Artist Of The Week - Anchor & Braille

It's been about three years since we've gotten an album from Anchor & Braille, the indie side project of Anberlin's Stephen Christian, but this week, on July 31st, the band's sophomore album will be released. The Quiet Life is a collection of haunting melodies and catchy percussion, certainly a maturation of sound since 2009's Felt. The Quiet Life is available now in stores and online through Tooth & Nail Records.


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Artist: Phil Wickham
Album: Heaven & Earth
Release Date: November 17th / 2009
Label: INO Records

He is one of the best composers of the past 3 years; Phil Wickham has become an icon in christian music. Songs like “Grace”, “Cannons” and “Desire” give us a good example of how talented he is, and especially how passionate is for God. This year, returns with “Heaven and Earth” which I believe is one of the best modern worship albums I’ve heard in my life. “Eden” cries out the desire to see God face to face, as in the beginning happened in that garden where the world was originated. One phrase says “To be naked and unashamed in a sweet down pour down pour of rain innocent…”. The atmosphere is changed with “Coming Alive” which progresses through a complicated melody and a simple chorus but surely. The synthesizers tremble in the second line and break off unleashing an artwork. The title track and second single of the album “Heaven and Earth” traps us with environmental keyboards and a commercial melody with influences of U2, and of course with a letter that states total devotion. The acoustic side is inevitable in the projects of Wickham, and “The Time Is Now” is highlighted throughout the album. The violins stand next to the acoustic sound and phrases like “It’s time to make a stand.” The compasses most ingenious are given from the bridge, where the violins and strings come to front ending with a harmonious environment. Excellent hue gives us “Hold On” with a more electro-pop pattern, very similar to the sound “Must I Wait”, resonant synths, with traits of 80’s. The first official single from the album is “Safe”: A beauty in every way. It talks about God’s faithfulness to the promise that we will be safe in his arms and that he gives us hope in tribulation. It is also worth mentioning that the songs features the participation of Bart Millard, lead singer of “MercyMe”, who gets the perfect balance in every chorus and bridge of this beautiful song. One of the most sincere songs on the album is “I’ll Always Love You” with a beginning that catches on each chord, and a chorus that complements the feeling of the song: God always loved us and offers us salvation in every circumstance. The worship sound could not miss on the album and “In Your City” is the song with more prophetic content. “Your Arrival” continues with the atmosphere of the previous track, but now with a faster beat while maintaining the essence in his handwriting. “Because of your cross my debt has been paid, Because of your blood my sins are washed …” is part of the deep lyrics of “Because Of Your Love”; also has a perfect musical structure, worthy of singing in a Sunday service. I cannot deny that my favorite song is “Cielo”, which starts with a introduction almost heavenly that sounds like “Sigur Rós” and progresses through the delicate and sweet rhodes interpretation of the melody. Simplicity and harmony could describe this wonderful theme. “Heaven Song” gives the final touch to this session that I wish never ends. With only an acoustic guitar and a piano, leading then to the violins in a masterly and precise end, this issue ends with the album. I admit that I follow from the outset of Phil Wickham, and “Heaven and Earth” consolidated very much the excellent work that he offers to us. Could I dare to say it’s the best album that has given us? But I could be wrong. In a few minutes I will be listening to it again.

Rating: 9/10
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Birds & Cages

Artist: Deas Vail
Album: Birds and Cages
Release Date: 10/27/09
Label: Mono Vs. Stereo
So, recently, indie rock band Deas Vail has signed to Mono Vs. Stereo and will be releasing their new album titled Birds & Cages October 27th. They have a very relaxing sound to their music. I'm not sure if it's how I'm feeling right now, but this music is meaning a lot to me and also is soothing me at the same time. Their first single, "Excuses" is probably my favorite so far and I can't stop playing it! Check out this band and I'm sure you will enjoy them!
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Don't You Know You're Beautiful

Artist: Seabird
Album: Don't You Know You're Beautiful - Single
Release Date: 11/3/09
Label: Credential Recordings
Seabird returns with their new album titled "Rock Into Rivers" releasing December 15th on Credential Recordings. In the meantime, their new single titled "Don't You Know You're Beautiful". It is fresh and great. I love it so far and can't wait for the full-length! Style wise, this song blends alternative and pop. It is very catchy and smooth sounding. This is a very underrated band that you should check out! This song is currently being played at RadioU and is being added currently at many CHR radio stations! Please buy this November 3rd where ever you buy digital music for only a dollar!
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It Is Well

