Moby’s New One- Destroyed- Streamin Online

Christian musician Moby is one of the pillars of electronic music.  In the late 90′s he redefined this music style and brought electronic music from the clubs into the mainstream.  His Everything Is Wrong set a new bar for the genre that many have reached for since.  It was the best album of 1995 in any genre.  1999′s Play was a revolution that ranks as one of the top 100 albums in the rock era.  Both recordings are on One21music’s Essentail 100, our collection of 100 recordings by Christian musicians that we believe everyone should own, or at least listen to.

moby_destroyedMoby‘s latest’s, Destroyed, lands in stores on May 17th, see our Release Dates for a full list of music releases over the next few months.  You can buy the cd with a book of images that Moby has taken from around the world, in a deluxe cd package with some of the photos, as a standard jewel case cd or digitally.  However, Moby has given us a gift.  He is streaming the entire album online along with a map of the pictures he has taken on his travels around the world.  It is an incredible piece of art.  I cannot wait until Tuesday so I can get my hands on this package.  Here is what Moby says about his newest creation.

“i don’t sleep very well when i travel. and as a result, i tend to be awake in cities when everyone else is asleep. that’s where this album, and the pictures that accompany it come from. it was primarily written late at night in cities when i felt like i was the only person awake (or alive), a soundtrack for empty cities at 2 a.m, at least that’s how i hear it. the pictures were taken on tour while i was writing the album. i wanted to show a different side of touring and traveling. a side that is often mundane, disconcerting, and occasionally beautiful. ”

So follow this link to listen to Moby‘s Destroyed.

The One21 Essential 100 Pt.16

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4
Check out Pt.5
Check out Pt.6
Check out Pt.7
Check out Pt.8
Check out Pt. 9
Check out Pt.10
Check out Pt.11
Check out Pt.12
Check out Pt.13

Check out Pt.14
Derek Webb Stockholm Syndrome
Stockholm Syndrome
Derek Webb

2009
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
There are many things about Stockholm Syndrome that are not surprising, despite its reputation. It is not surprising that Derek Webb would try to further himself as an artist and musician by constructing an album completely outside his “safety genre” by shedding his singer/songwriter sound and instead adopting electronic dance beats. Think more Thom Yorke than Bob Dylan. It is also not surprising that not only did Webb change genres, but that he would produce an album that sounded like progressive electronic had been his style his entire career. He excelled. It is not surprising that the album would be diverse, it is not surprising that the album would be controversial. Yet, Stockholm Syndrome never ceases to surprise.

For many reading this right now, you may have already heard about the dark cloud surrounding the album concerning the track “What Matters More”. For most, the one curse word uttered in the second verse of the song has completely overshadowed the fact that not only is Stockholm Syndrome an amazing album of music, but it is an important album that will ever change the face of modern Christian music. If Stockholm Syndrome had been awful, or even mediocre, or even just “good”, the amount of conversation surrounding it would never have occurred. The simple fact is that Derek Webb has created a classic, one that challenges and entertains, and it will be talked about for many years to come.
Highlights: Black Eye, The Spirit vs. The Kick Drum, Heaven, What Matters More

Norma Jean-Bless The Martyr & Kiss the Child
Bless the Martyr & Kiss The Child
Norma Jean

2002
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Bless The Martyr & Kiss The Child is a atom bomb of an album. Not many CDs in the metal/hardcore community are considered classics the moment they come out, but this one was. Norma Jean’s first album took the term “metalcore” and reinvented it, and the effects have been felt in the scene ever since.

The album is brutal, dark, driving, and creative. Norma Jean made a complex and interesting album without making the music itself complex. The riffs are simple, the recording is flawed in places (it was recorded live in studio), and sound is unpolished. Yet, Bless The Martyr & Kiss The Child was light years from its peers, it was able to take those elements and make them significant. The mistakes made the album feel more personal, the bombastic song structures were only made possible by the simpler parts. Everything just came together in such a perfect way.

The album made Norma Jean THE band to beat, and since then they have become one of the most prominent figures in the metal/hardcore scene. Bless The Martyr & Kiss The Child is the finest work by an incredible band, and there are very few who can take that away.
Highlights: Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste, I Used To Hate Cell Phones But Now I Hate Car Accidents, The Human Face Divine, Face:Face

Enter The Worship Circle Village Thrift Circa 2003
Village Thrift Circa 2005
Enter The Worship Circle

2005
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Enter The Worship Circle is a collection of artists who come together and create modern worship music. In many of their incarnations, they have appeared as a group of hippie/folk artists who create songs for God out of drum circle sessions and late night sing alongs. Village Thrift: Circa 2005 is something completely different. Somehow, these artist were able to take the communal feeling of the drum circles and translate that into driving, electronic dance songs.

While the “village of voices” effect is still there, much of Village Thrift: Circa 2005 integrates the seemingly opposing musical styles into a beautiful product that makes you want sing and jump up and down at the same time. Every song a little bit more bizarre than the last, you will hear choir vocals, looped samples, hip-hop, drum’n’bass, house techno, and worship all in the same place. It may sound strange, but it works, and makes for songs that are as fresh five years later as they were when I first heard them.
Highlights: Make Me Feel, All You Angels, Wake Up Sleepy, How Sweet

Scott Blackwell- Walk On The Wild Side
Walk On The Wild Side
Scott Blackwell

1992
The hottest DJ in 1970’s New York, Scott Blackwell opened Palladium in the 70’s, working seven turntables at once to create a mind boggling tsunami of dance beats. Once Scott Blackwell turned his back on the New York fast lane for a relationship with Jesus he disappeared for a while. He returned with a bang in 1982 pioneering Gospel dance music and forming the first gospel dance label NSoul Records.

Walk On The Wild Side is the first full length accumulation of his work, after a decade of remixes and EPs. It is mostly straightforward House music, but one track stands apart. In “My King” Scott Blackwell took a public domain sermon from the Library of Congress and laid it over an infectious chill groove. Several acts, most prominently Raving Loonatics built entire albums on this style of delivering the Word into a club setting. Walk On The Wild Side set the standard for Christian dance music and Scott Blackwell continues to be the godfather of the scene.
Highlights: My King, Walk On The Wild Side, Keep The Fire Burning(Heaping Coals Mix)

cool hand luke Wake Up O’ Sleeper
Wake Up O’ Sleeper
Cool Hand Luke

2003
Buy this album: Amazon
Hush, little boy, don’t say a word
Don’t you know Daddy’s got this one?
Hey, little boy, bury your sword
Jesus already won this war

The chorus of the opening song, “Heroes Will Be Heroes”, off of Cool Hand Luke’s 2003 CD Wake Up O’ Sleeper immediately sets up listeners for the band’s message. Surrender. With deeply introspective lyrics, soaring atmospheric guitars, and the broken whisper of frontman, Mark Nickes, Cool Hand Luke has evolved from their early screamo days to become a unique and progressive voice in Christian art rock.

