20 Watts


Editor’s Pick #291: Uuuh, Lady Gaga? You’ve got cigarettes all over your sunglasses. by Isabel Alcantara

PREVIEW: Lady Gaga feat. Beyoncé in ‘Telephone’ – the newest installment in the Gaga-saga.

Telephone, the newest Lady Gaga video sensation featuring Beyoncé, has officially been banned from MTV (with claims of it being overly explicit) – with other networks soon to follow – but has received more than 14 million hits on YouTube since its release.

As Lady Gaga’s assault on the pop genre continues, more and more people seem surprised at the ridiculous outfits, the increasing explicit content of her videos and her general bat-shit-craziness. But seriously? What else could we expect from the Lady, who brought us the disturbing Bad Romance video and the spontaneous bleeding at the VMAs?

The video itself makes no sense (shocker). Alluding to Kill Bill with the infamous Pussy Wagon, and Thelma and Louise with the closing scene (not to mention the relentless Virgin Mobile product placement), this video is supposedly the sequel to the previously released Paparazzi video, but really it’s just a batch of crazy with a sprinkle of awesome.

Alright, a whole bucket of awesome.

— Isabel Alcantara, Photo Editor

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Editor’s Pick #277: Snooki’s Grammy Awards Interviews by 20watts

Snooki blowing everyone a kiss on the Grammy's red carpet

PREVIEW: WATCH Snooki’s interview with Phoenix.

Last Sunday was the Grammy Awards. I know no one watched, but the coolest thing may have happened before the show even started. MTV, which for some reason still bothered to show up even though they rarely show music videos any more, decided to send Jersey Shore star Snooki to the red carpet for some interviews. She talked to Black Eyed Peas, Miley Cyrus, and hit on 15-year-old Justin Bieber (yes, he seemed frightened).  The best interview was when Snooki interviewed Phoenix. Neither party knew who they were talking to, and at one point Snooki actually asked the Frenchmen, “Do you have guidos in France?” This is comedy gold. Good work alienating a really talented band MTV.

– Eric Hoffman, Managing Editor



EDITOR’S PICK #269: SARA BAREILLES DOES JERSEY SHORE by dana20watts
January 29, 2010, 12:24 am
Filed under: Editor Picks | Tags: , , ,

PREVIEW: VISIT Sara Bareilles’ MySpace

Since the show premiered on MTV this past December, Jersey Shore has basically taken over the world. Everywhere you turn the show’s best one-liners are being quoted, parodies are being watched and fist-pumps are being thrown. The show is obviously hysterical, but when respected singers such as Sara Bareilles start writing songs about the the guido cast, you know that America has officially gone off the deep end. Check out her song dedicated to the cast above and show it to your friends–it’ll give you guys one more thing to laugh about before the Shore’s 15 minutes of fame are up.

–Dana Mikaelian,Communications Director

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Editor’s Pick #261: New York Noise by carlywolkoff

PREVIEW: Visit “New York Noise’s YouTube channel

My bored-to-death high school evenings were often spent watching “New York Noise” on NYC TV, entranced.  “New York Noise” is basically what MTV should have been–full of the newest indie music videos, artist interviews and festival adventures, completely devoted to discovering up-and-coming talent.

Making me feel like an unaccomplished fool, Brooklyn native Shirley Braha masterminded “New York Noise” in 2003, the summer before her senior year at Smith College while interning at NYC TV.  And since its inception, we’ve gone virtual record shopping with Mark Ronson, drank tea with Tommy Ramone, toured Les Savy Fav’s apartment and partied at a rooftop barbeque hosted by Bishop Allen.

Luckily the fun hasn’t ended yet; word on the Internet is that new episodes will begin airing in May of this year.  But for now, if you live in the NYC metro area, you can catch reruns of this hour-long eyegasm at 11 p.m. on Wednesdays, channel 25.  Oh, and before ever contemplating the uselessness of the Oxford comma, guess who interned at “New York Noise”? None other than Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig.

–Carly Wolkoff, Front of Book Editor



News of Note: Kanye Walks over Taylor Swift, Flaming Lips and Deerhunter at ATP, Jim Carroll Dies, Smiths Bassist Cries Foul Play, and Much More! by 20watts
Kanye's drama queen antics rained on Taylor's parade

Kanye's drama queen antics rained on Taylor's parade

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Taylor Swift’s “You Belong to Me” MP3

When Taylor Swift won Female Video of the Year at last night’s VMAs for “You Belong to Me,” egomaniac Kanye West just had to have the last word.  Interrupting her special moment, the rapper hopped on stage, grabbed the mic, and announced that Beyonce better deserved the award for “Single Ladies.”  Cameras cut to Beyonce, who could be seen mouthing “Kaannyee” in as much surprise and disgust as the audience.  Taylor was left speechless and was escorted off the stage.  When Beyonce won Video of the Year later in the night, she invited Taylor back onstage.  Kanye later insincerely apologized via his blog. His outburst has already led to parodies like this one. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: To Celebrate Kanye West’s New Book, A Compilation of Genius Kanye-isms]

