Monday, May 19, 2008

Shearwater debuts Rook

Like many things, Shearwater pays heavy rewards to the patient, attentative listener. I'm sitting here trying to write this post while the new album Rook bleeds its heart out of my speakers, and it is almost too difficult to focus on typing a string of words while doing so. Not only is it quickly establishing itself as one of the finest album's I have heard this year, I that artwork is fascinating.

Founded in 1999 by Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff of Okkervil River, Shearwater was initially designed to merely be an outlet to share quieter songs that the two were working on. But after putting together five full-length albums, including 2006's critically acclaimed Palo Santo and the brilliant follow-up Rook, the time has come for Jonathan Meiburg to step down from Okkervil and fully dedicate himself to Shearwater. From the release:
"Jonathan Meiburg, frontman for Shearwater, has announced that he is leaving Okkervil River to focus exclusively on Shearwater. Meiburg says the split is "completely amicable," and that Shearwater has grown to the point that it excludes his further participation in Okkervil. "This is just a logical extension of the way things have been going since Palo Santo," Meiburg adds. "Shearwater's increasingly demanding schedule has meant that I've performed with Okkervil less and less over the past two years, and with Rook coming out in June, we all felt that it would be best if I completely disengaged from Okkervil rather than stretch myself too thin."
Rook will be released by Matador on June 3, though emusic is already offering it up digitally. The quartet are taking their show on the road throughout the summer, including a stop on their home turf at the Parish next Thursday (May 29), where they will be playing Rook in its entirety, backed by a string quartet, woodwinds, a harpist, and visual projections by the team behind Rook's cover art.

If you would like to witness this special event I am giving away a spot on the guest list, and to be considered just send an e-mail including your full name to with Shearwater in the subject line. Austin Sound Check and Do512 are also offering free tickets, so check them out.

Below have a listen to a new track from Rook, one from Palo Santo, and one from the Thieves EP, where my Shearwater fandom first began. You can complete your Shearwater calalogue at emusic, Misra, Matador, et al.