The music of Wake Up O’Sleeper walks the line of driving progressive rock and straight worship music. Every given track on the album bleeds honesty, creativity, and conviction. Cool Hand Luke is one of those bands you “haven’t really listened to” until you are in a dark room by yourself, with a pair of over sized headphones as the speakers. At all times delicate, and at all times driving, Wake Up O’Sleeper has hence dictated what truly spiritual rock could sound like from that point on.

In 2003, I was tired. I had been at Cornerstone Festival all week, and it was a hot year. I had been going through a lot in my life at the time, a relationship that I had been very happy in had ended the night before I traveled to the festival. I was starting a new school in a few months, and I was struggling with where my life was going at the time. I had three more bands on my list to see, but in the heat of the afternoon on my last day there, all I wanted to do was rest. I wondered into a tent close to my camp site, and just sat down. The band playing was just walking up onto the stage and getting settled. The background music faded, and a voice came over the mic and said:
“We are Cool Hand Luke, thank you for worshiping with us”

I stayed in that tent for an hour and didn’t move, speak, or even stand up. I let the music surround me and just let myself relax. The majority of the music they played that day was from their newly released Wake Up O’Sleeper album. I looked around the tent to see the members of Underoath, Norma Jean, mewithoutYou, Pedro The Lion, and Nodes of Ranvier standing transfixed as I was. When I stood up, I felt rejuvenated, happy, and lighter. I have always remembered what Cool Hand Luke’s music did to me that day, and for what God did in my heart during their short set.
Highlights: Heroes Will Be Heroes, One Time, So It Shall Be, This Is Love

The One21 Essential 100 Pt.14

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4
Check out Pt.5
Check out Pt.6
Check out Pt.7
Check out Pt.8
Check out Pt. 9
Check out Pt.10
Check out Pt.11
Check out Pt.12
Check out Pt.13

Thrice - The Alchemy Index 3 and 4Thrice - The Alchemy Index  1 and 2
Thrice - The Alchemy Index  1 and 2Thrice - The Alchemy Index 3 and 4
The Alchemy Index Vols. 1-4
Thrice

2007-2008
Buy these albums: (Vol 1-2) Amazon, iTunes; (Vol 3-4) Amazon, iTunes
Before I can gush on this album, I feel like I need to explain the concept. In 2005, the post-hardcore powerhouse known as Thrice announced that they were leaving their cushy major label record deal to strike it as an independent band once again. This came as quite a shock to their fans, considering they had released two monumental albums on during that time, and many were wary of the apparent step backwards. Was this the end of Thrice? Could they survive on their own?

In 2007 the band answered with a resounding yes, and monster collection songs now known as The Alchemy Index. The concept is this: The Alchemy Index is actually four, 6-song EPs, each one designated as a elemental force, and the music of the individual EP corresponds with the element. Confused? Think of it this way, the Fire EP is Thrice at their most familiar: heavy, loud, and abrasive. The Earth EP is Thrice embracing their folk influences, and the Water EP is atmospheric electronic music.

For most bands, this ambitious of a project would bury the key song writers, and would either require help from a producer or end up with the band never really fulfilling the original intent of the EPs. Thrice not only excelled on each style of music they choose, but every aspect of The Alchemy Index is Thrice, as they self-produced AND self-recorded the WHOLE thing. They didn’t create parodies of their favorite genres of music, they digested them, and made them their own. Each EP has so many gorgeous songs, simple displays of Thrice’s ability as a band, and then when you listen to them back to back, you can’t ignore that all of the different elements work as A WHOLE as well.

This is what true creative control sounds like.

Find me another band that undertook this kind of project, completed it, self produced and self recorded it, and THEN made four gems out of the EPs…..go ahead…..find me the band…..
Highlights: The Messenger, The Whaler, Broken Lungs, Come All You Weary

Larry Norman-Rebel Poet, Jukebox Balladeer The Anthology
Rebel Poet, Jukebox Balladeer: The Anthology
Larry Norman

2008
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
I struggled with putting an anthology as an essential recording, but it was such a revelation for me that I must include it. I had missed Larry Norman altogether. I had heard of Larry Norman as the father of Christian rock music and I had heard his songs on tribute albums, but I had never heard Larry Norman until Rebel Poet, Jukebox Balladeer.

This music is as edgy and compelling as anything by Dylan, Lennon or Young. We did not hear of Larry Norman’s greatness because his answer was not to drop out, sit-in or riot. Larry Norman admonished us all to follow. His message to America in the 60’s and 70’s was to simply follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Neither the counter culture nor the establishment wanted to hear that impossibly simple admonishment, so Dylan is revered and Larry Norman is underground.
Highlights: The Great American Novel, Reader’s Digest, Without Love, You Ain’t Nothing (Righteous Rocker), Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?

Moby - Everything Is Wrong
Everything Is Wrong
Moby

1995
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
For those of us who were listening in 1995, this was the breakthrough. This is when electronic become more than sound and dance music. Moby likes for us to dance and he wants to be the DJ guiding us around the dance floor, but on Everything Is Wrong he used our exuberance against us. He got us going with driving house beats only to change styles and beats so quickly that he made us stop and listen. Then Moby expresses his bewildered and desperate view of modern life by periodically yanking away the escape of blind, danceable ecstasy, using that discontinuity to express the eyes-wide-open ruminations of a furious idealist.

The desperate industrial plea of “All That I Need Is To Be Loved” rips back the cover right from the beginning. “All That I need is to be loved, can’t you take that out of me, all I want is to be near you, of my God how can I love thee” is shouted over a grinding industrial sound board. You can dance to this, but you must stop and listen first. “God Moving Over The Face of The Water” is one of the most beautiful seven minutes of instrumental music of the past 50 years. The ambient masterpiece “When It’s Cold I’d Like to Die” breaks your heart with deeply longing lyrics matched with crushingly sad music. The remix companion Everything Is Wrong Mixed and Re-mixed adds to the fun with multiple arrangements of these great songs.
Highlights: Feeling So Real , All That I Need Is To Be Loved, God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters

Ramsie Shiek personally there
Personally There
Ramie Shik

1998
Buy this album: Amazon
Ramsie Shick’s voice is a force of nature, capable of touching tenderness and wild, unruly abandon. In another’s hands it could be Grace Slick, Joan Osborne, Patti Smith, or Melissa Etheridge, but this is something all on her own. She delivers the songs of Personally There with a pleading, almost manic fervor that draws you into the lyrics. Ramsie Shick has something to tell us and we want to listen.

Ramsie Shick’s dense, passionate lyrics are like the ramblings of a stream of consciousness preacher/poet – and maybe they are – but coupled with the music of her mind, the touch of her fingers on her guitar, and her muscular, competent band, they are transformed into living, breathing pieces of art and ministry. The sound is modern yet the tone is ancient or maybe timeless. It is almost as if an unpublished prophet has returned to deliver first hand insight into God’s word.
Highlights: Broken Down, Unashamed, Testify

Kaboose-Excuse Me
Excuse Me
Kaboose

2008
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
The modern face of hip-hop is a sad one. We have seen a truly creative and viable artform has become a machine that celebrates mediocrity and debauchery. Emcees willing to talk about ANYTHING that means anything has become a rarity, and when it does happen, most artists lose site that their music supposed to also entertain. In 2008, creative, meaningful hip-hop proved that it was still alive and well with Kaboose’s Excuse Me.

