Last week, we got a letter from Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg (who apparently owns an actual, manual typewriter) along with a copy of the band's latest album, The Golden Archipelago. I've only listened through the record a couple of times, but I feel confident saying that you'll love it. In the letter, Meiburg makes comparisons to "immersive art-rock records of the early '80s, like Pink Floyd's The Final Cut or Peter Gabriel's (third self-titled album) Melt." And while the Shearwater album didn't immediately remind me of those records, it's definitely one you'll want to lose yourself in.
The Golden Archipelago is due out on Matador Records on Feb. 23. But there's a key part of the package that will likely be missing in the release, unless the band can get enough money to make it happen. It's a 75-page book of full-color photos and images Meiburg and designer Mark Ohe put together to accompany the music. Meiburg says "it's mostly made up of images and artifacts I've collected from remote islands and other strange places around the world over the past 15 years." Here are a few examples from the book:
As you might expect, printing and distributing a 75-page book of 8x10 color images costs a small fortune, and Matador Records' people (as much as I'm sure they love the idea) just can't make it happen. So Shearwater is turning to its fans and other art lovers for help. The band has launched a campaign on Kickstarter.com to raise the money it needs to publish the book as a limited-edition companion to the album. Shearwater has until Jan. 31 to reach its goal, or it won't get any of the money at all.
By the way, Shearwater isn't the only band to turn to kickstarter.com to raise money for its albums. Click the tab for "music" and you'll find tons of other artists looking for support, too, including Asobi Seksu.
What do you think of this as a way for smaller or lesser-known artists to get their work out?