20 Watts


ISSUE 22 | Home Recordings: Professional Victims by 20watts

Syracuse's Professional Victims play their own unique blend of 21st-century punk

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
PREVIEW: Click to access music by and learn more about Syracuse’s Professional Victims!

Syracuse’s very own Professional Victims have all the makings of a bona fide late-20th century punk rock band—in the 21st century. Bandmates Shawn Sullivan, Ashley Cox Sullivan and Corey Koniz have the basics down: anti-establishment attitudes; punchy, guitar-driven songs under three minutes; and the hope of raising their own army of like-minded rebels.

Like the independent spirit of punk music itself Continue reading



ISSUE 21 | Reviews: Yeasayer’s Odd Blood by 20watts

Yeasayer's latest effort reveals some eclectic influences.

Part of ISSUE 21 Coverage!

PREVIEW: VISIT Yeasayer’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 17/20 Watts

Honest and eccentric, Yeasayer’s sophomore effort, Odd Blood, dips and dives through a bevy of emotions. It’s an imposing blend of experimental pop and psychedelic rock, unrelenting as its large collection of sounds caterwaul every which way. However, the album still maintains a loose organization – never wavering from its course as it explores love’s postmortem difficulties with strikingly upbeat results.

The crux of this positive outlook on an otherwise negative situation lies first in the singles, “Ambling Alp” and “O.N.E.” Drawing comparisons to the likes of TV on the Radio, the former bounces along crazed keyboards, lead singer Chris Keating’s oc­casional falsetto and Continue reading



ISSUE 21 | Reviews: Holly Miranda’s The Magician’s Private Library by 20watts

20 Watts gives Holly Miranda's debut a 16/20 Watts

Part of our Issue 21 coverage!

PREVIEW: VISIT Holly Miranda’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Branching out from her role as frontwoman for Brooklyn’s Jealous Girlfriends, Holly Miranda looked to distinguish herself in a shroud of 20- to 30-something indie starlets (Leslie Feist, Jenny Lewis, etc.). Of course, Miranda also had a leg up on much of her would-be competition. Along with her oft-mentioned good looks, TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek helped her on her journey to breakout solo fame. His experimental influence is only felt enough to be noticed (though not overbearingly so) on Miranda’s debut The Magician’s Private Library. Continue reading



ISSUE 21 | Reviews: Massive Attack’s Heligoland by 20watts

20 Watts reviews Massive Attack's Heligoland and gives it 11/20 watts.

Part of Issue 21 coverage!

PREVIEW: VISIT Massive Attack’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 11/20 Watts

When examining the often misunder­stood genre of trip-hop, it’s impossible to ignore its original trio, Massive Attack. With their 1991 release of the now-legendary Blue Lines, they proved themselves not as innovators, but instead as inventors of a dark new sound coming from the U.K. Massive Attack created a sound heavy with melancholy, yet nothing short of dread-inspiring. With that, trip-hop was bornAfter a seven-year hiatus, they return with their 2010 release, Heligoland. Trip-hop’s founding fathers had a lot to live up to with their highly anticipated return. However, the expectations of trip-hop en­thusiasts and critics alike were left mostly disappointed by Heligoland, which featured an unfamiliar and alien sound far removed from Massive Attack’s glory days. Continue reading



20 Watts Reviews Holly Miranda’s The Magician’s Private Library by JohnCassillo

Holly Miranda's solo debut creates a scenic and majestic world for listeners

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Holly Miranda’s “Forest Green Oh Forest Green” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Walking us through the potential perils we can encounter while we dream, Holly Miranda‘s The Magician’s Private Library enchants amidst her stoic resolve. In spite of the singer’s noteworthy vocal appearances on Grey’s Anatomy while fronting The Jealous Girlfriends, it is the instrumentals that keep this album moving. The serene and moody world created by producer Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio is appropriately strong–never stealing the limelight from Miranda, but pushing her along just the same.

Emotionally, Miranda toys with popular appeal without getting too attached to her subject matter. Drifting through sleep, she describes her wants, needs and desires, before they find their final resting place on closer “Sleep On Fire.” But prior to this fitting finale, there’s a lot more to hear on The Magician’s Private Library. Continue reading



20 Watts Reviews Yeasayer’s Odd Blood by JohnCassillo

Yeasayer's Odd Blood succeeds amidst a bevy of experimentation

PREVIEW: VISIT Yeasayer’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Honest and eccentric, Yeasayer‘s sophomore effort, Odd Blood, dips and dives through a bevy of emotions throughout its 10 tracks. It’s an imposing blend of experimental pop and psychedelic rock, unrelenting as its large collection of sounds caterwaul every which way. However, the album still maintains a loose organization– never dropping its direction or focus as it explores love’s post-mortem with strikingly upbeat results.

The crux of this positive outlook on an otherwise negative situation lies first in the singles, “Ambling Alp” and “O.N.E.” Drawing comparisons to the likes of TV on the Radio, the former bounces along crazed keyboards, lead singer Chris Keating’s occasional falsetto and interspersed horns. It’s a wild, stark bonanza, spinning within the loose confines of the track’s experimental nature. The ladder, on the other hand, while maintaining the same carefree vibe, employs a much more wacky approach. As Keating laments falling out of love, one cannot help but become enamored by the colorful and active background that functions very much as the lyrics’ antithesis. Continue reading



20 Watts Reviews Massive Attack’s Heligoland by jluposello

Heligoland is yet another classic added to Massive Attack's legendary discography.

PREVIEW: STREAM Heligoland from SPINNER
WE GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts

After a seven-year hiatus, trip-hop’s founding fathers have returned with a record that may not possess the genre-defining significance of Blue Lines, but certainly reaffirms their position as the quintessential embodiment of the genre. Their latest effort, Heligoland, features a sound saturated with the same focused relaxation that has made Massive Attack trip-hop’s most household name.

Heligoland opens in true Massive Attack fashion, with the intimate, yet intense cut, “Pray For Rain.” It stands as a perfect indication of what is to come later on Heligoland. “Pray For Rain” may very well embody the most attractive elements of the record into one track. Massive Attack manages to bind you to the music in a manner that’s nothing short of tangible, all the while maintaining the same cool that characterizes the roots of the Bristol Sound. Continue reading




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