The balance of fun and earnest is evident in every track. Kaboose is aware that even if you have something good to say, you still have to make sound good. On some tracks, he talks about his past, on some he addresses his culture (Kaboose is half Native American), but it is Kaboose‘s faith that shines like a spotlight on every track. You can tell he is a man, with flaws and faults of his own, that is desperately trying to live for God, and be a light to all around him.

Let us not forget for one minute here that Kaboose is also a PHENOMENAL emcee. He would seriously be able to rival Eminem, RedCloud, and Kayne as a word smith, and he is flawless on his delivery. This is truly one of those guys that would succeed in the mainstream rap game, if that was what he desired. Fortunately, Kaboose will never be part of that machine, but he will always let his faith dictate his art. Excuse Me is a must have for anybody who wants to know what hip-hop is all about.
Highlights: Goin’ Outta Control, Build It Up, Be First, Intercontinental Grand Dragon

The One21 Essential 100 Pt. 10

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4
Check out Pt.5
Check out Pt.6
Check out Pt.7
Check out Pt.8
Check out Pt. 9

Deep Natural Michelle Shocked
Deep Natural
Michelle Shocked

2001
Michelle Shocked
Buy This Album: Amazon , iTunes
Ten years after she discovered her Christian faith the underground indie folk goddess Michelle Shocked released her first full on expression of her new faith.  Deep Natural is maybe Schocked’smost diverse, confident recording since her breakthrough Short, Sharp,Shocked.      From the dub stylings of “Can’t Take My Joy” to the blue rocker “House Burned Down” to the singer/songwriter style of “Forgive to Forget” the diversity of Deep Natural is grounded n the insight and quality of Michelle Shocked’s artistry.  After ten years of growth her new faith, Michelle Shocked expresses the joy of her relationship with Christ and the possibilities of grace for her and all.
Highlights: Can’t Take My Joy, What Can I Say, Psalm

A Tale of God's Will Terrence Blanchard
A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina)
Terrence Blanchard

2007
Buy This Album: Amazon, iTunes
A Tale of God’s Will is one New Orlean’s musical  response to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and it’s aftermath, and it arrives powerfully—drenched in palpable sorrow. It is primarily a vehicle for Terrence Blanchard’s solo trumpet playing, supported by his quintet and his skilled writing for strings. But it is a difficult record to dissect—indeed, one that a listener does not want to pull apart too much.Levees” an extended trumpet solo over piano and drums that exquisitely captures the suffering and agony of New Orleans in 2000, is just one of the brilliant composition that does not set the high bar but just strives to maintain the level of excellence in every song . A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina) is certainly beautiful, and it seems to be a sign of growth in our music that improvisation, composed writing for string orchestra, and so many other elements should coalesce into something so consistently rewarding and original. Terence Blanchard’s promise as a total artist is brought to resounding fruition on this majestic recording.
Highlights: Levees, Ghost of Congo Square, The Water

Sacloth n Ashes Sixteen Horespower
Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes
Sixteen Horespower

1996
Buy This Album: Amazon , iTunes
This blast of off kilter banjoes, accordions, fiddles and raging guitars solidifies Sixteen Horsepower’s “Appalachian Gothic” style.  It is like being lost in a dark swamp.  Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes is the darskside of “Oh, Bother Where Art Thou” and it is brilliant.  When you combine the unquestionably unique music with David Eugene Edwards’ dark Christian world view you get a record like nothing else you have ever heard. Edwards looks into the dark soul of us humans and finds us wanting.  “I’m an honest man, when I’m not lying.  I’m a loving man when I commence to dying.”  Through all of this, Edwards points to the grace of Christ and demands that we bend our knee.  He knows we will rebel and fail in our gritty battle against sin.  If you think Christian music is soft, filled with Christian speak and platitudes, welcome to the darkside.
Highlights:  Black Soul Choir, American Wheeze, Black Bush

The Loving Kind Cindy Morgan
The Loving Kind
Cindy Morgan

1998
Buy This Album: Amazon , iTunes
The Loving Kind, the story of Jesus’ final days, is a true masterpiece on many levels. The writing, the music, the performance, the utter conviction, is stunning. Though it fits within the overall CCM genre, The Loving Kind transcends the formulas that give CCM a bad rap. Musically adventuresome, this project is boundary breaking and shows the depth of feeling and the pure artistry of Cindy Morgan. Theatrical and intimate, the Spirit moves within this work to a degree seldom reached in CCM. There are more than three great songs on this cd, but “Take My Life” is maybe the greatest CCM song every written.  The chorus, “Take my life, take away all the shattered dreams in me, give me love that will that last forever.  Take my life, give me the love that makes me clean, because I believe your love can save even a wretch like me”, brings you to your knees.  Many have started an Easter tradition of listening to The Loving Kind almost exclusively during Easter week.  A good idea I defy you to keep Cindy Morgan’s triumph in its case the rest of the year.
Highlights: Take My Life, The Loving Kind, Alive and Well

I Am A Stranger In This Place The Violet Burning
I Am A Stranger In This Place
The Violet Burning

2000
Buy This Album: Amazon
The Violet Burning are an iconic legend if the underground indie rock scene.  They pretty much set the stage for the alternative rock scene with their 1989 release Chosen. But The Violet Burning are, at heart, a worship band.  If you want to worship, really lose yourself in worship, I Am A Stranger In This Place is the recording for you.

With The band’s fifth full length release, The Violet Burning opts for re-recording some of their favorite songs from the previous four recordings. The idea though is to record them live in the studio, with new quieter, more reflective arrangements. The result is an introspective reinterpretation of these songs, that is intimate, contemplative and hypnotic. The Violet Burning’s “experiment in vibe” is a success.

“Worship” music today encompasses a lot of pop-oriented stuff, drifting toward the bland and saccharine, that doesn’t seem to have much power behind it. But if you really want to hear how honest, brutal, and beautiful a genuine and moving worship experience can be, you need to slip the I Am A Stranger In This Pace into the stereo, turn the volume up loud and let the music and the intertwining vocals of Pritzl and Melissa Barnett wash over you. These are worship songs cleverly disguised as something else and Pritzl was making intimate, vibey worship in the days before there was a movement to take it to the broader Church. So perhaps now is a good time to discover what makes The Violet Burning such cult heroes.
Highlights: Song Of The Harlot/My God,My Strength; As I Am; There Is Nowhere Else

The One21 Essential 100 Pt.8

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4
Check out Pt.5
Check out Pt.6
Check out Pt.7

Enter The Worship Circle- Second Circle
Second Circle
Enter The Worship Circle

2002
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
100 Portraits, joined by like-minded artists such as Will Hunt of Apt.core, return with more of their original and down to earth worship-oriented songs… this time with the same name, simply being distinguished by the sub-title Second Circle. Several of members of the Enter The Worship Circle collective have often traveled to third world countries to share their talents in the outreach efforts of indigenous churches. In recent visits to India, they were inspired by the native instruments and songs found among the village churches, and in fact documented some of the sounds they encountered, mixing select portions of those samples into the new recording.

