Before their breakup, The Anniversary sold over 100,000 records.
If you were to look up the word resilient in the dictionary, you just may find a picture of Josh Berwanger. Once the frontman for The Anniversary, the up-and-coming band suddenly dissolved in 2004 while attempting to tour Japan. Later, Berwanger formed a country-rock hybrid band and released a pair of records before that group disbanded as well. Ever determined to fulfill his dream, Berwanger enlisted the help of former Anniversary drummer Michael Hutcherson to help record his latest effort - Strange Stains.
Over the past few years, Berwanger both wrote and recorded this album in his freetime away from his job coaching high school basketball in Kansas. Strange Stains contains themes of loneliness, fear, and frustration Berwanger has had to overcome in his professional endeavors. Those themes are clearly represented on opening track "Bullets of Change" where Berwanger admits that "it don't seem I made it very far." Following that are "Enemies" and "Baby Loses Her Mind" - two toe-tapping sing-along jams among the best on the record. The later features an old-school guitar riff listeners will love.
Berwanger provides commentary on various moments throughout his life on the inventive "Time Traveler." His extraordinary guitar skills are again on display in "All Night Long" before he shows off his comical side on the upbeat "Everybody Knows" about a disingenuous person. Another album standout, "I Can Feel The Moon," captures a bygone era in rock via the use of a tambourine and a female backup singer. Clocking in at just under a half-hour, Strange Stains is a brisk, enjoyable listen. Berwanger never lets any of the tunes overstay their welcome or become tiresome. Folks who appreciate great indie rock with a nod to the classic eras of the genre will want to give this a listen.