Craziness at One21-SXSW and AI

This is one of the best weeks of the year in Austin.  The world has descended on Austin for South by Southwest 2011, the largest music industry conference in the world.  More than 2,000 bands and musicians will perform more than 10,000 shows in four days.  We have found nearly 100 Christian musicians performing at SXSW 2011 and One21music will cover as many of them as we can.  We will give you a little insight into what is like on the street at the epicenter of popular music, share some photos from the shows and let you experience some of those shows through our eyes.

Christian Musicians Performing at SXSW

The Civil Wars
O Brother
Cold War Kids
Denison Witmer
Damian Juardo
The Ambassador
Brooke Fraser
The Almost

This is only a small fraction of the shows Christian musicians will be performing. There are more than 30 gospel and hip-hop artists will be playing over three days, at a venue that neither Ian nor I will be able to get to. Tomorrow night Ian will be covering HM’s hard core showcase featuring The Famine, Before Their Was Roselyn and The Brigade

Please check out our SXSW coverage from the last two years to get ready.

You may ask, how can you cover SXSW and American Idol Season 10? Well, I have convinced wifey to offer her insight into the Top 12 performances.  So join us live tomorrow night for more musically astute and empathetic insights into American Idol Season 10.

New Releases for January 25th, 2011

ben and vesper honors
Ben + Vesper

Sounds Familyre
Indie Rock
Buy NOW:

cold war kids mine is yours
Mine Is Yours
Cold War Kids

Interscope Records
Garage Rock
Buy NOW:

Deitrick Haddon-Church On The Moon
Church On The Moon/Stand My Ground
Deitrick Haddon

Verity Records
Buy NOW:

i am empire kings
I Am Empire

Tooth & Nail Records
Hard Rock
Buy NOW:

lovedrug ep pt 3

Street Talk Media
Buy NOW:

Luminate–Come Home
Come Home

Sparrow Records
Buy NOW:

A Week In Music Videos:Jan 9th-14th, 2011

Our weekly posting of all the music videos happening in the scene. Enjoy all the video goodness. Comment and tell which one is video of the week.

Senseless Beauty-”Reverse The Curse”


Orion Walsh-”Freedom Lost, Freedom Found”

Cold War Kids-”Louder Than Ever”

New Cold War Kids Music Video Posted

The music video for Cold War Kids‘ song “Audience” has made it’s way online this week.  The track appears on Cold War Kids latest release, the Behave Yourself EP.  Enjoy!!

New Releases For January 19th, 2010

cold war kids behave yourself
Behave Yourself EP
Cold War Kids

Downtown Records
Indie/Blues Rock
Buy NOW:

michael pritzl mercy songs
Mercy Songs
Michael Pritzl


onward to olympas this world is not my home
This World Is Not My Home
Onward To Olympas

Facedown Records
Buy NOW:

6PnlDigi_Web Template:Layout 1
These Mountains Are Safe
Shapes Stars Make!

Dreamt Music
Progressive Rock
Buy NOW:

eMusic Is The Coolest

One of the biggest surprises since we have started One21music is the lack of interest our readers have shown in eMusic.
Download 25 FREE songs at!
This was the first ad we put on our site. We thought people would flock to get 25 free songs. No one has explored the trial subscription, so I thought I would give you a testimonial from an excited subscriber. But first let me explain eMusic.

eMusic is the #1 site for independent music, with a library of over 4,500,000 MP3s.  eMusic sets itself apart from other well-known subscription music services (such as Napster and Rhapsody) because eMusic customers truly own the music they download.  The files available for download are in the MP3 format, making them fully compatible with all digital music players, and free from digital rights management Hippo software restrictions such as expiration dates, or copying or CD burning limitations. eMusic’s MP3′s play on any portable music player (including the iPod and Zune), can be downloaded to unlimited computers as well as burned to CD.

Here is how it works.  You can subscribe to download  25 to 100 songs each month based on the subscription level you buy.  The base subscription is 25 songs ($11.99 per month), then grows in 25 song increments (50 songs for $14.99, 75 songs for 19.99, 100 songs for $24.99).  eMusic offers about 25 different plans bu these are the most popular.

I have been a subscriber for over a year and my co-founder has been a subscriber for about nine months.  We love, l-o-v-e, eMusic.  Ian maintains a list of over 100 CDs and uses up his subscription on the first day it is available.  I like to save my downloads to use over the month.  Today is May 8th and I have already downloaded 65 of my 100 songs, so I am not such a good saver.