Driving Indian rhythms intertwine with fresh, intimate, uninhibited expressions of love and worship to create this ground-breaking album, using instruments such as tablas, dumbeks, an amazing sitar, and who knows what else. With all original songwriting, even a few seemingly improv lyrical inspirations captured during the live studio recording, Second Circle allows you to join the musicians in their realization of how deep, wide, and amazing the love of God is. This collection of passionate songs reflects a desire for simplicity and spontaneity in worship, with its use of basic instruments and genuine expression. Hand percussion and acoustic guitars, simple arrangements, and a new world of looping-rhythm sections blend throughout every track creating a beautiful tapestry. Every once in a while something truly different comes forth from creative wombs by the grace of God, with power enough to change the way you think about music, worship, life… this is that something.
Highlights: I Cannot Hide My Love, Tiny, Praise Awaits You

Hundred Year Storm- Hello From the Children of Planet Earth
Hello From The Children Of Planet Earth
Hundred Year Storm

2006
Buy this album: itunes
Utilizing clips of greetings in over 50 languages used in NASA’s Golden Record, clips of John F. Kennedy talking about the space race, a Florence Nightingale quote dating all the way back to the 1890’s and sound clips from a space launch gone awry; Hundred Year Storm creates an inventive soundscape that takes space rock to a new level. Soaring melodic guitar symphonies, industrial sounds and soaring vocals build to a cathartic explosion of beauty, asking listeners to consider Who Else might be with us in this world.

“All This Time” and “Where Beauty Never Dies” are haunting songs of separation and longing. “Yesterday Had It All” is a pleading love song that would make Jeremy Enigk proud. But it is in the three pillars of the CD that Hundred Year Storm display their unique vision. The title track “00:01”, the centerpiece of the recording “Golden Record” and the closer “Pilot’s Last Broadcast” define the sound of Hello From Children Earth. Blending the samples noted above with haunting atmospheric instrumentals Hundred Year Storm create post rock guitar symphonies that will haunt you and cause you pause. When we asked guitarist and lead singer Bill McCharen how to best listen to Hundred Year Storm he said, “with headphones”. We agree.
Highlights: 00:01, All This Time, Yesterday We Had It All

The O.C. Supertones - Supertones Strike Back
Supertones Strike Back
The O.C. Supertones

1997
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
With the decline of grunge music in the US in the late 90s, the landscape was searching for its next big musical movement. It came in the form of ska, a hybrid combining elements of reggae, punk, pop, and big band music. In 1997, this movement introduced one of its best, and what would become one its most successful bands with the album Supertones Strike Back. The O.C. Supertones exploded into the scene like a lightning bolt….if lighting bolts had brass sections.

On its surface, Supertones Strike Back is simply just a really great ska album. It is lots of fun, every time you listen to it, skanking and pogoing will be a constant temptation. While the band exhibited many of the typical ska techniques, they were able to set themselves apart for a few reasons. The first major one was vocalist Mojo’s rap/sing/yell vocal style, from the first 30 seconds on Supertones Strike Back, Mojo attacks every song like it’s the last song he would ever sing, and you cant help but fall in love with his light-hearted yet deeply passionate lyrics.

More importantly, Supertones Strike Back was a ministry album above all. In most cases, when Christian bands would try to insert blatant gospel lyrics into new genres, the result was in most cases slightly awkward, and …..I dare say lame. Ska was a different kind of music though, at it’s core it was supposed to be happy. You were SUPPOSED to be upbeat and sing loud! Supertones Strike Back may be the purest 90s ska album ever created then, because there is no greater joy than that found in Christ, and The O.C. Supertones were hear to tell you at the top of their lungs….and their horns.
Highlights: Unite, Resolution, Supertones Strike Back

Iris Dement-The Way I Should
The Way I Should
Iris DeMent

1996
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
The Way I Should, Iris DeMent’s third album is a legendary break away from her previous lyrical style. Her first two albums were introspective and personal; The Way I Should is highly political, attacking hypocrisy and class warfare in the United States. Iris DeMent‘s twangy Arkansas soprano and detail-filled lyrics are sharply original. Listen to “Wasteland of the Free” as DeMent rages about the hypocrisy of preachers who don’t behave in a manner befitting their status, politicians dependent on corporate finance, wealthy businessmen opposed to minimum wages, children with guns, children with poor reading ability and going to war over oil. That’s quite a lot to pack into one song.

Iris DeMent’s has the voice of mountain honey – sweet, strong, earthy and pure. She can play down home on the porch with just a guitar or rock it with a full band. Her lyrics are prolific and reflective the range of songs on this landmark recording spans folk, country and rock, with themes of romance, child abuse, politics and personal vision. Each song is wrapped in the complex, heart-felt, stunning lyrics and voice that underlines Iris DeMent‘s uniquely compelling music career.
Highlight: There’s A Wall In Washington, Wasteland Of The Free, Keep Me God

Zao-Liberate Te Ex Inferis
Liberate Te Ex Inferis (Save Yourself From Hell)
Zao

1999
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
For anybody who wasn’t there, I need to clue you in on something: without Zao we wouldn’t have good Christ-centered metal. They simple changed the game, and they are still one of the MOST ripped off bands in modern extreme music today. While the band’s previous effort, Where Blood And Fire Meets Rest, introduced us to the Zao sound, it was Liberate Te Ex Inferis that permanently embed the band in the minds of metal fans of all ages.

It is hard now to explain how important this album was, because after this, like I said before, this is all anybody wanted to sound like. The album was very dark, first and foremost; most band’s in the “Christian metal” scene at that time were essentially making worship songs that just happened to be played as metal. Zao took a different approach; they wrote songs that reflected the human struggle with salvation and divinity. Because of this, the songs rarely shine, but continue to plunge deeper and deeper into chaos. The other was just the SOUND of the album. It had a grimy, distorted feel that only added to the semi operatic writing style of the band. Liberate Te Ex Inferis ends up sounding like a struggle with the Devil, played over an old radio. A warning for the masses.

There is an ongoing debate as to which of the Zao-Trinty (the three albums that made Zao a house hold name for most: Where Blood Fire Meets Rest, Liberate Te Ex Inferis, and Self-Titled) is the “best” Zao album. We chose this one because it lands somewhere in between the vicious nature of Fire, and the creative songwriting of Self-Titled. It is still the best of the genre that they helped create, and man it still hits just as hard over 10 years later.
Highlights: Savannah , If These Scars Could Speak , Desire The End

The One21 Essential 100 Pt.7

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4
Check out Pt.5
Check out Pt.6

moby play
Play
Moby

1999
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Having already established himself as one of the best house DJs of all time, Moby’s 1999 album, Play, introduced the world to a very different kind of electronic artist. Utilizing his ability to not only piece together complicated beats with melody, Moby turned to the collected field recordings of Alan Lomax to give his music an older world feel. He sampled from the recordings, and built many of the songs on Play around single folk and blues choruses, while also lending to the mood of the songs with every electronic weapon he had (synth strings, layered beats, tone warping). It was a big risk, because while Moby was known, he was not known for music like this. He was blending the lines of traditional electronic music and traditional….well music.

