20 Watts


20 Watts Reviews Tegan and Sara’s Sainthood
October 27, 2009, 4:16 am
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: , , , ,

tegansarasainthoodcover

Tegan and Sara have released their sixth studio album, Sainthood

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Tegan and Sara’s “Red Belt” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

The Quinn twins have shed another layer of skin in their most recent release, Sainthood. Less juvenile, and more big-picture, Tegan and Sara sing of the gradual acceptance of a hard break-up. But instead of being “a little scared” and just wanting “back in your head,” as professed  2007’s  The Con, they are now “hard-hearted” and “ready for a fight,” as stated on one of this album’s best, “Sentimental Tune.”

A progression from their last three albums is so apparent, an age can easily be assigned to each effort. So Jealous acts like an angst-ridden high school student, The Con being a more mature and more confused young adult. Now, Sainthood comes to audiences with a fully-grown sound. Hell, the sisters are at the cusp of turning 30. As musicians, they are certainly starting to act like it. Continue reading

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20 Watts Reviews The Kings of Convenience’s Conditions
The Kings of Convenience release a new album, five years after their previous record.

The Kings of Convenience release a new album, five years after their previous record.

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD The Kings of Convenience’s “Mrs. Cold” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts

After five years of traveling and working on side projects, the present day Simon & Garfunkel have released their third album. Kings of Convenience’s Declaration of Dependence is filled with acoustic melodies that are characteristically easy and quiet, largely what one would expect from the Norwegian musical group.

Finger-picking and soft violin accompaniments are staples of the album. Supplying the whole of the beat on Declaration, the band proclaims it to be the “most rhythmical pop record ever that features no percussion or drums.” Perhaps this is true. Regardless, the sound of the album as a whole is pleasant, if nothing else. Continue reading

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20 Watts Reviews The Mountain Goats’ The Life of the World to Come
TMG-The-Life-of-the-World-to-Come

The Mountain Goats' new album proves more spiritual than religious.

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD The Mountain Goats’ “Genesis 3:23” MP3
WE GIVE IT:
17/20 watts

Don’t let the track names or album title fool you — this is not a religious album. At most, it is spiritual. It is said to be autobiographical. But, if nothing else, The Mountain GoatsThe Life of the World to Come is heartfelt and meaningful.

A major aspect of this possible concept album is the fact that it is largely based off of lead singer John Darnielle’s life. Lest, when has Darnielle not drawn albums from his own experiences? Listening to The Sunset Tree, for example, you can hear his account of a dark childhood. Here though, he uses parables from the Bible as framework to reflect on his past. Be they stories of love, or death, or the life somewhere in between, Darnielle is reminded of the Gospel. Continue reading

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20 Watts Reviews The Twilight Sad’s Forget the Night Ahead
Forget the Night Ahead

Forget the Night Ahead plays more maturely than The Twilight Sad's first record

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD The Twilight Sad’s “I Became a Prostitute” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts

“Shoegaze” comes to mind upon initial listen to The Twilight Sad’s Forget the Night Ahead. Two years after their debut studio album, the band has gotten noisier, grungier and bigger than fans may have expected. Their tracks are now primarily accented with distorted guitars and dark, heavy lyrics. But beyond that initial impression, you get the feeling that the band’s members have experienced quite a bit of growing up recently.

The album may be louder, but it is also more mature. Each track flows together, connected with experimental breakdowns and an instrumental number, “Scissors.” Both show a growing concern with guitar over vocals. Cohesion seems to be pertinent to the album’s construction, as opposed to their last album. Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, though a good first release, played like random songs in a haphazard order. Here, there is a definite musical and lyrical reasoning behind the tracklisting. Continue reading