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Editor’s Pick #288: Road Trip? Anyone? by Isabel Alcantara
Get ready, get set, Sasquatch!

PREVIEW: VISIT Sasquatch’s Web site

I just realized that the thing I want most in the world (aside from a house with a pool filled with Jell-O [seriously]) is to go to SASQUATCH! (and no, I’m not just terribly excited, the name actually has an exclamation point).

Now, hold on, I know where this is going.

“No Isabel,” you’ll say, rolling your eyes. “Sasquatch is a terrifying forest-beast, not an event you attend.”

To which I say, you’re wrong. Sasquatch! is a music festival in Quincy, WA with tremendously impressive line-up for its three day run. A quick glance at the list of artists attending assured me that this is the festival to go to. To hell with tuition and fiscal responsibility. I want to go to the Memorial Weekend festival that’s hosting not only My Morning Jacket, Vampire Weekend, The National, Broken Social Scene, OK Go, and Minus the Bear, but also, WHY?, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Garfunkel and Oates, Massive Attack, Pavement, LCD Soundsystem, Tegan and Sara, Kid Cudi and Dirty Projectors.

[Pause to catch your breath and wipe the tears of joy from your face].

The xx, Girls, MGMT, She & Him, Passion Pit, The New Pornographers, Camera Obscura, The Temper Trap, Dr. Dog, and The Mountain Goats, among others.

Did I have to make that list so long and dramatic? Yes.

Are you packing the cooler and gassing up the car? You should be.

Check out the full list, to further your freak-out.

— Isabel Alcantara, Photo Editor

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News of Note: Monsters of Folk at The Greek Theater, Passion Pit Remix Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire Go Orchestral and More! by jluposello
Monsters of Folk

Monsters of Folk played a great set at Greek Theater in L.A.

Indie rock’s Monsters of Folk played a rather monstrous set at the Greek Theater in L.A. this past Sunday, reports RS. The band burned through an impressive 35 songs in less than three hours. The group’s debut full length release dropped about a month ago and was the object of their promotional efforts at the show. The group’s lineup is equally impressive, consisting of My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, She & Him’s M. Ward, and Bright Eyes’ Connor Oberst and Mike Mogis. Their set sampled material from each of the members’ other bands, which alternated with tracks from Monsters’ catalogue.

Stereogum gives us a look at another Passion Pit remix, this time of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll”. While Karen O was busy at work on the soundtrack of Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are, Passion Pit turned out a rather dark club rendering of the original, which you can get here.

Arcade Fire’s Richard Peer Parry will be debuting an orchestral piece on October 29th, reports Pitchfork. The piece, entitled “For Heart, Breath, and Orchestra”, will be performed by Parry, Nico Muhly, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music. Parry has announced that, “During the performance, many of the performers wear stethoscopes which enable them to play in sync with their own heartbeats.”

MGMT’s label has confirmed reports by the San Francisco Examiner regarding the title of their upcoming release, says Pitchfork. Little is known about the record, except its title, which is now confirmed to be Congratulations. The duo is reportedly recording in Malibu with Spaceman 3’s Peter “Sonic Boom” Kember. MGMT has been playing a few of the record’s tracks during their gigs this past summer. Check out the videos here.

— John Luposello

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20 Watts Reviews Monsters of Folk’s Self-Titled by Irina Dvalidze
Conor Oberst, Jim James, M. Ward and Mike Mogis Release their first album as Monsters of Folk

Conor Oberst, Jim James, M. Ward and Mike Mogis Release their first album as Monsters of Folk

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Monsters of Folk’s “Magic Marker”
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

In an environment where album release dates are constantly postponed, music is fluffed up with unnecessary clutter and money-making schemes clog releases, it is novel to see noted musicians getting together to not only produce a worthwhile album, but one that exceeds expectations.  Yet, that is precisely what Monsters of Folk, a.k.a. Jim James (Yim Yames) of My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes and M. Ward have done with their debut under the moniker.