The gambled paid off, and Play is still the best selling album in his genre. While he had been a big name in his field, Play turned Moby into a star. Even more than 10 years later, Play’s influence can be felt on almost every movie soundtrack, commercial, or background music in a TV show. This is in part to the fact that the music on Play is REALLY GOOD, but there is also something that Moby did with Play that no one had ever done before in electronic music. Moby celebrated with Play; he took old, barely listenable recordings and made them sound how he heard them in his head and in his heart. He made electronic organic for an entire culture, and the possibilities for music, old and new, endless.
Highlights: Honey, Run On, Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?

Jeremy Enigk- Return Of The Frog Queen
Return Of The Frog Queen
Jeremy Enigk

1996
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Return Of The Frog Queen is a solo album recorded by Jeremy Enigk just after he converted to Christianity; this conversion had brought on the disbanding of the genre-defining Sunny Day Real Estate. It has a slower and quieter sound than Sunny Day Real Estate’s hard driving post-hardcore style. With the ambitious and fervent Return Of The Frog Queen, the former Sunny Day Real Estate frontman plays everything from guitar and drums to harpsichord. Then he surrounds himself with a strings, woodwinds, and brass. Lyrically, Jeremy Enigk explores the new world he has found in his faith; musically, he strays from pretty pop to a kind of sober psychedelia. Ultimately, he clearly feels the need to make a grand statement.

Jeremy Enigk chooses a really remarkable path, taking his highly dramatic, angst-ridden singing to a totally new sound. Here he favors harshly played acoustics. On top of that Enigk lassos a whole orchestra to flesh out the background of each song! A truly remarkable work that has done the unthinkable, Return Of The Frog Queen breaks new ground yet remains a direct hit, with the passion, power, and rage of punk; the simple, appealing babbling of folk; and even the multidimensional, nasty din of modern Russian classical Jeremy Enigk creates a stunning work that influences rock and Christian music for the next decade.
Highlights: Shade And The Black Hat, Return Of The Frog Queen, Explain

Buddy Miller-Universal House Of Prayer
Universal House Of Prayer
Buddy Miller

2004
Buy this album:Amazon, iTunes
In 2004, Americana icon Buddy Miller ripped open his shirt to reveal the heart of a devout Christian, steeped in God’s love and greatly troubled by the evil all around him. With Universal House of Prayer, he has created a masterpiece where modern Americana meets traditional roots country meets gospel meets soul meets blues in a breathtaking gumbo of Biblical teaching and universal Truth for humans and society alike.

The CD is full of meaty lyrics by Buddy Miller, Bob Dylan, Mark Heard and several others like these from the amazing song “Don’t Wait”: “Now I’m praying for strength, To get one last try, From mercy’s cup to drink, Before it’s time to die, And all the wicked they best, Start to change their ways. Don’t wait don’t wait, Don’t wait it’s late, Don’t wait don’t wait.”

If you like country wrap this around yourself like an old coat and, if you don’t, buy it anyway and dance to this music. If you are a believer, take comfort from these lyrics and if you are not, find yourself in his observations on our society today. Universal House of Prayer is Buddy Miller’s masterpiece and one of the greatest alt-country and Christian records ever made.
Highlights: There’s A Higher Power, Don’t Wait, Worry Too Much

My Brightest Diamond- Bring Me The Workhorse
Bring Me The Workhorse
My Brightest Diamond

2006
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
If I were to tell you a classically trained operatic vocalist who makes indie rock that sounds a lot like Portishead made an album that I consider one of the best of the decade, would you listen to it? That description is a little hard to fathom, I know, but that is the truth of Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond)’s 2006 album, Bring Me The Workhorse. Everything about this album is both haunting and beautiful at the same time. Shara’s voice leads the slow-trudging songs through a bleak landscape of smoke filled jazz, spastically progressive indie rock, and 90s esque trip-hop. Each song stands on its own, yet somehow always seems to lead into the next, like a movie who’s scenes were all shot by a different director.

The focal point is, of course, Shara’s unique voice. While you can tell she is always in control of the next note, there are hints of fear on the tail end of her words, almost as if she is not quite sure where the melody will end up next. At times deep and powerful, and at others light and fragile, Shara’s voice is what makes Bring Me The Workhorse so special. It is what makes My Brightest Diamond so special. If this is the only masterwork that voice ever produces, this would be enough, because it is just that. A masterwork.
Highlights: Golden Star, We Were Sparkling, Disappear

project 86 drawing the black lines
Drawing Black Lines
Project 86

2000
Buy this album: iTunes
If you cant understand the power of Drawing Black Lines by the first 30 seconds of the opening track, then you may want to check your pulse. In 2000, Project 86, a four piece monster out of California, separated themselves from the “rapcore” stigma by creating an album so original that people couldn’t figure out what to call it, and yet familiar enough that most considered it an instant classic upon first listen. By breaking down the elements of their rhythmic vocals, massively heavy rock sound, and deeply interesting lyrics, Project 86 reinvented themselves in a way most bands can only dream of. Drawing Black Lines was every bit an aggressive, angry album as their self-titled debt, but melody and focus refined the band’s sound into a completely unique creative force that could not be reckoned with.

The album is perfectly balanced too; while there are plenty of 100 mph hard rock song (Steins Theme, One Armed Man, Sad Machines), there are also many songs that relish in their low build, and low to feel every part before the elements come together in a song. Possibly one of the best examples of this is “P.S.”, clocking in as the longest on song on the album at almost 6 minutes, it is a perfect lesson in build and release in a song, and leaves you gasping for breathe at the end. Combine all this with the brilliant lyrical and vocal stylings of Andrew Schwab, and you have a hard rock album that never disappoints. Another word to describe it may be brilliant, but I think it might come up short.

Speaking personally, listening to this album as a junior in high school was what made me realize that “Christian music” didn’t have to be bad rip offs of mainstream music, but when done like Drawing Black Lines, it could be MUCH better than anything played on the radio. In a way, this is the album that started the idea for The ONE21 Music.
Highlights: One-Armed Man (Play On), P.S., Me Against Me, Chimes

The One21 Essential 100 Pt.6

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4
Check out Pt.5

Jennifer Knapp - Kansas
Kansas
Jennifer Knapp

1998
Buy this album:Amazon, iTunes
Kansas basks in both the relative youth of as a woman and as a Christian. Featuring her smartly communicative songwriting, Kansas examines matters of spirit and faith in an era dominated by pop culture. Jennifer Knapp chooses to embrace the dichotomy of spirit and culture with the back to back “Undo Me” and “Trinity”; the former, an infectious rock anthem and 1999′s Dove Award for rock song of the year, the latter a harmonically layered scripture-based examination of the Holy Spirit.

