Shearwater, "The Golden Archipelago" (Matador)
Release Date: February 23, 2010
While the Austin band Shearwater's 2008 album "Rook" was thematically inspired by birds, 2010's "The Golden Archipelago" takes on the idea of islands, both literally and conceptually. To accompany the record, lead singer Jonathan Meiburg, who has spent time researching people living in remote communities, put together a 75-page dossier containing photos and artifacts from his work on various islands. The first 10,000 copies of the record will come with a perfect-bound condensed version of it, and Matador GM Patrick Amory says the label raised $7,000 through Kickstarter.com to fund the full project. The album is complex and atmospheric, with layers of guitar and keys mixed with strings and woodwinds. "The last album was very pastoral and pretty, and this one has those moments, but it's much wilder," Meiburg says. Creating such an expansive sound was a challenge, but the group accomplished it by working in five different studios throughout Texas. "I love the recordings where you can hear the dimensions of the space and get a sense that the music is taking place in this actual sort of cavernous room," he says. "And it's hard to find that these days."