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: Manafest
Album: The Chase
Release Date: 3/30/10
Label: BEC Recordings

Have you heard of Chris Greenwood, otherwise known as rap rocker Manafest? Well, now would be the time to learn his name with the release of The Chase. Although rap rock has become somewhat of an outdated sound, Manafest brings it back in high style. With a collection of catchy rap rock tunes in the vein of Linkin Park, The Chase offers a sound that may not be all too original, but still a sure success.

The anthem "No Plan B" sets the pace of the album, which features Manafest's rapping talents, mixed with guest vocals from Koie of Japanese band Crossfaith. "Fire In The Kitchen" contains some big riffs, along with vocals from Trevor McNevan in the chorus. Trevor also appears on the rocker "Renegade" and the soft piano laden "Every Time You Run," one of the album's highlights. With a great message, the song shows a softer side of Manafest that works just as well as the high-energy rockers on The Chase.

The KJ-52 esque "Avalanche" tells the story of a prodigal, followed up by the fun "Married In Vegas." It talks about the importance of marriage, while containing a fun pop rock rhythm. The Chase isn't perfect, but still has a good sound to it, making for a good and enjoyable listen.

Rating: 8/10 Manafest is back with his new album The Chase, reviving the sounds of quality rap rock. Although not completely perfect, this album will guarantee a good listen, full of plenty of good messages on not giving up on God and how He changes lives.

  1. No Plan B
  2. Fire In The Kitchen
  3. Supernatural
  4. Every Time You Run
  5. Bring The Ruckus
  6. Avalanche
  7. Married In Vegas
  8. Renegade
  9. The Chase
  10. Better Cause Of You
  11. Breaking Down The Walls

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Here is the album art for Since October's sophomore album titled Life, Scars, Apologies due out June 8th on Tooth & Nail Records.

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The River Empires - Epilogue

Check out The River Empires! They are formed of Jessy Ribordy and Josh Shroy formerly of Falling Up, as well as Casey Crescenzo of The Deer Hunter. They have a folk rock and experimental sound to them and are recommended for fans of the Fangs era of Falling Up. Their new self-titled debut will be out on April 6th. You can check out their site here.

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Love Reality [+digital booklet]

Artist: Charmaine
Album: Love Reality
Release Date: 3/30/10
Label: in:ciite

Love Reality sure comes as a surprise from Charmaine. The follow up to her debut album from '02', she finally returns with her anticipated new album. Touring with artists such as Newsboys and Rebecca St. James, she certainly has something special to offer us. With a sound composed of electronic driven Euro-pop, Charmaine's voice really stands out and is a perfect fit for the style.

A driving string section is one of the noticeable things on the album, found on tracks such as "At My Door" and "Fighting Furies."Something else to take note of are the heavy electronic beats of "Run" and "Epiphany," which come as the highlights of the album. The first single off the album, titled "Tokyo", has a quirky pop sound to it. The album's title track is a very simple, light-hearted song that showcases piano driven melodies. Charmaine sure packs a lot into Love Reality, making it a very unique and successful sophomore album.

Rating: 8/10 Love Reality from Charmaine serves as a solid sophomore effort. I'm sure that this album will come off as one of the better pop releases of the year, with its wide mix of upbeat songs.

  1. Tell Me
  2. At My Door
  3. Love Reality
  4. Run
  5. Tokyo
  6. Tied To The Ground
  7. Fighting Furies
  8. Not Fair
  9. Epiphany
  10. Revolutionary Thought

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The Show

Since October have a new single up on iTunes and Amazon MP3 titled "The Show". It comes off their new album Life, Scars, Apologies in stores and online June 8th on Tooth & Nail Records.

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New Fire

Sent By Ravens will be releasing their new single "New Fire" on April 6th. It comes off of their debut album Our Graceful Words releasing April 20th on Tooth & Nail Records.

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Write This Down will be releasing their new single "Renegade" on April 6th. It comes off of their self-titled debut releasing April 20th on Tooth & Nail Records.