SPIN gives readers the best and worst of New York’s All Tomorrow’s Parties this past weekend. Participants included The Flaming LipsPanda BearAnimal Collective and Deerhunter, amongst many others. One of the most notable moments however, was not of the musical variety. Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox announced mid-set that the band will be going on hiatus, effective immediately, to work on other projects. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Reviews The Flaming Lips’ “Silver Trembling Hands”]

Wolfmother paid a visit to SPIN’s NYC office to chat with the magazine, and play a few songs, which were captured on video here. Among them were two older tracks, one off of the upcoming Cosmic Egg and a Neil Young cover. Some may recognize the band from the (500) Days of Summer and Spider-man 3 soundtracks, respectively. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Reviews (500) Days of Summer OST]

Pitchfork and The New York Times reports that Jim Carroll died of a heart attack in his apartment on Friday.  Carroll is most renowned for penning 1978 Basketball Diaries, but he was also a poet and musician as the frontman of the influential punk rock band, the Jim Carroll Band.  He has worked with artists such as Lou Reed, Pearl Jam, and John Cale. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Beck Covers The Velvet Underground]

The Flaming Lips will appear on “The Colbert Report” this Wednesday, September 16, Pitchfork reports.  The band will likely perform a song from their latest album, Embryonic, as well as chat with Stephen. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Reviews The Flaming Lips’ “Silver Trembling Hands”]

In a new interview with Eyeweekly.com, Andy Rourke, former bassist of The Smiths, stated that he was fired from the band by a note left on his car by Morrissey. Denying the claims, Morrissey said this wasn’t the first time Rourke has perpetuated this story. “It is a recurring comment whereby Andy confirms that his dismissal from The Smiths was made via a handwritten postcard from me telling Andy, ‘You have left The Smiths’,” Morrissey said. “If such a postcard ever existed, it is likely that an unfunny stunt was played on Andy by someone attempting Morrissey-scrawl — easily done.” Morrissey will kick off a fall European tour in October. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Reviews (500) Days of Summer OST]

Pitchfork premieres the latest Tiesto track, which features Sigur Ros’ Jonsi Birgisson.  The seven-and-a-half minute “Kaleidoscope”  is off his forthcoming full-length album due to hit stores October 20.  [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Reviews Jonsi and Alex’s Riceboy Sleeps (Sigur Ros Side Project)]

According to StereogumKid Cudi performed “Pursuit of Happiness” on the Late Show with David Letterman this past Friday night. Backed by snappily dressed backup singers, a string section and Ratatat, who appear on the album version of the song along with MGMT, the performance was a great success. Letterman praised it as having “a lot going on there” and endorsed the album. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: News of Note: Pitchfork Posts New Kid Cudi Song]

— 20 Watts Staff



News of Note: Ellen Degeneres is Fourth American Idol Judge, Minus the Bear Play the Westcott, Ghostface Killah Track List and More by 20watts
Ellen Degeneres just might entice us to watch American Idol

Ellen Degeneres just might entice us to watch American Idol

Whoa — I might ACTUALLY have to watch American Idol now.  Ellen Degeneres, the oh-so-lovable, dance-crazy comic, was named the show’s fourth permanent judge just an hour ago, according to MTV.  Degeneres has no legitimate music credentials that we can name, but hey, neither did Paula Adbul!  And Degeneres is at least pretty funny. Katy Perry, Joe Jonas, Avril Lavigne, Mary J. Blige and Shania Twain will also serve as guest judges. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: The Bird and the Bee Play Ellen Degeneres]

Minus the Bear’s fall tour is old hat around here — the Westcott Theater has, after all, been shouting their November 17th date from the mountaintops — but the acclaimed prog-rockers officially announced the four-week tour late this afternoon.  According to a press release, they’re touring in support of an upcoming fourth album, produced by Joe Chiccarelli (of White Stripes/My Morning Jacket fame), to be released in early 2010.  Tickets will go on sale this Saturday, though no price is currently listen on the Westcott Theater’s site. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Jack White, Chill Out!, 20 Watts Reviews Yim Yames’ Tribute To EP]

Ghostface Killah announced the track list for his September 29 album Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City.  “Baby,” the first single, is an auto-tuned love ballad that was recently released via Myspace.  The album, which is primarily R&B, will have guest appearances by Estelle, Kanye West, John Legend, Lloyd and Fabolous.  Ghostface will be performing at The Westcott on November 12 at 8 p.m.  [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Music Video Spotlight: Raekwon’s “The New Wu“]

