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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Broken Voice

Artist: My Epic
Album: Broken Voice EP
Release Date: July 5, 2011
Label: Facedown Records

It's been nearly a year since the inception of My Epic's awe inspiring album Yet, and I find it amazing that the album is still in my normal rotation, even after a year. There is just something about the music and art that My Epic creates that is full of rich depth, capturing the ears, mind, and heart of the listener, with captivating messages of God's love. The same should be said about Broken Voice, an acoustic-based EP which shows a different side of the band. An even more intimate feeling surrounds the eight songs of Broken Voice, which are without the searching electric riffs of their usual material, but instead are replaced with soft plucking of an acoustic guitar, subtle string sections, and still large sounding percussion to accompany some choruses.

A more vulnerable and delicate side of Aaron Stone's vocals fit the songs perfectly, such as on the completely acoustic "beloved." Aaron's voice even hits a soulful point on "deathbed," which is one of his best vocal performances. Some bluesy guitar solos also make their way into songs, such as "childbodybride," which also adds in trumpet and strings for a full fledged ending to the track. The mournful sense of "alone" comes in the lyrics specifically, which talk of Jesus' death, and also in Aaron's desperate vocals. More of a calm feeling is found on "lazarus" and "garden," which are both more musically simplistic than the rest of the EP. The closer, "doxology," is exactly that, the doxology ("Praise God, from whom all blessings flow, praise Him, all creatures here below, praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host, praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, amen."), which ends up being a good way to end Broken Voice.

Overall: My Epic have returned with a new project a year after the fantastic Yet, the eight song Broken Voice. The big, feedback filled indie rock songs with searching riffs and grooving bass lines have been traded in for lush, acoustic instrumentation this time around. The album is filled with a soft intimacy, provided by delicate vocals from Aaron Stone, and the deep lyrics about faith, death, and God's love that have come to be expected from My Epic. Broken Voice is another great addition to My Epic's discography, and another great statement on why the band is one of the best making music today.

Rating: 8/10

Tracklisting:
  1. centuries
  2. beloved
  3. alone
  4. deathbed
  5. lazarus
  6. garden
  7. childbodybride
  8. doxology
(Buy Here)

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Indie rock trio, Sons of God, have changed their name simply to Sons, and will have new music out soon, as well as a full length out later this year. An update from frontman Aaron Newberry can be viewed here. Be sure to download their EP, The Genesis Prologue, at Come&Live! for free, which released last year.
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QUIET SCIENCE ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF "A FEAST FOR CROWS"

Florida electro rock band Quiet Science officially announces the release of the band's sophomore full length album titled "A Feast For Crows".  The band full length project is set for release in October 2011 and will be available on Itunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, and many other digital music sites and in select retail outlets.  The band has toured tirelessly in 2010 and 2011 in support of their current album With/Without. Quiet Science has generated quite a buzz at festivals such Cornerstone, Ichthus, Summer Side Show, Midsommarfest, and more. In addition to festivals the band has completed tours with Showbread, Abandon Kansas, Cool Hand Luke, Sosaveme and others over the past year.  To announce the release of "A Feast For Crows" Quiet Science is launching a mini movie teaser called "New Beginnings".   The link to the video is below.  "A Feast For Crows"  will showcase the band's mixture of keyboard driven melodies,  danceable beats, and ambient guitar.  The band is slated to perform at Cornerstone 2011 on Friday, July 1 on the Come&Live!/Anchor stage at 1:00pm

Mini movie Teaser: http://vimeo.com/24287263

Quiet Science links:
www.quietsciencemusic.com
www.facebook.com/quietscience
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL6j0lY3a4c - Live performance 
http://www.sonicbids.com/epk/epk.aspx?epk_id=186676 - Sonicbids EPK
http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/indiemusic/WithWithout.asp - Review of With/Without
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Singer-songwriter Jake Germany has just launched a new project on Kickstarter to fund his upcoming album (and book), titled Cardboard Kids, due out this fall. You can also check out our review of his EP that released earlier this year, Leftover, right here.
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Sleeping Giant's new music video for their song "Dead Man Walking" can be viewed here. The song is off their Ain't No Grave Records debut album (following their two Facedown Records releases), Kingdom Days In An Evil Age, and can currently be pre-ordered at MerchConnection. The new album will be out July 12th.
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Artist: August Burns Red
Album: Leveler
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Label: Solid State Records

If you've heard one August Burns Red album, you've heard 'em all, right? Wrong! I thought the same thing after I heard the first song released from Leveler, the band's fourth full-length album. I was wrong, as the follow up to 2009's Constellations builds on that, and adds some more new elements to the band's repertoire, and it is a good mix. The guys find a way to make this album fresh, and easy to remember, in a metalcore genre flooded with bands these days. The band has matured a lot since their debut album in 2005, and Leveler certainly shows it.

