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Alternative & Indie - Released November 25, 2013 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 26, 2019 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 22, 2016 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 2, 2008 | Matador

In 2007 Shearwater made the jump from Misra to Matador, culminating in a generously stocked reissue of 2006's excellent Palo Santo. It was a fitting partnership, as the band was beginning to settle into a more eclectic, rock-oriented outfit, raising the bar for its forthcoming "official" Matador debut. At just over 36 minutes, Rook is tailor-made for the dwindling attention span of the information age, but if ever the dated phrase "all killer, no filler" were to apply, it would be here. Jonathan Meiburg's gorgeous, melodramatic lyrics would reek with pretension out of anyone else's mouth, but his increasingly fluid and powerful voice, which is now caught somewhere between Jello Biafra, Jeff Buckley, and Tilt-era Scott Walker, demands full attention from the listener, a notion that often gets swept under the rug in the current lo-fi, D.I.Y. indie rock climate. The production is the band's most concise to date, thanks in part to the removal of at least half the amount of reverb used on previous recordings, allowing more percussive instruments like dulcimer, vibraphone, glockenspiel, harp, and banjo the chance to dance around the fire rather than disappear into the murky darkness that surrounds it. As with all Shearwater records, wildlife (specifically avian) imagery rules the roost. Starlings feast on dead crows, hunters wait in the melting snow for prey and pigs, oxen and even snow leopards drop in to assume positions of great metaphor. Opening track "On the Death of the Waters" plays out like the prologue of a maritime fairy tale, as the narrator waxes sublime from the prow of a ship to the strains of a delicate piano before exploding into a rage of brass, distortion, and drama that sounds like an outtake from Pink Floyd's The Wall. This "calm before the storm" aesthetic dominates Rook, and in another testament to its short running time, works beautifully, illuminating the few straightforward pieces like "Century Eyes," "Leviathan, Bound," and the brooding title track like a centuries-old woodcut, and allowing the tension that permeates the entire affair to ebb and flow naturally, resulting in one of the most heady and satisfying albums of the year. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 27, 2007 | Matador

It's impossible to have predicted what a large shadow Jeff Buckley would have cast over rock music after his tragic 1997 passing. But as evidenced by a multitude of early 21st century Buckley disciples, all it took was a single album for Buckley to leave his mark on popular music. This is especially evident on Shearwater's 2006 release Palo Santo. The group's third full-length overall sees singer/multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Meiburg assume full control of the band, as he pens all of the album's 11 tunes solely on his own. While listening to the album-opening "La Dame et la Licorne" or "White Waves," it's impossible not to automatically think of Buckley -- Meiburg's vocals are a dead ringer for the deceased singer/guitarist. Elsewhere, the album's title track sounds like Jeff's pop, Tim Buckley, while Meiburg gets to show his quirky side on such selections as "Red Sea, Black Sea" and "Johnny Viola." While it may not be as plagiaristic as a band like Ours is, it's plain to see Meiburg's chief musical influence throughout much of Palo Santo. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 14, 2012 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 12, 2014 | Misra Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 22, 2016 | Sub Pop Records

The ninth studio LP from the Austin-based outfit, and their second outing for Sub Pop, Jet Plane and Oxbow feels like a culmination of sorts; a rigged explosion in a mountain crevice meant to link past and future. It would be easy to dismiss Shearwater's nod to '80s sonic excess as opportunistic, not to mention a little bit late to the party, if it weren't so consistently compelling and undeniably grand. Opting for the big studio craftsmanship of artists like Tears for Fears, Talk Talk, and Peter Gabriel over the treacly, vintage synth-fueled dance-pop that's been at the forefront of the current '80s revival, Jet Plane and Oxbow effectively expands the sonic territories explored on 2012's like-minded but less immediate Animal Joy. Politically charged and unabashedly melodramatic, the 11-track set, lent extra cinematic scope by contributions from film composer and percussionist Brian Reitzell, is as punitive as it is empowering, with frontman Jonathan Meiburg, whose voice has never sounded so commanding, reckoning with the dizzying political and social dualities of being an American in the capricious second decade of the 21st century. Coming in at just over 50 minutes, it's the band's most streamlined collection of music since 2008's career-defining Rook, and their most vital offering to date, with highlights arriving via the rolling, Krautrock-inspired "Radio Silence" (not a cover of the era-appropriate Thomas Dolby song of the same name), the elegiac "Pale Kings," and the fiery, future live staple "A Long Time Away." "Prime" and "Quiet Americans," the former a bucolic/violent blast of slow burn art-rock and the latter a propulsive, synth- and electronic drum-led call to arms that asks, without the slightest bit or irony, "And whither the Americans?," impress as well, but the truth is that Jet Plane and Oxbow, like the band itself, which has been consistently hitting the pavement and cranking out high-quality products for nearly 15 years, never really lets up. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 12, 2014 | Misra Records

A shearwater is a sea bird. Jonathan Meiburg, when he's not busy being the world's leading expert on the South American striated caracara (Phalcoboenus australis), or playing keyboards for Okkervil River, is the winsome frontman man for Shearwater, the band. After releasing two beautiful, fragile, often indulgently miserable records, this talented Southwest collective has found a new muse for its third long-player, Winged Life. While the often uncomfortable silences and quivering lower lips ("Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old...") still make the occasional appearance, Meiburg, Okkervil River lead singer Will Sheff, drummer and vibraphonist Thor Harris, and upright bassist Kim Burke have crafted an indie pop gem that replaces the genre's horn-rimmed irony with actual soul. Like Belle & Sebastian with serious intentions, they navigate emotional territory like big-game hunters, especially on "Sealed," where the weapon of choice is Meiburg's Pete Townsend-like falsetto. It's his gentle voice that is the record's greatest strength -- when it's on, it's breathtaking -- and it's biggest weakness -- when it's not, like on the flat "My Good Dee," the listener is inclined to give up along with him. The up-tempo tracks are the real standouts, and display a band that's well on its way to becoming a true force of nature. The deliciously wicked "Whipping Boy," with its treated drums mirroring its protagonist, finds a deep pocket groove, basking in its own chilliness, much like Radiohead's "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushed Tin Box," before giving up in a wash of strings. "I've Got a Right to Cry," despite its sad-sack title, is a sweet slice of pop pie that deserves placement in a Wes Anderson film. It's this optimistic response to growth that sets Shearwater leagues above their contemporaries. This is a group caught in the beautiful throes of rebirth, and beneath the quiet strums of the guitar, the gentle ripple of the Rhodes, and the soft exterior of Meiburg's vocals lies a heathen beast just waiting to be named. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 14, 2008 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 12, 2014 | Misra Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 25, 2013 | Sub Pop Records

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World - Released May 20, 2004 | Shearwater

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World - Released May 9, 2004 | Shearwater

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World - Released November 13, 2004 | Shearwater

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 18, 2014 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 11, 2016 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 20, 2015 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 17, 2015 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 8, 2013 | Sub Pop Records