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.


Christian Rock Rocks - Copyright 2012. Powered by Blogger.

Follow CRR on Twitter

Follow empmag on Twitter


Like CRR on Facebook

no image

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Artist: August Burns Red
Album: O Come O Come Emmanuel
Release Date: 11/24/09
Label: Solid State/CI Records

August Burns Red follows up their hit Christmas single from last year, "Carol Of The Bells", with their new single, "O Come O Come Emmanuel". The song has a longer play time of about five minutes long. It consists of ABR's technical metal guitars and heavier double bass drums. Similar to "Carol Of The Bells", this song is also instrumental. It may be a better fit if only done in instrumental form. I'm not sure how well screaming a Christmas song would go. CI Records also is doing a limited pressed green or red vinyl to celebrate this release. Side A consists of "O Come O Come Emmanuel" while Side B contains "Carol Of The Bells". This, to me, is a great collectors item as well as a perfect holiday gift. I hope that you check out the amazing work that ABR does on their Christmas songs. 
no image

The Catalyst EP

Artist: The Wrecking
Album: The Catalyst EP
Release Date: 8/18/09
Label: Chosen Records
The Wrecking are a pop/rock band out of Portland, Maine. They released an EP over the summer to preview their new full length album releasing early next year. The theme of the EP seems to be about standing out and being a light in the world. The opening track, also the current radio single, "Sound Of The Resistance" is a pop/rock song about how we need to love others. It describes love as a "resistance". The music video for it is pretty self-explanatory on the message of the song and you might wanna check that out. The acoustics on "Breathe" and "Love Is Here" actually seem to give the songs potential and meaning, they really fit perfectly. "Reason" is actually more of a rocker and is about how we need God to live and that he is the reason that we are alive. The song "Angels" actually has some electronic beats featured and gives it a good sound. The EP closer, "Our Feet Don't Touch The Ground", was actually voted to be featured in the movie "New Moon" but apparently never made the cut for some reason. However, it is a great alternative song and closes off the EP nicely.
Album Highlights: Sound Of The Resistance, Love Is Here, Our Feet Don't Touch The Ground
Rating: 7/10 A pretty interesting sound for the EP, I'm excited to hear the full length releasing early 2010!
no image

Artist: Phil Wickham
Album: Heaven & Earth
Release Date: 11/17/09
Label: INO Records
The acoustic version of Heaven & Earth is an exclusive to the pre-order of the full length Heaven & Earth album, but here is a CRR exclusive review of it! Enjoy:
Phil Wickham decided to make a raw, unplugged acoustic version of his new record Heaven & Earth that he wanted to share with the fans. However, you can only get it if you pre-ordered his new album. The acoustic version is strictly just acoustic and without the synths, gives the songs a different sound that still gets the general message across. "Precursor" is just Phil's thanks to the fans for supporting him and the album and explains what it's all about. "Eden" is probably my favorite Phil Wickham track to date and sounds very good on acoustic as well. "Coming Alive" without the synths is still a great track, but his voice gets a tiny bit pitchy in a part in the song, but then again, it was just him and his guitar, no producer or anything (at least I don't think). The title track is a beauty and is an honest plea to lay down your life for God. "Safe", the current radio single off of Heaven & Earth, is another great track, but does not feature the singing talents of Bart Millard of MercyMe. "Cielo" is probably another favorite off the acoustic album crying "I can't lift my hands high enough, lift my hands high enough when I'm reaching for you my God". Instead of acoustics, the songs features beautiful pianos. "Heaven Song" talks about wanting to be in heaven. A great closer. This was of course an exclusive not generally for everyone, but still amazing!