These downloads are just like buying the CD’s or downloading songs from iTunes, except they are cheaper and you own them.  If you really like music, or if your CD store is the electronics section at WalMart or if you are just cheap; eMusic is for you.  I downloaded , on their release date, the highly acclaimed new CD from Beirut for @$2.75, the EP from Bon Iver for $1.00 and M.Ward’snew one for $3.50.  Beat those prices WalMart and iTunes.

But more than convienence and thrift, eMusic has great services to help you find music you will love.  You can browse by genre, editors’ picks, new music, free tracks, advance releases, members ratings and any combination of those categories.  eMusic has music journalists writing artist and genre features and reviews.

Finally, eMusic has an extensive collection of songs and CDs from artists we have profiled on One21music. See the list below.

I encourage you to at least give eMusic a try.
Download 25 FREE songs at!

By the way, eMusicalso has a similar service for ebooks if you like to listen to ebooks
Heard any good Audiobooks lately? Get one free!

One21Christian Music Artists on eMusic

Jason Upton
August Burns
Iris Dement
The Ambassador
Josh Garrels
Cold War Kids
Fiction Family
Enter The Worship Circle
Bodies of Water
Cool Hand Luke
Kirk Franklin
Brooke Waggoner
Buddy Miller
Nicole C Mullen
Pigeon John
Bosque Brown
Paper Route
The Welcome Wagon
Kate Miner
Bradley Hathaway
Jeremy Egnik
Mute Math
Bill Mallonee/Vigilantes of Love
Brooke Fraser

The Many Facets Of Christian Music

Ever since we started The One21, we have been learning a lot. From the vast amount of  new talent we come across, to the trends in music and entertainment we have been able to identify, this company has allowed us to learn new things daily about the world of music we love so much.  We have tried to share those trends with you, and explore what the digital age of music has done for the underground music movement. We have attempted to expand the knowledge of the music out there being made by believers.  We have tried endlessly on this site to change the perception of what most people think when they hear the term “Christian music”, and bring you a whole new world of music that exists outside of the mainstream Christian industry.

It is in that last idea that we have run into the most trouble.  We feel that this website and the database of music we are building is our calling, our ministry to you, the person reading this.  We feel that we have a responsibility to give you as much information about the artists we talk about so that you can make the most informed decision on what music you allow in to your life and those around you. On the other hand, we also feel that we have a responsibility to artists we talk about. We don’t want to force any artist to label themselves as something they don’t want to labeled as.  The choices that an artists make in their career are their own, and it be irresponsible for us to (forcefully) change those decisions ( we REALLY want Kate Minor to come back to music, and I REALLY want Damien Rice to become a believer).  So how do we talk to people about music that is made by believers without forcing those artists to be pigeon-holed into a scene they want to exist outside of.

This struggle was put center stage recently as we attended SXSW. A band that we have featured on this site (I’m not going to tell you who it is, don’t ask), had a very strong reaction to us wanting to interview them and talk about it on the site. They told Chuck “well we are Christians, but we defiantly don’t make Christian music”, and were still debating this issue when I walked past them ten minutes later. Some of the members seemed upset that since we were a site that covered Christian music, that talking to us would change the perception of their band in the general public. However, all the research we had done on the band not only revealed that they were believers, but the majority of their lyrics centered around the dark picture the church paints of Christ versus what He truly is. We felt a little awkward because in a way we had tried to make them something they didn’t want to be, which is their call, not ours. The outcome is that they didn’t talk to us, even when Chuck attended their show a few nights later.

Later that same week, Chuck presented our pastor with a signed copy of a CD, from one of the hip-hop artists we interviewed, for his ten year old son who is really into hip-hop at the moment.  Our pastor thanked Chuck, but said that he needed to listen to it before his son could have it.  That seemed strange to me for a moment, but then he explained that another Christian hip-hop artist had frequently used the word “hell” (in the correct context by the way), a word that shocked and offended his young children who had been told NOT to say that word. It occurred to me that a lot of people can’t just listen to ANY artist who says that they are a Christian, even with ideologies that match up, subject matter is still an issue.

So on one side, we have believers who are making music, but do not want to be part of the Christian music world, and on the other side, we have people who need help with finding the right artist that helps them live their faith.  On the one hand we know of a lot of Christian artist who hardly ever talk directly about their faith in their music, and on the other we have a responsibility to present music that lines up with the ideologies that exist in Christianity. The dichotomy bothered me all week until we met with Tre9, a Houston hip-hop artist and founder of, who spoke in our interview with him about hip hop artists being relevant to the audience that they are trying to reach.