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Artist: Poema
Album: Sing It Now
Release Date: 3/23/10
Label: Tooth & Nail Records

When the pieces of the puzzle all fit, something very beautiful can be found, or heard in this case. Acoustic pop duo Poema, made up of sisters Elle and Shealeen Puckett, bring us their debut album aptly titled Sing It Now. Add in long time producer Aaron Sprinkle and what we have is an excellent introduction of what to expect from Poema. While not lyrically varying much from song to song, Poema has a constant theme of relationships throughout the album. However, the do get their sound across nicely, from the ranging sounds of the piano to the soaring strings. The rather refreshing vocals of Elle and Shealeen fit nicely as well.

The acoustic driven melodies of "2 AM" and the light hearted verses of "City Boy" are sure to stick. Songs like "Echo Off The Sky" and "Blue Sweater" take on a more flat up pop style, still keeping up with the relationship theme. Poema really seems to be going somewhere with their debut and certainly have the potential to become very big!

Rating: 8/10 Sing It Now is a solid debut for Poema, with a range of simple yet beautiful love ballads. Poema certainly has the skill and potential to become a big artist in our ever growing music industry.

  1. 2 AM
  2. City Boy
  3. Feel The Same Way
  4. Echo Off The Sky
  5. Safe To Say
  6. Blue Sweater
(Buy Here)

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Artist: Queens Club
Album: Young Giant

Release Date: 3/23/10
Label: Tooth & Nail Records

Debut albums can be hard, especially since they can depend on the artist's whole career. With Queens Club, this shows a bit. While not having the deepest lyrics, they certainly do have an interesting sound. Blending together pop, indie and rock, Young Giant is a great introduction for Queens Club. With an indie rock style in the vein of Bloc Party, there is also a heavy pop element present.

Highlighting the album are the tracks "Dust", "Less Talk" and "Upstart". The electronic-driven "Dust" is a conversation between a young man and God and lyrically the deepest song on the album. In "Less Talk", an indie rock sound in heard, containing an energetic beat and a memorable chorus. Taking on a pop rock sound is "Upstart", which has some catchy hooks and offers some rather dreamy lyrics. The rest of the album is made up mostly of indie rock, which have a continual sound and somewhat shallow lyrics. With this debut however, Queens Club does have an interesting sound, leaving Young Giant a successful debut.

Rating: 6/10 Young Giant is a good debut for Queens Club, leaving plenty of room for progression. Something else noticeable on Young Giant is that it's an energetic album, but really needs to go with one straight up sound.

  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

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Letters to God: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for Letters to God is a 2 disc collection of works consisting of original songs and score, much of which is featured in the heart-felt film. Included in the soundtrack are melodic pop-rock favorites Jeremy Camp, Between The Trees, and Dishwalla singer J.R. Richards. Singer-songwriters Aaron Barnhart, Ann Marie Boskovich, and Matthew West, all contribute beautiful tracks.Country fans also have something to be happy about with the inclusion of artists like Warren Brothers and Due West. 
A heartfelt tale of inspiration, hope and redemption, Letters to God is the story of what happens when one boy’s walk of faith crosses paths with one man’s search for meaning—the resulting transformational journey touches the lives of everyone around them. The soundtrack toLetters to God compliments the film’s inspirational and uplifting message.

Letters to God: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack tracklisting
Disc 1:
  1. Letters to God – Main Title (Original Score) Colin O’Malley
  2. Dear Mr. God – Warren Brothers
  3. A Beautiful End – J.R. Richards
  4. Tyler’s Letters - (Original Score) Colin O’Malley
  5. Have You Met Jesus – ReGeneration
  6. Everything is Beautiful – Anne Marie Boskovich
  7. You Give Me Hope (acoustic) – Ryan Kirkland
  8. Hope Now – Addison Road
  9. Letters on the Altar - (Original Score) Colin O’Malley
10. Throw Me A Line – Michael Gleason
11. The Water’s Edge – Aaron Barnhart
12. The Great Daduska - (Original Score) Colin O’Malley
Disc 2:
  1. Hold Out Your Hands - (Original Score) Colin O’Malley
  2. We Can Try – Between The Trees
  3. Bracelet - (Original Score) Colin O’Malley
  4. Amazing Grace – Wintley Phipps
  5. You Are Everything – Matthew West
  6. Take A Little Time – Jeremy Camp
  7. Come Around – Stars Go Dim
  8. He Is Alive – Paul Colman
  9. You Give Me Hope – Between The Trees
10. We Need Each Other – Sanctus Real
11. Everything Is Beautiful – Due West
Letters to God: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack hits stores on March 30th and the film opens on April 9th through Vivendi Entertainment