Self-described as “just a girl with a guitar,Jennifer Knapp, crafts acoustic folk-rock in the vein of Lilith Fair rock-maids, yet founds her lyrics on her relationship with God rather than on that of a beau. Blessed with an agile, earthy voice that reaches from matter-of-fact talkiness to power yowl to melodious balladic lilt Jennifer Knapp examines herself and, in the process inspires us to examine ourselves. Coupled with her taut and circular guitar lines and inspired string arrangements, Jennifer Knapp‘s Kansas is a testament to her well-used talents.
Highlights: Undo Me, Romans, Martyrs & Thieves

Dogwood-Through Thick & Thin
Through Thick & Thin
Dogwood

1996
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
By combining elements of traditional punk, pop punk, hardcore, and even a little metal, Dogwood’s 1996 sophomore album, Through Thick & Thin, was (and in many was still is) the punk album to beat. Every member of the band ejected each track with their own personal flavor that gave Dogwood’s sound stand so far ahead of the rest they could barely be seen. It wasn’t so much that they reinvented punk, but it is so refreshing still to hear a band who took a genre and made it their own. Josh Kimbles vocals sound like they could fit in a Seattle grunge band, the guitars sounded more Metallica at times than Sum 41, and the lightning fast drumming makes even the most seemingly simple part explode through the speakers.

Aside from the sound, it was the message of Through Thick & Thin that makes it still relevant today. Instead of singing about parties and the beach, Dogwood tackled issues of sin, child abuse, and integrity. Every song contained some type of deeply grounded truth that was far more emotional than expected, and gave Dogwood the distinction of being the most seriously minded happy band on the planet. Fast, impactful, and unique: Through Thick & Thin was a classic then, and it is a classic now.
Highlights: All Hands On Deck, Stairway To Sin, Jesus

Dolly Parton-The Grass Is Blue
The Grass is Blue
Dolly Parton

1999
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
In 1997, middle-aged, no longer viable at radio, Dolly Parton returned to the Tennessee mountain cabin of her youth to “write like I was hungry again.” The first recording out of her return to her roots was Hungry Again. Then Dolly Parton released The Grass Is Blue, the first of a series of three bluegrass albums. Dolly Parton‘s 61st full-length album is not a superstar covering a genre. The Grass Is Blue is Dolly Parton singing the music of her childhood with the kind of authentic, fiery passion we rarely present is the country-pop Dolly Parton has allowed herself to be chained with for decades. This album revived her reputation as a country singer/songwriter and allowed her to sing and testify her faith.

The Grass is Blue is a full-out bluegrass venture. An all star group of musicians bring dobro, fiddle, mandolin and banjo to Dolly Parton’s warbling voice and mountain twang. The seamless grace of Dolly Parton‘s celebration of her mountain roots won the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2001.
Highlights: Silver Dagger, I Am Ready, Travelin’ Prayer

James Blood Ulmer-Bad Blood In The City The Piety Street Sessions
Bad Blood In The City: The Piety Street Sessions
James Blood Ulmer

2007
Buy this album:Amazon, iTunes
Free Jazz guitar legend James Blood Ulmer collaborates with Vernon Reid and The Memphis Blood Blues Band to deliver a blues take on the destruction of New Orleans. It’s built around a cycle of original Ulmer songs which directly address Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. With this album, Ulmer has delivered one of the most stirring and emotionally powerful recordings of his career.

“Survivors of the Hurricane” opens the album with a bluesy cry of despair and longing that survivors feel. In “Katrina”, Ulmer virtually wails at the physical and spiritual destruction wrought by the big storm. Ulmer’s gruff shuffling singing style delivers a powerful texture to this haunting song cycle.
Highlights:Let’s Talk About Jesus, This Land Is No One’s Land, There Is Power In The Blues

mewithoutYou Brother, Sister
Brother, Sister
mewithoutYou

2006
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
By the time that Brother, Sister rolled around in 2006, people already knew that mewithoutYou were special. What they didn’t know is that past albums hadn’t even begun to tap into what the band was capable of, and Brother, Sister was the album the band was the album the band was born to make. If you have never heard mewithoutYou, then this will be very hard to describe, because simply…..there isn’t anything that sounds like them. The music is heavy, but it isn’t hard. The songs are creative, but they are simple at the same time. The vocals are not sang or screamed or spoken, more ranted….and sang…..and screamed…The sound mewithoutYou had spent years crafting came on in full force with Brother, Sister, and so in a way it was like everything they had done before, but in the right order for the first time.

Lyrically, Brother, Sister is a call of unification, and plead for brotherhood and worship. Like most things mewithoutYou, this message isn’t obvious; many of the songs talk more about animals and life on the sea rather than the Body of God. What you will find is that the first time you listen to the album, you will spend most of your time trying to get used to mewithoutYou’s unique brand of folk and progressive post-hardcore. The second time you will just start to love the songs themselves, the third time you will start to recognize and dig into the lyrics. Then, something will click, and you cant imagine listening to anything else. We at One21 consider this to be one of the best albums every created, and we also believe it will stand the test of time and be copied, imitated, and ripped off for years to come, all a testament to the power that mewithoutYou communicates. Oh, earlier, notice I didn’t say one of the best albums ever created by CHRISTIAN artists….
Highlights: Messes of Men, A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains, In a Sweater Poorly Knit, O, Porcupine

The One21 Essential 100 Pt.5

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4

Eso Charis
Eso Charis
Eso Charis

2001
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
At the turn of the century, the genre known as metalcore was trying to kind its holding in the hearts of extreme hardcore and metal fans. Like many new trends, the combination of hardcore and metal was having a hard time coming off as anything BUT a trend, and then came Eso Charis. Interesting, creative, aggressive, and passionate were words that surfaced in almost every review of the self-titled debut (and sadly final album for the band). Every track on the album plows forward in such angry progression you would swear the members of the band might reach through the speakers and pull you back with them. The two key things though that made Eso Charis so great though was the extremely unconventional song structure and the worshipful lyrics. Each song featuring a rollercoaster of starts and stops, twists and turns that didn’t lend much to the accessibility of a fan’s first listen, but allow it to stay interesting after the 20th. The lyrics cry out to God for change, and banish the devil from the band’s hearts; so it is no wonder the screams sound so painful. This album is what metalcore could achieve if the passion behind it was righteous, and Eso Charis continue to show people how it was supposed to be done.
Highlights: The Judas Swing, Processed Bodies, The Narrowing List

Kate Miner-Prodigal Martha
Prodigal Martha
Kate Miner

2005
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Simply a masterpiece, both musically and spiritually. Using a dizzying array of musical styles and instruments Kate Miner builds her case for stripping away the trappings of Christianity to truly worship Christ. Kate explained, “It starts in that really broken place. The chorus of the title track goes “Father I know it’s here. It’s been so long since I’ve sat at your feet, will you recognize me?” It’s a great journey. I think it’s quite relevant for people in the church. I believe that we all get hung up in that. We’re all doing good work. It’s not like I slipped and went into prostitution and had a heroin addiction. I just kept doing ministry things.” The Kate Miner we love is here with her declaration of Christ, “Jesus”, which opens with “Does anybody here need Jesus? I got something to say . Does anybody here need heaven? You may hot here what I have to say? The she bursts into a rocking declaration of Jesus Christ. Finally, the heart breaking “Who Will Cry” touches on our weaknesses and our sadness and how we just walk past each other.

