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ISSUE 22 | Reviews: MGMT’s Congratulations by 20watts

MGMT's Congratulations: ""

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
WE GIVE IT: 12/20 Watts
PREVIEW: CLICK here for MGMT‘s website

MGMT have been pretty open about what their latest release aims to be: a retort against their success. By doing so, they take their place alongside practically all the bands in pop-music history, groups career-fated by the critical litmus test of What Comes after the Big Single(s). In their own particular situation, MGMT’s radical shift is somewhat reminiscent of Radiohead’s – not just in the sense of changing sounds drastically after the breakthrough album, but in the sense of changing at the start of a new decade.

The bands share the dilemma of having been popular halfway-through one era, only to find themselves precariously uncertain about how to kick off another. MGMT are certainly not timid when it comes to taking a drastic detour in sound, but their boldness does not automatically equal innovation – or even Continue reading

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20 Watts Interviews The Joy Formidable by tjwell01

British indie artist Ritzy (center) and the boys just broke into the U.S.

PREVEW: The Joy Formidable’s MySpace

WATCH: The Joy Formidable perform at Pianos in New York City on 20 Watts Video

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW:

The Joy Formidable are straight out of North Wales and just played their first shows in the U.S. a couple weeks ago at Pianos and Terminal 5 in New York City. On the eve of releasing their debut LP, the British indie trio aren’t signed and fund all of their own operations even though they have the sound of a pop-rock powerhouse. Ritzy, the lead singer and adorable blonde, says its about staying loyal to the fan base. Things might just be only heating up for Ritzy and the boys as they ponder the future.

20W: So where are you now?

Ritzy: We’re in London finishing our debut record.

20W: You’ve got quite a bit of touring ahead too, right?

Ritzy: We do. We’re going to York with The Temper Trap, and we’re got our own U.K. tour in March as well. So, yeah, we’re pumped.

20W: I know you’re from North Wales. What’s it like being an aspiring musician out there?

Ritzy: It’s very isolated. It’s very rural. It’s good place to go and write, be creative and lose your self. On the gigging front, it’s a little bit difficult, but it’s getting better.

Continue reading



Groovin’ to a New Decade by cweeks88

It's like Jaws, only less frightening... and less skinny-dipping

VISIT: Grooveshark

On those loveless New York City nights in the winter, when you’re favorite music on iTunes isn’t giving you what you need. You can get in your car (or train) and go down to Greenwich Village to explore the plethora of unknown bands performing that are trying to make it someday. Or, you can be lazy and indulge yourself in Grooveshark.com, a music streaming Web site that makes Pandora look like a Soviet dictatorship in finding new music you may like–all of which: for free! Continue reading



News Of Note: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominations for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, LL Cool J, Kiss and more; Black Gold will tour the US With Girl In A Coma; The Boss Turns 60, Coldplay Gives To Charity; Michael Jackson’s New Single, Album, And Movie; And Much More! by laoppedi

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio

PREVIEW: WATCH the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ video for Californication.

Rolling Stone reports that the Red Hot Chili Peppers, LL Cool J, Kiss, Genesis, the Stooges and ABBA are among the artists nominated for the 2010 class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. This is the first year in which LL Cool J and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are eligible for induction. Last year’s inductees included Jeff Beck, Metallica and Run-DMC.  (Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Industry News, Week 3)

Brooklyn’s indie duo Black Gold has decided to embark on a US tour supporting Texas-native punk sweethearts, Girl in a Coma, as reported by Filter. The multi-instrumental duo comprised of Eric Ronik (lead vocals, keyboards) and Than Luu (drums, percussion, vocals) will be performing tracks from their debut full length entitled Rush, which was released this past February. You can check out their dance beat-infused tunes on both iTunes and Myspace.

