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ISSUE 22 | Soundalike: Owl City by 20watts

Owl City

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!

PREVIEW: CLICK here to check out Owl City‘s website.

Adam Young likes being cute. Really cute. Consider this lyric from his chart-topping smash-hit “Fireflies”: “I get a thousand hugs / from ten thousand lightning bugs.” However, if you do the math on that saccharine gem of Owl City lyricism, it comes out to 1/10th of a hug per lightning bug. Given the size of said insect, I think most of us would prefer something a little more substantial. All math aside, the Minnesota native Young has stormed the globe with a blend of major label buzz and controversial compositions. Check out these bands and get back to us: you might get an idea of why everyone’s so fired up about Owl City. Continue reading


20 Watts Reviews Los Campesinos! Romance Is Boring by crumblymuffin

Listen to Los Campesinos! Romance is Boring

PREVIEW: VISIT Los Campesinos! MySpace

WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

High School sucked.  We spent so much time ping-ponging between awkward romantic anxiety, blowout house parties and venomous social gerrymandering that a pair of headphones was one of our few solaces.  Our computers were our record stores, Pitchfork and AbsolutePunk our ‘zines, nay, our best friends.  Few bands can bear witness to those introspective melodramas of adolescence better than Los Campesinos!, the hyper-prolific Wales septet whose first two albums Hold On Now, Youngster and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, set the bar for hyperactive orchestral indie pop and excruciatingly long song titles back in 2008. Continue reading

20 Watts Reviews Throw Me the Statue’s Creaturesque by JohnCassillo
Throw Me the Statue's Creaturesque delivers some great guitar-pop

Throw Me the Statue's Creaturesque delivers some great guitar-pop

PREVIEW: Download Throw Me the Statue’s “Waving at the Shore” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

With a name like Creaturesque, you’d assume Throw Me the Statue‘s second full-length album is either an exercise in noise pop, or a playful description of relaxed indie. In this case, the album goes with the latter. Building on a productive debut from two years back, the group, led by Scott Reitherman, displays a refined knowledge of where they stand. They are keenly aware of what they’re capable of, never looking to push past these limitations, which would sully the listening experience. Creaturesque is an indie pop record comfortable in its own skin.

Throughout, the album is easy to listen to. It’s a relaxing form of pop, utilizing diverse instrumentation to create jovial songs. This is obviously the mission from the first notes of lead track “Waving at the Shore,” which incorporates a fair share of brass, keyboard and falsetto to mold a great first look at what the album has in store. The first few tracks feel conservatively adventurous, and maybe listening, you do too. Continue reading

Emerging Artist: Liechtenstein by caitlindewey

If Vivian Girls and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart had children, and if those children were somehow Swedish nationals with super cute pixie haircuts and angelic, lilting voices, then they’d probably bear a remarkable resemblance to noise pop trio Liechtenstein.  From dreamy, harmonic vocals and fuzzy guitar lines to catchy choruses with bubblegum lyrics, their brand new debut album, Survival Strategies in a Modern World, pretty much has it all.

I don’t say this very often, but I’d be highly surprised if they don’t eventually blow up.  You heard it here first!

– Caitlin Dewey, front of book editor

Editors Pick #128: Arthur & Yu 7″ by 20watts

Arthur & Yu  haven’t released much of anything since their 2007 debut In Camera.  The psychadelic indie folk duo put out a gorgeous freshman effort, basked briefly in their harmonic, reverb-heavy, ’60s-informed fame, and then disappeared back into West Coast obscurity.

Good news, world: Arthur & Yu are, in fact, still around.

March’s Sub Pop Singles Club 7″ featured two new Arthur & Yu songs: the curiously named “Don’t Piss into the Fire” and “Magic Mtn.”  The duo’s distinctive, vintage folk feel permeates both tracks, promising good things for future material. 

No word on when that future material will manifest itself as an actual sophomore release, or what Arthur & Yu are doing in the mean time.  According to their label, Hardly Art, the duo is not currently touring and is scheduled to play only two (two!) shows this summer.

PREVIOUS A&Y COVERAGE: Emerging Artists – Arthur & Yu

– Caitlin Dewey, front of book editor

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