Then there is the voice, raw, powerful with a heart wrenching tone. Kate Miner uses her voice powerfully and tenderly to touch just the right string in our soul. Finally, Prodigal Martha features maybe the best worship song of the 21st century, “Covered.” Simple piano and percussion underneath a whispering Kate singing quiet, worshipful words of submission and praise. She then let’s looses with “Covered by grace, covered by light, covered by the fullness of you.” I defy you to listen without stopping to worship.
Highlights: Covered, Come To The Water, Who Will Cry For Me?

Innocence Mission-Glow
Glow
The Innocence Mission

1995
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Glow is a musical treasure that immediately starts with a dreamy riff, taking you by the hand for a journey of tunes and floating guitar evoking the feeling of spring fever. “Keeping Awake”, probably the most famous song on the CD, communicates peace and calm, but it’s the little details that stand out. The imagery is evocative: family members sitting under trees in a dreamed-for tomorrow; a girl dancing into her room; the sense of peace at having everyone home; and, most of all, the sense that “My room is held in someone’s arms,/my bed is held in someone’s arms.” This last little detail — God holding the speaker’s bedroom — points to the often subtle ways in which The Innocence Mission communicate their Roman Catholic faith. Glow evokes a sense of drinking cold sweet lemonade on a sun drenched porch, or driving your car with the top down on the first fresh, warm day in spring.

If you’ve never heard The Innocence Mission before you must know that they require you to listen. Sparse quiet guitars, with some piano and percussion you barely notice, The Innocence Mission delivers music in a whisper, but what a whisper. You will be blown away by Karen Paris’ vocals and poetry, think Natalie Merchant meets Bjork . The childhood memories displayed on this album are moving, and the songs paint incredible pictures with an economical use of words that hint at larger vistas. Glow can still grab you from beginning to end more than a decade after its 1995 release.
Highlights: Keeping Awake, Speak Our Minds, Brave

Brooke Waggoner-Heal For The Honey
Heal For The Honey
Brooke Waggoner

2008
Buy this album: iTunes
Heal For The Honey is what can happen when talent is expressed in its most pure form. Heal For The Honey is the creation of Brooke Waggoner, a young songwriter making her way through the underground indie scene in Nashville. With only an EP under her belt, Waggoner wrote and recorded her 2008 full length with hauntingly beautiful results. Heal For The Honey is creative, delightful, and most of all progressive. Most songs sound more like small symphonies than pop songs, combining piano, strings , and percussion in a way that both feels classic and innovative all at the same time. Earlier when I said Brooke wrote Heal For The Honey, I mean SHE WROTE everything you hear in the album; including all the string arrangements.

Heal For The Honey also puts Brooke Waggoner‘s lyrical abilities on display in full force. While most of the songs may come of as introverted, she paints such a lovely picture of the world with memories of cold winters, deep forests, and lite hearts. It will be hard to listen to Heal For The Honey and not be alble to completely fall in love with every single aspect of it.
Highlights: Beaut, Live For The Sounds, Tender Mending

Jason Upton-Faith
Faith
Jason Upton

2001
Buy this album: iTunes
When Faith came out in 2001, most people had no idea who the passionate worship leader named Jason Upton was. It also didn’t take most people very long to figure out that Jason Upton was a very special man of God. Faith is an album like no other, filled with prophetic lyrics, progressive song structures, and an air of improvisation as Jason leads a congregation in a worship service that would make the Brooklyn Tabernacle look like they conduct puppet shows for two year olds. Powerful isnt the word for this music, because that would simply put a limit on the energy behind these songs.

In many other ways, Faith is completely unique in its approach to worship, with more focus on the Holy Spirit than melody; songs like “Freedom Reigns” makes the listener yearn for as clear of an understanding into the heart of God as Upton has. These are the kind of songs that change things. They penetrate, and work their way into the heart of the listener. No matter where you are, or when you hear it, Faith has the power to stir things in your spirit you didn’t even know existed, and change the way you see worship music forever.
Highlights: Freedom Reigns, No Sacrifice, I Will Wait

The One21 Essential 100 Pt. 4

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3

Bodies Of Water-Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink
Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink
Bodies Of Water

2008
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Four way harmonies, horns, bizarre and often baffling lyrics, and hard, driving tempos. No, this is not Jackson 5 the early years, this is the indie “shaped note” band Bodies Of Water, and after a little grassroots viral marketing, their first real full length, Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink, introduced a new vocal style to the ever so hip indie rock scene. But that is just the first time you listen to the album, because past the initial reactions and a seeming gimmick of a vocal style, you discover an incredibly deep, intelligently crafted album that could contend with the likes of Arcade Fire and Bright Eyes. Steeped in heavy metaphor and written to celebrate a very old harmonic sound, Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink is sure to surprise you over and over and over and over….
Highlights: Our Friends Appear Like the Dawn, These Are the Eyes, We Will Be Apart

Apt.Core Rhythms Of Remembrance
Rhythms of Remembrance
Apt.core

2001
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
According to Will Hunt, the creator and producer of Apt.Core, “The confluence of rhythm and memory” refers to the idea that beats and melodies help us remember words and ideas. The result is a pulsating mix of electronica, ambient tones, world beat, singing, and the spoken word. Nine out of the ten tracks are simply the juxtaposition of rhythms and ambient sounds with Scripture. Rhythms of Remembrance is a changeup from a lot of worship stuff out there. Maybe it’s not really worship, and that’s ok. Its lyrics come straight out of scripture and it makes for a very energetic mix.
We love the blending of primal and technological sounds, overlaid with important texts of our Christian Faith. “Creed” sets the Apostles’ Creed to an afro-celt backbeat and Apt.core reworks U2’s “40″ into a trippy chill workout. You will experience the same feeling of “wow, this is like nothing else out there” when you listen to Rhythms Of Remembrance, even ten years later.
Hightlights: 40, Creed, Life Inverted

Fred Hammond-Pages Of Life Chapters 1 and  2
Pages Of Life: Chapters 1 & 2
Fred Hammond

1998
Highlight: Amazon, iTunes
“It’s time to kick some Devil butt. I’m sorry I did not come here to make you feel good, I came to lift up the name of the Lord!” And so Chapter 2 begins with Fred Hammond’s signature growl kicking some Devil butt. Pages Of Life is a double CD release with the first (Chapter 1) a collection of original studio urban worship songs. But it is Chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit flies in a joyful stomp fest that defines the entire urban worship genre.

