Jonathan Meiburg, singer, songwriter and frontman for Shearwater, described a 2012 that found his band playing 200 shows in support of their recent album, "Animal Joy": "It’s like being photocopied many, many times. By the end of it, it’s just a collection of blurry lines. That’s kind of how your brain feels after playing that many shows."
Meiburg is back in Texas now, where Shearwater is prepping for a show next month at the Parish. The band is also in the process of recording two new albums with current band member and producer Danny Reisch. One of those is a full-length followup to "Animal Joy," due out next year.
The other, which will be called "Fellow Travelers" and will be released first, is a collection of covers of songs by artists that Shearwater has joined on tour over the years, including Xiu Xiu, Coldplay, St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, David Thomas Broughton and Bill Callahan. Meiburg said that drummer Thor Harris (who spent much of his year out with Swans) and bassist Kimberly Burke will be involved.
Meiburg said he’s not sure if "Fellow Travelers" will include a song from Dinosaur Jr., who headlined during one stretch of Shearwater’s touring last year.
"After touring with Dinosaur Jr., we got louder and louder all year long," Meiburg said. "By the end of this last European tour we actually played a show in France where people were holding their ears and walking out of the room, which in a way is a sort of a rock ‘n’ roll badge of honor; in the other way it might be an indication we’ve gone as far as we can go in that direction."
The original material, which he said he just started work on, will move away from the direction the band took on "Animal Joy," which itself represented a departure from the sprawling landscapes of his previous work. "It seems like it’s quite different. It’s faster but also lighter."
His time away from the United States — three months in Europe and another month in the Falkland Islands — is something that colors his new material. "You start to see the country differently, and when you come back into it it starts to feel strange," he said. "It might be a little bit about that feeling, of estrangement from the place you live."
Now that he’s back, Meiburg said that he’s looking forward to playing the Parish.
"The one headlining show that we did do in Austin last year was at Antone’s," he said. "I had a cold and my voice was exhausted, it was at the very end of several weeks of touring. This gives us a chance to have a good night sleep before hand, and also play in my favorite-sounding room in town."
Shearwater plays Feb. 16 at the Parish with Marmalakes and Brass Bed.
Willie faces the music. Willie Nelson will follow up last year’s "Heroes" with "Let’s Face the Music and Dance" on April 15. The album, credited to Willie Nelson and Family, includes covers of songs from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Like "Heroes," the album also finds Nelson reworking one of his own songs, "Is The Better Part Over," which appeared on his 1989 album "A Horse Called Music."
Bad Seeds hit Austin. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds will perform at Stubb’s on Wednesday, March 13, as part of NPR’s South by Southwest showcase. The band’s 15th studio album, "Push The Sky Away," is out Feb. 18. Check out a new song, "Jubilee Street," in our blog at austin360.com/musicsource. On Tuesday, March 12, Cave will be part of a conversation with Larry "Ratso" Sloman, author of "Reefer Madness" and "On the Road With Bob Dylan," among other things.
Clark to play for a King. Gary Clark Jr. and John Mayer will perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 18. Clark will play in honor of inductee Albert King.
Country beef! Country star and reality show coach Blake Shelton became the subject of social media shouting last week over comments he made about the evolution of country music on Great American Country’s "Backstory."
"Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music," Shelton said. "And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, ‘My God, that ain’t country!’"
The interview prompted a response from Ray Price, among others. Shelton went on to explain his comments on Twitter — that new generations have to keep re-inventing the music to keep it popular — but not before Austin-based musician Dale Watson wrote a song, "A Song For Blake Shelton." Hear the song at austin360.com
Holy Wave hits the road. Austin Psych Fest will release "Evil Hits," the new LP from Austin-based band Holy Wave. Holy Wave is also set to hit the road supporting Sweden’s Goat and Psychic Ills this spring.
Shows, shows, shows. Nine-time Grammy winner Mary J. Blige will perform Feb. 27 at ACL Live. … After canceling two Fun Fun Fun Fest appearances, Rakim is scheduled to perform Feb. 17 at the Mohawk. … Rush will open their North American tour on April 23 at the Erwin Center. … Grizzly Bear play April 8 at Stubb’s. … Blue October frontman Justin Furstenfeld announced a solo acoustic/spoken word tour that includes an April 19 show at the Paramount Theatre. Tickets go on sale Friday … On Feb. 23, KUT’s Austin Music Map will host a daylong, multi-venue live music experiment, MapJam, with bands including Mother Falcon, Akina Adderley and the Vintage Playboys, and Residual Kid performing at eight different venues. … Add another band to the list of possible SXSW performers: the Postal Service will reunite to promote the 10th anniversary reissue of their album "Give Up."