20 Watts


ISSUE 22 | Reviews: Roky Erickson’s True Love Cast Out All Evil by 20watts

Roky Erickson's True Love Cast Out All Evil: ""

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts
PREVIEW: CLICK here to visit Roky Erickson‘s website

Fighting off a career of tragedy and setbacks, Roky Erickson’s legacy is often forgotten amidst the chaos of his life from 1966 to now. He would be revered as a pioneer of garage and psychedelic rock, if it wasn’t for his stays in prison and mental institutions, leading to countless years of inactivity. But now, with the help of fellow Austin musicians Okkervil River, Erickson’s pain—after decades of silence finally sees the light of day.

The sentiment behind True Love Cast Out All Evil is indeed Continue reading



20 Watts Reviews The Tallest Man On Earth’s The Wild Hunt by ambiguitron

20 Watts Reviews The Tallest Man On Earth's The Wild Hunt

PREVIEW: Visit The Tallest Man On Earth’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Kristian Matsson returns with his tantalizingly raspy voice on his second album, “The Wild Hunt.” Matsson, the artist behind The Tallest Man On Earth moniker, brings to listeners yet another album filled with his croaky voice and quick slap-string techniques on the guitar.

To compare Matsson to Bob Dylan (which many critics have done) would be to undermine his one-man act as both a musician and performer. Aside from the fact that both artists have the scratchy, hoarse voice, Matsson is distinctively more technical with his guitar-playing and lyrical style .

“The Wild Hunt” is an upgrade from The Tallest Man On Earth’s debut, “Shallow Grave.” This time around, the Swedish export is even more nimble with his guitar plucks and his detailed lyrics, serenading a certain “darling” whose identity listeners can only speculate on. What is stagnant from “Shallow Grave” that is present in “The Wild Hunt” is Matsson’s distinctive voice. The mix of half-singing, half-screeching that he explores throughout the album makes for an ideal combination of bluegrass and folk than any wannabe hippie can appreciate.

The invigorating emotions that The Tallest Man On Earth embeds within each song of album prompts listeners to explore  a folksy realm where the raw and organic energy of Matsson’s singing rules all. “The Wild Hunt” is his imaginative concoction about love, romance and being the King of Spain.

This second album seems like Matsson’s musical ode to a lover. He sings in “The Drying Of The Lawns,” that “never have I felt such numb and pointless searchin’ true as when I set my eyes and torched the plans on the mark of you.” It’s a heartbreakingly raw reflection of Matsson’s talent as a singer-songwriter. The Tallest Man On Earth excels once again in “The Wild Hunt,” proving to listeners that a voice and guitar alone can still go a long way.

-Angela Hu



ISSUE 21 | Reviews: Usher’s Raymond v. Raymond by 20watts

20 Watts reviews Usher's Raymond v. Raymond and gives it a 13/20 watts.

Part of Issue 21 coverage!

PREVIEW: VISIT Usher’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 13/20 Watts

Like Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, Tom Petty’s Echo and Bruce Spring­steen’s Tunnel of Love, Usher’s Raymond v. Raymond is an album inspired by divorce. And just like those albums, Raymond v. Raymond does not offer one cohesive perspective on the complex situ­ation.  Instead, as the album title implies, Raymond v. Raymond presents two differ­ent sides of the R&B artist – the heartbro­ken-yet-resigned ex-husband, “ready to sign them papers” and the sweet-talking flirt, mackin‘ it on the rebound.

Jay-Z recently made a far-reaching prediction that Usher could be the next Michael Jackson.  Except Jackson would never have sung the words, “When you step up in my Porsche Carrera, better not touch anything.”  Yes, for three minutes and twenty seconds, Usher unfortunately sings about how “amazing,” “courageous,” “fantastic” and “awesome” (in that order) he is in the song “Radar.” Here, we are bombarded with the second Raymond – the cheesy creeper in the club, spinning one-liners out of his leather pants pocket. There’s no evidence of Jackson-esque pop music revolutionism to speak of on Ray­mond v. Raymond. Continue reading



Editor’s Pick #279: Quality Super Bowl Commercials by elizabethvogt

So, in case you were in the dark about it, Super Bowl XLIV is kicking off tonight–terrible pun I apologize, it’s been a long week. It’s no secret that those not rooting for either the Saints or the Colts will most likely be tuning in to CBS tonight for one reason: the world-famous commercials. While this year’s line-up isn’t looking too exciting, I have to admit the commercials last year were priceless, featuring talking babies and the world’s shortest commercial.