The guitar work throughout the album is what you've come to expect and love from August Burns Red over the years, and that is some very technical and sharp guitar riffs. Leveler is full of them, and at some points, you can't help but stop and say "oh my!" at how tight and flawless the guitar playing is. If you love fast-paced, get your heart pumping, and fist pounding drums, then this album is for you as well. I am blown away by how good the drumming  is. Maybe I haven't noticed it as much on previous albums, but regardless, the drumming really sticks out to me on this album.

As far as the vocals go, there is only so much that one man can do with his voice, but having said that, Jake Luhrs adds a new dimension to his screams on a few songs. Dustin Davidson (bassist) and Jake trade off vocals on a couple of songs as well, and Dustin even takes on a Mike Hranica (The Devil Wears Prada) type vocal, which is scary good. There are also some parts of songs, such as on "Salt and Light," where it's a full steam metalcore song, and all of a sudden stops into a slower section with some amazing spoken word, and some great guitar playing, before it changes back into a metal song, which kicks you in the teeth, seamlessly.

The experimentation is a theme on Leveler, like on the second track, "Internal Cannon," which starts off with a classic August Burns Red sound, including the good old blast beats, and then goes into an interesting mariachi-type section, and then mixes that sound with the sound earlier heard to just blow the song out of the realm of what you'd expect. However, there are songs like "Poor Millionaire" and "Empire" that are your classic ABR songs, which are still good, but are just what you've come to expect.

Another great way that the band experiments is the expansion of their use of a post-rock/ambient sound to some of the songs, mostly on the second half of the album. It's just refreshing to see this band continuing to grow and revolutionize the Christian metal scene with such greats songs, and lyrics. For a good idea of the ambient vibe, check out the songs "Carpe Diem," "Salt and Light," and "Cutting The Ties."

Overall: August Burns Red have found a way to make a fresh, new album for the metalcore scene, and it's going to make some of you rethink your stance on not just this album, but the band themselves. Going into Leveler, I was not too excited, but after just one listen through the entire thing, it has jumped up on my August Burns Red album rankings, and into my top ten albums of the year. There were so many surprised on this album that I did not see coming, and it kept me wondering what was going to come on the following track and blow me away. I was initially going to rate the album a five or six, but it's higher than that now. Leveler is very good, not the best album I've ever heard, but still a very good, very solid, and enjoyable album from one of the biggest bands in the Christian metal scene today.

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Tracks: "Empire," "Internal Cannon," "Cutting the Ties," and "Poor Millionaire"

Reviewed by Michael Small

Tracklisting:
  1. Empire
  2. Internal Cannon
  3. Divisions
  4. Cutting the Ties
  5. Pangaea
  6. Carpe Diem
  7. 40 Nights
  8. Salt and Light
  9. Poor Millionaire
  10. 1-16-2011
  11. Boys of Fall
  12. Leveler
(Buy Here)

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Community Group

Artist: Jonathan Jones
Album: Community Group
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Label: None

Solo albums seem to be the thing to do in music nowadays, because it seems that nearly every frontman of a relatively well known band is making one. Jonathan Jones, better known as the vocalist of We Shot The Moon and Waking Ashland, is one of the latest artists to enter into the solo album territory. Does he pull it off without sounding rather cliche however? The answer to that question is yes.

While on first listen of Community Group, you may recognize some similarities to Jonathan Jones' other piano-driven projects, but there is some very diverse instrumentation included as well, that shakes things up. This refreshing vast array of instrumentation includes plenty of brass and wind sections, made up of tuba, clarinet, and trumpet to name a few, and string sections a plenty, all of which add to the traditional ensemble of piano and guitar.

Community Group finds itself as Jones' best lyrical work to date as well, touching on topics of pain, hope, love, and faith. One instance is the blatant "The Living Dead," which speaks of yearning for grace and hope while struggling through addictions and other hard times, despite having an upbeat sound, comprised of strings, piano and catchy drumming. "Vacancy" has a capturing piano section in its beginning, with a back beat of soft marimba, which later transitions to full fledged drumming, along with introspective lyrics that take a look back on life, but with a hopeful outlook, which also beg "God, can you hear me now?" A swelling crescendo embodies the climax of "My Faith," a song which has the tendency to pull on the listener's heartstrings, an honest plea of searching for faith and forgiveness.

