Filed under: Issue 21 | Tags: Best Coast, Diplo, Elkland, Fleet Foxes, Goat Explosion, HEALTH, Horse Shoes, Joy Division, Kanye West, Local Natives, Mark Ronson, Morrissey, My Morning, No Age, PJ Harvey, Sam Sparro, The Drums, The Fader, The Ruby Suns, The Wake, Theophilus London, Toro Y Moi, Whitney Houston, Wilco
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
Filed under: Issue 21, Issue 21 Reviews | Tags: Dave Sitek, Holly Miranda, Jenny Lewis, Kanye West, Leslie Feist, The Jealous Girlfriends, The Magician's Private Library, TV on the Radio
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
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: 8 Diagrams, album review, Freddie Gibbs, Ghostface Killah, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Meth Ghost & Rae, Method Man, Michael Jackson, Raekwon, Tracy Morgan, Wu-Massacre, Wu-Tang Clan
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
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: andrew bird, Aphex Twin, Arcade Fire, Beirut, Belle & Sebastian, Choir of young believers, Daft Punk, deer tick, Deerhunter, Devendra Banhart, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Explosions in the Sky, Fleet Foxes, Girls, Kanye West, Kings of Convenience, Mika, Neon Indian, pavement, Peter Sarstedt, Ra Ra Riot, Siouxsie & The Banshees, St. Vincent, The Antlers, The Cool Kids, The Hold Steady, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Rural Alberta Advantage, the static jacks, the white stripes, Vampire Weekend
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.
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: album reviews, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Rebirth, Releases of the Week
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
Filed under: Best of 2009 Albums | Tags: best of 2009, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, MGMT, Ratatat
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
Filed under: Best of 2009 Albums | Tags: Alejandro, Bad Romance, best of 2009, Beyonce, David Bowie, Just Dance, Kanye West, Lady GaGa, Michael Jackson, Poker Face, Releases of the Week, Telephone, The fAME, The Fame Monster
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 Darkchild, Fernando Garibay,RedOne, Ron 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