20 Watts


ISSUE 22 | Q&A: An Interview with Portugal. The Man by 20watts

John Baldwin Gourley of Portugal. The Man sat down with 20 Watts for a nice long chat. Here's what he had to say!

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
PREVIEW: Click to access music and more info on Portugal. The Man!

Experimental indie rockers Portugal. The Man started out in Alaska in 2004 and have since released five studio albums and played countless shows, including one at Syracuse’s Westcott Theater last year. Coming off the release of their latest album American Ghetto, Portugal. The Man frontman John Baldwin Gourley agreed to talk with 20 Watts for a nice, long Q&A session.

20 Watts: In a short amount of time, you guys have amassed a pretty impressive catalogue. Some might even make the comparison to The Beatles… What’s been your favorite album that you guys have recorded so far?

John Gourley: Well, I know this is going to sound silly but every time we go into the studio I say that I’m Continue reading

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ISSUE 22 | Reviews: Meth, Ghost & Rae’s Wu-Massacre by 20watts

Meth, Ghost and Rae's Wu-Massacre: ""

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts
PREVIEW: CLICK here to visit Meth, Ghost & Rae‘s Myspace

The Wu-Tang Clan are one of the most respected, critically acclaimed hip-hop groups of all time. Debuting in 1993 with the classic album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the Clan has provided hip-hop purists with a gritty, boom-bap sound. Since then, the nine members of the Wu have dispersed throughout the entertainment industry, delivering a multitude of solo albums and coming back together for various collaborations and a handful of satisfactory albums.

Raekwon, Method Man and Ghostface have reunited in 2010 to create Wu-Massacre. With fabulous album artwork, Wu-Massacre is designed to bring fans back to the old school Wu sound, something that not seen on 2007’s 8 Diagrams. The album succeeds in its attempt to resurrect a sound that is now Continue reading

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20 Watts Reviews Meth, Ghost & Rae’s Wu-Massacre by JohnCassillo

For a modest "fan album," Wu-Massacre packs quite a punch

PREVIEW: VISIT Meth, Ghost & Rae’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Back together for the first time since 2007’s 8 Diagrams, Wu-Tang Clan‘s Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon haven’t lost a beat. Recording their self-proclaimed “fan album,” Meth, Ghost & Rae end up turning back the clock to gangsta rap’s 1990s heyday, as they sling smooth, yet violent rhymes over fresh backing tracks. Needless to say, the results could surprise the current rap game.

In today’s hip-hop scene, gangsta rap has mostly disappeared. There have been fleeting moments when its return seemed possible– mostly releases from Wu-Tang members (mainly these three) and various mixtapes (see either of Freddie Gibbs‘s 2009 efforts). But for the most part, that segment of the genre has given way to the more radio-oriented Kanye Wests and Lil’ Waynes of the world. As you may have guessed, Wu-Massacre meets none of these popular conceptions. Continue reading



Scene Around Town: Ghostface Killah with Skyzoo at the Westcott by crumblymuffin
Ghostface5Ghostface Killah’s openers were more impressive than Ghostface at Westcott Theater last night

Exclusive photos and coverage below the cut!

Hip-hop shows always seem to be hit or miss.  Either the performer’s on point and the crowd’s loving it, or it’s a gaudy free-for-all onstage and the music just doesn’t live up to how it sounds on record.  Last night’s Ghostface Killah show at The Westcott was a little bit of both, with late appearances, brutal performances and a considerable amount of trash-talk.  But what would you expect from a Wu-Tang member anyway?

The show started with a string of local openers, beginning with Myles P, whose jagged flow and attempts at 808s and Heartbreak R&B vocals made me walk out on his set, regardless of his mystifyingly dedicated fanbase, who rocked with him for the whole show. A strangely captivating but ultimately questionable local group followed, whose name I couldn’t catch and who didn’t appear on any showbills.  They made a lot of noise about local hip-hop, but it was hard to buy. Continue reading



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



Music Video Spotlight: Raekwon’s “The New Wu” by zegoldst
July 15, 2009, 1:23 pm
Filed under: Music Videos | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The New Wu feat. Ghostface Killah & Method Man – Raekwon

Ghostface Killah, Method Man and Raekwon.  What’s not to like about this line-up from three members of the Wu-Tang Clan?

This video takes place in two different settings: on the streets and in the club. On the streets Raekwon is being spied on by the cops. He captures one of them and threatens to kill him (that’s the extent of the plot). In the club, it’s a big party with many special guests — like RZA, The Alchemist, MoeRoc and Mad Linx, to name a few.

Of course, no video would be complete without a few product placements, too.  The most notable occurs around 1:30 on the bottom right of the screen — there’s a guy wearing a Louis Vuitton jacket and hat, which is worth well over $2,000.

— Zach Goldstein