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

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20 Watts Reviews Frightened Rabbits’ Winter Of Mixed Drinks by Marc Sollinger

Frightened Rabbit manages to do some good things, with a lot of sameness as well

PREVIEW: VISIT Frightened Rabbit’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 14/20

Frightened Rabbit make anthems.  Their songs soar, rise and crescendo, coalescing in choruses that the listener is powerless not to sing along to.  Their songs are sweeping, epic and grand, cataloguing nothing but the most deeply felt emotion.  Frightened Rabbit seem incapable of writing anything without an almost obscene level of pulsating energy just below, and more frequently above, the surface of the song.  Their new album The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, is more of the same.  But, that’s not always a bad thing.

Sounding like a Scottish version of Arcade Fire, all crashing crescendos, ghostly atmospherics, and expressive vocals, The Winter of Mixed Drinks takes the self-loathing of their previous album Midnight Organ Fight, and manages to keep it entirely intact.  Scott Hutchinson, the lead singer and songwriter of Frightened Rabbit, may be the most depressing British lyricist since the glory days of Morissey, yet the band never sounds anything less than hopeful.  The credit for this belongs both to Hutchinson’s powerful, passionate delivery and the wonderful, thrilling guitars pounding along right beside him. Continue reading

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20 WATTS RADIO: THURSDAY FEB 25TH ON AUDIOCANDY by Irina Dvalidze
20 WATTS RADIO: THURSDAY FEB 25TH ON AUDIOCANDY

20 WATTS RADIO: THURSDAY FEB 25TH ON AUDIOCANDY

Preview: Make sure you check out Audiocandyradio.com

It is Thursday night and 20 Watts Radio is on Audiocandy. Make sure you tune in and don’t miss out on our great selection of awesome tunes.  We have some cool news happening at 20 Watts you simply cant miss. We are gonna give you a run down on some local shows that will be happening this weekend. If you are in Cuse you are most likely snowed in anyway, so join us for a quick getaway as we give you a run down of the awesome stuff you can do in Syracuse once this snow melts. Not to mention if you wanna request a song, all you need to do it tweet at you host here. So make sure to join 20 Watts on Auodiocandy 10 pm sharp. To tune in Click Here.

Show Playlist

1. Taxi Cab – Vampire Weekend
2. Something About Us – Daft Punk
3. Seahorse – Devendra Banhart
4. Actor Out of Work – St. Vincent
5. Laura – Girls
6. Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
7. where do you go to my lovely – Peter Sarstedt
8. Crown of Love – Arcade Fire
9. Grace Kelly – Mika
10. Hong Kong Garden – Siouxsie & The Banshees
11. Friday XIII – Deer Tick
12. Elephant Gun – Beirut
13. Nothing Ever Happened – Deerhunter
14. Silence Kid – Pavement
15. My Parents Lied – The Static Jacks
16. Gold and a Pager – The Cool Kids
17. Don’t Haunt This Place – The Rural Alberta Advantage
18. The Fox In The Snow – Belle & Sebastian
19. Snow and Lights- Explosions in the Sky
20. Snow (Hey Oh) – The Red Hot Chili Peppers
21. Wintertime Love – Choir Of Young Believers
22. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
–Irina Dvalidze
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20 Watts’ Best of 2009: #13 St. Vincent’s Actor by JohnCassillo

St. Vincent's Actor is number 13 on our Best of 2009 list

PREVIEW: VISIT St. Vincent’s MySpace
TOP TRACK: “The Strangers”

Annie Clark, the adorable, skinny, curly-haired musician behind St. Vincent has been connected with some of the biggest names in indie music. Clark dropped out of Berklee College of Music to join The Polyphonic Spree, and sang with Sufjan Stevens on his 2006 tour. She’s opened for huge acts such as Arcade Fire and Death Cab for Cutie. Plus, she’s currently touring with Grizzly Bear.

