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Music Notes

Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.

Monthly Archives: April 2009


For years, my guiltiest musical pleasure of all time was found in one band: Anberlin. While the name may not ring any immediate bells, the strong musicality and staying power of this group has thus produced four albums, including their most recent entitled New Surrender. While it’s easy to write them of as another underground alternative rock group, Anberlin’s ability to blend their fervent musicianship and compelling lyrics has made them not only a personal favorite, but a generally noteworthy group as well. anberlin_promo

With three previous albums, Anberlin’s fourth delivers a sound typical to them, but original compared to others. Released in September of 2008, New Surrender was the first album not produced by the band’s long time partner, Aaron Sprinkle. Instead, in an effort to bring their sound to the mainstream, Anberlin agreed to work with former producers of albums by Fall Out Boy and Yellowcard; a move which could have gone terribly wrong, considering the poppy, preteen sound associated with such bands. However, New Surrender holds true to the band’s unique style.

While it pains me to give any sort of criticism to the object of my musical love affair, a formulaic compilation of songs has begun to spring up among Anberlin albums. While the first four to five songs, including “Breaking” and “Blame me! Blame me!” are the typical, guitar riffing tales of pain and heartache, they are followed by “Breath;” the token middle-of-the-album mellow ballad which could so easily be labeled “Emo.”

 In true Anberlin style, the album takes a lighter and inspiring turn with the onset of songs such as “Young Life” and “Burn Out Brighter.” Looking for an emotional pick me up, or simply something to bop along to when driving with the windows down? “Haight St.” is the song for you, with lines such as, “Lets you and me make our way just beyond haight st / Lets leave this life behind forgetting all they say/ The time we have this time we’re borrowed/ Stay out all night
/ Forget tomorrow.”

In their true fashion, Anberlin ends the album with their theatric “Misearbile Visu (ex malo bonum);” the six minute long twin to “(*Fin)” from their album, “Cities.” While it falls short of the climax associated with “(*Fin)’s” choir-backed sound, “Misearbile Visu” is the typical, but oh-so-perfect ending to another musically satisfying album by Anberlin.

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carolinaliar20_hilarywalshAfter being featured on VHI as a ”You Oughta Know: Artists On the Rise,” Carolina Liar’s mixture of infectious melodies and raw lyrics makes for a musical addiction unlike any other. In addition to VHI, songs such as “Beautiful World” have been featured on the television show “Gossip Girl.” The band also appeared on the CW’s 90210, while playing their breakout single “I’m Not Over” as well as their current single “Show Me What I’m Looking For.”

Lead singer, and band founder Chad Wolf hails from Charleston, South Carolina, while the majority of additional band members originate from Sweden. Described as a post-punk group, Wolf began his personal musical career after “falling under the spell of new wave through his older sister’s record collection.”

Wolf then moved to Los Angelos at the age of 22. After several musical stints, including an appearance in a Celine Dion video, he was soon discovered by Swedish record producer Max Martin. Wolf then went on to record in Stockholm backed by an all Swedish band, and soon released his debut album as the front man for Carolina Liar entitled Coming to Terms.

Fans of artists such as Mat Kearny and Snow Patrol will find themselves completely enraptured by Carolina Liar’s careful mixture of poetic lyrics and gentle tunes. “I tend to look for stories and the songwriters that have influenced me are those whose songs have these like, one liners in them,” Wolf stated when asked to describe the song writing process. “The lines in the songs where all of a sudden, you realize, that there is something completely different in there that you hadn’t realized before.”