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20 Watts Ghostface Killah’s Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City by JohnCassillo
Ghostface Killah's soulful experiment is a success

Ghostface Killah's soulful experiment is a success

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Ghostface Killah’s “Paragraphs of Love” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 17/20 Watts

Ghostface Killah’s new album Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City is a highly creative and uniquely conceptual work. Ghostface, one of the nine original members of the Wu-Tang Clan, strays far from the venomous battle raps he was dishing out in the early nineties. The love-themed Ghostdini is a marked departure from older themes, displaying his versatility even as a chart-topping artist.

As Ghostface said himself, the album is R&B-inspired, and all of the songs, both from a production and lyrical standpoint, have a soulful and loving feel. Ghostface also recruited a handful of singers to help him with the choruses and progressions on the songs. Appearances by Lloyd, Estelle, John Legend, Adrienne Bailon and Raheem Devaughn provide the album with a coherent feel that strengthens the fluidity between the track listing. Continue reading

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News of Note: Ellen Degeneres is Fourth American Idol Judge, Minus the Bear Play the Westcott, Ghostface Killah Track List and More by 20watts
Ellen Degeneres just might entice us to watch American Idol

Ellen Degeneres just might entice us to watch American Idol

Whoa — I might ACTUALLY have to watch American Idol now.  Ellen Degeneres, the oh-so-lovable, dance-crazy comic, was named the show’s fourth permanent judge just an hour ago, according to MTV.  Degeneres has no legitimate music credentials that we can name, but hey, neither did Paula Adbul!  And Degeneres is at least pretty funny. Katy Perry, Joe Jonas, Avril Lavigne, Mary J. Blige and Shania Twain will also serve as guest judges. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: The Bird and the Bee Play Ellen Degeneres]

Minus the Bear’s fall tour is old hat around here — the Westcott Theater has, after all, been shouting their November 17th date from the mountaintops — but the acclaimed prog-rockers officially announced the four-week tour late this afternoon.  According to a press release, they’re touring in support of an upcoming fourth album, produced by Joe Chiccarelli (of White Stripes/My Morning Jacket fame), to be released in early 2010.  Tickets will go on sale this Saturday, though no price is currently listen on the Westcott Theater’s site. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Jack White, Chill Out!, 20 Watts Reviews Yim Yames’ Tribute To EP]

Ghostface Killah announced the track list for his September 29 album Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City.  “Baby,” the first single, is an auto-tuned love ballad that was recently released via Myspace.  The album, which is primarily R&B, will have guest appearances by Estelle, Kanye West, John Legend, Lloyd and Fabolous.  Ghostface will be performing at The Westcott on November 12 at 8 p.m.  [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Music Video Spotlight: Raekwon’s “The New Wu“]

Pitchfork posted a three-minute clip from Sufjan Stevens‘ “The BQE” multimedia set, to be released October 20.  “The BQE” features a bizarre combination of footage of NY’s notoriously congested Brooklyn- Queens Expressway, with Sufjan’s music playing in the background.  Click here to watch the clip.  Sufjan will be performing at Castaways in Ithaca on September 23. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Editor’s Pick #156: Sufjan Stevens Announces an Intimate Fall Tour]

SPIN reports that the new Micachu & the Shapes video for “Turn Me Well” premiered today, courtesy of the band’s surprisingly big fan, Bjork. The track, which juxtaposes a mechanical pop sound with more natural, organic visual layouts, is their second single off of Jewellery, which came out in March. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Editor’s Pick #79: Weird New Band … Micachu and The Shapes, Memories and Photos from Siren 2009 (Micachu and The Shapes Live)]

Daytrotter has some fabulous new sessions up this week, including a sleazy synth dance party from electro-pop all-stars Junior Boys and a gloriously rustic folk affair from the Duke and the King.  Here at 20 Watts, however, we’re most excited for the upcoming Deer Tick session, which Daytrotter announced it will tape this week.  We all fell in love with the chain-smoking, raspy-voiced John McCauley at last Sunday’s Positive Jam festival — and by we, I mean all the girls on staff.  His Daytrotter session will surely show why.  In other news, Deer Tick also announced today that they’re extending their fall tour, which includes dates with Jonny Corndawg, Cotton Jones, Holy Sons and Dolorean.  [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Deer Tick Plays Ithaca, 20 Watts Reviews Deer Tick’s Born on Flag Day]

