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

Artist: Starfield
Album: The Saving One
Release Date: 2/23/10
Label: Sparrow Records
Sometimes music isn't always very obvious. You can be in for a surprise or something not so appealing. From the first track on The Saving One, you can tell that you are in for an album full of worship. Playing some alternative-styled worship, Starfield has a truly memorable album in their newest effort.

The Saving One starts off with its title track, which is a great worship tune, proclaiming that Jesus is The Saving One. One of my personal favorites off the album comes in "Rediscover You", which shows a more depressing side of Starfield. It talks about how many of us as Christians really seem to lose our faith in God and need to "rediscover" Him. Despite being the album's highlight, "Rediscover You" is also its first single.

"Declaration of Dependence" opens with some driving guitars, with a very powerful sound to it. The delicate piano-driven "Something to Say" is another song that seems to be on the depressing side, but is well written and very memorable as well. Another favorite of mine is "Top of Our Lungs", which is a completely new direction for Starfield, with its electronic-driven sound. "I Need A Father" closes out the album with a toned down tempo, but is still effective.

Rating: 7/10 The Saving One is a great effort from Starfield, with its alternative worship sounding bunch of songs. From the solid worship tune "The Saving One" to the electronic-driven "Top of Our Lungs", the album seems to contain a bit of everything. A new favorite worship album of mine for sure!
no image

Movie: The Imposter
Release Date: 2/23/10
Label: Pure Flix Entertainment/EMI CMG

We live in a world full of addictions and temptations, but what we don't expect is for our role models to fall into these temptation as well, especially the Christian ones. Enter the world of Johnny C (Kevin Max), frontman of Christian rock's biggest band, Grand Design. However, all the fame gets to his head, leading down a road of his life being torn apart. It all starts with his wife, Tara, leaving him with his daughter as well, after seeing him with drugs. Then it's all downhill from there. He gets kicked out of Grand Design by band leader and longtime friend James (Jeff Deyo, formerly of Sonicflood). This lands him on the streets, with all his money run out, leading him to accompany a homeless man Popeye, who adds some comedic relief to Johnny's current depressing life.

However, he is mentored by a church janitor named Proff (Kerry Livgren of Kansas), who helps to turn Johnny's life around. This helps him to become an addiction-free man, as well as a stronger, humble man. He doesn't just repent and is suddenly made a problem free man, but has to make the right choices, the hard choices.

The quality of the acting isn't the greatest, considering that the main roles are filled by musicians, but do fill the purpose and get the point across. We may think that this story couldn't really happen, but the point is that it really does. Even with completely strong "Christian" musicians in a band, the aren't all perfect. They're real people, just like us, with real struggles. God really helps out in these situations, considering that He will still be trustworthy to us and help us in our desperate times of need.

The Imposter is a movie about taking the hard road, not just the easy, narrow path. With the help of God, we can make these choices and even have mentors, people in our everyday lives that help us to make the right choices. I believe that this movie really shows that in a very realistic way, making us consider that even our role models can fall into temptation. In the end, with His help, we can always make the right decisions, which are hard decisions.
no image

Album: Demo EP
Release Date: 2009
Label: Independent
Sometimes something so simple can be so great. Take Poema for example, playing some relaxing acoustic pop. Poema is made up of sisters Elle and Shealeen Puckett, from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Aside from their beautiful vocal abilities, Elle plays acoustic guitar and Shealeen plays the piano. The lyrical style on the EP is composed of some well written love songs, very original and unique.

Starting off with the slower love song "Blue Sweater", you can tell that you are in for something special. Another personal favorite I have is titled "All It Takes", which is a much more slowed down song. With a beautiful chorus of "All it takes is a smile on your face and I start thinking you captured my heart", Poema's unique song writing really shines through. Please check out Poema! They will be releasing their new album titled Sing It Now on March 23rd.
no image

The Good Album

Artist: All Star United
Album: The Good Album
Release Date: January 12, 2010 (U.S. Retail)
Label: E1 Entertainment

Returning with their high energy styled pop rock, All Star United is back. With their new album titled The Good Album, you would hold high expectations for it, hoping that it is indeed good. Well, one thing can be said right away, it's not just good, it's great!

