Jonathan Meiburg's reputation — as a scholarly character who earned a Master's degree in geography with a focus on ornithology — preceded him to WFUV, so I made sure to show him my penguin calendar before our in-studio session with his band Shearwater. My ploy to break the ice succeeded, as he shared a bunch of fun facts about the flightless birds and some of the exotic places he's encountered them.

We soon put the calendar away, at which point Meiburg led his touring band through a fierce rendering of "You As You Were" from Shearwater's latest album, Animal Joy. What Shearwater offers beyond ferocity is restraint. Meiburg's skilled arranging and developed aesthetics manifest in a song cycle that shows a flair for the dramatic and an appreciation of beauty and nuance. Meiburg may describe his booming voice as "not rock," but his vocals stand majestically when surrounded by guitar and drums. I mentioned Peter Gabriel-era Genesis and he responded enthusiastically. His songs are rich — royal, even — and remarkably beautiful.

Set List
  • "You As You Were"
  • Jonathan Meiburg (vocals, guitar, keys)
  • Mitch Billeaud (guitar, keys)
  • Lucas Oswald ("mysterious box of wonders," guitar, tom)
  • Christian Mader (bass, vocals)
  • Danny Reisch (drums)

Eric Holland, host; Erin Wilson, audio engineer; Patrick Moore, editor; Claire Donovan, Fenizia Maffucci and Patrick Moore, cameras

[+] read more[-] less

More From Rock

Lush, performing live in the studio for KCRW. VuHaus hide caption

toggle caption VuHaus

Favorite Sessions

Lush, 'Out Of Control' (Live)


The U.K. indie-pop band plays a new song during its first U.S. live radio performance in 20 years.

Caitlin Carmichael and Duke Nicholson appear in a scene from The Dandy Warhols' video for "Catcher In The Rye." Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

First Watch: Dandy Warhols, 'Catcher In The Rye'

The video follows a sullen Holden Caulfield character, complete with a red hunting cap.

A young man walks through a sunny wood in a scene from LVL UP's new video for "The Closing Door." Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist.

All Songs TV

Take An Existential Journey With LVL UP

The New York band's new video for "The Closing Door" tells a sunny coming-of-age story.

Back To Top