An unreleased Michael Jackson single and album has been announced for release in October, reports NME.COM. The track “This Is It” is the fist posthumous Jackson single to be released and will come out October 12, followed by a compilation album on October 26 and a movie entitled “This Is It” on October 28. In a message on Jackson’s Web site, it was revealed that the compilation album will be a two-disc set featuring past hits, previously unreleased mixes and a spoken-word piece from Jackson called “Planet Earth.” [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Syracuse Reacts to Michael Jackson’s Death]

Syracuse.com’s Listen Up Blog posted an especially sentimental birthday note to The Boss, who is celebrating his 60th Birthday today. Bruce’s last gigs in ‘Cuse include a two night stand at the Dome in 1992 and a critically acclaimed show at the Landmark Theater in November 1996. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee apparently celebrated his 60th during a concert on September 21 in Des Moines, Iowa. Seriously, Bruce? No rocking the Spectrum (actually, he’ll be there in October) or perhaps MSG (where he’ll be this November) on the big day? I guess you are getting old


Pitchfork and NME.com report that Coldplay have donated one million pounds ($1,616,809 American dollars) to the charity, Kids Company.  Kids Company aims to provide support for inner-city children. According to NME the band also plans to give music lessons to kids at Kids Company centers.  [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: The 20: An Essential Guide to Britpop]

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists haven’t had much luck with record labels in the past after Lookout! Records folded and Touch and Go stopped releasing new records.  Pitchfork reports that the band has signed to Matador Records.

–20 Watts Staff



News of Note: Kid Cudi with MGMT and Ratatat, Jay-Z, Nine Inch Nails, and The Beatles by 20watts
Kid Cudi just released new track "Pursuit of Happiness" featuring MGMT and Ratatat

Kid Cudi releases new track "Pursuit of Happiness" featuring MGMT and Ratatat

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” MP3

Pitchfork posts new Kid Cudi song “Pursuit of Happiness” featuring indie gods MGMT and Ratatat.  The single will be the third off his upcoming album Man on the Moon: The End of Day, to be released September 15, 2009.  The single alludes to his search for weed (Cudi’s drug of choice) as the pursuit of happiness — a theme highlighted nicely by MGMT and Ratatat’s synthpop beat.  Catch a live performance of “Pursuit of Happiness on tonight’s “The Late Night Show With David Letterman.”  [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Editor’s Pick #71: Cudi Gets Psychedelic]

Rolling Stone reported the change of release dates for Jay-Z’s new album The Blueprint 3 from its planned Friday drop date to today, a more conventional Tuesday release. While the move means the album no longer drops on the eighth anniversary of the first Blueprint, it should assure Jay the top spot on Billboard’s albums chart. The album is his first release since 2007’s American Gangster. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Reviews Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3, Editor’s Pick #168: Jay-Z Endorses Indie Rock]

RS also reported that Nine Inch Nails has changed the date of its final show to September 10. The band was due to end its performing career on Sunday, September 6, at Los Angeles’ Echoplex, but after frontman Trent Reznor‘s short illness, the final concert will now be Thursday at L.A.’s Wiltern. Over the last few weeks, the band has also performed shows in New York and Chicago on its “Wave Goodbye” tour. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Editor’s Pick #147: Alice in Chains’ “A Looking in View”, Trent Reznor Announces Final Nine Inch Nails Tour Dates]

Paul McCartney told NME.com that he would like The Beatles’ catalogue available for download. According to McCartney, record label EMI is to blame for the band’s inaccessibility on the Internet. “We were having problems with iTunes — well not iTunes, EMI was the problem — with downloading which we’d like to do because that’s how a lot of people get their music,” McCartney said. The Beatles: Rock Band drops tomorrow, so this problem will be partially solved for players who can download songs from the Rock Band website. Rock Band developers Harmonix have plans to offer more Beatles albums and tracks for download in the future. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: McCartney and MGMT, Beatles and iTunes Fail to Reach Agreement]

In other Beatles news, web radio heavyweight AccuRadio announced today that it will begin broadcasting a series of Beatles-themed channels tomorrow to celebrate the release of the Beatles’ remastered collection.  The channels will include “Beatles Plus” — more or less all Beatles’, all the time — as well as the obviously named “Just Covers” and the intriguing “Beatles and Friends,” which claims to contexualize the remastered catalog with other bands and songs from the time.  AccuRadio’s apparently endless roster of free niche radio stations also includes such appetizing options as “Sea and Sand,” “Canadian Pop” and “Hiptronica” — whatever that means, we’re into it.  [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Beatles Rooftop Performance, Beatles Rock Band Trailer]