Her latest effort, Actor, is an audible treat. The Brooklyn-based Clark has put together the ideal internal soundtrack for the best day ever, with the album. St. Vincent released Actor in May and its beauty stunned listeners. The first track, “The Strangers” opens with a hauntingly moving choral and woodwind arrangement, introducing us to a world far, far away of St. Vincent’s playful melodies and clever lyrics. “The Strangers” is a dynamic song that presents a musical journey more complex than that of many entire albums. A steady bass drum keeps the song connected throughout. Clark’s voice is relatively staid and mellow. Haunting instrumental breaks provide a heavy contrast to her singing.

“Actor out of Work” was the single release from Actor–you may have heard it on the Urban Outfitters’ playlist (don’t be ashamed, we know you’re downloading it). The song demonstrates St. Vincent’s songwriting talent. From a bit of an electronic feel to the guitar line to an operatic chorus, the song combines seemingly disparate sounds into pure cohesion. With a quick escalation into the chorus, Clark creates the perfect pop song condensed into 2:15.

With Actor, St. Vincent proved her ability to surprise with music that is perfectly pop despite an odd mix of mysterious melodies, choral backgrounds and a dash of straight-up adorability. However, it serves her well, with the contrast directly contributing to the effort’s overall success.

–Mary Cappabianca



The Eventual Mediocrity of Brilliant Debut Artists by cweeks88

With bands like Vampire Weekend and Arctic Monkeys making mediocre follow-up albums, will the same happen to Fleet Foxes?

Vampire Weekend just came out with a new single “Cousins” — and what a disappointing pile of shit! You’d figure that after making their debut album with so many great tunes, they’d be bound to make a more brilliant follow-up album. Unfortunately, with “Cousins” it sounds like the sun just rose on a Monday morning for this skeleton crew. To be fair, Vampire Weekend are not the only band that seem to be facing this problem. Throughout the decade a whole lot of new Indie bands with brilliant debut albums have been popping up—where they have barely been able to create a worthy-enough follow up.

The list goes on and on with bands and artists that got their big break this decade on both sides of the pond. In Britain, bands like The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys each released debut albums that were universally adored by critics and new fans alike: Up The Bracket and Whatever People Say I Am, That Is What I Am Not—the latter of which is currently the UK’s fastest-selling debut album (note:  Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle recently topped this accolade with her I Dreamed a Dream album). Nevertheless, these two bands–led by the apparent songwriting genius’ Pete Doherty and Alex Turner — never seem to have been able to top their debuts with their later works. Continue reading

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ISSUE 20 | 20 Watts Interviews Parlovr by tjwell01

On the eve of a new EP and still unsigned, Parlovr is anxious to branch out

PREVIEW: VISIT Parlovr’s MySpace

Check out 20 Watts’ exclusive interview with Parlovr’s Louis Jackson. Jackson and Parlovr are an unsigned indie rock band based in Montreal, and one of 20 Watts’ favorite emerging artists. With just a little guitar kit from K-Mart and mountains of spirit, Parlovr is clawing it’s way to the top of the exploding Montreal music scene.

— Jett Wells

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20 Watts Radio: Saturday Nov. 14 by 20watts
Photo 14

20 Watts played Asobi Seksu, DJ Shadow and more on WERW

Eric, Chris and Caitlin are in the studio this evening spinning an hour of new music, an hour of trip-hop and an hour of local songs! Tune in by opening iTunes and selecting radio > college radio > WERW or by clicking this link. We’ll be in the studio until 1 a.m.!

Want to talk to us or request a song? IM werw1570, tweet @20_watts or call (315) 443-1278. The third caller gets Chris Parker’s voice on their voicemail… it doesn’t get much better than that.

New tracks are in bold, local artists are italicized.

And don’t forget to tune in to 20 Watts’ Audiocandy+ shows on Wednesday and Thursday from 9-11 p.m.!

artist: Asobi Seksu [read our review of Transparence]
title: New Year
album: Rewolf

artist: Echo and the Bunnymen [13/20 watts — read the review]
title: Life of a Thousand Crimes
album: The Fountain

artist: Omar Rodriguez Lopez
title: Azoemia
album: Xenophanes

Continue reading