20 Watts

ISSUE 22 | The Five: Rosie and Me, Ellie Goulding, Cults, Hunx and His Punx and Freddie Gibbs by 20watts

Brazilian folk artists are just one act in the latest edition of 20 Watts' FIVE, the FIVE acts you need to hear now! Read more here!

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
PREVIEW: Click on the links below to access music and learn even more about these bands!

Rosie and Me (pictured above)

If you thought the best genres Brazil produced were metal (Sepultura), Bossa nova (Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto) and tropicalia (Os Mutantes), we’ve got two words for you: indie folk.

Mostly bypassing the obvious Brazilian influences, Rosie and Me sound more like an American folk band, and a very good one at that.
Rosie and Me dropped their first independent release, the Bird and Whale EP, this March. They specialize in short and steady folk-pop, condensed into contented 3-minute saunters. Rosanne Machado’s vocals call Syracuse’s very own Sarah Aument to mind while the band’s use of the ukulele channels Beirut’s finest work.

Rosie and Me are safely addictive. Their formula isn’t anything to fill arenas, and indeed they may never do so. But Rosie and Me’s sound has less to do with stadium-heavy statements and more to do with making impressions—impressions of love, of loss and of life. The horn flourishes on “Old Folks (New Year)” are gestures, not statements, and it’s this quiet “show, don’t tell” aesthetic that elevates Rosie and Me past their international contemporaries.

BY Eric Vilas-Boas

Ellie Goulding

It seems the British have a knack for massproducing doe-eyed songstresses that dominate every blogger’s iTunes library within seconds of hitting the Internet. Unlike most wannabe 20-somethings looking to wow the world with their mad synth skills, Ellie Goulding is a riser with substance and raw talent.
Her soulfully delicate voice in tow, Goulding stepped onto the scene in late 2009 with her EP An Introduction to Ellie Goulding, shortly followed in 2010 by Lights, a phenomenal studio album, which earned her mass recognition.

Goulding’s lyrics stand out as well. Largely devoid of clichés, Goulding’s lyrics rely on simple lines to convey emotional intricacies that subtly interlace with light and airy melodies. While her sound is full of pop appeal, it is also versatile, capturing elaborate acoustic and folk tones.

Already an award-winning act across the pond, Ellie Goulding is sure to become an international phenomenon.

BY Irina Dvalidze


If you try to Google “Cults,” you probably won’t find much more than those Klu Klux Krazies. Change that term to “Cults music” and you’ll probably come across a fair share of ’80s rock. You’d be getting warmer, but you still wouldn’t have what you need.

You need Cults to heat up your summer. Originally from San Diego, enigmatic indie-poppers Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin migrated to New York City to study filmmaking, eventually ending up making music. Luckily for them, their unassuming Bandcamp.com uploads are gems just teasing at an acclaimed full-length debut.

With their hazy sounds sprinkled with xylophone melodies, Cults’ songs are a perfect start to a summer’s day. Follin’s voice is at times reminiscent of Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife, minus the synthesizers, plus the perfect amount of echo. “Go Outside” – Cults’ most popular single as of now – makes you want to do just that, and couldn’t come at a better time. Let’s just hope you can find them on Google.

BY Paris Peckerman

Hunx and His Punx

With a no-shame, no-inhibition style, Hunx and His Punx bring a fresh take on the indie underground and have acquired a wide following throughout the last few years doing so.

Beloved for his original records and videos, Seth Bogart, or Hunx, sings with his Punx about the love and death of his male acquaintances, friends and relatives. With the help of Matador Records, Hunx and His Punx offer a sound that resembles The Ramones in a homoerotic bubblegum-pop fashion, with bouncily gay garage rock abounds.

Hunx has consistently pushed the envelope with his engaging image and stage performances, especially after the release of his new album, Gay Singles. Preparing for a tour across Europe later this month, Hunx was originally a member of the now-defunct Gravy Train!!!!, but began the current stint with his Punx in 2008.

While wrapping your head around Hunx’s almost indescribable new direction may take some a little time, the rest of us will be sure to start bopping our heads in rhythm to surefire hits like “Good Kisser” and “Teardrops on My Telephone.”

BY Claudia Scholz

Freddie Gibbs

Rejection is usually the sort of thing that can get a person down. Not so in the case of Freddie Gibbs, however. The Gary, Ind. rapper has been released from both the Ball State football team and relieved of his contract with Interscope Records before ever producing an album, and yet, he can’t help but exude confidence anyway.

In 2009, Gibbs became a mainstay of the underground hip-hop scene, putting out two separate, critically acclaimed mixtapes—the second of which, midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik best displayed both his street pedigree and knack for choosing some of the hottest beats in recent rap.

For his 2010 encore, Gibbs has hit the ground running early. Already releasing four different tracks from upcoming mixtape Str8 Killa No Filla, including the scintillating “Crushin’ Feelins,” his hype is starting to rise. With a sound that echoes equal parts Dr. Dre, Outkast and 2Pac, it’s easy to see why.

BY John Cassillo

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