With the opener "Surface of the Sun", we already begin to see ASU's high energy style shining through. The piano-driven "The Blame" is essentially God speaking to us, saying that He doesn't choose sides and the He'll take the blame for us and our sins. "Lights Out" showcases more of a pop/punk sound to it, with Ian Eskelin's vocals soaring during the chorus. The acoustic tinged "Once Again, With Feeling" contains a powerful chorus of "I believe in love, I believe in You, I believe that You and I will find some healing".

The album's highlight, the sarcastically titled "Dude... That's Freaking Awesome!" showcases Eskelin's precise vocals and witty songwriting. One of my favorites on the album, "Beautiful Way", which is the closer, with a resounding chorus of "What a beautiful way, what a beautiful way, You have about You". It ends the album on a high note.

Rating: 7/10 All Star United present us with their latest effort, The Good Album. Full of many fun, as well as meaningful songs, it does not disappoint. It not just good, it's great!
no image

2 AM
Scheduled to release today, Poema will actually be releasing their new single titled "2 AM" next Tuesday. It's the first single off their upcoming album Sing It Now which will be in stores and online on March 23rd on Tooth & Nail Records.

Demon Hunter released their new single titled "Collapsing" off their upcoming album The World Is A Thorn today. The World Is A Thorn will be in stores and online on March 9th on Solid State Records.
no image

Artist: Newworldson
Album: Newworldson
Release Date: 2/23/10
Label: Inpop Records

Blending together a great mixture of soul, funk, pop and worship-style vocals, Newworldson is something unique. Hailing out of Ontario, Canada, Newworldson returns with their sophomore effort, a self-titled album. It contains a more polished and mature sound, as compared to their debut titled Salvation Station.

The opener "You Set The Rhythm" really sets the pace for the album, containg the funk/soul sound. The album's first single, "There Is A Way" has a more contemporary pop sound to it, already a hit single. A little more edginess is brought on "That's Exactly (How I Like It)", with some rock thrown in there and powerful gang vocals in the chorus. "I don't believe much in luck, God's the only one that I trust", it proclaims. Following up is "Rocky Road", a more mellow track, that almost seems to go on and on. It's length is really the only weakness, but it still has a good message.

A song that highly surprises me is "Jamaican Praise Medley", which has a reggae Jamaican sound and essentially just praises God, while having some fun. It was a surprise to hear, but brought a smile to my face. The closer "Weary" has a slower tempo and is filled with the soulful vocals of Joel Parisen, lead vocals of NWS. The album surprised me a lot and was a satisfying listen.

Rating: 9/10 Newworldson easily avoids the sophomore slump with their new self-titled album. It really surprised me and was one of the most unique albums I've ever heard. Check out Newworldson for some great, unique music!
no image

Artist: Above The Golden State
Album: The Golden Rule
Release Date: 1/26/10
Label: Sparrow Records

Love is a powerful thing, especially Jesus' love for us. Well, love is what Above The Golden State's new album, The Golden Rule, is all about. Above The Golden State plays a catchy form of pop rock, something not seen much of lately. I'm not the biggest fan of the genre myself, considering that it's usually not all that good.

The opener, "The Golden Rule", does bring some rather catchy hooks, riding on a chorus of "Love your Savior and your neighbor like yourself." Carrying across the album are themes of Jesus' love for us, as well as the fact that we should love like Him. The track "I Am Loved" really shows the more contemporary pop side of ATGS, showing that we are all loved by our Creator. The darker "Tragedy" contains a message dealing with depression and how Jesus still loves us no matter what.

The only problem I have with the album is that it is far too short, clocking at just above twenty minutes. Despite being only six tracks, I think I'll be listening to The Golden Rule for a while. A great job done by Above The Golden State.

Rating: 8/10 Above The Golden State bring us their sophomore effort, titled The Golden Rule. With a general message of love and God's love for us, stretching across the album from "The Golden Rule" to the darker "Tragedy". What I can say about this effort is the ATGS leaves more longing for more!
no image

Artist: Brenton Brown
Album: Adoration
Release Date: 2/23/10
Label: Survivor/Kingsway/EMI CMG
Many of you may not be familiar with Brenton Brown, but chances are that you've probably heard some of the South African's songs in church. Brenton Brown has co-written many songs with big worship artists such as Lincoln Brewster and Paul Baloche, penning hits such as "Everlasting God." Brown does have a great voice, but the album does seem to be another typical worship album.

