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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With the release of Showbread's new album Who Can Know It? on Come&Live!, Josh Dies, vocalist of Showbread, shares his insights on each track of the album. I highly recommend that you check out the album now for free here.

A Man With A Hammer: I thought it would be great to just write a traditional worship song about how big the love Jesus has for his people is. When I sat down to write the first verse, it described a man killing his wife and kids with a hammer. Then I was writing about a woman who aborts her baby so that it won't interfere with her career and a man who rapes a woman who refuses to show him affection. It was all so tremendously dark and bleak, and this amazing light shines on all these grotesque circumstances when we celebrate the fact that for each of these "bad" individuals, the love of Jesus is as strong and beautiful and as all encompassing even in the midst of these terrible things they do, as it is for any other person. It's wonderful to just sing about God's love being great, but when we actually examine how big it is and how deep it runs even for the kind of people we aren't willing to love ourselves, we start to scratch the surface on how wonderful that love truly is.

I Never Liked Anyone And I'm Afraid Of People: The title of this song is not of my own design; those are not my words. The song was inspired by the novel Imperial Bedrooms, which I certainly would not recommend to young or easily offended readers. The novel tells the story of a sort of vacant individual living this streamlined Hollywood lifestyle. Throughout the story, the character is just perpetually descending into his own capacity for amoral behavior until he becomes something of a monster. I thought that it was a very compelling exploration of any person's evil potential and the tangle of sin. So the character in the song has reached this point where he's examining how far he's traveled in the wrong direction and wondering who he is.

Dear Music: As the title implies, it's a letter to music in general. For the last nine years I've been a full-time writing, recording and touring musician and during that time I lost my love for the world of music. This creates an inner-conflict for someone who feels called to be a musician. I believe in what Showbread does, I love the music we make, but as soon as we take it out into the world of the industry or the music community I feel lost and out of place. My refuge lies in the calling I've been given and to whom it comes from and why. So this bitter sounding letter takes a turn and becomes a hymn of worship.

Deliverance: It's a kind of worship/protest song. We didn't want to just rail against the traditional, American political church ideas without saying why. So "Deliverance" isn't just a few verses of complaints, it celebrates a better way after raising the objections. There is a lot of grief expressed with the way we behave as Christians and at the same time the rejoicing that we will be delivered from these shortcomings.

The Prison Comes Undone: I wrote the song after some petty argument I was having with my wife. I went to be alone and speak with God about my frustration and felt this burden of being myself and being subject to my imperfections that affect others. So the song became a sort of apology based on that experience, but on a larger scale a candid and somber statement about being unhappy with oneself and open with it.

Hydra: "Hydra" was written for an estranged friend who got close to a girl and then slowly slipped away. There was a lot of bitterness and unresolved feelings there until they were stifled by the realization of my own imperfections. That's why the song quickly abandons its accusations; "You're like a man that has two heads and I have three or four." Even though this aggravating circumstance has cost us our friendship, I myself am constantly at fault for my own shortcomings, what makes yours any worse than mine? The song ends with a reference to Peter and a hopeful note of rectification for both parties. We might be screwing everything up, but nothing is beyond hope.

Myth Of A Christian Nation: The title was inspired by Greg Boyd's excellent book of the same name. It's pretty self-explanatory: a very explicit rant against the idea that America is "God's kingdom" or that the nation is noble and admirable as opposed to just another fallen worldly kingdom. Our idea of freedom has nothing to do with any nation. Jesus' call to love and die for our enemies is in no way exemplified by a ruthless powerhouse that stands for blowing your enemies away, and we've come to resent the false connection of America to Christ that confuses people the world over.

You're Like A Taxi: It's a song about dying. The work that Jesus accomplished on the cross has stripped death of His dominion and demoted him to little more than a taxi driver taking the deceased from point A to point B. To me, that's a beautiful thing to be celebrated, not an occasion for grief and remorse.

Time To Go: This is a very simple and basic love letter to Jesus in the same vein as a husband who might write to his wife on their 50th wedding anniversary. "After all these years you're still the one that I thought You would be."

The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things: The last and longest song on the record is a story set up in several chapters. The story describes someone raised with a flimsy understanding of faith, God and the bible. Eventually this person grows older and begins to struggle with the ideas they once took for granted and then frustration and anger both set in.When this person takes their misgivings to the religious community, they're condemned for asking the questions in the first place and they decide to separate themselves completely from that world. Years go by and there's this lingering unanswered question and presence being felt and this person finds that they've come to the end of the road, no longer content to have no answers. They reexamine their ideas of Jesus for the first time in a completely different way, separated completely from the religious world and met on a personal level they finally begin to uncover the beginnings of real truth. It was important that, musically, the song appropriately takes the listener through each chapter in this individual's life and when we finally begin to climax to that epiphany we resist the urge to just open it up into an outright worship song, because that person isn't there yet. They've only just begun to grasp the truth: their own worth in the eyes of Jesus, and that, in and of itself, is a beautiful thing.

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  1. Awesome post, love the opening song.

  2. Great interview! It's always great to hear the stories and meanings behind songs... especially when it comes to Showbread.