Christian Artists To Know: Anathallo

Genre: Rock
Sub-genres: Indie Rock, Progressive
Location: Chicago, IL
Label: Anticon
Christian label: no
Category: The Light whats this?

A sprawling indie pop music collective, Anathallo combines a swirling blend of soaring chamber pop, frantic choral chants and beautiful quiet instrumental and lyrical interludes.  Anathallo (Greek to mean to “renew, refresh, or bloom again”) interweaves standard rock band instrumentation with pianos, trombones, autoharps, flugelhorns, trumpets, harps and clarinets.  And these guys will bang on anything.  See what I mean as they perform “Hanasakajijii Four A Great Wind, More Ash”:


I first saw these guys in 2003 when they won Best New Artist at the Cornerstone Music Festival.  It was our last day, it was blazing hot and I was meeting my son for dinner at the New Music tent.  Suddenly, this red headed teenager stepped up to the microphone and this mesmerizing mix of instruments I described above came flowing from the sound system.  For 20 minutes Anathallo captivated 200 people with their own version of marching band rock.  When I said above that they bang on anything, the light truss became a vital percussion instrument that day.  Here is the video of Anathallo playing their signature song “Holiday At The Sea” from that show:


We were rushed, so I picked up their EP Holiday by The Sea and stuck it into my backpack.  Imagine my surprise when I opened the package to discover a bag of sand and a sea shell (and the CD, of course).  These guys are creative in all they do.

Lyrically their songs work through the challenges of being a believer in this world.  Song after song deals with the never ending process of self examination and salvation.  Here is an example from Holiday By The Sea’s “Declared, Bannered”:

I could not look Him in the face, so I stood revarnishing the floor with my eyes. He stared into them with this love so offended and profound. He tore the center of my shirt and red ws bleeding through from underneath the white clothes that I wore. The fire of devotion was only an ember. Alarmed at this sign of decay, my legs gave out because there was no self left to stand on. Thus, my heart was grieved, vexed in my mind, still Your banner over me was love.

Matt Joynt is the central figure of this group that has swelled to as many as nine.  They emerged from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan in 2000 and have been working their magic since.  They tour constantly with more than 20 national tours, five CD’s, two EP’s and numerous 7″ under their belt.

Anathallo is starting to gain the critical acclaim they deserve.  Their latest CD, Canopy Glow, made it to several “Best of 2008″ lists.  These guys are a serious contender in the indie rock scene, challenging Animal Collective, Sufjan Stevens and Danielson.  Like Stevens and Danielson, Anathallo’s enthralling music is a vehicle for spiritual, thought provoking lyrics.

You can get Anathallo’s music digitally on Anathallo

You can also find their CDs on Amazon: Anathallo – S Parrows, A Holiday At the Sea, Floating World(2006), Canopy Glow(2008)


  1. E. Andrew says:

    Another excellent choice. Anathallo is an amazing group. Their live shows are impressive performances of visual and aural art. I can’t say enough good things about their new album Canopy Glow. It’s lyrically and musically superb.

    Also, thanks for the website. It’s been added my daily site checklist now. I appreciate all of your hard work. I found it through, by the way.


  2. chuck says:

    Thank you for the nice words. I have enjoyed Anathallo since the first time I saw them. I am hoping we can interview them a South by Southwest next month.

    I gotta go now. In the spirit of covering the full spectrum of Christians making music I start live blogginf American Idol in 10 minutes.


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