Shearwater announce first album in 6 years, share “Xenarthran”
Jonathan Meiburg is back with his first Shearwater album in six years, The Great Awakening, that will be out June 10 via the band's own Polyborus label. Made with Meiburg's Loma bandmate Dan Duszynski producing through 2020 and 2021, Meiburg was determined not to make another heavy album like 2016's Jet Plane and Oxbow, despite the obviously heavy times. “I felt hopeless,” he says. “And I didn’t want to make hopeless music.”
The album features his regular collaborators, keyboardist Emily Lee and drummer Josh Halpern, and Meiburg incorporated field recordings he had made while writing his acclaimed 2021 book A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World's Smartest Birds of Prey.
The first single from the album is the sweeping, gorgeous "Xenarthran." For those of us not up on our zoology, Meiburg explains: "Xenarthrans are the ‘strange-jointed’ mammals, which mostly live in South America: armadillos, anteaters, and sloths. Only one species of armadillo has wandered up to the southern U.S., and while we were recording The Great Awakening in Texas, I often saw them scurrying dimly through fields at dusk or snuffling in the mud after a rainstorm, and I couldn't help admiring them. They'd walked thousands of miles on their wispy little feet, long noses to the ground, trundling into alien landscapes filled with unfamiliar dangers."
The video for "Xenarthran" was directed by Meiburg's other Loma bandmate, Emily Cross. "This song, and Emily's eerie video, aren't about armadillos, exactly—but they are about making your way through the dark spaces of a menacing but still very beautiful world," he says, adding. "The roaring sounds near the end are howler monkeys I recorded in Guyana.”
Watch the video and check out album art and tracklist below.
The Great Awakening LP tracklist:
2. No Reason
4. Laguna Seca
5. Everyone You Touch
6. Empty Orchestra
10. There Goes The Sun
11. Wind Is Love