Shearwater‘s Animal Joy, their eighth album, marks a dramatic shift for the Austin band, not just in labels, from Matador to Sub Pop, but a career changing sonic transition as well. In moving from the indie flagship to the legendary local label, known for releasing early grunge hard-hitters and some generally noisy bands, Shearwater has dialed back some of the grand experimentation of their previous “trilogy” (Palo Santo, Rook, and The Golden Archipelago) for a more direct and visceral sound. While the songs on Animal Joy lose none of their power, they’re certainly less baroque and more likely to hit you about a foot and a half lower — at your heart, not your head! The band lineup for the current tour has also changed: while bandmates Kimberly Burke and Thor Harris “are sitting this one out”, bandleader Jonathan Meiburg has put together a more traditional rock ensemble with Mitch Billeaud (of Austin band The Lemurs, on guitar and keys), Lucas Oswald (of Minus Story, Hospital Ships, and The Appleseed Cast) on guitar, keys, and backing vocals, Danny Reisch (also of The Lemurs, and the producer of Animal Joy) on drums, and Christiaan Mader (of Brass Bed) on bass and backing vocals. As a five-piece, Shearwater joined us for our broadcast live at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop in Austin during SXSW and played the first half of their new album straight through. Check out the videos here:
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