no image

Artist: Flyleaf
Album: Momento Mori
Release Date: 11/10/09
Label: A&M/Octane Records
Flyleaf has kept us waiting for a long time. In fact, it's been five long years. There has been some small digital EPs there and there from time to time, but finally, a full-length has come. It's called Momento Mori which essentially means "aware of death". For many who don't know the concept of the album, it's actually a story. The story is contained in the liner notes (so to understand it, pick up a hard copy) and is very interesting. For each song, rather than lyrics, there is a "journal entry". It tells the story of the "Passerby Army" battling the "Dead Army". It is a very interesting story and I would recommend reading it. The album is also very explicitly "Christian" for secular fans and I'm sure it will catch their attention. Really though, take the opening track "Beautiful Bride" for example. It is a great hard rocker but also contains these lyrics: "Beautiful bride, body of Christ, one flesh abiding, strong and unifying". A great example of what the album has to offer. However, the story really starts off with "Again" which is the current radio single and is about "The Commander's" daughter and how He wishes her to "find air to breathe again". The following song, "Chasm", talks about drinking from the Living Water, but personally isn't really a favorite. I'm not sure why, but it is also kind of hard to follow for some reason. However, the next song, "Missing", is one of the best on the album. It talks about how important love is in our lives and how it feels to live without it. Some of the other songs have to do directly with the "journal entries" contained in the liner notes . One great example is the song "This Close" which has to do with a dream that "The Commander" had, actually two in fact, one being the first verse and the other being the second. Another song is "Swept Away" which talks about an evil woman that's commands the "Dead Army". I know many people have said the Lacey has lost her talented screaming abilities, but there is a moment in this song where she actually does scream and it definitely fits with the song. All in all, the album does have a darker side to it, but then again, it fits with the title.
Album Highlights: Again, Missing, This Close, Swept Away, Tiny Heart, Set Apart This Dream
Rating: 9/10 Flyeaf has kept us waiting for a long time, but the end result is an album that will have you thinking. (Make sure to read the liner notes, they explain a lot.)
no image

Hello Hurricane

Artist: Switchfoot
Album: Hello Hurricane
Release Date: 11/10/09
Label: Atlantic /Lowercase People
Switchfoot, after about three years of almost no new material, except last year's "This Is Home", have finally returned with Hello Hurricane. Lots of different styles can be found on this album, consisting of anywhere from crunchy rock to soft, mellow ballads. Personally, even with a wide range of songs, they are all great. Unique in their own way. The album starts off with the alternative "Needle and Haystack Life", a great opener that will have you singing along after your first few plays. "Mess Of Me" is their current single. It is a crunchy rock song, and is about basically becoming a slave to ourselves, saying "they lock our souls in cages". A good song, but not the best of the bunch. "Your Love Is A Song" is reminiscent of some of the solo stuff that lead singer Jon Foreman does. My favorite rocker off the album is titled "The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)". It is not super high energy but has very catchy guitar. It was also featured in a Verizon commercial that was being played in the World Series this year. "Enough To Let Me Go" is a simple, but effective song about love. It is pretty catchy. "Free" almost continues the theme from "Mess Of Me" saying "Inside this shell there's a prison cell". It may actually be one of Switchfoot's best songs to date. The title track follows and has a message that says that even "hurricanes" can't drown out and silence our love. The following track, their other current single titled "Always". It is a piano driven track that carries the thought that we always belong to God. It is probably my personal favorite off the album and is also a good track for fans of Jon Foreman's more solo stuff. The last rocker, "Bullet Soul", follows and if probably also the craziest of the three, having Jon almost screaming on it. The next three songs, "Yet", "Sing It Out", and "Red Eyes" are still as effective. "Yet" almost sounds similar to Brandon Heath's "Wait and See" saying "You're not finished with me yet". This is probably one of their best albums to date, but not their best ever.
Album Highlights: Always, The Sound, Free, Needle and Haystack Life, and really all are great, unique in their own way.
Rating: 10/10 With '09' coming to an end, this album looks like my album of the year, and probably will be. After all, this is one great effort!
no image

Fair is set to release their highly anticipated new album titled Disappearing World on February 9th, 2010. They will be shooting a music video for the title track of the album as well as three live in-studio music videos. Also, Aaron Marsh of Copeland will also be featured on the album. Here is the tracklisting:
  1. Disappearing World
  2. Wayside
  3. Walking In My Sleep
  4. One Last Time
  5. Take Some Risks
  6. The Escape Artist
  7. It's Doubtful
  8. The Worst Of Your Wear
  9. Great Divide
  10. Anymore