79975“You’ve got to know as an artist who you are going to target your message to. Obviously if you want to disciple Christians then you need to make music relevant to them. Which would be music: quoting scriptures, having heavy spiritual content; but if you want to reach people that don’t have church knowledge and maybe don’t even read their Bible then you need to bring it down to their level. So, that may require you to do music that shares your life story more often, and maybe closes with the fact that you found fulfillment in Christ, but you’re not so heavily focused on making sure you get a scripture in there. Throw a Jesus here; throw a God, a Holy Spirit there. Throw the word redemption. You know sanctification; these words that the world doesn’t understand. You want to make music that is relevant to where they are at mentally and even spiritually.

When I say relevant, you’ve got groups like P.O.D. who are way into the world, but are making relevant music to their audience, and look at them, they are global. They have penetrated a market that they couldn’t penetrate when they were labeled a Christian artist. I think that’s good. A lot of people think they are sell outs because they don’t preach the gospel in their music, but for me I feel that this world needs Godly principles, they need the Bible interpenetrated in today’s language so that it’s relevant. So, if P.O.D. makes a song about ‘I feel so alive’, but they don’t say it’s because of Jesus; I think that person will eventually become a follower of P.O.D.; listening to their music, going to their website, researching and finding out “Hey, these guys are Christians. So that’s what they mean by ‘I feel so alive’.” So they don’t have to put it into a song for me. Now, a lot of people would disagree with that but, we need wholesome music. We need songs that deal with drugs, and the dangers of drugs; songs that deal with abstinence. These songs don’t have to say anything about God.  God is in that, God wants people to live an abstinent life, God wants people to avoid drugs. So, I’m ok with making music that is relevant to that market or that particular group of people. Going into public schools we can’t do Christian music, especially during school hours. You can’t just go in there preaching about Jesus. So, if you are going to make music relevant to a school; if it’s an elementary school, then you need to write some stuff elementary level. Junior high, High school…so that’s what I mean by relevant.”

I was blown away. This was a concept that had always been in the back of my mind, but I had never heard put into words.  I also realized that this line of thinking could be applied to all music, not just the world of hip-hop.  As I thought about it more, I became aware that this was how the whole scope of the Christian music scene fit together, even the artists that wanted to exists outside the borders of what is traditionally thought of as Christian music.  This is how we can talk about really good music that is being made by believers, but not really overtly spiritually, and then turn around and talk about worship music in the same breathe.  It is because in “Christian music” there are different forms of it, but all of them are written from a world-view of Christ.

In the end, I propose that all music, written from a foundation of hope and faith, that God can use to touch people’s hearts, can be divided into three categories:

The Spiritual- this is music that is made by believers, and is mainly intended for believers.  This music uses language and subjects that believers understand, and is made mainly for the purpose of worship, education, and encouragement. This music will use a lot of direct Biblical scripture, or discuss the literal concepts within the Bible. The gospel message is OBVIOUS to anyone. This music is meant to celebrate and discuss God and His teachings. This is were the majority of worship music will exist, as well as artist who talk about heavy Biblical truths.
The Ambassador
Becoming The Archetype
Third Day
Derek Webb
Jason Upton
Shane and Shane
Enter The Worship Circle
Toby Mac
For Today

The Message- the music in this category is evangelical in nature. It is made by believers for everyone. While it deals with strong Biblical truths, the music is made to appeal to both believers and non-believers alike.  The messages are meant to talk about address the need for Christ and the struggles that people go through before the come to know Him, and the relationship that exists afterward. Sometimes the message is obvious, sometimes it isn’t.  Most artists talk about their faith not only through their lyrics, but also from the stages that they play from (be it a church or a bar stage). This category is a musical response to the great commission.
August Burns Red
A Plea For Purging
Project 86
Joy Whitlock

The Light- this is the category that collects all the Christians who are out their making music, but are not necessarily talking about anything that is directly Biblical. This is just music made by believers. Most of the time, the songs have a indirect message pertaining to the artists faith. The artists in this category are not trying to speak to their beliefs, but are simply trying to make music , and their faith shines through from time to time.  The artists in this category most times exist completely outside of the Christian music radar, some of them you will know, but most you have never heard of. What is important to note is that while the music in this category is not overtly faith-based, it is music that is written from a heart changed by Christ, and can be used as a catalyst  people’s life.
Brooke Waggoner
Bob Dylan
Cold War Kids
Bodies Of Water
Buddy Miller

On our site, we are going to begin using these categories to define our artists better. You will begin to see them on our “Christian Artists To Know”, and as we build our database of artists, the categories will also be incorporated.

The idea behind these categories to allow all the many ways that music is made by believers to be viewed as a unified music scene. For the artists that sing honestly about thier life  and for the worship leader in the church, God uses all this music to touch people’s hearts.

One21music Takes You To SXSW!


