The world needs more female-fronted rock bands. With Sails Ahead are meeting that need and exceeding expectation, rapidly rising out of Brick Township in New Jersey. This band is hard at work and giving some of the staples of the genre a run for their money. I spoke with Sierra about her favorite albums of all time.

*Thumbnail photo by Michael-Rex Carbonell

Pinegrove – Cardinal
“Some days when I’m in an awful mood, I’ll put this album on to ease my anxiousness. There’s an infectious warmth about it; maybe it’s the way the slide guitar and banjo color the music, or the twang in Evan Stephan Hall’s voice, but it’s hard to sit in anger to this album. Cardinal has such great flow and is so captivating from beginning to end.”

I the Mighty – Connector
“I the Mighty are one of the hardest working active bands, and I love that they tread that line between rock and post-hardcore. These tracks are so dynamic and bold, and are fun to listen to. They write awesome music and Brent Walsh has definitely influenced the way I write melodies. They’re also incredibly tight live, which is why I’ll always support them.”

Lights – Siberia
“I didn’t listen to Lights at first because I’m ashamed to say I didn’t realize how talented she was from the get-go. I became hooked on this album after its release; I was dying to learn more about Lights and how this album was made. I admire her for how hands-on she is with the production of her albums, how knowledgeable she is about songwriting, and how beautiful her voice is. At the core of each track is a great song that sounds great with a full band or stripped-down.”

Saosin – Self Titled
“This record was so widely loved and talked about in middle school; it was really hard to ignore. I gave it a listen and unsurprisingly also fell in love with it. I love Saosin with Anthony Green, but I still think this was the most solid album Saosin released because every single song was memorable. I feel a lot of nostalgia when I listen to this album, in the best way. I think it still holds up today, too.”

Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle
“For me, there’s nobody that tops Julien Baker right now as a singer-songwriter. Despite what sounds like very minimal production, these songs feel so heavy to me. There’s something in the way she sings- there’s frailty, yet such weight from the heartfelt conviction in her delivery. And what a talented, brilliant lyricist! However, I cannot listen to this album often because sometimes it makes me weepy easily. I guess that can be attributed to how great it is.”

Daphne Loves Derby – On The Strength of All Convinced
“This is one of those albums that instantly transports me back to being a young teenager every single time I hear it. I happened to come across Daphne Loves Derby on an 8th grade graduation mix CD given out as party favors, and I quickly fell in love with everything about this band. It’s just all around fantastic pop rock, nothing contrived about it. Honest lyrics, simple but memorable melodic themes, and instrumentation. “Pollen and Salt” is a must-listen.”

Dance Gavin Dance – Downtown Battle Mountain II
“I almost put Mothership in place of this album because they’re neck-and-neck for my favorite DGD record. However, this was the most recent album they had released when I started listening to them in 2011, so it was the first DGD album I heard. I was finally starting to listen to progressive post-hardcore, and I loved the juxtaposition of Jonny Craig’s R&B-style vocals with Swan’s noodle-y guitar leads.”

Counterparts – The Difference Between Hell and Home
“This album means a lot to me as a musician. The caliber of musicianship on this record is incredible, though I will say the lyrics are truly what got me hooked on Counterparts. Most importantly, and the part about them I love the most, is that the way they write their music transcends just being a melodic hardcore band. They’re great songwriters. I have yet to find something about them I don’t like. I think the way they work hard and write music can be applied to any genre of any music.”

Lower Definition – The Greatest of All Lost Arts
“Lower Definition was casually suggested to me in 2011 by someone who barely knew my taste in music, and six years later I still love this album. It’s the way the guitars are written that challenged me to also think more creatively in the way I wrote guitars. I started to write guitar leads with purpose instead of just noise to fill out a section. Matt Geise’s bold singing and melodies also inspired me to approach vocals differently as well. “Miami Nights” is straight up just one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.”

Circa Survive – On Letting Go
“Circa Survive (and On Letting Go) came into my life at a time where I was a young teenager just discovering I wanted to play shows. I was just meeting other young musicians and learning about what the alternative music scene had to offer, and no one could stop talking about this band. It didn’t take me long to figure out why; their music was anthemic and sounded enormous. The whole album is front-to-back beautiful ambient soundscapes tied together by Anthony Green’s voice. Anthony Green was an inhuman vocalist and performer then, and still is now. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of hearing this album, it’ll forever be timeless to me.”

Listen to With Sails Ahead below and stay tuned for more with the band!

Catch With Sails Ahead on tour with Funeral Attire in August. Dates below:

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