It took me by surprise, however, when a certain Pepsi commercial came on–probably immediately after a testosterone-fueled Bud Light ad. The commercial presented various video clips from the 1970’s and related each clip with those of the 21st century. The best part? Actual concert footage of both Bob Dylan and Black Eyed PeasWill.I.Am with Dylan’s “Forever Young” playing in the background. With a tagline of “Every Generation Refreshes The World,” this commercial is actually quite refreshing in itself. Hopefully, this trend will be followed for many years to come.

–Elizabeth Vogt, Assistant Front of Book Editor



Movie Music: Dazed and Confused by elizabethvogt

So completely Dazed and Confused

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Foghat’s “Slow Ride”

Receiving its namesake from the famous Led Zeppelin song, it is quite obvious that one of the main draws of Richard Linklater‘s cult film Dazed and Confused is the fantastic music of the 70’s. Whether you are into the whole classic rock scene or not, you simply will not be able to resist the high that radiates from the iconic anthems this movie features.

Even though there is basically no plot line, the songs that correspond with each scene somehow fit them perfectly. There is hardly ever a moment where there is no music playing, which helps add to the carefree attitudes of the characters. Some of the best moments of the film occur in a car, exhibiting some of the most defining songs of the decade such as Aerosmith‘s “Sweet Emotion” and War‘s “Low Rider”. When the characters arrive at the Emporium pool hall, Bob Dylan‘s “Hurricane” provides for a more laid-back tone as the characters proceed to partake in activities of the green variety. Finally, as the night begins to come to a close, the laid-back guitar riffs of Lynard Skynard‘s “Tuesday’s Gone” almost escorts the haggard characters back to their cars for the slow journey home.

Beginning and ending with Foghat’s “Slow Ride”, the track can easily be identified as the film’s “theme song”. As a coming of age movie, Dazed and Confused really needs no linear plot. As a typical teen in the 70’s, good music is really one of the only things these hard-living high schoolers need to be content. Alright, alright, alright.

-Elizabeth Vogt, Assistant Front-of-Book Editor



EDITOR’S PICK #228: MUSIC TO GET YOU THROUGH THE WINTER by dana20watts

PREVIEW: LISTEN to Free People’s “Wintry Mix”

Well, we almost made it through an entire semester with no snow, but according to this week’s weather forecast, that dream will soon become a distant memory. I don’t know about you, but Syracuse’s constant gray skies and inches of snow blowing in my face sort of put a damper on my day. If you’re the same way, pop in your headphones and listen to Free People’s “Wintry Mix” playlist. The 15 winter-themed tracks will help you actually enjoy the mounds of snow, and make you feel as though you’re living in a winter wonderland- not a sub-zero ice box.

What’s best about the playlist is that it’s a truly eclectic mix of music. There’s classic rock, indie rock and even a bit of 90s and Bob Marley thrown in. And what’s even better than the array of artists? Free People made sure to put together songs that represented the winter season in general, as well as the holidays. So instead of going crazy listening to the same Christmas songs over and over again on the radio, listen to “Wintry Mix” on your way to class and enjoy the extreme weather that you’ll be experiencing until April.

–Dana Mikaelian, Communications Director



The Eventual Mediocrity of Brilliant Debut Artists by cweeks88

With bands like Vampire Weekend and Arctic Monkeys making mediocre follow-up albums, will the same happen to Fleet Foxes?

Vampire Weekend just came out with a new single “Cousins” — and what a disappointing pile of shit! You’d figure that after making their debut album with so many great tunes, they’d be bound to make a more brilliant follow-up album. Unfortunately, with “Cousins” it sounds like the sun just rose on a Monday morning for this skeleton crew. To be fair, Vampire Weekend are not the only band that seem to be facing this problem. Throughout the decade a whole lot of new Indie bands with brilliant debut albums have been popping up—where they have barely been able to create a worthy-enough follow up.

The list goes on and on with bands and artists that got their big break this decade on both sides of the pond. In Britain, bands like The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys each released debut albums that were universally adored by critics and new fans alike: Up The Bracket and Whatever People Say I Am, That Is What I Am Not—the latter of which is currently the UK’s fastest-selling debut album (note:  Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle recently topped this accolade with her I Dreamed a Dream album). Nevertheless, these two bands–led by the apparent songwriting genius’ Pete Doherty and Alex Turner — never seem to have been able to top their debuts with their later works. Continue reading




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