20 Watts

UU confirms Drake will headline Syracuse University’s Block Party 2010

Drake is coming to Syracuse!

PREVIEW: VISIT Drake’s MySpace

20 Watts called it a week ago and University Union just confirmed: in a press release distributed to campus media outlets early this morning (with the exception of the Daily Orange, of course, which inexplicably gets special treatment), UU public relations director Brittany Frederickson revealed that Drake will in fact be headlining Block Party 2010.

Openers include Francis & The Lights, K-OS and a “special guest” to be announced later in the semester. The concert will be on Friday April 30 at 8 p.m. in the Carrier Dome; tickets are $15 for students and $25 for the general public.

20 Watts broke the news on February 18 after Drake announced a stop in Syracuse via his Myspace. At the time, SU grad student and producer Nick Cicero, who is signed to the same label as Drake’s producer, said that the rapper was “supposed to be coming” but that it wasn’t “uber-official” yet.

Drake’s last release was the mixtape The Drought is Over: Friends with Money, which 20 Watts’ reviews editor John Cassillo gave a 13 out of 20 watts.

20 Watts will continue reporting on the spring semester concert schedule as information becomes available.

— Caitlin Dewey

Editor’s Pick #195: Rainbow Arabia

Rainbow Arabia = M.I.A. + Gang Gang Dance + LSD

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Rainbow Arabia’s “Omar K” MP3

20 Watts’ staff recently spent a good two hours arguing about the top albums of the decade. I was pushing really hard for an M.I.A. entry on the list — a request that everyone, including my managing ed, summarily dismissed. Okay, sure, “Paper Planes” was way overplayed. But the blend of party-ready beats and tribal ululations? The whole East-meets-West-on-a-dance-floor deal? The world needs more of that.

Fortunately the world has Rainbow Arabia, an “ethnotronica” duo so compulsively danceable — and so pleasantly disorienting — that even our picky staff might be won over. Hailing from Echo Park, Cal., Rainbow Arabia force world music through an electro-dance sieve, resulting in a global neon cacophony like few you’ve ever heard. Think M.I.A. meets Gang Gang Dance meets LSD. Intriguing, right?

Rainbow Arabia have released one EP, The Basta, and one “mini-LP,” Kabukimono, on Maninmal Vinyl.  They are not currently on tour, although they are playing a string of L.A. shows throughout November.

— Caitlin Dewey, Editor in Chief

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TONIGHT: 20 Watts LAUNCH with Caution Children, the Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band and Mouth’s Cradle!
October 29, 2009, 11:54 am
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You’ve seen the fliers around campus.  You’ve watched your Facebook feeds grow cluttered with news of the show.  And if you know anyone on the 20 Watts staff, you’ve likely heard lengthy, manic rants about stencils, set times and the exact amount of singles one will need to make change at a $3 show.

We’re going with 100.  Hopefully that pans out.

TONIGHT: Caution Children, the Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band and Mouth’s Cradle play the Jab! Doors at 9!  Music at 9:30!  Caution Children are trekking all the way from Ithaca to play this show, and if you haven’t seen NTMJB or Mouth’s Cradle before, take our word for it — they’re not acts to be missed.

Please, please come out to support SU’s leading voice on music so that we can continue bringing you music news and coverage daily online and in print twice a semester.

And look out for full coverage of the show on 20 Watts this weekend, plus issue 19 on shelves Nov. 2!

Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band Jam Out at University Union’s First “Artists on the Brink” Event

The ridiculously named Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band is doubtlessly one of the best student bands at S.U. today

Crowded on the floor in front of the stage, perched on a pool table toward the back of the room and huddled haphazardly around a series of small cafe tables, over 40 students crammed into the Jabberwocky Cafe last night to get a glimpse of three up-and-coming student bands.

The University Union-sponsored performance was the first in a new series, called “Artists on the Brink,” which U.U. hopes to hold biweekly in the intimate Schine venue.  Singer-songwriters Stephen Babcock and Jason Steklof opened, while the Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band — doubtlessly one of the best acts on campus right now — closed out the evening with a series of driven, down-home folk-rock numbers.