Pitchfork posted a three-minute clip from Sufjan Stevens‘ “The BQE” multimedia set, to be released October 20.  “The BQE” features a bizarre combination of footage of NY’s notoriously congested Brooklyn- Queens Expressway, with Sufjan’s music playing in the background.  Click here to watch the clip.  Sufjan will be performing at Castaways in Ithaca on September 23. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Editor’s Pick #156: Sufjan Stevens Announces an Intimate Fall Tour]

SPIN reports that the new Micachu & the Shapes video for “Turn Me Well” premiered today, courtesy of the band’s surprisingly big fan, Bjork. The track, which juxtaposes a mechanical pop sound with more natural, organic visual layouts, is their second single off of Jewellery, which came out in March. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Editor’s Pick #79: Weird New Band … Micachu and The Shapes, Memories and Photos from Siren 2009 (Micachu and The Shapes Live)]

Daytrotter has some fabulous new sessions up this week, including a sleazy synth dance party from electro-pop all-stars Junior Boys and a gloriously rustic folk affair from the Duke and the King.  Here at 20 Watts, however, we’re most excited for the upcoming Deer Tick session, which Daytrotter announced it will tape this week.  We all fell in love with the chain-smoking, raspy-voiced John McCauley at last Sunday’s Positive Jam festival — and by we, I mean all the girls on staff.  His Daytrotter session will surely show why.  In other news, Deer Tick also announced today that they’re extending their fall tour, which includes dates with Jonny Corndawg, Cotton Jones, Holy Sons and Dolorean.  [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Deer Tick Plays Ithaca, 20 Watts Reviews Deer Tick’s Born on Flag Day]

Why is it that you never hear cool pop songs from Denmark?  Or Finland?  Norway, even?  Anyway, Fredrik — yet another sick electro act from Sweden, that mecca of Scandinavian pop — released a preview from their second album Trilogi on Stereogum today.  All layered synth films and moody introspection, “Locked in the Basement” takes some surprising Baroque pop and electro-glitch turns.  We can only hope that Trilogi does the same when it drops November 17 on The Kora Records.  [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Swedish Meatballs 1: Familijen, Swedish Meatballs 2: Kleerup]

The atmospheric electro jams of Quebec’s Michael Silver, alias CFCF, will soon have an album to call home.  Silver announced today that his debut full-length, Continent, will drop October 27 on Paper Bag Records, preceeded by an October 6 EP, The Explorers, with Swedish synth-pop darling Sally Shapiro.  You may recognize CFCF from his official remixes of dance greats like Crystal Castles, HEALTH and Hearts Revolution; the plaid-shirted party god will also be playing an October 1 show in Toronto, and DJing several sets at the CMJ Marathon in New York. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Crystal Castles Start Drama, HEALTH Play Myrtle Avenue]

Jack White and the Raconteurs have been nominated for a Country Music Award, according to Rolling Stone. The group was nominated for Best Musical Event after teaming up with country artists Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe on “Old Enough,” off the group’s second album, Consolers of the Lonely. White is currently gearing up for a tour with his other side project, The Dead Weather. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Interviews Tiny Masters of Today, Editor’s Pick #134: Jack White, Chill Out!]

RS also reports that Sonic Youth has had to postpone its performance at the Austin City Limits festival after an injury to guitarist Lee Ranaldo. The alt-rock legends had to move several dates back to January 2010 after Ranaldo fractured his wrist while playing tennis. The band released its 16th studio album, The Eternal, in June. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Review’s YACHT’s See Mystery Lights]

— 20 Watts Staff



Emerging Artist: Empire of the Sun by cweeks88

PREVIEW: Empire of the Sun “Walking on a Dream” MP3

The best way to experience Aussie electronic-pop duo Empire of the Sun is to do so visually. It’s a shame they are about 10-20 years too late with their “Walking on a Dream” music video. This one could have been on constant, heavy rotation on TRL — back in the days when MTV actually used to show music videos.

Their first single “Walking on a Dream” instills classic pop song structures with a deceptively simple sound and style. Singer Luke Steele (formerly of Aussie alt-rock group you’ve probably never heard of: The Sleepy Jackson) won’t be upstaged by a guitar solo with his shift in octaves from the “spoken-rather-than-sung” main verses to the ridiculously high-pitched chorus. The ethereal keyboards provide the base of the song from which all the other instruments are tethered. Meanwhile the guitar serves more as a rhythm instrument, countering the disco-esque drumbeat.

Empire of the Sun are the best thing from Australia since … Kangaroos? No … But they sure do beat Jet in the “Best Dressed from Down Under” category — not to mention that they’re one of the more unique-sounding groups currently around.

— Charlie Weeks