Shearwater- Fellow Travelers

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shearwaterfellowtravelersJonathan Meiburg hails Fellow Travelers to be his favorite Shearwater album, as it serves as a quintessential chronicle of the Austin band’s 13-year existence told through the songs of the various acts they’ve toured with during that time.

Originally conceived as an EP release, it had quickly grown to LP proportions after realizing the art rock spinoff of Okkervil River road tripped with far more noteworthy artists than they initially realized. Its a great concept for a covers record and, given the wide, wild variety of names Shearwater shared the stage with, makes for one of the more interesting and entertaining collections of its kind in quite a while. Enhanced by Meiburg’s funny and insightful liner notes to each tune, the Texas outfit turns in inventive versions of such tunes as Xiu Xiu’s “I Love the Valley OH!”, the Folk Implosion Kids soundtrack classic “Natural One” (with Lou Barlow on vocals!), Coldplay’s “Hurts Like Heaven”, St. Vincent’s “Cheerleader” and Clinic’s “Tomorrow” (featuring the band themselves on backup) as well as key tunes from Sub Pop labelmates the incredibly underrated Baptist Generals, Sharon Van Etten and Wye Oak.

As one of the more respected groups in the indie rock universe, the grace and forcefulness by which Shearwater perform these songs is without reproach, simultaneously serving not so much as an album yet rather a live action podcast of sorts that doubles as a sonic memory book not only for Meiburg and co. but their fans as well.

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