20 Watts

20 Watts Video: Gang Gang Dance @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (1/15/10) by tjwell01

PREVIEW: Gang Gang Dance’s MySpace

It’s not everyday I totally misread a band, but then I have one of those brain fart moments, like when I saw Gang Gang Dance at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. For some reason, I thought I was walking into a techno-mashup DJ party, but it turned out to be more like a tribal rain dance festival. The crowd was swerving and jiving like it was the summer of 1969, and the whole time I felt like I was missing out on the psychedelics evidently being passed around. No matter, because even though the concert was a bit dull, it was fascinating to watch–especially their fidgety hipster mascot wearing the wool mask.

–Jett Wells

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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 MGMTBeatles 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 PerformanceBeatles 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 AgeConverge 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

20 Watts Talks to Nils Edenloff of The Rural Alberta Advantage by Eric Vilas-Boas
Nils Edenloff (right) of The Rural Alberta Advantage talks to 20 Watts

Nils Edenloff (right) of The RAA talks to 20 Watts

PREVIEW: Download The RAA’s “The Deathbridge in Lethbridge” MP3
RELATED COVERAGE: Positive Jam: Exclusive Coverage on 20 Watts, 20 Watts Reviews The Rural Alberta Advantage’s Hometowns

Signing to Saddle Creek, releasing an acclaimed debut, and touring extensively have made this a pretty banner year for The Rural Alberta Advantage. Guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Nils Edenloff talked to 20 Watts just the other day about his experiences, the band’s origins, and our mutual affinity for The Antlers and Neutral Milk Hotel. The RAA’s Hometowns was re-released by Saddle Creek earlier this year and you can catch The Rural Alberta Advantage playing the Positive Jam at Stewart Park, on the beautiful shores of Cayuga Lake, at 1:30pm, on Sunday, Sept. 6!

20W: So to start off, why do you call yourselves The Rural Alberta Advantage? What’s the origin of the name? Did you guys ever go by any other name?

Edenloff: It’s the only name we’ve ever used. It has to do with looking back on Alberta — where I grew up — and we make a lot of references to it. The name actually comes from a play on a provincial slogan, which is now defunct, called “The Alberta Advantage,” championing the oil sands industry. My brother once emailed me the suggestion, and it stuck.

20W: How long have you guys known each other? How did you meet?

Edenloff: We’ve known each other for a long time. Paul [Banwatt], Amy [Cole] and a friend of mine used to play in another band called Clementine. Eventually Paul and I started co-hosting open-mic nights. The first year, there was kind of a fluctuating line-up, with nothing really set in stone. I think when the three of us started playing together — Paul, Amy and myself — that was when the band really started, in February, 2006.

20W: The RAA signed to Saddle Creek earlier this year after Hometowns took off. Has the experience of being signed to a major indie label changed your approach to music at all? Continue reading

Editor’s Pick #156: Sufjan Stevens Announces an Intimate Fall Tour by 20watts
A Sufjan tour coming to a coffee shop near you

A Sufjan tour coming to a coffee shop near you

PREVIEW: Download Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago” MP3

Indie-folk god Sufjan Stevens announced today that he would be embarking on an exceptionally intimate fall tour in parts of Canada and the Eastern United States. The tour kicks off at All Tomorrow’s Parties New York, in Monticello, NY, and while that, admittedly isn’t too tiny a venue (also showcasing The Flaming Lips, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Deerhunter, and Animal Collective, among others), the rest of them on the itinerary, like the Music Hall of Williamsburg or the Bowery Ballroom in NYC and Castaways in Ithaca, are.

At these smaller shows, Sufjan will be supported by Asthmatic Kitty labelmates Cryptacize, whose latest album dropped earlier this year. Here’s a full list of the venues they’ll be hitting:

09/12 Monticello, NY @ ATP New York
09/21 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
09/22 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
09/23 Ithaca, NY @ Castaways
09/24 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
09/25 Pontiac, MI @ Crofoot Ballroom
09/26 Champaign, IL @ The High Dive
09/27 Minneapolis, MN @ 400 Bar
09/28 Madison, WI @ The Majestic
09/29 Bloomington, IN @ Buskirk Chumley
10/01 Toronto, Ontario @ Lee’s Place
10/02 Montreal, Quebec @ Cabaret
10/03 Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
10/04 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
10/05 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
10/06 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
10/07 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

— Eric Vilas-Boas, Production Editor

Brand New announce next album, “and one head can never die” by Eric Vilas-Boas
Brand New just released some brand new

Brand New just released a first glimpse of their new album, and one head can never die, which is set to drop in September.

After teasing their fans via Twitter and performing new songs live for the past year, Long Island emo band Brand New finally condescended to spilling some info on their upcoming album. For fans this is an exciting prospect, but for everyone else it’s just another band that’s become too pretentious for their own good.

In a recent Kerrang! interview, Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey expressed doubts over the band’s future and, calling the upcoming album an “exhausting record,” worried that fans would not be able to appreciate it.  and one head can never die (all lower-case, according to the publicist) is set to drop September 22, 2009.

Brand New emerged in the 2000s as one of the more popular, critically-acclaimed bands  from the Long Island emo scene. Continue reading