20 Watts

ISSUE 21 | The Five: Best Coast, Toro y Moi, Theophilus London, Drums, Local Natives by 20watts

20 Watts show you the five bands you need to know now: Best Coast, Toro y Moi, Theophilus London, The Drums and Local Natives

Part of 20 Watts’ Issue 21 Coverage!
PREVIEWS: CLICK on the links to check the bands’ MySpaces!

Best Coast [photo above]

Bethany Cosentino, a.k.a. Best Coast, began recording demos in her bedroom after spending time in Brooklyn, N.Y, and pining for the laid-back southern California life she once knew. Soon after leaving Brooklyn, Cosentino recruited fellow Californian Bobb Bruno, who had opened for indie veterans Wilco and PJ Harvey, to help with the project.

While Best Coast were gaining attention and praise from indie music blogs and topping the list of Hype Machine’s “Most Blogged Artists,” many were skeptical as to how long Best Coast could stick around. With hipster beach pop on the rise, most assumed Best Coast was just another Continue reading

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ISSUE 21 | Reviews: Holly Miranda’s The Magician’s Private Library by 20watts

20 Watts gives Holly Miranda's debut a 16/20 Watts

Part of our Issue 21 coverage!

PREVIEW: VISIT Holly Miranda’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Branching out from her role as frontwoman for Brooklyn’s Jealous Girlfriends, Holly Miranda looked to distinguish herself in a shroud of 20- to 30-something indie starlets (Leslie Feist, Jenny Lewis, etc.). Of course, Miranda also had a leg up on much of her would-be competition. Along with her oft-mentioned good looks, TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek helped her on her journey to breakout solo fame. His experimental influence is only felt enough to be noticed (though not overbearingly so) on Miranda’s debut The Magician’s Private Library. 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



Preview: Make sure you check out Audiocandyradio.com

It is Thursday night and 20 Watts Radio is on Audiocandy. Make sure you tune in and don’t miss out on our great selection of awesome tunes.  We have some cool news happening at 20 Watts you simply cant miss. We are gonna give you a run down on some local shows that will be happening this weekend. If you are in Cuse you are most likely snowed in anyway, so join us for a quick getaway as we give you a run down of the awesome stuff you can do in Syracuse once this snow melts. Not to mention if you wanna request a song, all you need to do it tweet at you host here. So make sure to join 20 Watts on Auodiocandy 10 pm sharp. To tune in Click Here.

Show Playlist

1. Taxi Cab – Vampire Weekend
2. Something About Us – Daft Punk
3. Seahorse – Devendra Banhart
4. Actor Out of Work – St. Vincent
5. Laura – Girls
6. Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
7. where do you go to my lovely – Peter Sarstedt
8. Crown of Love – Arcade Fire
9. Grace Kelly – Mika
10. Hong Kong Garden – Siouxsie & The Banshees
11. Friday XIII – Deer Tick
12. Elephant Gun – Beirut
13. Nothing Ever Happened – Deerhunter
14. Silence Kid – Pavement
15. My Parents Lied – The Static Jacks
16. Gold and a Pager – The Cool Kids
17. Don’t Haunt This Place – The Rural Alberta Advantage
18. The Fox In The Snow – Belle & Sebastian
19. Snow and Lights- Explosions in the Sky
20. Snow (Hey Oh) – The Red Hot Chili Peppers
21. Wintertime Love – Choir Of Young Believers
22. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
–Irina Dvalidze

20 Watts Reviews Lil’ Wayne’s Rebirth by JohnCassillo
February 1, 2010, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: , , , ,

Lil' Wayne's Rebirth is a disappointing and frightful experiment

PREVIEW: VISIT Lil’ Wayne’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 6/20 Watts

Over the past decade, Lil’ Wayne has made a name for himself as a game-changer, innovator and popular music icon for an entire generation. Whether rightfully or wrongfully so may be up for debate, but the fact of the matter is that Weezy is a highly marketable, successful brand. Unfortunately for us, this has gone to his head a bit too much of late, hence why we are now faced with evaluating “rock” experiment Rebirth.