NTMJB, if you’re reading this, 20 Watts wants you to play our launch show.  For real.  In the mean time, catch the band at Funk ‘n’ Waffles, or join the UUInsider group on Facebook for alerts on campus concerts like this one.


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Editor’s Pick 178: Maiko’s Kanye West/Taylor Swift Mash-Up
September 19, 2009, 2:04 pm
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It was cute, at first.  But six days after Kanye’s VMA meltdown, all the “Imma let you finish…” jokes are admittedly getting a little old.

Thankfully, one unlikely DJ has emerged from the fray to feed our lingering “Kanye-gate” obsession without resorting to yet another lame Beyonce pun.  Matt Kammerer, a Hawaiian electronic musician who goes by the name Makaio, released an irresistible mash-up of Kanye’s “Stronger” and Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” earlier this week.  In an interview with Paste magazine, Kammerer said  the original impulse behind the mix was sympathy for the downtrodden Swift — like many of us, he thought “oh this poor girl!” when he saw the VMAs.

“And then I started thinking, oh, it’d be amazing if I could put some Kanye on here,” Kammerer told Paste.  “I thought it would be fun and, forgive me for using this horrible term, post-modern, to put these two artists from completely different genres together, playing off of that conflict from Sunday night.”

I don’t know about postmodern, but the resulting track is definitely fun.  Stream it on Kammerer’s Youtube channel and watch for his two-disc debut, “Town/Country,” scheduled to drop sometime this year.

— Caitlin Dewey, Editor in Chief

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Editors Pick #174: The Black Atlantic
The Black Atlantic

The Black Atlantic play chilly, Bon Iver-tinged baroque pop

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD The Black Atlantic’s Reverence for the Fallen Trees
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 20 Watts Reviews The Antlers’ Hospice, Emerging Artist: The Antlers

With their sad, shadowy crooning and sweet acoustic overtures, Holland’s The Black Atlantic are pretty much perfect for gusty fall weather.  Frontman Geert van der Velde, late of the metal act Shai Hulud, wails and mourns like a Nordic Bon Iver, while the rest of the band — piano, flute and ukulele in hand — channel baroque pop through a chilly, North Sea lens.

Appropriately, the majority of their recent debut, Reverence for the Fallen Trees, was recorded in a log cabin in the Adirondacks.  Its ten tracks, all earnest meditations on life, death and remembrance, can be downloaded for free on the Black Atlantic’s site.  The Antlers and Spanish Prisoners also make appearances.

If you like either of those bands — or Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, and others of their folk-pop ilk — you’ll have Reverence on heavy rotation.

— Caitlin Dewey, Editor in Chief

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Girl Talk, Jack’s Mannequin and the Cool Kids to play Syracuse University’s Juice Jam
Girl Talk played Cornell's Barton Hall last spring, and will headline Syracuse University's Juice Jam on BLANK

Girl Talk played Cornell's Barton Hall last spring, and will headline Syracuse University's Juice Jam on September 13

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Girl Talk at Cornell, Girl Talk at Cornell II, 20 Watts’ Girl Talk PodcastUU Concerts’ Ridiculous Survey

Juice Jam rumors have been flying fast since UU Concerts dropped its impressive concert survey early this summer, but the Daily Orange has finally confirmed: Girl Talk will be headlining this year’s start-of-term concert, with Jack’s Mannequin and the Cool Kids opening.

It’s an exciting announcement for many SU students, who have seen these same acts narrowly pass our campus oh-so-many times before.  You’ll recall that Girl Talk, a.k.a. mash-up artist Gregg Gillis, made an appearance at Cornell last March, stirring the entire student body into a sweaty neon frenzy.  And Jack’s Mannequin, the piano-drenched power-pop outfit of former Something Corporate frontman Andrew McMahon, played a show at LeMoyne last year.

Now, students will have a chance to catch McMahon’s West Coast ballads and Gillis’ chaotic pop culture collages all in one convenient place!  Add the ’80s nonchalance of alt hip-hop duo the Cool Kids — who 20 Watts named an artist to watch last spring — and you have one hell of a kick-off show.

20 Watts will have extensive preview coverage in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, put on Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals, check out the footage from Girl Talk’s Cornell show below the jump, and start practicing your dance moves — Juice Jam really will jam this year.

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