Artist: Kutless
Album: It Is Well
Release Date: 10/20/09
Label: BEC Recordings
Kutless returns with worship album number two titled "It Is Well". That is exactly what this album is, well done. It mixes the elements of their last worship album titled "Strong Tower" and even a little more rock thrown in this time around. The album's title track starts with a choir singing the hymn "It Is Well" then Kutless adding their own elements into it. It turns into a great alternative rock sounding chorus and is a great intro for the album. some other great songs include "Hungry", which I sing in church often and "Remember Me" which is more of a rocker. Their version of the popular worship song "God Of Wonders" sounds amazing! A great fit for sure. Also, their first single "What Faith Can Do" is great and more can be read about it here. There have been lots of worship albums out this year, but this has been one of my favorites. All I can say is I wish we sang all these songs in church!
Album Highlights: It Is Well, Hungry, God Of Wonders, What Faith Can Do
Rating: 7/10 This is another great album from Kutless and is worth your money.
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Breaking The Noise - EP

Artist: Satellites and Sirens
Album: Breaking The Noise EP
Release Date: 10/6/09
Label: Word Music
Satellites and Sirens return with their next new three song EP "Breaking The Noise". The title track is more electronic and is about trying to hear God through all the noise. "Anchor" may be one of my favorite Satellites and Sirens tracks yet and is a true rock song. It is about being lost in the "currents" of life and how we need God to anchor us and support us. The EP ends with "Come On" and is a more synth-rock track and is pretty much asking if someday someone will love him.
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A Dialogue

Artist: Gwen Stacy
Album: A Dialogue
Release Date: 10/20/09
Label: Solid State Records

Gwen Stacy is a hardcore band that has newly signed to Solid State Records. They blend great lyrics with singing in the vain of Take It Back! and screaming very smoothly. I am not a big fan of hardcore music at all, but there are some exceptions for me, and this happens to be on of them. Their music is very melodic and catchy for me, but I may not recommend this band to just anyone, but is definitely one of my favorite hard music albums of the year. There are great clean vocals sounding very smooth, and then the passionate screams. According to the band, this album is really people's conversions with God. The first track titled "The First Words" is one of my favorites and is great. It asks God "Will you catch me when I fall" and will be meaningful to most people. The albums lyrics are great. The albums closer "The Sound Of Letting Go" is the softest track off the album and is mostly all sang and uses mainly piano, but guitars later. Great album and has a sound almost similar to Take It Back! but not quite.

Album Highlights: The First Words, A Dialogue, The Making Of, The Sound Of Letting Go
Rating: 7/10 I'm not one for this style, but this was very surprisingly good!
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Artist: Joy Electric
Album: Favorites At Play
Release Date: 11/3/09
Label: Tooth and Nail Records
Electronic artist Joy Electric returns in 2009 with a new covers project titled Favorites At Play. It features covers of many different artists including Coldplay, Paramore, and lots more. I'm not a big fan of Joy Electric as well as electronic music in general, but I think I have found my only exception. This is probably one of the better covers albums that have heard. Joy Electric doesn't just cover the songs, but he almost makes them originals and unique. His unique electronic sound mixes with songs like Coldplay's "Viva La Viva" and Paramore's "Decode" and makes them sound just as good as the originals. The songs off the album are very popular to many (but I'm only familiar with a few) and were a pleasure listening to. He bends them and makes them his own and become a masterpiece in an electronic-pop sense. This is probably one of my favorite cover albums and makes me appreciate Joy Electric a lot more.
Album Highlights: Viva La Vida (Coldplay), When You Were Young (The Killers), Decode (Paramore)
Rating: 8/10
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Artist: Mae
Album: (M)orning
Release Date: 9/22/09
Label: Cell Records
Mae is a rock band from Virginia with a mission. This is no mission just to sell music or tour. It is to help people in need of food, clothing, and shelter. Earlier this year, they started a thing where you can download a new song once every month. The dollar (or however much you pay) went to them building a house with Habitat For Humanity. Since their first song, they have raised over fifty-six thousand dollars. They are also releasing three albums titled (M)orning, (A)fternoon, and (E)vening. They have started their own label , Cell Records, in partnership with their past label Tooth and Nail Records. (M)orning is a collection of songs that is like a morning routine and covers you in that sense. There are three instrumental tracks which sound like a morning routine like a drive and walk. The album clocks at almost forty minutes and most of the full length songs are five minutes at the least. One of the albums best tracks, "The Fisherman Song (We All Need Love)" clocks at about nine minutes . It tells a whole story though, and is definitely very cool. It is exclusive to the album, where the four other full - length tracks are all available as part of the "Donate and Download" program Mae is doing. The hard copy of the album also comes with a bonus DVD that includes "The House That Fire Built" music video and chronicles Mae making (M)orning and also building the house for Habitat Of Humanity. It is a very cool story and I would recommend supporting this great cause!
Album Highlights: The Fisherman Song (We All Need Love), Boomerang, DVD (includes Making Of... Feature and The House That Fire Built music video)
Rating: 8/10
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Fire Kite EP
Artist: Eisley
Album: Fire Kite EP
Release Date: 10/13/09
Label: Sire/Reprise
Eisley returns with their new Fire Kite EP. Depending on what version you buy, you will get a different track on each. Here are the tracklistings for each version:

Tour-Only Physical:
1. Ambulance (Un-mixed, will be on upcoming album)
2. The Valley (Un-mixed, will be on upcoming album)
3. 192 Days (Garage Band Demo)
4.Telescope Eyes (Covered by Max Bemis of Say Anything)

1. Ambulance (Un-mixed, will be on upcoming album)
2. The Valley (Un-mixed, will be on upcoming album)
3. Away We Go (Garage Band Demo)
4. 192 Days (Garage Band Demo)

The album is made up of alternative rock and more classic-sounding acoustic pop. "Ambulance" is a great alternative rock track that starts off slow but breaks into the alternative rock. "The Valley" almost sounds like it could be the album's title track and is very catchy. It mentions "fire kites drifting through the sky". It is another alternative rock song and sounds great. The "Away We Go" and "192 Days" Garage Band Demos are both really just tracks they did for fun and have a more classical acoustic pop sound to them, they are fresh sounding. "Away We Go" is only available on the digital and was thrown on last minute. The physical copy includes a cover of their song "Telescope Eyes" by Max Bemis of Say Anything, also the husband of Sherri DuPree. It sounds great and is one of my favorites on the EP. It's too bad that it's not on the version everyone can get.
Album Highlights: Ambulance, The Valley, Telescope Eyes (Covered by Max Bemis)
Rating: 7/10 For those who have been awaiting new material from Eisley, the time has finally come!
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What Faith Can Do

Artist: Kutless
Album: What Faith Can Do - Single
Release Date: 9/29/09
Label: BEC Recordings
Kutless will release their new worship album titled "It Is Well" next Tuesday, but until then, here are my thoughts of their new single currently playing at CHR radio. It mainly uses piano in it but really expresses what faith can do, especially if the faith is in Jesus. It is a very powerful song and is a great taste of what to expect on the album I hope!
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Artist: Relient k
Album: Forget and Not Slow Down
Release Date: 10/6/09
Label: Mono Vs. Stereo/Jive
Relient k returns with a fresh sounding new album. It features many great songs such "Sahara", "I Don't Need A Soul", and "If You Believe Me". The Amazon MP3 version of the album also features a cool bonus track titled "Terminals". It was produced by Adam Young (aka Owl City). The album is more an album of friends, consisting on many guest appearances such as Owl City, Aaron Gillespie (The Almost, UnderOath), Tim Skipper (House Of Heroes), Brian McSweeny (formerly of Seven Day Jesus), and Matt MacDonald (The Classic Crime). This is a great album and one of my favorites of the year!
Rating: 10/10
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Artist: Queens Club
Album: Nightmarer EP
Release Date: 10/27/09 (Digital) 9/18/09 (Physical, Online and Shows only)
Label: Tooth and Nail Records
So, I thought it was sort of strange when I came home one day and Tooth and Nail had signed a new band out of the blue. I had heard talk of a new band, but wasn't expecting it so suddenly. Naturally, I like to give all the music that T&N releases a chance, and it is usually great. So when I saw they had signed Queens Club, I thought "I gotta check these guys out". So I went over to their Myspace (which had a really cheap design on it), and listened to the title track of the album. I thought it sounded decent, but I mainly thought they were a good fit of FF5's Dance Rawr Dance 3 fall tour.

To get this straight, Queens Club is what I call a dance rock band, and mixes an indie rock style with a dance-like style. Do not think they are like FF5 at all, because FF5 is crunk, a huge difference for this style. The songs are possible to dance to, but are not as danceable as FF5. The music is also pretty shallow, having no deep meaning to it really. The title track is pretty catchy, with a danceable beat. "Dust" follows and is the album's standout track, and it sounds almost like a conversation between a young man and God. Another good song is "Uh Huh" and sounds very catchy. The album has pretty shallow lyrics, but I do admit, was a fun listen.
Album Highlights: Dust, Uh Huh, Grienke
Rating: 5/10