There also some more lighthearted, love songs as well, such as "East Coast Feelings," a song about heartbreak, which is the only song on the album that distinctively sounds like something from We Shot The Moon. The fun and quirky title track boasts lots of the aforementioned brass and wind sections, amidst the playful piano and percussion. The big sounding, piano rocker "Hey Andy" takes a look on desiring to start a band, and is very different compared to many of the other songs on Community Group, with layers of vocal harmonies and a much more electrified tempo.

Overall: Jonathan Jones is reaching outside of his typical piano-pop rock boundaries on his solo effort, titled Community Group. An honest look on pain, hope, love, and faith, the album is not only diverse lyrically, but is filled with a vast array of instrumentation, from banjos to piano to clarinet, the album is truly a unique piece of music. Every once in a while, an album as interesting and introspective as Community Group comes around, and Jonathan Jones has undoubtedly put on the best performance of his career into the album, which has does not fail to impress.

Rating: 9/10

Tracklisting:
  1. Last Place
  2. The Living Dead
  3. Duracell
  4. East Coast Feelings
  5. Community Group
  6. Vacancy
  7. Hey Andy
  8. Brand New Eyes
  9. My Faith
  10. Morning Light
(Buy Here)

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With Shivering Hearts We Wait

Artist: Blindside
Album: With Shivering Hearts We Wait
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Label: INO Records

Like LL Cool J said 21 years ago, "Don't call it a comeback." Granted it has been four years since Blindside's last release, The Black Rose EP, and six years since their last full-length album, The Great Depression, and while many of us waited (some with shivering hearts) for the release of the band's latest album, we never thought for a second that the newest album would be anything short of amazing. Finally, after the long wait, the band released their sixth full-length album, With Shivering Hearts We Wait, and it is exactly what the fans have been waiting for, another passionate, butt-kicking rock album from Stockholm's own Blindside!

The overall sound of With Shivering Hearts We Wait is what I'd call a mixture of the self-titled 1997 album (the talked vocals), 2004's About a Burning Fire (screamed vocals, and overall sound of music), and a touch of 2007's The Black Rose EP (techno/dance touch to a couple of songs). The band basically says "Hey, we fell off of the face of the earth for the last five years, and we're going to give you an album that shows exactly what Blindside is all about." On With Shivering Hearts We Wait, Christian belts out some incredibly passionate vocals, as is custom for any Blindside release. One example of that passion is in the opening track "There Must Be Something In The Water," where the music drops out and Christian screams "Don't you dare speak my name!," and then the song kicks in with intense guitars, accompanied by a background string arrangement, which adds so much more to the end of the song.

The second track, "My Heart Escapes," has an Incubas feel to it, which is refreshing for the band, but they don't lose the Blindside feel at all either. The cool thing about this song is that it seems like it's a song about a girl, but some of the lyrics really speak to me about a relationship with Christ as well: "My heart escapes/catch it/catch it as it runs to You," which is an inspiring lyric about giving your heart to God. "Monster On The Radio" is more like "All of Us" and "Pitiful," by which I mean it definitely has more of a mainstream rock radio vibe to it. The following "It's All I Have" is more like a ballad. The song is softer as far as the music goes, and Christian's vocals are more singing than screaming, but it works for the band and fits perfectly where it is on the album.

Starting off with a really cool little gang vocal intro, before kicking into a classic Blindside song, is "Bloodstained Hollywood Ending," which is sure to become a fan favorite in years to come. "Our Love Saves Us" is possibly my favorite song on the album, due to there being so much passion in the song, and having lyrics so good that you can't help but get the song stuck in your head and find yourself singing it all the time. Lyrically, it is about our love for God saving us when the rest of the world is trying to tear us down. The album's seventh track, "Bring Out Your Dead," is the last hard rock song on the album. It is another classic, hard-hitting track from the band, reminiscent of Silence and About a Burning Fire with the screams, and superb guitar work.

"Withered" is a unique song, and I don't know how to describe it in relation to the rest of the band's catalog. The starts softer, and then has a screaming section in the middle, and then goes back to being softer. Another very interesting song to me is "Cold," as it is actually a reworked version of the same song by Lindforest, a side-project of Christian and Simon during the band's hiatus. There are some beautifully sung vocals, layered with some harder vocals from Christian that mesh very well together, to make a great track. The seven-plus minute long closer, "There Must Be Something In The Wind," has a really cool, weird, and interesting techno/dance section about halfway through it, which ends the album.