Why is it that you never hear cool pop songs from Denmark?  Or Finland?  Norway, even?  Anyway, Fredrik — yet another sick electro act from Sweden, that mecca of Scandinavian pop — released a preview from their second album Trilogi on Stereogum today.  All layered synth films and moody introspection, “Locked in the Basement” takes some surprising Baroque pop and electro-glitch turns.  We can only hope that Trilogi does the same when it drops November 17 on The Kora Records.  [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Swedish Meatballs 1: Familijen, Swedish Meatballs 2: Kleerup]

The atmospheric electro jams of Quebec’s Michael Silver, alias CFCF, will soon have an album to call home.  Silver announced today that his debut full-length, Continent, will drop October 27 on Paper Bag Records, preceeded by an October 6 EP, The Explorers, with Swedish synth-pop darling Sally Shapiro.  You may recognize CFCF from his official remixes of dance greats like Crystal Castles, HEALTH and Hearts Revolution; the plaid-shirted party god will also be playing an October 1 show in Toronto, and DJing several sets at the CMJ Marathon in New York. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Crystal Castles Start Drama, HEALTH Play Myrtle Avenue]

Jack White and the Raconteurs have been nominated for a Country Music Award, according to Rolling Stone. The group was nominated for Best Musical Event after teaming up with country artists Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe on “Old Enough,” off the group’s second album, Consolers of the Lonely. White is currently gearing up for a tour with his other side project, The Dead Weather. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Interviews Tiny Masters of Today, Editor’s Pick #134: Jack White, Chill Out!]

RS also reports that Sonic Youth has had to postpone its performance at the Austin City Limits festival after an injury to guitarist Lee Ranaldo. The alt-rock legends had to move several dates back to January 2010 after Ranaldo fractured his wrist while playing tennis. The band released its 16th studio album, The Eternal, in June. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Review’s YACHT’s See Mystery Lights]

— 20 Watts Staff

20 Watts’ Review Roundup, Week of July 27th by JohnCassillo
Howling Bells' sophomore effort, Radio Wars, drops this week in North America

Howling Bells' sophomore effort, Radio Wars, drops this week in North America

PREVIEW: Download Howling Bells’ “Into the Chaos” MP3

Every week, 20 Watts rounds up the new releases on our radar; click the link for our full review.

Have suggestions? Leave a comment or e-mail them to 20wattsblog@gmail.com.

Howling Bells — Radio Wars

After three years of waiting, fans of this indie rock outfit finally get to hear a sophomore effort. Building on, as well as departing from, their previous, rock ‘n’ roll-oriented sound, Howling Bells have seemingly come into their own with Radio Wars. The sounds are fresh, yet haunting, with each song draped in its own unique mood. Though not necessarily a look into the future, it is definitely a look out onto the band’s bright and burgeoning horizon.

Blur — Midlife: A Beginner’s Guide to Blur

When you haven’t released any new material since 2003, the best option is probably to sum up your career to-date, for those who haven’t become acquainted yet. Such is the life of once-alternative rock gods, Blur. Back from a 6-year break, the band has given fans, both old and new, a compilation of their highlights from 1990 to 2003. Still, this is not a greatest hits album in any sense. Instead, the band keenly focuses in on their career highlights, instead of just radio highlights or singles. The result, for the most part, is a great collection that’s a worthy acquisition for any fan.

FabolousLoso’s Way

Back with his fifth full-length release, Fabolous has diverted little from his tried-and-true formula for turning out hit tracks, only to deliver yet another solid effort. Chock full of guest appearances, Loso’s Way is his spin on hit crime film Carlito’s Way (sort of), yet even offers sentimental moments, including his reflections on fatherhood. Not into the soft stuff? Then tune in for the must-listen Lil’ Wayne track, as well as contributions by Jay-Z, Ne-Yo and The Dream (amongst others).

YACHT — See Mystery Lights

Released into today’s electronic-friendly environment, YACHT’s See Mystery Lights is almost destined to thrive. And yet, Jonathan Bechtolt, for the most part, restrains himself from overusing synths and auto-tune. Rather, he strikes a fair balance between the noise rock and pop influences that are glaringly obvious throughout, and delivers some really interesting and engaging music that is sure to have listeners up and dancing. Whether he’s hitting or subtly missing, what carries YACHT here is a streak of confidence any listener can appreciate.

The Dodos — Time to Die

The follow-up to 2008’s much-heralded release, Visiter, is being released much earlier than originally anticipated. Leaked onto the internet over two months before its official release, Time to Die quickly gained supporters and detractors. With new, top-of-the-line production values (courtesy of Phil Ek), all critics have been impressed with sound quality, but song quality has been a bit more contentious. Still, it’s full of worthwhile moments that show some growth from their previous effort, and a look towards future potential.

— John Cassillo, Reviews Editor

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