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: The Tug Fork River Band
Album: Vulture
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Label: Independent

Do you like southern rock, and heavy metal? If so, The Tug Fork River Band from Indianapolis, Indiana is for you. It's been three years since the band released their last album Catch for Us, the Metal on Wounded Records. Now, the boys are back with the Vulture EP and they've decided to go the independent route this time around.

One thing I instantly noticed is that the new music is more metal than southern rock, although the southern sound is clearly heard on every song. I also noticed that the band has grown in the playing skills and this album is harder, more aggressive, and overall a tighter album than their previous two efforts. The guitar reminds me of the newer The Showdown albums. There's plenty of nasty southern riff-age on Vulture. Justin and Brian (guitar and bass respectively) combine the metal and southern rock sounds smoothly and flawlessly throughout the almost 20 minutes of music on the EP. It's some of the hardest southern rock I've heard lately and is so unique right now. Derek's drumming adds a dynamic to the music that really brings home the heavier edge to the music, as well as respecting that old-school southern rock drumming sound. The band isn't reinventing the wheel on Vulture, but they may have put some rockets on the thing for sure.

Aaron Quinn does more metal vocals than the sing/scream southern rock vocals we're used to with some of the bands out there. His vocals have matured, and never let up. He brings the intensity of the music to every song. I've noticed there are fewer clean vocals on this release, which just adds to the transition to the heavier, more furious sound the band has gone on for the new release. The one place where the band really excels is in the lyrics. The opening track "Ex Wives" has some very passionate lyrics about the condition of the church today; "When the flames consume this ship/I'll bet we all are lost in the worship of ourselves as we slowly sink into the ocean of our wealth and greed/Churches without walls are guaranteed never to fall." One excerpt that really spoke to me, because I myself was on the fence about my faith in Christ for so long came in the song "Piggly Wiggly"; "I feel I'm neither hot nor cold/I'm lukewarm in the mouth of the Lord/So spit me out and send me straight to hell/Remind me exactly where I fell/I'd Drown myself in the river if it meant I could wash myself clean/I'd hammer nails through my hands if it meant I could be set free." Another song that had a very powerful message was "Carne Diem" in which Aaron screams "We all look the same/But we don't act much different/How do we expect anyone to listen?" This is very true for what I call Sunday Morning Christians. If we don't act differently than the people we're trying to reach how can we expect them to listen to us?

Overall: I was thoroughly impressed by the growth and maturity of The Tug Fork River Band on their new release, Vulture. Musically it's the best thing the band has done thus far, and is so much heavier than I ever anticipated. Vocally, Aaron has taken some big steps forward and really brought some intensity and passion to the very powerful message of the five songs on the EP. This is EP has better lyrics, and like I said, a more powerful message than anything I've heard from the metal genre in quite some time. It's a shame the band isn't signed and won't get more recognition because this EP is that good!

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by: Michael Small

1. Ex Wives
2. Breezes Through the Treezes
3. Piggly Wiggly
4. Carne Diem
5. Han Shot First

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