Overall: Blindside have released an album so good that many fans have forgotten about the five year hiatus the band was on. The band has included elements of all the styles they've included in their music over the last 14 years. Blindside also mentioned the possibility of another EP of songs that were not included on With Shivering Hearts We Wait, one of these being the hauntingly beautiful acoustic version of "Our Love Saves Us." Also, Blindside are embarking on a 15-date US tour this fall, and if the tour comes anywhere near you, go to the show! As awesome as the band's albums are, their live shows are ten times better!

Rating: 9/10

Recommended Tracks: "There Must Be Something In The Water," "Monster on the Radio," "Our Love Saves Us," and "Bring Out Your Dead"

Reviewed by Michael Small

Tracklisting: 
  1. There Must Be Something In The Water
  2. My Heart Escapes
  3. Monster on the Radio
  4. It's All I Have
  5. Bloodstained Hollywood Ending
  6. Our Love Saves Us
  7. Bring Out Your Dead
  8. Withering
  9. Cold
  10. There Must Be Something In The Wind
(Buy Here)

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The pre-order for Phinehas' debut album, out July 19th on Red Cord Records, is available now. Be sure to check out their new album thegodmachine when it releases, and catch them live this summer.
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Exclusive Stream: The Devil Wears Prada’s “Born To Lose”

The Devil Wears Prada have just posted their new single, "Born To Lose," on Alt Press, along with the lyrics and an insight on the song. The band's currently untitled album will be out September 13th on Ferret Records. Be sure to catch the band headlining the Vans Warped Tour this summer on the tour's main stage.
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Saving Grace have signed to Facedown Records for the release of their brand new full length studio album entitled The King Is Coming. 

The Facedown debut will be recorded with the band's long time friend and producer Zorran Mendonsa who engineered both of Saving Grace's previous albums Behind Enemy Lines and Unbreakable. 

The band states, "We are extremely pleased to announce our partnership with what we consider to be the most important label and ministry in heavy music. It has been an honor and privilege to have the support of Jason and the Facedown Family since we released Unbreakable in the US in January last year and we couldn't be happier about putting the new record out with Facedown."

Jason Dunn of Facedown Records adds, "It has been a privilege to get to know and work along side the guys in Saving Grace. Their hard work, determination and integrity shine through in how they live and in their music, and we are blessed to be able to partner with them."

The band heads into the studio in Gisborne City this August and looks forward to an early winter 2011 release date for The King Is Coming.

Facedown Records is also making Saving Grace's first full length release Behind Enemy Lines available digitally worldwide for the first time. Behind Enemy Lines was the band's first international release back in 2008, and according to the band, "We are still very proud of the release and can't wait to make it available again digitally." The digital release of BEL will be available July 12.

Stay tuned for more updates on Saving Grace's upcoming Facedown release, The King Is Coming.

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Blood & Ink Records have some great new releases available now, as well as for pre-order. The new EP, Better Off Alone, from new pop-punk band Friends (featuring members of Dependency and Worker) is available to pre-order on limited edition cassette here, and Divide The Sea also have their new EP up to pre-order as a limited edition CD. In addition to that, you can also pre-order the new Debtor album, as well as the new vinyl pressing of Figure Four's classic album, Suffering The Loss. It should also be noted that Blood & Ink have recently released some great new 7'' EPs from Venia and Jawbone over the past six months, all of which can be checked out on the B&I webstore. To top that all off, you can check out Blood & Ink's digital music store on Bandcamp for a free sampler, and the new releases from Friends and Divide The Sea with a pay what you want option (including a free download). For more information on any of these releases or Blood & Ink Records, check out their website for some of the best Spirit-filled hardcore out there today.
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2011 has been a good year for music so far, and the second half of the year can only get better, especially a lot of the albums releasing this summer. Read on to check out some of our most anticipated summer releases, tours, and festivals, among some great bands that should be given a listen.

Most Anticipated Summer Releases

As Hell Retreats - Volition: After releasing a new song, I can be confident that As Hell Retreats will be releasing one of the summer's best heavy albums with Volition. Their technical death metal-stylings have been taken up a notch, adding in a bit more melody this time around. This will be an album that should not be missed.

August Burns Red - Leveler: Perhaps Christian metal's biggest and most well known band, August Burns Red will be releasing their fourth full length effort, coming off the release of their live album, Home, that released last fall. Shaking it up with more clean parts, post-rock and ambient parts, and mariachi sections, Leveler can only promise to be the best that we have heard ABR.

