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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Ad Astra Per Aspera (Amazon Exclusive Version)

Artist: Abandon Kansas
Album: Ad Astra Per Aspera
Release Date: 3/8/11
Label: Gotee Records

Hard work and devotion are exactly what it takes to make quality and real music. Abandon Kansas are no strangers to that statement. After touring extensively for years and putting out both a full length album and two EPs, one EP being released through the band's current label, Gotee Records, all in their time as a band, Abandon Kansas have brought us Ad Astra Per Aspera, a recollective work that recounts their career thus far, both lyrically and musically. Regarding the music section, the album brings some top notch indie rock to the table, complete with grooving bass lines and fanciful guitar work, that is sometimes energetic, and at others, takes a calming route that goes along with their pondering lyrics, written mainly by lead vocalist and guitarist, Jeremy Spring.

"Heaven Comes My Way" starts off Ad Astra Per Aspera with a lot of the aforementioned elements of bass grooves and danceable guitar lines. "Liar," a redone version of the band's older song "Minutes," completely remakes the song, adding in swaying, pulsating guitars and a guest vocal spot from Tim Skipper of House of Heroes. "Like It or Not" utilizes the use of keys, for a very upbeat song, and moves onto the smooth, laid back rocker, "The Golden State." One of the album's most lyrically intriguing songs, "A Conversation With The Sky," with the standout phrase "Change with the times, and you'll get left behind," as well as the chorus, that ends with "Color to my ears and music to my eyes."

Due to being a bit slower, "Where Else Can We Go" tends to get lost in the mix a bit, but is followed up by some surprising synths and even includes some horns, that are heard on "Take My Lead." The soaring "Wings (Fear of Heights)" is another lyrical highlight, which ponders "Would I sing if no one heard me? Would I pray if no one asked me to? Could I love if no one loved?" Guitarist Brad Foster does some vocals of his own on "Learn," also written by him as well, and has some group vocals as well, fairly reminiscent of House of Heroes. "Give & Take" is a sad song that has a twangy, bluesy guitar solo in it, and pleads to God "Can You restore what's been taken."

Overall: With such hard work, Abandon Kansas have brought us Ad Astra Per Aspera, a truly remarkable album. Grooving indie rock at its best, listeners should not just take away and get into the the musical aspect of Abandon Kansas, but their very pondering and retrospective lyrics as well,  that have deep meaning that should not be overlooked. All in all, Ad Astra Per Aspera is one that you won't want to miss.

Rating: 9/10

  1. Heaven Come My Way
  2. Liar
  3. Like It or Not
  4. The Golden State
  5. A Conversation With The Sky
  6. Where Else Can We Go
  7. Take My Lead
  8. Wings (Fear of Heights)
  9. Learn
  10. Give & Take
(Buy Here)

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