South By Southwest is the largest music industry gathering in the world.  More than 1,800 bands and music artists will play over the five day SXSW industry gathering.  Many of these acts are trying to get signed but many more big name bands such as Tori Amos, The Decemberists and Cold War Kids will perform. Industry giants such as Quincy Jones and Little Steven will speak at SXSW.

But, SXSW is more than a music event.  It is also an Interactive festival and a Movie festival.  The SXSW Interactive festival runs from March 13-March 16, the SXSW Movie Festival exhibits from March 15-18 and the SXSW Music Festival blasts from hundreds of stages around Austin from March 18 to March 21st.

One21music will be blogging, interviewing, tweeting and videoing our way through the entire SXSW festival.  Maybe not so much the movie festival, there is only so much we can do.

One21music covers the full spectrum of Christian music scene with a focus on the Post Modern, Underground Christian scene.  SXSW is ripe with some of the best Underground Christian rock, folk, hip/hop, metal and indie bands on the scene today.  Here is the line-up of Underground Christian bands we are scheduled to see and/or interview at SXSW:

As a special treat to you, we have created an imix of these bands that you can purchase at iTunes by clicking on the icon below.

The One21 SXSW Mix 2009

You can also purchase songs, selected by us,  from the artists who will be at SXSW through Amazon MP3. Simply click on the widget below, sample the songs and buy what you want:


Back to the future.

We will put up at least three  posts every day of the SXSW music festival.  We will gather interviews and videos from the scene and put those up for a couple of weeks after the event so you can taste some of the SXSW experience like we will.  You will also be able to follow our adventures through both SXSW Interactive and SXSW Music conferences on Twitter (more to come later this week).  We are going to do everything we can make you feel like you are attending this exciting event, except without the ringing in your ears.

We have artist profiles up for many of the artists and over the next few days we will publish at least one per day leading up to the conference.

Come join and enjoy SXSW with One21music!

Christian Artists To Know: Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids
Genre: Rock
Sub-genres: Indie, Blues, Progressive, Folk
Location: Fullerton, CA
Label: Downtown Records
Christian label: no
Category: The Light whats this?

Clingy guitars, bobbing rhythms, and an slight twang give California’s Cold War Kids a sound all to themselves. Formed in 2004, Cold War Kids have been a nonstop pace since they met each other at a Bible Institute in LA.  Their sound wears its influences on it’s sleeve, combing elements of Bob Dylan folk, modern day indie rock, and small sprinkles of blues ever so often.  The band quickly started the ball rolling and by 2006, they had released four EPs, along with their debut LP, Robbers & Cowards. It was off this album that their first big single came from, and indie fans all over became addicted to the pulsing bass lines and unique vocal delivery from singer Nathan Willet.

Cold War Kids music is uncompromisingly innovative, pulling sounds from influences that are unusual in the modern musical landscape.  Their widespread success in their short career has been solely based on their ability to create fresh and interesting music over and over. So far, they have not disappointed.  They have built a bond with their fans over relentless touring since the release of Robber & Cowards almost three years ago. Their live shows are where they truly shine, allowing these true artists to flex and expand upon their vast library, giving fans new tastes of old songs at every show.

Once again, Cold War Kids are band who do not want to be pigeon holed by their faith, so they have shy in the media concerning their beliefs. Despite their protests, however, the band found themselves the center of controversy a few years ago when viciously denounced the band, almost entirely based on their faith, and not their music. For months the fans and critics debated over should a band should be judged by its members or it’s music, and even though the debate died down, most believe Cold War Kids have since been snubbed in the music industry ever since, based on their beliefs in Christ.

Despite the obstacles, Cold War Kids carried on and released to their second LP, Loyalty To Loyalty, to critical (save Pitchfork) acclaim.

The song that brought them into the mainstream was with no debate, “Hang Me Out To Dry”, off of Robbers & Cowards. Here the band preforms this bouncy little song on BBC’s Later….With Jools Holland.

another great song from the band is “Hospital Bed”, and the band is in full form here preforming at Reading & Leeds Fest in 2007.

The One21 Music was created to bring you bands like Cold War Kids. We always wanted musicians of faith who didn’t quite fit in to idea that most people have for Christian music. No, Cold War Kids are not the type of band that make straight gospel music, but they can only write from their heart. Those hearts belong to Jesus, so the message is there. It may not be on the surface, but God has this funny way of using His people for His own will.

Simply put, Cold War Kids are a great band who just happen to believe in Jesus Christ. While this doesn’t make them what most people would consider a “Christian band”, what else does it make them?

While you are thinking about that, go watch “Hang Me Out To Dry” again, and tell me you don’t love this band….

You can get Cold War Kids music digitally on Cold War Kids

You can also get their CDs on Amazon: Robbers & Cowards(2006), Loyalty to Loyalty(2008)