Neon Indian, whose debut LP drops October 13, has announced the dates for his upcoming world tour.  Unfortunately, he will not be stopping in Syracuse, but you can catch him in NYC at the Music Hall of Williamsburgon October 24. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Interviews Neon Indian]

Kurt Vile, after losing his job as a forklift operator, didn’t have much recourse but to pursue music full-time. Former lead guitarist of The War on Drugs, Vile released the albums Constant Hitmaker and God Is Saying This to You in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Now he’s hard at work on his Matador Records debut and has just released the album’s lead track “Hunchback.” Supposedly more of a rocker than the rest of the album, “Hunchback” follows a Youngian thread. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Yo La Tengo’s Popular Songs (Matador Records)]

British trip-hoppers, Massive Attack sat down with the magazine for a little Q&A about their career, the upcoming Splitting the Atom EP and their next full-length effort, set for February. Also included with the interview was the scenic, Thom Yorke-esque number “Bullet Proof Love,” which will be featured on Splitting the Atom, out next month. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Radiohead’s “These Are My Twisted Words”]

No Age, Converge and Torche tore up Saturday’s FYF Fest in Los Angeles. Mixing genres from metal to hardcore to punk, the festival, formerly known as Fuck Yeah Fest, aims to raise awareness for the California state parks system. SPIN has pictures of the mayhem as it unfolded this weekend. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Free NYC Dirty Projectors Show on July 19th]

— 20 Watts Staff



An Old French Favorite: SĂ©bastien Tellier’s “La Ritournelle” by cweeks88
Sebastien Tellier pimping the shades as if Jesus was the Terminator

SĂ©bastien Tellier pimping the shades as if Jesus was the Terminator

PREVIEW: SĂ©bastien Tellier “La Ritournelle” MP3

French singer-songwriter SĂ©bastien Tellier’s “La Ritournelle” is the only reason one would buy his 2004 album, Politics. Fortunately in the age of iTunes you can spend 99 cents for this gem of a track instead wasting money and drive space on an entire album.

Its name taken from the old school French dance, “La Ritournelle” begins with a hypnotic, repetitive piano chord progression that plays throughout the track with an epic and beautiful string section that soon follows, which glides in and out of the song. When you think this lovely instrumental can’t get any better, about halfway through, the man behind the curtain comes out and sings. The sappy lyrics (“Oh nothing’s gonna change my love for you/ I wanna spend my life with you”) are more than made up for by the beauty of the music and the sweetness of the melody — not to mention the funky-ass bass line that suddenly accompanies the vocals.

The general feel of the song is reminiscent of the title track from Thom Yorke‘s debut solo album The Eraser. It plays as if that song were combined with the string section from the end of Radiohead‘s “Reckoner” (on In Rainbows), with a nice dance beat to boot.

Chill out and play on repeat.

— Charlie Weeks



Arctic Monkeys premiere first single, “Crying Lightning,” from upcoming album Humbug by ashleycollman

British post-punk act Arctic Monkeys gave a first glimpse at their to-be-released album Humbug on BBC Radio 1 earlier today.It’s been two years since they have released a single, and there is a noticeable change in their music. The track titled “Crying Lightening,” is by far their slowest single yet, something rare for this pack of fast-playing musicians.

“Crying Lightening” also has the darkest sound the Monkey’s have made to date, which may be a product of working with producer and Queens of the Stone Age singer/guitarist Josh Homme.  It’s refreshing to hear a song that is so different from 2007’s “Flourescent Adolescent.”

However, there are some aspects of the song that are a little too different from the Monkey’s characteristic style.  Most notably, frontman Alex Turner, famous for his lyrical prowess, is not on par in this latest single, and none of the catchy, memorable lines from past albums have worked their way into this song.

Hopefully, that is not the case on the rest of the long-awaited third album, which comes out August 25th in the U.S. and is supposed to be a leap from Arctic Monkey’s previous work. In a recent interview with NME magazine, the band even said that they drew some inspiration from Black Sabbath for the new release.

“Crying Lightening” will be available on iTunes at midnight tonight and will be in stores August 17th.

— Ashley Collman

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