Secret & Whisper will be releasing their upcoming album titled Teenage Fantasy on February 9th also. Their new single off the album will be "Warrior (Southern Arrowwood). Here is the tracklisting for that:
  1. Youth Cats
  2. Warrior (Southern Arrowwood)
  3. Bedroom Galaxy
  4. Tiny Sparkle
  5. Famous for a Century
  6. Edge of Wilderness
  7. Pretty Snarl
  8. Star Blankets
  9. Blush
  10. Whale Bones
  11. Silver Mountain

On January 26th, Number One Gun will release their new album To The Secrets And Knowledge. Their fist single off the album will be titled "Forest". Here's the tracklisting:
  1. The Victory
  2. Big Machines
  3. Forest
  4. Noises
  5. Hey Stranger
  6. The People
  7. White Lies
  8. Look To Pass
  9. Try It
  10. Don't Stop Believing
Pop/rock band Above The Golden State will release their new album titled The Golden Rule as well on Jan. 26th. It will only feature six songs making it more of an EP. It will also only be $5 as part of EMI CMG's Now Hear This! program.Here's the tracklisting for it:
  1. The Golden Rule
  2. Chance To Love
  3. I Am Loved
  4. Real You
  5. Teach Us
  6. Tragedy
What album are you most excited for?
no image

Tobymac will release his new album titled "Tonight" on Febuary 9th, 2010. It will feature the current single "City On Our Knees" and also a song titled "Showstopper" that was featured in the first game of the World Series! Is anyone else excited for this long awaited release?
no image

O Come, All Ye Faithful

Artist: Abandon Kansas
Album: O Come All Ye Faithful (Single)
Release Date: 11/17/09
Label: Gotee
Christmas is coming! I just realized this and thought I should start listening to some Christmas music, so here goes. Indie rock band Abandon Kansas did a special Christmas single of "O Come All Ye Faithful". It sounds really good and blends their signature indie flavored rock with the holiday classic to release a single worthy of Christmas. It's a delight to listen to and is only a buck, so I would definitely pick this up for Christmas listening! Check it out!
no image

Artist: Stephanie Smith
Album: Stephanie Smith
Release Date: November 17th
Label: Gotee Records

Stephanie Smith rocks! Last year she joined the great family of Gotee Records and soon will be part of “Winter Wonder Slam Tour” in November and December, the date on which release her new self-titled EP “Stephanie Smith - EP”. The EP contains 5 strong and full of energy tracks that were produced by Mark Lee Townsend (Relient K, House of Heroes). Powerful pop/rock with a message about good decisions and healing of the soul, which quickly captured the attention of teens and youth.

The album’ opening song is “Back to Innocence” (first official single) with influences of Paramore and Kelly Clarkson, talks about the intense clamor in the exhaustive and poring life that teens in the seeking to recover the innocence, break chains and decide to be part of change. “Heart Attack” continues the adrenaline with intense guitars, melodies similar to Fireflight work, but this time more aggressively. A message of hope when the consequences come into our lives unexpectedly. Then we met “Pieces of My Heart” with synthesizers, vocals, handclaps and fast drums, screaming restoration and dependence to God when our hearts are broken and knowing that we will rebuild. The pop sound is played by “If You Really Want the World to Change” a song telling us that if we wanna change the world, we have to start for ourselves and learning to forgive each others. Finally, appears “Joshua” with more rockers features who ask God to take control of our hearts. “Come with fire, come with fire” says the bridge, followed by a guitar solo and ending unexpectedly violent EP.

This fantastic EP is the best introduction of what will be the new album from this prodigious singer. “My generation celebrates wounds, instead of celebrating the healing we can have in Christ,” says Stephanie. “But my story is not a sad one anymore. It’s a story of redemption.” This girl is sure to have you rolling down the windows in your car and turning up the volume.