Monsters of Folk’s self-titled release drops September 22, 2009. While the album was initially slated for release in 2010, this hardworking foursome cranked it out before 2009 ended. Continue reading

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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

20 Watts’ Review Roundup, Week of August 3rd by JohnCassillo

Throw Me the Statue's sophomore release drops this week

Throw Me the Statue's sophomore release drops this week

PREVIEW: Download Throw Me the Statue’s “Cannibal Rays” MP3

Every week, 20 Watts rounds up the new releases on our radar; click the link for our full review.

Have suggestions? Leave a comment or e-mail them to 20wattsblog@gmail.com.

Throw Me the StatueCreaturesque [16/20 Watts]

Following up on 2007’s Moonbeams, Throw Me the Statue delivers the logical progression with Creaturesque. Littered with youthful charm and a broad ambition, the band manages to expand their sound into a more comfortable vehicle than before. It’s varied and bright, adding to the large collection of thematically positive music to come out already this year. Still, it seems to stand out with its large collection of influences appealing to a diverse group of fans.

Modest MouseNo One’s First and You’re Next [15/20 Watts]

Giving fans a look into their best non-album material of the past five or so years, No One’s First and You’re Next is just what Modest Mouse fans need to whet their appetites until the next full length. The eight-song collection shows some great continuity for tracks devised so separately, and overall, ends up being a real treat for Modest Mouse faithfuls. As a word of caution, there will be a few unexpected, but enjoyable, moments sprinkled in as well.

Fruit Bats The Ruminant Band [15/20 Watts]

With their fourth proper release, Fruit Bats set out to further distinguish themselves with their own brand of folk rock. For the most part, mission accomplished on The Ruminant Band. Steady and energetic, the album provides a great summer aesthetic, and also distances the band from other similar acts. For anyone who’s spent any extended time with lead singer Eric Johnson and the gang, you’re almost sure to approve as they manage to progress entirely separate of The Shins.

Yim YamesTribute To [15/20 Watts]

Eight years after George Harrison passed away, Yim Yames’ (My Morning Jacket‘s Jim James) heartfelt cover collection finally comes out of the dark. On Tribute To, Yames looks to give a special thank you to Harrison for meaning what he did to him, as well as close the book on his own personal grieving process. As skeptical as one may be of tribute albums, especially those involving any portion of The Beatles‘ library, this one delivers surprisingly well, giving unique re-workings of the songs Harrison’s fans love so much.

Nightmare of You Infomaniac [10/20 Watts]

After all of the accolades involved with being 2006’s “next big thing,” everything was going great for Long Island’s Nightmare of You. Then they took a few years to release the follow-up. The result is a much-changed sound, sampling the pop rock stylings of The Strokes, while abandoning some of the edge that made their first release so popular. If you’re just starting with them, perhaps head for 2005’s self-titled debut before continuing.

— John Cassillo, Reviews Editor

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20 Watts Reviews Yim Yames’ Tribute To EP (Remembering George Harrison) by Irina Dvalidze
Yim Yames New Album: Tribute To

Yim Yames' new EP Tribute To

PREVIEW: Download Yim Yames’ “My Sweet Lord”MP3
WE GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts

It has been eight years since the passing of the most underappreciated, yet arguably the most talented of The Beatles, George Harrison. Fortunately this week the public will be graced with an appropriate tribute to an artist who managed to transcend every socially controversial gap imaginable with his music.

Prepare to discard the nightmares of your drunken uncles singing karaoke renditions of “Yellow Submarine” during the family reunions and praise the music gods for sending you Yim Yames (a.k.a. Jim James of My Morning Jacket).

Yames will finally be releasing the long-awaited EP Tribute To, a set of six Harrison covers, on August 4. The tracks were recorded immediately following Harrison’s passing, yet were kept below the public’s radar until now. A simple tribute from an adoring fan, the collection is quite touching, and shows clear devotion to Harrison’s work. Continue reading