If it simply featured some guitar noodling, a couple samples and maybe a guest appearance or two by some notable rock artists, perhaps Rebirth would be both acceptable and favorable as a fan album. Hell, Kanye West‘s 808s and Heartbreak worked out pretty well, and it was virtually one big experiment. However, this is where any comparison between the two records starts and ends. Continue reading

20 Watts’ Best of 2009: #8 Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon: The End of Day by JohnCassillo

Kid Cudi's Man on the Moon: The End of Day is #8 on our Best of 2009 list

PREVIEW: VISIT Kid Cudi’s MySpace
TOP TRACK: “Soundtrack 2 My Life” 

Through fearless experimentation and superior producing, Kid Cudi went from mixtape phenom to premier hip-hop artist in 2009. His debut, Man on the Moon: The End of Day cannot be overstated for what it is– innovative and introspective rap at its finest. Yes, it’s a lot of praise to heap on an artist’s inaugural effort, but it’s not every year that hip-hop sees such an enterprising new face. 

Avoiding the struggle for originality faced by most up-and-comers in rap today, Cudi’s first full-length embraces a style all its own. There’s very little preening and posturing a la friends Jay-Z and  Kanye West. Instead, Cudi’s approach is more subdued– directly addressing his own insecurities, while embracing the circumstances which they’ve wrought. On every track, he addresses both the positives and negatives of each situation, playing heavily into the Jekkyl/Hyde, day/night juxtaposition that makes up the bulk of the album (save the made-for-radio “Make Her Say”). 

On top of his atypical lyrical approach, Cudi can also boast some of the most enterprising experimentation of the year. Forgoing the pounding club beats and classic rock samples running rampant in today’s hip-hop, Cudi’s brand is a cohesive sonic collaboration of pop and electronic elements. Working extensively with the likes of MGMT and Ratatat, his results show not just a surface knowledge of electronic  music, but a comprehensive and extensive tutorial on the successful merger of these elements with hip-hop. 

Yes, the aforementioned Jay-Z and Kanye have recorded “pop” albums in the past two years, but not quite like this. Cudi uses rap as a vehicle for the proliferation of electronic pop experimentation on Man on the Moon: The End of Day, and the result is a breath of fresh air for both rap and music as a whole. 

— John Cassillo

20 Watts’ Best of 2009: #12 Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster by 20watts

Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster is #12 on our Best of 2009 List

PREVIEW: VISIT Lady Gaga’s Website
TOP TRACK: “Bad Romance”

Michael Jackson. David Bowie. Madonna. Kanye West. Critics and fans alike don’t typically utters the names of pop legends with moderation in mind. It’s a good thing that Lady Gaga doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word. Last year’s The Fame may have put Gaga on the map, but this year’s follow-up The Fame Monster gave us more new material and reminded the musically-inclined populace yet again that mass-consumed songwriting can indeed be a venue for true talent.

If you really want to know why The Fame Monster is one of the best albums of the year, you hardly need to look further than the video for lead single “Bad Romance” for proof. Lady Gaga literally sets potential suitors ablaze with the over-the-top display that colors the majority of her work — but on The Fame Monster the material is all darker, and all more vindictive. Each song is either a biting critique or a forlorn lament, and Gaga’s voice bounces beautifully over the eclectic production throughout, from DarkchildFernando Garibay,RedOneRon Fair, and others.

We see an angrier side of Gaga on The Fame Monster — and perhaps a more broken, vulnerable side of her as well. Gaga’s heartbreak-torn vocals on songs like “Alejandro” or “Telephone” (featuring Beyonce) would have been out of place alongside the hedonistic abandon of “Poker Face” or “Just Dance,” but adhere thematically to every other song on the record. This makes The Fame Monster as much a concept album as its predecessor was, in no way a bad thing. In eight songs Lady Gaga’s shown us yet another side of fame and kept herself more than fresh. Let’s just hope she can keep it up.

— Eric Vilas-Boas