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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Wooden Heart

Artist: Listener
Album: Wooden Heart
Release Date: 7/6/10
Label: Independent

Chances are that you've heard of the genres of indie rock and/or spoken word before, but you've probably never heard them together, in the form of the new genre of talk music. Talk music is an eclectic mix of the two aforementioned styles, and has been introduced by the band Listener. Listener are made up of only two, the vocalist Dan Smith, who you may know from Deepspace5 and from The Chariot's latest album, and the very musically talented Christin Nelson. Their latest album, Wooden Heart, which released in July of last year, is certainly like nothing I've ever heard before. Dan's passionate voice, talking and pleading, is backed by a diverse range of instrumentation, and the lyrics are pure poetry that paint beautiful landscapes and imagery.

A soft ukulele fills the opening sounds of Wooden Heart, before flowing into the driving guitars that fill the opener, "You Have Never Lived Because You Have Never Died." "I Don't Want To Live Forever" makes me think heavily of mewithoutYou, both lyrically and musically, showing with its indie-folk rhythm. The drums and percussion take a front seat on "Most Roads Lead To Home," along with the searching guitars that layer the song. Taking on a more simplistic and mellow tone is the awe-inspiring title track, accompanied by some electronic effects that slowly drag along in the background.

On "Falling In Love With Glaciers," some horns and softly plucked strings are introduced to the album, and then thick and grooving bass lines embrace "Failing Is Not Just For Failures." The happy-sounding "Building Better Bridges" uses horns, adding to a folk-like sound. The melancholy  "Seatbelt Hands" tells the story of a woman looking for true love, while just getting by in her life.

"These Hands Weren't Meant For Us" offers a rather eerie, indie sound that is just as chilling as it is edgy. The dark mood is shaken though, on the following "You Were A House On Fire." A calming, softly-strummed acoustic guitar is met with building up percussion and uplifting lyrics. The closer brings on a surprise, with Middle Eastern-inspired sound, that gloomily speaks of the end being near, bringing back the eerie mood from "These Hands Weren't Meant For Us," but sets a tone to memorably end Wooden Heart.

Overall: Listener might as well be one of music's best kept secrets. Introducing the genre of talk music to the masses, they certainly make an impact on the listener, no pun intended. If you are looking for a great indie rock record, or something completely different than you've ever heard, then Listener's Wooden Heart is the album for you.

Rating: 9/10

  1. You Have Never Lived Because You Have Never Died
  2. I Don't Want To Live Forever
  3. Most Roads Lead To Home
  4. Wooden Heart
  5. Falling In Love With Glaciers
  6. Failing Is Not Just For Failures
  7. Building Better Bridges
  8. Seatbelt Hands
  9. These Hands Weren't Meant For Us
  10. You Were A House On Fire
  11. Save Up Your Hopes Friends
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