(Buy Here)
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Jaymes Reunion will be releasing their long awaited debut album Everything You've Been Looking For on BEC Recordings. It will be available in stores and online April 20th. Here is the tracklisting:
  1. More Than A Day
  2. Let It Shine
  3. If You Wanna Cry
  4. Fine
  5. Forevermore
  6. Beautiful
  7. The Answer
  8. There You Are
  9. Lost It All
  10. Loveliest Thing
  11. My Song
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Artist: Demon Hunter
Album: The World Is A Thorn
Release Date: 3/9/10
Label: Solid State Records

The World Is A Thorn marks the fifth studio album by Demon Hunter. With their heaviest sound to date, not to mention the hard hitting lyrics, this album is nearly perfect. Something noticeable on the album is the stellar guitar work, which pulls the heart wrenching growls and screams together with the melodic clean vocals.

The opening track "Descending Upon Us" already begins to show many of the much heavier elements on The World Is A Thorn. The short "LifeWar" tells a condensed life story and brings a march-like sound with its repetitive snare. The ballads on the album also come as a high point and are found in "Driving Nails" and "Blood In The Tears". The string section found on "Driving Nails" is excellent, accompanying the song nicely. "Blood In The Tears" isn't much different in sound, but lyrically differs from "Driving Nails".

Some excellent guitar work is found on "Shallow Water", with high pitched and screaming riffs. "Collapsing" also features a great solo and a guest appearance by Bjorn "Speed" Strid of Soilwork, which turns very nicely in the end.

Rating: 9/10 The World Is A Thorn is a monumental release for Demon Hunter, being their fifth studio album. With the hard hitting lyrics and melodic riffs and choruses of the album, The World Is A Thorn brings with it Demon Hunter's heaviest sound yet. I'm not the biggest metal fan myself, but this album is excellent.

  1. Descending Upon Us
  2. LifeWar
  3. Collapsing
  4. This Is The Line
  5. Driving Nails
  6. The World Is A Thorn
  7. Tie This Around Your Neck
  8. Just Breathe
  9. Shallow Water
  10. Feel As Though You Could
  11. Blood In The Tears
(Buy Here)

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Artist: Adie
Album: Just You and Me
Release Date: 3/9/10
Label: BEC Recordings

With her sophomore release Just You and Me, Adie Camp, otherwise known as Adie, brings us a very refreshing worship album. This album shines through other typical worship albums, showcasing the beautiful, soaring vocals of Adie and great instrumentation to go with it. Many of these songs, including the first single "Where Could I Go", are sure to be big hits in the CCM world.

Some of the better worship tunes on the album come with "Where Could I Go", "Love Come Down" and "Seek You". The album is a bit more toned down compared to her debut album, but cuts to the heart with some great lyrics that praise God to the fullest.

Rating: 7/10 One of the better worship albums that I've heard this year, Adie brings us something better than your typical worship album. A great album for worship, Just You and Me is a worthy album to check out.

  1. Where Could I Go
  2. All I Need Is You
  3. Beautiful Lord
  4. Love Come Down
  5. Soon
  6. Seek You
  7. Shelter
  8. Redemption Song
  9. Oh You Bring
  10. Only You

