There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
In 2006, when the delicate, pure falsetto of Jonathan Meiburg first caught my ear, I froze. As Shearwater, Meiburg’s dynamic range left me in awe, starting at nearly inaudible and quickly rising to levels exceeded only by the voice of God. I played the arresting “La Dame Et La Licorne” for anybody who would listen. Six years later, in 2012, Meiburg stopped me dead in my tracks again with his and Sharon Van Etten’s cover of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” It was proof that Meiburg could pull off traditional rock. Shearwater’s Animal Joy, released in the same year, pushed the band toward a rock audience, but the results weren’t fine-tuned. Its latest, Jet Plane and Oxbow, hits the mark. The group rips through ’80s dance rock with a sense of grandeur thanks to film composer Brian Reitzell, whose instrumentation sounds sprawling and fresh. Meiburg sounds as driven as ever. His early lyrics about birds and nature stood out, but nothing he has written cuts like the new single “Quiet Americans,” which calls his fellow citizens out for “our dull silence, our disconnected lives.” “Whither the Americans?” he shouts, in a perfect soundtrack for a frightening primary season. Shearwater performs with Cross Record at 8 p.m. at Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. $14. (202) 388-7625. rockandrollhoteldc.com.