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: Write This Down
Album: Lost Weekend
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Label: Tooth & Nail Records

Unless you're in a well established band with either a hit single and good radio play and hundreds of thousands of likes on Facebook, chances are you aren't touring around in a big, air conditioned bus living the "glamorized" life of a touring band. In fact, your favorite band might call a 12-16 passenger van their home, while sleeping in parking lots or on a spare bed or couch in any given house while on the road. Lost Weekend vividly illustrates this fact, the sophomore album from Minnesota's Write This Down, which feels something like the journal of a hard working band while on the road, struggles and all.

On first listen of Last Weekend, I can't say I was impressed (musically), largely favoring the band's debut over their new, self-proclaimed "grittier" sound. Turns out this album was and is a grower. While frontman Johnny Collier's signature screams are still well intact, his cleaner singing vocals contain this "grit," a new vocal technique that he's experimented with to add some contrast with guitarist/duel vocalist Nate Rockwell, which appear on a majority of the heavier songs, notably on "Red 7" and "Crash and Burn." As time goes on, the vocals do get seemingly more cohesive, and the contrast makes sense, adding in a good effect in terms of new musical ground for the band. The backing instrumentation is also very solid on Lost Weekend, polished off by producer Pete Stewart (of Grammatrain), taking on a much heavier, focused rock vibe over the sporadic sounds of the band's self-titled debut, which was a mixed bag of post-hardcore and pop punk.

"The Older I Get, The Better I Was" kicks things off with a heavy atmosphere that rivals the energy and metal edge of "Renegade" from Write This Down. Perhaps the album's best track, "See Ya Never," follows, displaying the band's fantastic utilization of dual vocals, with Nate and Johnny going back and forth on the life of touring together, similar themes being found in "Crash and Burn" and "Cheap Affairs," which tackle maintaining relationships on the road. "Touch and Go" experiments with some spoken word vocals, very similar to Matt Hastings' of Mychildren Mybride, and guest vocals from Matt MacDonald of The Classic Crime are also present in the bridge, which really hit as an emotional climax, which flows through the "Minnesota Interlude" and into the closing "Song and Dance," a very somber and introspective song which declares "You've seen me at my worst!," a melancholy ending to an album full of sorrowful songs that make you realize that bands spend and sacrifice so much more than just gas money and countless hours to play for audiences every night.

Overall: If you've been a fan of Write This Down in the past, you may have to let go of expectations for a new album continuing their older sound, because Lost Weekend is not that, by any extent. Instead, it's so much more; an emotionally charged album that accurately chronicles the hardships of the touring life, and maintaining both faith and relationships in the midst of it all. While musically there is nothing very groundbreaking here, Lost Weekend is a much more matured album for the band, and has them dipping their feet in both rock and post-hardcore, complete with dueling vocals to pull it all around full circle. Chances are, if you don't fully grasp ahold of the album, it may take multiple listens, but the result just might be something different than initially expected.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by Brooks Ginnan


  1. The Older I Get, The Better I Was
  2. See Ya Never
  3. I'll Make You Famous
  4. Red 7
  5. Crash and Burn
  6. Don't Speak
  7. Cheap Affairs
  8. The Florida Rage
  9. Lost Weekend
  10. Touch and Go
  11. Minnesota Interlude
  12. Song and Dance
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