SHEARWATER – ” The Sky Is a Blank Screen ” Live Recordings 2016

Posted: January 6, 2019 in MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , ,

We’re releasing The Sky is a Blank Screen, a live album compiled from last year’s tours for “Jet Plane and Oxbow”.

The hour-plus album catches the excellent lineup of me, Emily Lee, Lucas Oswald, Sadie Powers, and Josh Halpern smashing our way through extended, sometimes off-the-rails versions of songs from JPOB in front of audiences in Seattle and London.

It also features other live performances not before an audience, including a spare, reworked “Radio Silence” broadcast on Austin’s KUTX, a demo of “Only Child” from my apartment, a cover of Bauhaus’ “Kick in the Eye” (recorded for the Onion’s AV Club on the same day as our cover of Bowie’s Lodger album), a reinvented “Rooks”, and “You As You Were” from Animal Joy.

Purchases of the complete album also include a bonus live cover of David Bowie’s “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)”, which seemed like a new national anthem at the end of 2016—a year that made Jet Plane‘s preoccupation with national myth-making seem uncomfortably prescient.

The Sky is a Blank Screen is available for streaming and download in a variety of formats (including WAV and FLAC); it was mixed by Lucas Oswald and mastered by Max Lorenzen in Austin.

We’ve also put together a limited-time bundle of all the SW-approved live albums, including:

– the live premiere of Rook,
– a seaside show in France from the Golden Archipelago tour,
– excerpts from the 3-hour Island Arc Live extravaganza, and
– the incandescent rock of the Jet Plane and Oxbow tour

In keeping with the themes of Jet Plane and Oxbow, 10% of the proceeds from both the record and the bundle will benefit the Equal Justice Initiative and Earthjustice. (The EJI works for reform of our overburdened, unfair and inhumane criminal justice system; Earthjustice works to protect our environment through legal action in the court.) Since the end of the Jet Plane and Oxbow tour, the live band’s been scattered to the winds, but we’ve all been busy with a wild variety of projects:

Lucas is releasing his second solo album, and recently toured in our pal Jesca Hoop’s band along with JPOB producer/engineer Danny Reisch. Emily has been doing freelance music supervision for film and TV (hire her!) when she’s not playing with metal bands and recording a new full-length with Snake Oil.

Sadie‘s been recording some very beautiful and eerie ambient music with her band Triptychs

And Josh has been playing drums all day, every day with Marmalakes and a bewildering array of other bands in Austin and around the country. You can see him on tour with The Dan Ryan.

As for me, Josh Halpern I’ve been trying to finish my book, The Feathered People, by the end of the year.

For those of you who haven’t heard me blabbing about it, it’s a book that doesn’t have much to do with music; it’s a long, wild travel/natural history yarn about a set of bizarre South American birds of prey called caracaras, the people who live with them, and what they can tell us about the unlikely history of their continent and the evolution of a mind like ours on another branch of the tree of life.

All my field research is done at last—I wrapped it up with an epic trip to Chile earlier in the year, where I helped paleontologists find dinosaur bones and nearly froze looking for flamingos and caracaras in the high Andes. Only the typing is left, and I’ve still got about half the manuscript left to go.

But I also haven’t left music behind. There’s a really exciting opportunity coming up for SW (+ old and new friends and allies) next year that I can’t tell you about yet (!!); but it’ll flip your lid, especially if you enjoyed our Lodger project.

Also, I’ve just finished up a new full-length album that Sub Pop will be releasing next year. All I can say about that one right now is that it’s not a Shearwater album; but I worked on it with some very gifted collaborators for over a year, and I can’t wait to release it.

Lastly, I’m writing this letter from DC, which I’ve visited several times this year for some epic and inspiring protests—but this time I was here at the American Film Institute’s documentary festival AFIDOCS, where Shivani, a short film for which I wrote and performed the score along with Dan and Emily from Cross Record, was shown as an official selection.

Shivani tells the story of a very special three-year-old girl in southern India with an unusual talent, a captivating face, and a surprising family history. So there’s plenty going on—though of course I miss performing. When I’ve turned in my manuscript, I’ll be itching to get out and play again, and to start thinking about another SW album.

More soon. But in the meantime, all best to you and yours.

JM/SW

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