Cross Record and Jonathan Meiburg Are Loma

Sub Pop have a winner with Loma; I’m going to come out and say it right now. The project is a new musical partnership between Cross Record and Jonathan Meiburg, so it should be no surprise that we’d fawn over the release. And, to be honest, if one was to concoct this mixture fictionally, the actual band sounds precisely what one might create. Emily’s voice seems to be at the front, with Meiburg’s deepened, operatic tones just behind hers; the track unfolds ever so carefully, allowing for instrumental flourishes that are important in the work of their own respective projects…particularly the falling piano line that enters periodically. It’s ornate, textural pop, and we’ll get to hear the entirety of their self-titled debut album on February 16th.

 

New Okkervil River

ATH finally found an excuse to post about one of our favorite Austin acts Okkervil River. We have an mp3 of the band posted for you below called “Lost Coastlines” which is set to appear on the band’s latest The Stand Ins due out September 9th. “Lost Coastlines” features your last chance at Jonathan Meiburg in Okkervil, as he now fronts another Austin heavy hitter Shearwater. You can pre-order a copy of The Stand Ins from this fancy website.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/okkervil-river-lost-coastlines.mp3]

Download: Okkervil River – Lost Coastlines [MP3]

06/11 Shearwater Show @ Waterloo

Shearwater provided an intimate set to the crowd at Waterloo Records on Wednesday.  The venue was packed solid with Shearwater supporters who were excited to catch one more glimpse of the band before they head out on tour.   Lead singer Jonathan Meiburg started the show off right  by belting out several lines of lyrics acapela style just to make sure everyone was paying attention.  The band was spot on for their set with each member taking on a “jack of all trades” role and playing a countless number of instruments.  (Is that a flute?) Read more

Shearwater – Rook

Rating: ★★★★½
From the very first song, new Austin darlings Shearwater–via former Okkervil River bandmate, brought out a surprise. A minute into the first song and the music crashes against your ear. For me, it was the first of many surprises on this album that made it one of the best things I have heard this year. Jonathan Meiburg has finally come into his own.

Aside from the initial surprise, the thing that struck me as most fascinating was the loud/soft contrast between musical moments. It is this precise juxtaposition of sound levels that requires every listener to pay close detail to each note–which I feel ultimately brings you closer to the brilliance of this album. It’s a contrast between light and dark music, and in doing this so well, Meiburg has made an album that I feel stands completely alone–even if you choose to eliminate the lyrics entirely–which I don’t suggest.

Those lyrics, well, they are far better than I expected from my previous Shearwater experiences. “Home Life,” is a particular favorite, though I don’t dare to examine its meaning for fears of ruining your own interpretations. Now, accompanying those lyrics are supremely grandiose vocals. I was floored this time by the evolvement of his voice, which has little to compare it to–though initially I thought of Antony and the Johnsons–but it comes off much more epic.

Throughout this entire album I felt like I was on this enormous journey with various characters and within my own psyche–all of which I will gladly walk through again. This album carries you away with excellent vocals and sweeping musicianship, though I must admit that there is one journey not worth taking at all, “South Col,” which is the eighth track, and is a required skip to the next song.

I wish you all the best as you partake in your very own journey with Mr. Meiburg and his mates. May it be as fruitful to you as it was for me. Here is to good listening

Here’s the single off the new record entitled Rooks:
[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/02-rooks.mp3]

Download: rooks.mp3

If you want to hear the entire album before you buy it, Shearwater is streaming it on their myspace page. Enjoy!