20 Watts

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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Editors Pick #140: Best Sets at Siren by caitlindewey
20 Watts picks our favorite sets at Siren

20 Watts picks/predicts the best sets at Coney Island's Siren Festival

As phenomenal as it is to see a bunch of awesome bands together, music festivals do have their drawbacks.  There are crowds, for starters — huge, unpredictable, often inebriated masses, which will crowd you out from the front of the stage, crowd surf at totally inappropriate times, and elbow you in the face when you’re trying to take a photograph (…not that I speak from experience, or anything).  There’s the food, which is always overpriced and almost always inedible, depending on how much you’ve had to drink.  Then there’s the sweltering heat, the sunburn, the tall dude who had to stand RIGHT in front of you, the gaggle of 16-year-olds giggling at the rear.

But the biggest problem of all, by far, is choosing which bands to see when several sets occur at the same, or almost the same, times.

Coney Island’s Siren Festival is kind enough to stagger their sets.  But in case you don’t want to sprint from stage to stage, or (God forbid) take a breather between the hours of 1:00 and 8:00, these are my personal Siren picks.

1:00 — Tiny Masters of Today [Main Stage]

Adolescent duo with serious industry cred splat out bratty punk anthems.  Are they awesome because they’re barely in high school, or because the chorus on “K.I.D.S.” is so fun to jam out to?  I’m not entirely sure, but David Bowie’s called their work “genius.”

2:00 — Micachu & The Shapes [Main Stage]

Unconventional and often inaccessible “pop,” played on customized or homemade instruments.  One part garage, one part glitch, and several parts awesome.

3:00 — Japandroids [Main Stage]

Simple, straightforward, no frills garage rock that could have come straight from the 1990s.  Something that sounds this fun on an album must be really incredible live.

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