Adoration is made up of some typical acoustic worship songs, which seem almost unoriginal, but they do give praise to God. A song that seems to have a lot of potential is titled "1000 Stars", which appears to be about our hopes and dreams. Other than that, you can expect to hear many of these songs in church or on the radio. In fact, you probably already have.

Rating: 6/10 Brenton Brown brings us a worship album, containing many radio and church-friendly worship tunes. The most enjoyable track, as well as the album highlight, is titled "1000 Stars" and shows much potential.
no image

Artist: Newsboys
Album: Born Again EP
Release Date: January 2010
Label: Inpop Records

Last year, when Michael Tait replaced Peter Furler of Newsboys, I wondered what would come of them. They answer the question with their new EP, Born Again, a prelude to their new album coming June 8th. The classic Newsboys sound is still contained, but a bit more rock and other elements are thrown in here and there.

Opening with the title track, "Born Again", an energetic rocker which is about overcoming sin and being born again, a great opener. "On Your Knees" keeps the classic Newsboys sound, with a chorus of "When your heart breaks He'll hurt for you, dreams are out of reach He'll pull you through, when you lose hope all you gotta do is get on your knees again". A more surprising song was "When The Boys Light Up", which explains Tait joining the Newsboys.

"I'll Be" is my personal favorite song, with a mellow sound to it, and is about when our world collapses, God will always be there. The closer "One Shot" does have some corny lyrics like "Just like the Twitter that you update". The EP is a good introduction for what we can expect from the Newsboys this year, with their new album releasing this June.
no image

For Those Who Wait [+digital booklet]

Artist: Fireflight
Album: For Those Who Wait
Release Date: 2/9/10
Label: Flicker/Provident
For Those Who Wait, the anticipated new album from Fireflight follows up their acclaimed release Unbreakable, which released back in 2008. The album still has their typical hard rock sound, with a few more surprising elements as well.

The album starts off with its title track, which starts out with a rather surprising string section, which breaks into Dawn Michele, lead vocals, proclaiming "This is for those who wait". Following up is the current radio single, "Desperate", which is about being desperate about searching for God, asking God if he will help us and heal us. An interesting track is "Core of My Addiction", which is yes, is about being addicted to God. I personally think that the point could have been written differently, but other than that, the song does have some well written lyrics.

"What I've Overcome" talks about overcoming sin and accepting Jesus, stating that our sinful path is erased. Personally, one of my favorite songs, despite being the calmest song on the album, is the piano-laden "Name". With lyrics like "He sees you, He's near you, He knows your face, He knows your pain", it proves to be a cry out to the broken and lonely. Breaking the slower tempo of "Name" are the erupting guitars on "New Perspective".

Closing out the album are "All I Need To Be" and "Recovery Begins". "All I Need To Be" starts off slower, with acoustics and great, melodic vocals, before the rock is released in the second half of the song. The closer, "Recovery Begins" is mainly composed of pianos and closes off the album nicely.

Rating: 8/10 Fireflight brings us a solid album in For Those Who Wait. Featuring some radio-friendly rock, laden with some softer tracks as well, the album was certainly worth the wait.

no image

Queens Club will release their debut album on March 23rd on Tooth & Nail Records. Here is the tracklisting:
  1. Are We? Will We?
  2. Issinair
  3. Cutt Me Off
  4. An Apparition
  5. Dust
  6. Less Talk
  7. Lydia
  8. Upstart
  9. Family Ties
  10. Nightmarer
  11. I'm American
  12. Danger Kids

Poema will be releasing their debut album on March 23rd on Tooth & Nail as well. Here's the tracklisting:
  1. 2 AM
  2. City Boy
  3. Feel The Same Way
  4. Echo Off The Sky
  5. Safe To Say
  6. Blue Sweater
It looks like this spring will be loaded with many great releases!