The story of new indie rock band Broken Anchor begins in a home studio in Los Angeles' diverse Echo Park neighborhood, where the song “Broken Anchor Blues” was recorded in 2012. The project grew organically out of a collaboration between Austin Hartley-Leonard and producer, Brad Gordon. The music reflects a broader influence from Austin's previous efforts, lending itself to comparisons with Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes and what Brad calls “a kind of elegant lo-fi retro vibe".
New perspectives on life and love outside of music brought new inspiration and ideas to Austin's songwriting. As he and Brad entered the studio to begin recording, they took each song as it came and let the songs lead the way. “Since these tunes were new and he was looking for a new sound, I felt we really had to push them down the hill and see where they went,” Brad says.
Brad's studio, located in his Echo Park home, is a small space filled with every possible instrument: guitars, piano, basses, organ, synths, and horns, all ready to record when inspiration strikes. “The goal is to be able to create in a casual environment and be able to try ideas quickly while making a song”, Brad says. His Los Angeles studio is a departure from Austin's previous, more structured and time-sensitive studio experiences. Because the vibe in the studio was so laid back, Austin and Brad were free to experiment with percussion and loops, even recruiting two Diet Coke bottles for an intro. When they needed something extra, drummer John Wells (Hotel Café sound man, engineer extraordinaire), custom-drum kit specialist Quinn Orison (Daft Punk, Tracy Chapman) and bassist Jonny Flaugher stepped in.
Broken Anchor didn't set out to record an album, but three songs became six, which became eight, until there were twelve album-worthy songs on tape. From the doo-wop intro of “Leave The Light On” to the haunting, reverb-laden “Dear Diary”, layered vocals on top of distant percussion lend an elegant mystery to the music. Broken Anchor is a stunning ride through a songwriter's exploration of life and love, created with a clarity of vision only the journey can provide.