Blindside - With Shivering Hearts We Wait: After a four year hiatus, the legendary Blindside are back at it with a new full length record, full of great rockers that are great for the summer feel. A solid comeback from the band.

The Ember Days - Emergency: Come&Live!'s The Ember Days will be releasing their first full length album, Emergency, since 2007 this summer. The album is much welcomed after a great, calming and mostly instrumental EP from the band last August (Finger Painting), and a full album is certainly welcomed. The band will also be heading out on the Come&Live! Arrows Are Deadly missional tour this summer.

Hands - Give Me Rest: Although the Facedown Records ambient hardcore trio are no longer a touring band, it's not keeping them from putting out quality music. Give Me Rest is one album that is going to be a truly unique addition to the wide array of heavy music releasing this year, and is sure to be one of the best records of the pack as well.

My Epic - Broken Voice EP: One of the best bands currently making music, indie rockers My Epic are releasing a brand new, acoustic-based EP, which follows their stunning 2010 full length album, Yet. New music from My Epic is always welcomed, and a new EP can only be for the best.

Sleeping Giant - Kingdom Days In An Evil Age: Known for their heavy worship, Sleeping Giant's long awaited new album will be their first on new label, Ain't No Grave Records, and will be sure to be making waves in the heavy music scene this summer. And to top off the new album, they'll be co-headlining this year's Scream The Prayer tour.

Up and Coming Band To Watch For

Phinehas

One of Red Cord Records' newest bands, metalcore act Phinehas, will be releasing their debut full length album on July 19th and is one that should be looked forward to. Blending plenty of melody and clean vocals with heavy breakdowns, blastbeats, and great guitar solos set apart Phinehas from many other same sounding metalcore bands out there today. Expect big things from the band in the future, and be sure to check out their new album, thegodmachine, this summer.

Other Releases To Look Forward to in 2011

There are certain to be plenty of other great releases out this year that we are looking forward to. Two from Come&Live! in particular are the new albums from indie rockers Sons of God and the newly reunited Life In Your Way, both of which will be out later this year. Thrice have also announced their new album, Major/Minor, will be out September 20th, and Oh, Sleeper will also be releasing their new album over the next few months as well. The newly reformed Mono Vs. Stereo Records will also be releasing two new albums from indie rockers Farewell Flight and Deas Vail, and have recently released a split EP together. The new, yet to be announced Ocean Is Theory album will be sure to be a good one, from the sounds of their new EP, and metalcore favorites, A Plea For Purging, will be recording their new album this summer, which will be out later this fall.


Notable Summer Tours

Arrows Are Deadly: The Come&Live! Arrows Are Deadly tour will be featuring Showbread, White Collar Sideshow (with Levi The Poet), The Ember Days and Ascend The Hill. This is looking to be a good one, and will be hitting multiple festivals this summer.

Nocturnal Alliance: The Nocturnal Alliance tour will feature on it Mychildren Mybride, co-headlining with Impending Doom, and will also include A Bullet For Pretty Boy, This or The Apocalypse, and The Crimson Armada. The tour will be heading throughout the country (and Canada) at the end of June and run through the end of July.

Scream The Prayer: The yearly big Christian heavy music tour, filled with 10 bands this year, will include Norma Jean, Sleeping Giant, The Chariot, War of Ages, Close Your Eyes, Texas In July, I The Breather, The Great Commission, As Hell Retreats, and Sovereign Strength. The tour will run for the month of July, starting at Cornerstone Festival, and will hit everywhere from the East Coast to the West Coast.

Warped Tour: The annual Vans Warped Tour has a great lineup this year, including August Burns Red and The Devil Wears Prada headlining on the main stage. The tour will also include Relient k, Family Force 5, The Suit, and Windsor Drive to name a few. The tour runs for nearly two months, and will cross the greater part of the States and small portions of Canada.

Notable Summer Festivals

Cornerstone Festival: Perhaps the biggest summer festival out there for Christian rock, hardcore, indie, and worship, Cornerstone has a stellar lineup this year as usual, and will be the place to be from June 30-July 3.

iMatter Festival: The Elmira, NY festival will include a great lineup this year, among its three days, and is taking place Labor Day weekend. The opening Friday night will include worship and hip-hop (from Trip Lee, Flame, and Benjah), Saturday will be mainly all metal and hardcore, featuring August Burns Red, Emery, A Plea For Purging, and many others, and Sunday the festival will end with The Ember Days leading worship.

