20 Watts

Concert Preview: videohippos

vhWelcome to NYC, where the only place you can get into a show if you’re not 18 is a DIY venue in Brooklyn. Thankfully, there are more all ages shows being organized than ever in this borough that was once only a reminder of a racially and culturally divided city. The Market Hotel is a venue off the JMZ Myrtle-Broadway stop (actually a few hundred feet from my front door) and is host to many of these alternative rock/electronica/all genre shows. I have checked out the venue for myself, and while it’s pretty cool (and cheap!), it’s definitely no Music Hall of Williamsburg, which can be a good thing. The moldings on the walls and 20 ft. ceilings elude to days where maybe Bushwick was a more desirable place to live, with catering halls and events galore – but then again, maybe not.

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Radiohead Return to Studio
May 18, 2009, 11:47 am
Filed under: Industry News | Tags: , , , , ,

These musicians do not take a lot of time off. After releasing one of the best albums of 2007, touring the world, and achieving a level of fame unequaled by Hollywood stars, Radiohead are back at it again. The band has returned to the studio to record a new album with producer Nigel Godrich, who has produced all Radiohead albums since OK Computer. Although they only started recording last week, millions all over the world are already excited to hear what the next Radiohead album has to offer.

–Kyra Zeller

Emerging Artists: The Antlers & FREE DOWNLOAD!
May 3, 2009, 9:27 pm
Filed under: Emerging Artists, Free 4 All | Tags: , , , ,

antlersAlright, so their album is called Hospice, which would generally be a turn-off because of the over-the-top-emo-ness of the title, but somehow the band drags you into their animal world. And for some reason every song keeps you on your toes, ready to pounce and search for more. There is a huge build in the song “Kettering,” until the music breaks and opens up into a mix of TV on the Radio and the end of the song “Fluorescent Grey” by Deerhunter. It’s not so much the sound comparison to Deerhunter as much as the magnificence of the music once the song starts going crazy. The recording sounds like a lot more than three people. Hopefully they can have the same effect in a live setting.

If you are a fan of Bon Iver or Fleet Foxes you will feel a huge connection to this music. While the musical styles vary, the beautiful use of vocals remains constant in each song. Whether it is the opera-style singing in “Kettering” to an Elliott Smith-like voice in “The Universe is Going to Catch You,” these guys can serenade you any day of the week. Do yourself a favor and check out their myspace, chances are you’ll click with at least one of the songs. Download their EPs below and buy their first album Hospice (self released 2009).

-Kyra Zeller

20W Free 4 All: Hospitals

20W Free 4 All: Cold War

Emerging Artist: Voldis and the melodicas

zuluYou’ll be hooked onto Voldis and the melodicas after thirty seconds into “Zulu Surfer.” This song crawls into my head, grabs onto my brain and engulfs it in a blanket of simplicity and curiosity, leaving me begging for more. This Canadian band consists of two members, Kevin Forde (Voldis) and Micheal Glucki (the melodicas). Forde’s voice reminds me of the lead of Dispatch but when paired with Glucki’s musicianship, makes me want to roll down all the windows, raise the volume, light one up, and surround myself in the beautiful summer air. With emphasis on all the right syllables, and a sound that makes scratchy sound sexy, Forde hits this recording right on target.

The other songs incorporate wind instruments and a female vocalist. “La Luna” brings me to an Italian dinner, overlooking the water but has spanish feel that makes me want to get out of my seat and salsa. The wind instrument (brass) brings in a bit of a romantic feeling while the female vocalist’s harmonies really add a delicateness to the music that is not easily attainable. If you don’t give all the songs a chance, I urge you to listen to “Zulu Surfer,” because it will probably become one of your new favorites.

-Kyra Zeller

Concert Review: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Photo: Kelly Sullan

Photo: Kelly Sullan

Photo: Kelly Sullan

Photo: Kelly Sullan

I found out yesterday afternoon that The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were playing at the Bug Jar in Rochester. At first, I was unsure of how I could get to the show since I don’t have a car, but once the thought of missing it crossed my mind, I realized there was no way i could stay in Syracuse while this show was happening in a neighboring city. I figured out a way to get to there and left a few a hours after I found out it was even happening. I was able to sit down and talk with them before their set (they were awesome – the interview will be be posted on 20Watts in the future!) and stay to see the entire show, which was definitely worth the trip but not as amazing as I expected.

Their self-titled debut album, released on February 2, 2009 on Slumberland Records, was the main chunk of their set, although they performed one song that will be released as a single on a 7 inch this summer. This album has been playing in my head since I downloaded it, so I was really excited to finally see them perform it live since I had already missed them once in NYC. From the very first note of the show, the POBPAH’s signature sound, straight up pop that is obviously influenced by the great indie bands of the early 90’s, blared from the speakers. I had never been to the Bug Jar before, and while the environment is creatively enjoyable and the setup of the venue itself makes it a great place to see a concert, the sound wasn’t that incredible. The band brought their own sound guy, which you would think would improve the quality of the show, but there was definitely much left to be desired. Continue reading

Emerging Artists: Run Toto Run

rtrThis British band is only about a year old, yet they have made headlines around the United Kingdom and were on BBC’s “Artists to Watch in 2009” list. With a soft-spoken female lead singer, Run Toto Run‘s music is both calming and creatively stimulating at the same time. Chimes, violin and electronic loops are often the main instruments and attractions in the songs. Whether it’s the chorus of recorders in “Your Face” that bring me back to fourth grade or the voice that is sweeter than a sugary Vermont maple syrup, this music is constantly playing on my computer.

Run Toto Run bring together a variety of noises, using experimental techniques to make sounds reminiscent of “Such Great Heights” by the Postal Service accompanied by vocals similar to Laura Marling. Laura Marling and Rachael, the lead singer of Run Toto Run, are female vocalists and musicians who are following in the footsteps of fellow British artists Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse. These new-age female artists are taking over the airwaves at an incredible rate. Continue reading

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Phoenix: Remix of “1901” and Free Download!

wap_myspacePhoenix has been all over the media the past few weeks. These indie heartthrobs have earned themselves a stellar reputation since 2000 when they released their first album United. They created a melting pot of funk, electronica, and indie rock that had original and fresh smells to it when it first came out. They are releasing a new album titled Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (V2 Records) on May 25, 2009, although the tracks were leaked in March and have already gained a widespread fan base. 

Andrew Maury, a Syracuse University graduate, remixed the song “1901” under the DJ collaboration Remix Artist Collective (RAC). Maury has remixed countless other bands such as Tokyo Police Club, Radiohead and Bear Hands, and has created a distinctive remix sound for himself. Be sure to check out his other remixes as well, especially the Nintendo vs. Sega EP which is both fun and nostalgic to listen to.

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