The live songs of Chapter Two are funk throw downs that rival James Brown, Sly Stone and Prince. Fred Hammond’s thunderous roar drives a huge choir and a hot band. We defy you to listen to these songs without dancing and singing and worshipping and praying. Every song on Chapter Two is an extended jam of praise, testimony and prayer.
Highlights: No Weapon, We’re Blessed/Shout Unto God , Dwell

fire theft
Fire Theft
Fire Theft

2003
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Not merely a re-packaged Sunny Day Real Estate album, The Fire Theft is takes the SDRE legacy far beyond the early band’s reach and cooks a stew of Sunny Day Real Estate, The Who, Led Zeppelin and the psychedelic Beatles into a soaring journey of sound and poetry. Jeremy Enigk takes control of the band of three-quarters of Sunny Day Real Estate and explores his struggles with his growing faith and life as a rock icon.

Haunting, beautiful sounds capes lay the foundation for Enigk’s distinctive wrenching vocals. The opening track, “Uncle Mountain” rivals the virtuosity of The Who at their best. “Summertime” stuns you with its beauty. “Heaven”, well is just a show stopper with quiet piano that explodes into screaming pleading pleas of “heaven are you really waiting outside the door?”
Highlights: Heaven, Summertime, Uncle Mountain

Grant Green-Fellin’ The Spirit
Feelin’ The Spirit
Grant Green

1962
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
The guitarist Grant Green, one of the most important soul-jazz bandleaders of the 1960s, never lost the zealousness or the sense of unshakable optimism that underpins spirituals and other religious music. During a prolific period of recording in 1962, Green convinced Blue Note to let him do this album of spirituals. The result is a collection of extended Jazz takes on six classic spiritual classics such as “Go Down Moses”, “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” and “Nobody Knows The Trouble I Have Seen”.

Grant Green’s extended guitar solos on these song are swirling, lyrical symphonic interpretations that add color and depth to these instrumentals. But what really makes the album swing is Grant Green‘s backup cast, which picks up energetically wherever Green leaves off. In particular, Green‘s pianist for the album, a young Herbie Hancock, stands out on nearly all the tracks, and at times nearly steals the show. Grant Green’s synergy with his band, and the obvious inspiration that all the players drew from the spirituals that make up the musical core of this record make Feelin’ The Spirit well worth owning and listening to repeatedly.
Highlights: Go Down Moses , Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Deep River

The One21 Essential 100 Pt.3

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

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josh garrels over oceans
Over Oceans
Josh Garrels

2006
Buy this album: Amazon MP3, iTunes
You are drawn in by the quiet acoustic music but you quickly wrap yourself in a musical and lyrical storm. This is a tour de force of folk, world, rap, electronic, spoken word theology by a brilliant musician who refuses to leverage his talent for fame or money. Over Oceans is Josh Garrels‘ first full length recording starts quietly with a beautiful ode to the beauty of God’s creation, “Fire By Night”. Later on the CD a rolling tumbling worship chant “Break Bread” should be a Sunday worship staple. The centerpiece is “SISU”, a six minute acoustically driven rap that lays out the beauty of core Christian theology more clearly than any sermon ever delivered.
Highlights: Break Bread, SISU, YHWH

Billy Joe Shaver- Victory
Victory
Shaver

1998
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Shaver is Billy Joe Shaver and his son Eddy Shaver, presenting the songs of Billy Joe Shaver in a stripped-down, acoustic context. Shaver‘s peers as a songwriter and singer include Guy Clark, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. His voice has a lot of Hank Williams Sr. and some of Woody Guthrie, and his tunes hark back to the origins of country music, with traces of rural blues. Spiritually based, Victory gives the listener a glimpse into the soul of Shaver through the songs he has written about his relationship with his Lord. A man of strong spiritual conviction, Shaver has lived a life that often put him in conflict with his religious beliefs. Victory includes Shaver classics, essayed with a stirring combination of weariness and wisdom (“Old Five and Dimers,” “When Fallen Angels Fly”), as well as classics-to-be. The newer songs (“Son of Calvary,” “You Can’t Beat Jesus Christ”) are filled with Christian imagery, but he doesn’t preach–these are songs of a man struggling to reconcile his faith with the wild life he’s led. Victory is a fine listen, both comforting and harrowing.
Highlights: Live Forever, If I Give My Soul, My Mother’s Name is Victory

Son Lux- At War With Walls And Mazes
At War With Walls And Mazes
Son Lux

2008
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
To say that Son Lux makes electronic music is like saying Daniel Day Lewis just acts; it just isn’t the full truth. Son Lux’s songs are complex, painful, and beautiful all at the same time. He takes sounds and then deconstructs them until they seem to explode out of the speaker and then evaporate just as fast. Pulling from genres across the electronic landscape such as trance, ambient, industrial, and breakbeat, At War With Walls And Mazes introduces the listener to strange and ever changing musical world, were words and music seem to be haunted by the ghosts of their own sounds. Singing parts warp and distort as they are being sung, beats abruptly stop only to return later in a song, but slightly altered. Every song is full of surprises, and you hear something different every time you listen. Son Lux has created and amazing and haunting masterpiece in At War With Walls And Mazes, one that seemingly has no equal.
Highlights: Wither, Betray, Stand, War

Monarch The Grandeur That Was Rome
The Grandeur That Was Rome
Monarch

2003
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Almost from the first note on Monarch’s debut album, The Grandeur That Was Rome, you are completely transported into the music. Monarch is able to wield atmospheric, ambient rock in a way that eludes most of their contemporaries. Every song builds in a distinct and focused way, allowing you to linger on every note before they all crash into each other to create the beauty that is Monarch’s sound. Then, at last, you reach vocalist Brennon Shaw’s delicate and haunting voice, driving the choruses and melodies to a place of pure serenity. The combination of these rock, electronic, and vocal elements is what makes The Grandeur That Was Rome…well, grand. Music seemingly written to be a soundtrack to everyday life, Monarch set themselves apart from their peers with an album of creative and gorgeous songwriting that many could only aspire to, but never are able to grasp.
Highlights: Talk Is Cheap/The Undefeated, Tracing Paper (An Argument), Now You See It/Now You Don’t

tobyMac- Momentum
Momentum
tobyMac

2001
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Who knew? Wasn’t a DCTalk fan so I didn’t know, but did anyone know that all the grit and drive of “Jesus Freak” was tobyMac? Bursting from the speakers with driving guitars, wild samples and layers of pounding drums tobyMac smacks us in the mouth with his first lyrics as a solo artist when spews his rap “Everybody, everybody in the place to be, Open up your mind and let your soul be free, I can feel the most High shining on me so… Let’s Get This Party Started”! Any questions about who was the muse of “Jesus Freak”?
Momentum is 14 songs of hard driving street Christianity metal hip hop, which samples both Buffalo Springfield and Wycleff Jean. And we do get the gospel stomp “JTrain” featuring Kirk Franklin. Momentum should be played loud enough to blow your speakers and bring the cops, but do it alone because you will want to silly dance. tobyMac’s first offering rivals anything Outkast has done.
Highlights: Get This Party Started , Love Is In The House, Somebody’s Watching