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Since October will be releasing their sophomore album titled Life, Scars, Apologies on Tooth & Nail Records. It will be in stores and online on May 18th.
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Sent By Ravens will be releasing their debut album Our Graceful Words on Tooth & Nail Records. It will be in stores and online April 20th. Here is the tracklisting:
  1. New Fire
  2. An Honest Heart
  3. I Hear Her Breathe
  4. Beautiful List
  5. Trailer Vs. Tornado
  6. Jill Plays Tricks, Jack Plays God
  7. Philadelphia
  8. Salt and The Light
  9. This Awakening
  10. Stone Soup
  11. True Bride
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Write This Down will be releasing their self-titled debut album on Tooth & Nail Records on April 20th. Here is the tracklisting:
  1. Alarm The Alarm
  2. Despite Your Valor
  3. Renegade
  4. Hand Grenades
  5. I Never Said That I Was Through With You
  6. Center Of Attention
  7. Citadel
  8. Redemption
  9. We Shot The Moon
  10. Kings and Councilors
  11. Heaven and Hell
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To Speak Of Wolves will be releasing their new album Myself Letting Go on Solid State Records. It will be in stores and online May 18th.
  1. Darkness Often Yields The Brightest Light
  2. You Should Have Locked Your Doors Days Ago
  3. Trust But Verify
  4. Dimming The Light
  5. White Dress, Red Letter
  6. Just One Last Time
  7. In The Midst Of The City
  8. Quercus Alba
  9. Your Cage May Not Have Bars But It's Still A Cage
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Artist: Sanctus Real
Album: Pieces Of A Real Heart
Release Date: 3/9/10
Label: Sparrow Records
With a more mature sound to date, Sanctus Real welcomes us with the release of their new album Pieces Of A Real Heart. Containing some of the best lyrics I've heard from the band, the album does seem to take more of a pop rock direction, shying away from their rock sound, which is still present on a small amount of the album.

With the opening sound of the already hit single "Forgiven", listeners can get a good vibe for what the album is positioned towards. The pop rock ballads "These Things Take Time" and "The Way The World Turns" lead up to a personal favorite of mine of the album, "Lead Me". An acoustic driven song, with a fitting string section to add to the song, it talks about frontman Matt Hammit's wife and children and his desire to be a better father and husband. With a resounding chorus of "I'm still a dreamer, a believer", the track "The Redeemer" has a much more laid back feel to it, still coming off rather refreshing to the album.

The only true rock ballad off the album "Take Over Me" features some Anberlin-esque riffs, as well as being a plea to be taken over by our Creator. As the album draws to a close, "Keep My Heart Alive" offers something of a modern worship track, with some of the most honest lyrics heard throughout the album.

Rating: 8/10 Progressing on past their previous works, Pieces Of A Real Heart shows a mature side of Sanctus Real, from the lyrics to the style. Filled with many pop rock ballads, this album is sure to garner a good bunch of hits. This is surely one of Sanctus Real's best works to date.
Stellar Kart - Everything Is Different Now

Artist: Stellar Kart
Album: Everything Is Different Now
Release Date: 3/9/10
Label: INO Records
Everything is different now for Stellar Kart. With their recent signing to INO, Stellar Kart releases their new album aptly titled Everything Is Different Now. The album shows a different side of Stellar Kart, with a good bunch of worship songs, which still contain their melodic pop punk sound.

Opening with the piano driven "All My Heart", the album's worship sound starts to take place, moving on to a cover of Fee's "We Shine", the first single off of Everything Is Different Now. The song has a great chorus of "We are the redeemed, we are the ones who are free, 'cause we belong to Jesus".

One thing that is different on the album for sure is that it contains four covers. However, they are all done extremely well, possibly even better than some of the original songs. Besides their Fee cover, they also cover "Until My Heart Caves In" by Audio Adrenaline, "Never Let Go" by Matt Redmen and "Spirit In The Sky". I really admire Stellar Kart for covering Audio Adrenaline, something which has never been done before. The result is great, as is with their perfect cover of the worship tune "Never Let Go". Closing off the album is "Like The Sun", which progresses in style as the song goes on, from a softer sound, to Stellar Kart's typical sound.

Rating: 8/10 With the release of their INO debut, Stellar Kart bring us something special with Everything Is Different Now. Showcasing an upbeat, fun worship sound, Stellar Kart does change it up a bit. Containing four covers, as well as six original songs, the album contains everything that you would want to hear from SK! Check out Everything Is Different Now, it won't disappoint.
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Here is the very strange, unique cover art for Secret & Whisper's new album Teenage Fantasy releasing April 6th on Tooth & Nail Records. Thoughts?
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Here is the cover art for the new Emery anthology titled Are You Listening? releasing April 6th on Tooth & Nail Records. It features The Weak's End, The Question and I'm Only A Man.
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Here is the cover of The Classic Crime's new album Vagabonds, releasing April 6th on Tooth & Nail Records. Thoughts? You can pre-order it here. It is a truly amazing album and I would suggest you pre-order it! All profits go to the Jesus in Haiti Ministries, who are helping the current earthquake relief in Haiti.