20 Watts


PREVIEW: LISTEN to Free People’s “Wintry Mix”

Well, we almost made it through an entire semester with no snow, but according to this week’s weather forecast, that dream will soon become a distant memory. I don’t know about you, but Syracuse’s constant gray skies and inches of snow blowing in my face sort of put a damper on my day. If you’re the same way, pop in your headphones and listen to Free People’s “Wintry Mix” playlist. The 15 winter-themed tracks will help you actually enjoy the mounds of snow, and make you feel as though you’re living in a winter wonderland– not a sub-zero ice box.

What’s best about the playlist is that it’s a truly eclectic mix of music. There’s classic rock, indie rock and even a bit of 90s and Bob Marley thrown in. And what’s even better than the array of artists? Free People made sure to put together songs that represented the winter season in general, as well as the holidays. So instead of going crazy listening to the same Christmas songs over and over again on the radio, listen to “Wintry Mix” on your way to class and enjoy the extreme weather that you’ll be experiencing until April.

–Dana Mikaelian, Communications Director


20 Watts Reviews The Very Best’s Warm Heart of Africa by Irina Dvalidze

The Very Best's album delivers a fresh selection of afro-beat pop

The Very Best's album delivers a fresh selection of afro-beat pop

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD The Very Best’s “Warm Heart of Africa” (Ft. Ezra Koenig) MP3
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts

The Very Best bring an eclectic and global sound to the scene with their new album Warm Heart of Africa.  Fans of anyone from Vampire Weekend to Bob Marley will have no trouble falling in love with the voice of Esau Mwamwaya and the rhythmic beats provided by producers Johan Hugo and DJ Tron.  This trio revives a sound that has been missing from music for decades.

While each song has a very different feel, the flow of the album as a whole is not disrupted.  Boredom is not an option as the pace of the album moves from relaxing, to racy, from one song to the next. Unlike most artists in today’s afro-beat genre, this album provides a natural, rather than forced sound. Wirth this in mind, The Very Best do a perfect job in combining traditional African music with the modern twist it needs to be relevant. Continue reading

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Industry News, Week 3: Sarah Bareilles, Bob Marley, North Korea, Perez Hilton, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by 20watts
March 6, 2008, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Industry News | Tags: , ,

I have crawled out from under my piles and piles of books, midterm review sheets, and paper assignments just long enough to surf the net for some good music industry happenings.


So when I first heard the song “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt, I wanted to cry because I hated it so much… not to mention that it was played on the radio for months and can still be heard in the occasion dentist office. I personally hate overplayed songs, which will inevitably transform any artist into a one-hit wonder. So when I first heard Sarah Bareilles’ “Love Song,” I thought to myself “oh no, here it goes again.”

I equate her to something like Vanessa Carlton (minus the fact that Carlton had a second hit in “White Houses”), yet my roommate loves the song and claims that I look like Bareilles. As a result, this song is constantly stuck in my head, regardless that I know Bareilles is a one-hit wonder, soon to be off the charts.

So yesterday when I came across this article equating Bareilles to a now hit-less James Blunt, I was tickled pink. The Times claims that Bareilles’ Rhapsody commercial (you know the one with the dude getting out of the shower and not being phased that she’s serenading him in his living room?) that ultimately stamped her one-way ticket to the land of one-hit.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting and it got me thinking. So if you need a study break, that’s always something to ponder…how long will it take before I hear “Love Song” played while I get my teeth cleaned?


Rita Marley, Bob Marley’s widow, just signed away the rights to her autobiography “No Woman No Cry: Living With Bob Marley.” It will depict her life with Marley as he went from local phenomenon to world success, and will mark the first film adaptation of Marley’s life and career. Although the script is not yet written, Rita Marley wishes to have Lauryn Hill portray her (of Sister Act 2 fame), as Hill is married to one of Marley’s sons from a previous relationship. Marley says that it will be an “epic romance” and it will be released in late 2009, preceding the release of Martin Scorsese’s Marley documentary in October of 2010.


North Korea is going through a musical awakening of sorts. After just receiving an epic performance from the New York Philharmonic last week, the country is seeking someone a bit more contemporary. Government officials have asked legendary guitarist Eric Clapton to come play a performance in the country if in compliance with their embassy. Apparently Kim-Jong chol, son of leader Kim-Jong il, is a big fan. Well, at least the kid’s got great music taste. Clapton has yet to accept or deny the offer.


Paris Hilton’s musical misadventures were just not a good situation for anyone. “Stars Are Blind” was quite possibly one of the worst songs ever recorded. However, a new Hilton is looking to break into the music industry, as a record producer. Perez Hilton has long featured upcoming artists and bands on his infamous blog, and was recently approached by Warner Brother Records to start his own branch of the company. Nothing is official, but Perez in currently in talks with the company. I wonder how this would affect his celebrity bashing….


You might have seen the video sweeping the internet from the Jimmy Kimmel show, “I’m F***ing Ben Affleck.” The celebrity appearances in it are insane…McLovin…Don Cheadle…Joan Jett.

Well, it probably wasn’t Jett’s video appearance that scored her a performance at this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, but for me, it earns her definite street cred. Performances will also include Damien Rice, Iggy Pop, Patti LaBelle and John Mellencamp. This year’s inductees include the Dave Clark Five and Madonna. The ceremony will take place March 10.

– Rachel