Purple Door Festival: Now back at their original location in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Purple Door looks to be a great time this year. Underoath will be headlining the festival, and there will be over 30 other artists of different genres performing this year.

SoulFest: The Gilford, New Hampshire yearly music festival will be four days of great music. From many mainstream, CCM and rock artists to indie and hardcore bands, the festival has a very diverse lineup. Come&Live! will also have many of their artists playing SoulFest as well, including Showbread, Life In Your Way, and Ascend The Hill to name a few.
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It was a sad day when As Cities Burn disbanded two years ago, but vocalist/guitarist Cody Bonnette and drummer Aaron Lunsford from the band have formed a new musical endeavor, Hawkboy. The band has just released a new self-titled EP, available for free through the Regenerate Music Company on a new site named Sponsor Seed, and can be downloaded here, in addition to being available to purchase on iTunes. The band is currently on tour with Emery and Oh, Sleeper on the We Do What We Want tour through the end of June.
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You may know him as the frontman of We Shot The Moon, or as the former vocalist of Waking Ashland, but now, singer-songwriter Jonathan Jones is taking the solo route. His new album, Community Group, will be releasing June 14th, and can be pre-ordered on his now. In addition, Jonathan is offering three free downloads, two of new songs, and one Arcade Fire cover. For the free songs, pre-orders, and more info on Jonathan Jones, you can check out his website.
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Colorado Springs' metallic hardcore band Altars has come to Strike First Records. The band formed early in 2010, recording demos and touring in true DIY fashion. Altars wanted to be heard, and so they joined forces with Josh Schroeder at Random Awesome Studios (Legend, For Today, A Plea For Purging) to record their debut EP later that same year. Now, fearless to share their creations, Altars brings their passion for heavy music and their EP Opposition to Strike First Records this summer.

You can hear two songs from the EP here: http://www.facebook.com/AltarsHC

And pre-order Opposition here: http://facedown.merchnow.com/products/preorders

Look for Opposition to be released July 19 on Strike First Records.
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Listener are currently on tour with A Rose, By Any Other Name (Josh Scogin of The Chariot) and The Homeless Gospel Choir, and dates can be found on Listener's site. Broken Circles Records are also releasing the band's fantastic album, Wooden Heart, on vinyl, which can be pre-ordered now, with a July release date. Last but not least, the new music video for the song "Wooden Heart" was just released, and can be watched here.
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Artist: Ocean Is Theory
Album: Future Fears EP
Release Date: May 24, 2011
Label: Razor & Tie Records

Progression is always an important element in a band's musical career. Well some bands can make the same album over and over again, it should be said that I personally like to see lots of variety from album to album. Ocean Is Theory's Future Fears EP is the follow up to their impressive 2009, four-song effort, In My Blood Again, of which had a great progressive and emotional indie rock mood to it. The Future Fears EP takes a bit of a different route this time around, with an indie-tinged alternative rock sound, full of slick verses that lead into big, memorable choruses, and although only three songs long, the EP does a good job of showing the new direction the band is heading in.

The best way to describe the overall feel of the Future Fears EP, a short release preceding the band's to be announced full length, is quite catchier and more accessible than earlier material. The opening "Underneath" features some Between The Trees-esque melodies, along with a great vocal performance. "Best Intentions" is a ridiculously catchy song full of gang vocals, hand-clapping and feet-stomping percussion (in the song's intro) and sticky guitar riffs that are like nothing Ocean Is Theory has done before. The last track, "King Size Bed," is really the only song on the EP that bears any resemblance to the songs on In My Blood Again, but taps into some more spacey indie rock.

Overall: Ocean Is Theory's Future Fears EP does a good job of wetting the listener's appetite (or in this case anticipation) for the band's forthcoming first, full length effort, by releasing three great new songs. A more accessible and catchy indie/alternative rock sound is what the band is aiming for on their new material, and I can say that they use the sound to their advantage. I for one can say that Ocean Is Theory's upcoming album is one that should not be missed, but in the meantime, check out this EP and give it a few spins, it's worth it.

Tracklisting:
  1. Underneath
  2. Best Intentions
  3. King Size Bed 
  4. Best Intentions (Acoustic Video)
(Buy Here)
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Mattie Montgomery (frontman of For Today), has just announced his sophomore spoken word release, titled The Keys To Open Ancient Gates. For more info on the album, pre-orders, and to sample the album, check out Mattie's website. His first release, When The Sons Become Fathers, is available to download on Come&Live!.