Rating: 8/10

Israel Risco

no image

Southern Weather

The Almost
Album: Southern Weather
Release Date:
Tooth and Nail
Aaron Gillepsie the drummer and clean singer from Underoath formed a side project called The Almost and their debut album was called Southern Weather. This album is more indie and alternative and I think that it is pretty good for one person playing all the instruments. The hits from this album are Say this Sooner and Southern Weather (Say this sooner was played a lot on Air1). These songs are both really catchy and fun to listen to. Lyrically, this album wasn't the most spiritual. I was a little disappointed in the lyrics but the new album Monster Monster showed more improvement towards the lyrics. This album is pretty good and a fun listener. Definitely for those who like indie music.
Album Highlights: Say this Sooner, Southern Weather, Amazing Because It Is, Dirty and Left Out
Rating: 7/10
no image

Monster Monster

Artist: The Almost
Album: Monster Monster
Release Date: 11/3/09
Label: Virgin/Tooth and Nail
"This is really a full band effort" says Aaron Gillespie, vocalist and founding member of The Almost. Southern Weather was Aaron by himself, playing almost every instrument on it. Since then, The Almost has come a long way, becoming a full band. The album features Gillespie playing drums, but since recording, The Almost have acquired Joe Musten, lead vocals of Advent, as their drummer. Even so, the drums on the album are still amazing, taking into consideration that Gillespie is also the drummer of Underoath. The album has become one of my favorites over time, since I've listened to it a lot! Lyrically, the album is much more spiritual than Southern Weather. Not the kind of worship like the No Gift To Bring EP, but more indirect worship. Enough said, the album does give praise to God. "Hands" could be a worship song, just take a listen. The album's theme about "monsters" is contained in "Monster" and also "Monster Monster". "Monster" is an acoustic song that asks God if he looks down on us when we have defects and sin. It is my personal favorite. The beginning track, "Monster Monster" is a rocker and states "I'm sick of this monster monster!". This will definitely make my top 10 of '09'.
Album Highlights: Hands, Monster, Souls On Ten, Young Again, Hand Grenade, Monster Monster
Rating: 9/10 This is a great album from The Almost and features many different styles, even including Americana! I'd give this album a listen if I were you!
no image

Artist: The Almost
Album: Monster EP
Release Date: 10/6/09
Label: Tooth and Nail
The Almost return with their Monster EP, an intro to their upcoming November 3rd release Monster Monster. It features three album cuts and two b-sides. More info on the packaging and all can be found here. The album starts off with "Lonely Wheel", a great alternative rocker. The first single, "Hands" follows. It is more of an 80s sounding rock song with a chorus like this: "With our hands held high, we're singing whoaoa and with our feet we stomp a cadance for You". It could even be looked at as a worship song, which would be pretty cool to sing in church! The b-sides, "July" and "Birmingham" follow. They are both great rockers and are exclusive to this EP. The album ends with "Monster", an acoustic track basically asking God if He still loves even if we sin and have defects. It is one of my favorite tracks from The Almost ever. This EP is only available at their live shows, Hot Topic stores, and their online store. Most of Monster Monster's best tracks are found on this EP actually.
Album Highlights: They're all good, do I have to choose?
Rating: 7/10 A great intro for Monster Monster and features most of the good tracks from the full-length effort.
no image

No Gift To Bring

Artist: The Almost
Album: No Gift To Bring EP
Release Date: 11/25/08
Label: Tooth and Nail Records
The Almost released their No Gift To Bring EP last November. It was made up of acoustic songs, two new ones, two re-done tracks, and one Christmas song. Personally, this is some of my favorite work done by The Almost. Aaron's voice mixed with the acoustic sounded amazing to me. The EP was produced my Tim McTague , guitarist of Underoath. The result was amazing! The EP blends some of the songs from Southern Weather and some new acoustic songs. I personally enjoyed it and is great for Christmas time or whenever you feel like worshiping or just going acoustic!
Rating: 8/10

Fee - Hope Rising (2009)

