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

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

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

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

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)

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

Weekly Update 8/21/09

Hello to all the amazing people who read our site, we love you. Really, your participation in this website makes everything worth it.  Every time you visit, it counts as only good stuff for us as a group.  So, thank you….

If you will remember, a few months back, we announced that we were going to tone things down a little bit on the site.  At the time, we were putting up three posts a day, beginning to build our artist database, and trying to manage our emerging “ezine” persona.  In all honesty, we never intended to use The One21 as a magazine-type website. Our original idea for this blog was to simply communicate our passion and try to begin to introduce the world to a larger perspective of “Christian music”in modern culture.

Well, God, as He always does, has His own plans for things, and seven months in to our existence we were doing interviews,  reporting on news, and in general acting like more of a magazine.

However, the true intention of this site, The One21 Music, was to build a tool that could fully introduce the people to the vast body of music made by believers. So, in May, we officially began to build our artists database. We started strong, found out we weren’t doing it right, started over, added a few features, went back and added those features to the existing profiles, went back and edited, and then once again began to add new artists, and here we are.

Confused? Dont worry, all of that was my long way of saying that we are now 260 artists strong in our database, and every week we are adding on average 6-10 new entries.  The profiles span over 10 genres, 3 categories, and over 120 styles (sub-genres).  We are doing our best to make sure that any fan, of any type of music will have a place on this website.  You can go see our progress by clicking on the “Artist Search” tab up at the top of this page, or you can click here.
Also, if there is particular artist you want to check out, you can get to them quickly by typing in name) into the address bar on your browser (so an example would be city).  If you dont get anything, it most likely means we have not gotten that particular artist into the system yet, but don’t fret because we are working on it.

Alright, with so much going on, Chuck and I thought it would be a good idea to start giving you guys weekly rundowns on what is happening here on the site.  So at the end of the week, we will recap what we have been writing about on the blog, in the database, and what is happening in our company.  Our hope is that not only will you stay up to date to what is happening on the blog, and what new artists you may want to check out, but also that you would get to know us as people and as a company. So, here we go, this our first real update so I hope you enjoy:

General Site Updates:

-First of all, you may notice that we have a new banner. The old one was cool and everything, but as we turn the corner on this website, we wanted to go with something a bit “cleaner” looking. Plus, I (Ian) was really tired of looking at myself every time I looked at the site (yes, if you remember the guy in the banner, that was a big ‘ol profile of me, myself, and I).

-We launched our “Album Release” page this week. this page contains dates, titles, and album artwork(when available) for all the upcoming CDs from Christian artists. It will be updated often, and in future “update” posts I will keep you up to date on what we have added to the page. Go check out all the upcoming releases here.

-We got rid of our “Music Artists” and “Christian Labels” tabs. With the database, we don’t need the “Artist” tab, although you may see a newer, more accessible version of it pop up in the near future. All the information from the “Christian Labels” can now be found in our “Links” page. You can click on the “Links” tab at the top of the page or just click here


Blog/Article Updates:

-New Releases-The big release this week came from MuteMath, but Manic Drive and Take It Back! also released somke new stuff this week.
-Music News- new videos from John Reuben, Paramore, and Philmont, along with new album info for Abandon Kansas, and a lot of bands leaving their labels and others getting signed.
-Free Download- a new little DJ album from hip-hop artist Playdough. Very strange, but hard to pass up for free.
-Voices Of The Underground2 Pt.1- Begin a new “season” of our round table interview series by asking Thousand Foot Krutch, White Collar Sideshow, Gileah Taylor, and many others what they love about music.

Artist Database Updates:

-Chuck has moved around some genre definitions to best suite our Praise & Worship, and Gospel fans.

Profiles added:
Owl City
Mindy Smith
Adrienne Young
Iris Dement
Son Lux
Buddy Miller
Bodies Of Water
The Welcome Wagon
Sufjan Stevens
Josh Garrels
Preson Phillips
Gileah Taylor (Gileah & The Ghost Train)
Love Begotten
Bradley Hathaway

Also, this weekend we will be holding a meeting to try and figure out a possible One21 Fest here in Austin, Texas. If you are reading this and have some ideas, please speak up. Until next week, God bless, and have a great weekend.

Christian Music Is Not A Genre, It Is A Movement

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