Austin rockers Shearwater have announced the release of a new album called Jet Plane And Oxbow, the follow-up to 2012’s Animal Joy and 2013’s covers comp Fellow Travelers. It features contributions from composer Brian Reitzell (best known for his soundtrack work on Sofia Coppola films), Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, Abram Shook, Howard Draper, Lucas Oswald, and Jesca Hoop. The first single from the record is the gently pulsating “Quiet Americans,” which Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg says was political in intent. Here’s a quote from him in a new conversation with journalist Michael Azerrad, which you can read here:
JM: My idea for Jet Plane and Oxbow was to try to make a protest record that wasn’t dumb or preachy. Which was sometimes hard to reconcile with how much fun it was to do! But the more grand or triumphant the songs sounded, the more conflicted the lyrics became, which I really liked. I listened to it the other day for the first time since we mastered it and it reminded me of a breakup letter—the kind that’s furious and tender at the same time, because it’s written with love.
MA: Wow, who are you breaking up with?
JM: Good question…the United States, I guess, though that sounds ridiculous when I say it out loud. Maybe the idea of the United States. Some of the things we like to tell ourselves about ourselves. I’m as guilty of that as the next person, by the way; I’m not saying I’m the guy who sees it all clearly. I don’t know if anybody really can.
MA [in his best Bowie]: “I’m afraid of Americans!” But it can’t really be a breakup, can it? Because in a breakup you walk away, and you’re not leaving… are you?
JM: That’s the thing. I can’t stop being an American, even when it makes my skin crawl. I also can’t help loving it here, even though I hate it sometimes, too. And I don’t think I’m the only one here who feels like this. So in the end, I guess, the record felt like a way for me to send out a little beacon that just says “You’re not alone.” In the tense, polarized, tech-addled—but still very beautiful—world we’re in, I don’t think anyone can hear that enough.
02 “Quiet Americans”
03 “A Long Time Away”
06 “Pale Kings”
07 “Only Child”
08 “Glass Bones”
09 “Wildlife In America”
10 “Radio Silence”
11 “Stray Light At Clouds Hill”
Jet Plane And Oxbow is out 1/22 via Sub Pop. Pre-orders of the album come with an exclusive podcast with demos and outtakes from the recording sessions, and a conversation between Meiburg and WNYC host John Schaefer.