Artist: Fee
Album: Hope Rising
Release Date: October 6, 2009
Label: INO Records
Fee debuted in 2007 with their 1st major label record "We Shine" which contained the hit single "All Because of Jesus" (this song can also be found on Casting Crowns' album The Altar and the Door)
"If your alive and been redeemed rise and sing, rise and sing" The album start off with a very nice worship song called "Rise and Sing" which talks about how we should be praising God for all he has done for us. Continuing on with "Greatly to Be Praised" this song proclaims that there is no one like our God and we need to praise Him at all times. The lead single from the album "Glory to God Forever" was an instant favorite for me because I love the truthful lyrics and it's really easy to sing. The next song "God Is Alive" is a celebration of how Jesus is alive and we are free. "Everything Falls" is another great track, it talks about that when everything falls apart His arms will hold us together and He is the only hope for our hearts. "We Crown You" is a beautiful song which talks about how there is no one else like God and we crown Him our King of Kings etc. Next up is "Hands of the Healer" which explains that evil will fall before His hands and that we have nothing to worry about knowing he is there. "Promised Land" is my favorite song on the record because it's got talk boxes, a nice intro, great guitars and it's a celebration of where we will go when we die and we'll see our Lord and cry no more. "Arms That Hold the Universe" is a slow and beautiful song about how we can rest in peace knowing we are in his hands, but most of all know He's in control and He will never let you go. Now before you go off and think that Fee covered the newsboys with "Your Love Is Better Than Life" then your sadly mistaken. The band is singing about how the love of our Lord and Savior is better than the things of this world and that we need to be thankful for what he's done. The last track "Send Me Out" is a call to missions. "Send me out to the world, I wanna be your hands and feet, I wanna be your voice every time I speak, I wanna run to the ones in need in the name of Jesus, I wanna give my life away all for your kingdom's sake, shine a light in the darkest place in the name of Jesus."
Album Highlights: Rise and Sing, Glory to God Forever, Everything Falls, Promised Land, Send Me Out
Rating: 10/10 best worship record of the year
(Reviews for We Shine)
“I’ve been using Steve’s worship music with my students for years. I love how his songs create an atmosphere of freedom where people can connect with God through worship. And this record is the best yet!”-- Mark Hall, Casting Crowns
“Steve Fee has a unique voice in the world of worship, effectively leading a new generation to live in a Story so much bigger than their own. Birthing anthems for the church and songs for the culture, Steve continues to merge lyrics anchored in truth with a musicality that is current and fresh. We’ve shared so much of the journey together over the last decade and I’m excited to see how God will use Fee’s debut release ‘We Shine’ for His fame throughout the earth. ‘We Shine’ is one of the best worship projects of the year.” --- Louie Giglio, Visionary/Architect/Director/Passion Conferences
“We Shine is my favorite worship record and Steve Fee is the most energizing worship leader I’ve ever experienced. His sound is unique. His lyrics are compelling. These songs are going to be around for a long time.” -- Andy Stanley, Pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, GA
“Steve Fee’s music has been a voice of the local church for over a decade, finally his song writing will be heard by the masses. We Shine is a record full of worship anthems soon to be embraced and sung by the church worldwide.” --- Bart Millard/ MercyMe
“What an amazing CD. Christ centered lyrics, with infectious beats that stick to you like Velcro. Steve Fee is not only a dear friend, but an amazing worship leader. The new Fee CD has been playing in my car, my iPod, my kitchen, and in my brain all summer long. Every song has helped me love Jesus more.” --- David Nasser/ author and minister
(Reviews for Hope Rising)
“Hope Rising is a definite necessity for any avid CCM or praise & worship fan. It once again shows us how powerfully talented the group is, which is no big surprise for existing Fee fans out there.” –

“I can’t get enough of this album and every song is worshipful, totally catchy and instantly sing-able.” –

“The sort of anthemic, powerful worship album that makes you want to jump up and kneel at the same time. “ – Group Magazine

“... a cut above much of what you'll find in an overcrowded worship music industry.” –

5 out of 5 stars! “Their follow-up, Hope Rising, will make you forget the term, “sophomore slump.” Now that the worship music genre has established itself as its own entity, Fee has claimed a spot as front-runners and trendsetters.” –