20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Gorillaz’s Plastic Beach by JohnCassillo

Gorillaz's Plastic Beach has some great singles, but lacks definition

PREVIEW: VISIT Gorillaz’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts

The often enigmatic, highly successful Gorillaz have spent over a decade infiltrating the popular and more underground music landscapes. Singles like “Feel Good Inc.” and “Clint Eastwood” have allowed the animated project international exposure and millions of record sales. And in all that time, the band has somehow avoided a real, tangible musical identity, mostly to its benefit. However, on their latest release Plastic Beach, this fact becomes a bit too obvious at times.

Among its issues, Plastic Beach tries to once again redefine the hip-hop/alternative rock/electronic project, while also aging fictional characters. Essentially, the band Damon Albarn created is now entering a more experimental, White Album-type territory in their career. And while this concept can potentially be ridiculed, its intrepidness outweighs such criticism. Reflecting on their “career,” as it may be, 2D, Murdoc, Russel and Noodle attempt to come to grips with age while harnessing the awesome power of their shape-shifting sound. Continue reading

Comments Off on 20 Watts Reviews Gorillaz’s Plastic Beach

Words of the Week: An interview with Aaron LaCrate by tjwell01

Aaron LaCrate, a big-time DJ/hip-hop mogul, is an SU Alum.

Each Monday, 20 Watts is poised to feature a new exclusive artist interview! Here we present our WORDS OF THE WEEK!

PREVIEW: Aaron LaCrate’s MySpace and his website.


From the age of 10, Aaron LaCrate has been a prolific music talent from the streets of Baltimore and went onto launching his record label and clothing line, while also collaborating with Jay-Z, Lily Allen, The Cool Kids, Gorillaz and Mark Ronson–oh, and I did mention he went to Syracuse University? He’s been a secret famous alum until now, and the stories of his DJ days at SU are eerily familiar and fascinating. After rising to the top of the underground DJ/hip-hop scene, the fellow orange wanted to reach out to share his story.

20 Watts: Talk a little bit about being a young DJ in Baltimore when you were a kid…

Aaron LaCrate: It was great. It was nothing like it is now. There were no DJs back then, there were these electronic stores that sold records, stereo equipment and car stereos, so for me I had to assemble a mobile sound system. I had to go to the Goodwills and the flea markets, whichever way, I had the two different turn tables. It was really exciting back then because it was uncharted territory. There was no way to learn how to mix, no way to learn how to do anything, but to go on your own journey and find people that would like you enough to share that information with you. It was almost a very subculture thing. It was a testament to your personality and your character to how far you would get, in a lot of ways.

Continue reading

Comments Off on Words of the Week: An interview with Aaron LaCrate

Editor’s Pick #262: Coachella Lineup Announced by jmlittman
January 19, 2010, 4:23 pm
Filed under: Editor Picks | Tags: , , , , ,


PREVIEW: Coachella’s Website for tickets

Indie rockers everywhere are going to be having wet dreams for months about this one. But don’t be deterred, from the electric feel of MGMT, LCD Soundsystem and Tiesto to the beats of Jay-Z and the Gorillaz, there’s something for everyone. You’ll be booking your flight and organizing road trips before you’ve finished reading this incredible lineup. The best part is, more acts are to come! This is a show you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on to start off a very promising festival season.

-Jen Littman, Fact Checker

Watch out for dem Gorillaz! by cweeks88

Gorillaz are back to devour your brain with British pop goodness!

WATCH Gorillaz perform their classic B-side “Hong Kong

Damon Albarn is truly one of the consummate music artists of our time. Unlike a lot of these once-great, so-called “artists” that have been reforming their old bands to make an extra buck. Albarn has put the whole Blur thing aside and is back to focusing on his “post-Blur” career by revealing that a third album by Gorillaz is almost complete.

For the new album, to be titled Plastic Beach, Albarn will be going socio-political as he goes after the shallowness of British pop-culture (and definitely by extension–American pop-culture) as seen through the original American Idol type show–The X Factor. Where in a recent interview with The Guardian, Albarn goes off on fairly comparing the artists that come out of those shows to “buying a ready made meal in loads of plastic packaging” which reflects our shallow, celebrity obsessed culture we have today.

In terms of the music Plastic Beach, which is due out next year, sounds as if it will be the biggest sounding thing this band of cartoon’s has put out yet, while “still maintain(ing) a lot of that melancholy.” Ah! Just how I like my Gorillaz! Sad but still larger-than-life!

Unlike other Britpopers and American Alt. Rockers from the 90s, Damon has always been creating fresh and enjoyable music, no matter what genre or band he is in. Albarn is up there with any great artist by utilizing and reuniting certain bands that suit him best–just for the purpose of making the best music possible. It’s a tradition many other greats like Neil Young have done. Whether it has been to achieve the ragged glory sound of Crazy Horse, to the clean and lovely harmonic sounds of Crosby, Stills and Nash. Damon Albarn will no doubt be looked back as on that similar level of greatness.

–Charlie Weeks