at a performance under the pseudonym "Enron." It introduces some textures not traditionally associated with the band, such as electronic drum tracks and squalling guitar rock. Members of Wye Oak and Hospital Ships assist on the live tracks.

A new full-length album was released as Animal Joy on February 14, 2012, their first release on the Sub-Pop label.[10] In 2013, Fellow Travelers was released on Sub-Pop, a Shearwater album consisting entirely of cover songs. Each band that was covered on the album was also invited to play on the album, under the condition that they could not play on their own song[11]

As of February 2014, Shearwater is in the studio working on their tenth full-length release.[12] In April 2014, the band announced the title of the new record as "Jet Plane and Oxbow",[13] and described the record as "nearly complete" in November 2014.[14]



Split albums[edit]



  1. ^ Crock, Jason (2007-04-24). "Interview: Shearwater". Pitchfork Media. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Moores, Charlie (2009). "Interview: Jonathan Meiburg of ‘Shearwater’". 10,000 Birds. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  4. ^ "Music Reviews, Features, Essays, News, Columns, Blogs, MP3s and Videos". PopMatters. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  5. ^ a b "Matablog | Coming June 3 – Shearwater’s ‘Rook’". Matador Records. 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  6. ^ "Matablog | Shearwater Supporting Coldplay". Matador Records. 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  7. ^ "Shearwater - new album, MP3 & 2010 Tour Dates w/ Wye Oak & Hospital Ships (Bowery Ballroom)". Brooklyn Vegan. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  8. ^ "Shearwater on tour, released some new stuff". Brooklyn Vegan. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  9. ^ ""Shearwater is Enron" by Shearwater". 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  10. ^ ""Animal Joy" by Shearwater". 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  11. ^ ""Fellow Travelers" by Shearwater". 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  12. ^ "Shearwater". 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  13. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ a b  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "Sub Pop Records: Now with 100% More Shearwater". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  16. ^ "Progress Report: New Recordings, (a few) New Shows – Shearwater". 2013-04-13. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 

External links[edit]