20 Watts

ISSUE 22 | Reviews: The Apples in Stereo’s Travellers in Space and Time by 20watts

The Apples in Stereo's Travellers in Space and Time: ""

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
WE GIVE IT: 13/20 Watts
PREVIEW: CLICK here to visit The Apples in Stereo’s website

I have a lot of love for the Elephant 6 Collective: The Music Tapes, Of Montreal and of course, who could forget Neutral Milk Hotel? But for some reason, I’ve totally ignored The Apples in Stereo up until very recently. They definitely have that same sort of retro-pop worship going for them as much as their more eccentric counterparts, but they take it in a different direction, worshipping the prog-rock goodness of bands like Electric Light Orchestra over the sun-pop of The Beach Boys. Such is the case with their new album: Travellers in Space and Time.

The album’s good. It synthesizes Continue reading

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20 Watts Reviews The Ruby Suns’ Fight Softly by JohnCassillo
March 2, 2010, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: , , , ,

The Ruby Suns' Fight Softly is too overwhelming for its own good

PREVIEW: VISIT The Ruby Suns’ MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 13/20 Watts

Maybe The Ruby SunsFight Softly could have been seen through a different lens had it been released before Yeasayer‘s Odd Blood last month, rather than after it. The two albums possess loads of commonalities–from wacky, crowded arrangements, to a world-sound approach, to a sense of almost-overwhelming sprawl. Yet, in all of that, Yeasayer’s theme seems to ring through loud and clear. While The Ruby Suns’ theme, on the other hand, gets muddled by the pure weight of the ambition attached to the project.

The main culprits of Fight Softly‘s undoing are perpetual sameness, repetition and an all-you-can-eat instrumental mentality. The bubbly, fragmented intro “Sun Lake Rinsed” isn’t all that different from closer “Olympics on Pot,” nor any of the other tracks. Even when it drifts away from the stale, overdone formula of two-part rise and fall, it still trips itself up. “Haunted House,” while different, comes off as more of a hackneyed tribute to of Montreal than anything else. It’s a disastrous issue, to say the least. Continue reading

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ISSUE 20 | The Back Page by 20watts
February 21, 2010, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Issue 20 | Tags: ,

The true story of how 20 Watts once bowled with Of Montreal

Part of 20 Watts’ Best of the Decade Coverage!

Of Montreal, a band that gave so much this past decade and got so little acclaim. For our back page this time we decided to tell a bit of a true story involving them. We hope you like it.

Read all about it below the cut! Continue reading

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Editor’s Pick #285: Houston’s Free Press Summer Fest 2010 by elizabethvogt

Eleanor Tinsley Park and the Houston skyline at 2009's Free Press Summer Fest

PREVIEW: VISIT Free Press Summer Fest 2010′ site

Ah, I love festival season. With Coachella in California, Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Ultra in Miami, there are almost too many epic road trip options. Luckily, Free Press Summer Fest decided to make its debut in my hometown, Houston, this past summer, surprising everyone with its huge headliners such as Of Montreal and Broken Social Scene. Considering it was the first music festival H-town has ever had, the number of attendees was highly unprecedented, leading to lines that were Woodstock-worthy. After the reveal of the 2010 lineup, it is pretty clear that Free Press was ready to blow away the festival crowds once again. The headliners: The Flaming Lips, Girl Talk, Stars and Ra Ra Riot. Other “lesser known” acts include Kid Sister, Lymbyc Systym, Dead Prez and 50 other local artists. Did I hesitate when purchasing my $22 2-day pass? HELL NO! Even though it will probably be a stifling 100 degrees June 5-6, it’s no match against good friends, good music and the Houston skyline.

–Elizabeth Vogt, Assistant Front of Book Editor

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Editor’s Pick #254: Cool Shirts and Clear Consciences by Isabel Alcantara

The Yellow Bird Project

Was your New Year’s resolution to be more involved in charities and community service? Yeah, mine wasn’t either. But, on a quest to find new and awesome tees to wear for this new decade, I came across The Yellow Bird Project. The YBP is a non-profit operating from Montreal, with a three-fold mission: 1) to raise money for various charities through the sales of their totally kick-ass t-shirts, 2) to raise the public’s awareness of certain charities through the endorsement of indie rock artists, and 3) to raise the profile of artists they like. Now, before you yawn so wide that you pass out, keep in mind that these t-shirts (which you can buy to support whichever charity the tee happens to represent) are designed by the indie artists which they endorse. Cool, right?

The YBP was started in 2006 and its first contributing artists was the one and only Devendra Banhart. Now, four years later, the organization has grown and has the support of artists like, Metric, Grizzly Bear, Bloc Party, Ra Ra Riot, Of Montreal and Rilo Kiley, among others. Plus, if you (like me) are awaiting the arrival of your t-shirt designed by The National, which also happens to support Safe Space, you can play the local YBP game: Color Me Indie, for a chance to win an Indie Rock Coloring Book. What’s cooler than that? My new t-shirt. That’s what.

— Isabel Alcantara, Photo Editor

20 Watts Radio: Saturday Nov. 21 by 20watts
20 Watts

20 Watts played Annie, Elephant 6 and more on WERW

Eric, Chris, Caitlin AND special guest Mary are in the studio this evening!  We’re playing an hour of new music, an hour of Elephant 6 and an hour of local music.  Tune in by clicking this link — we’ll be here until 1!

Want to talk to us or request a song? IM werw1570, tweet @20_watts or call (315) 443-1278.

New tracks are in bold, local artists are italicized.

And don’t forget to tune in to 20 Watts’ Audiocandy+ shows on Wednesday and Thursday from 9-11 p.m.!

Title: My Love Is Better [16/20 watts — read the review]
Artist: Annie
Album: Don’t Stop

Title: Me Against the Music
Artist: Britney Spears and Madonna
Album: Greatest Hits

Title: XR2
Artist: M.I.A.
Album: Kala

Continue reading

The 20.9: The Elephant 6 Collective by 20watts

The Elephant 6 Collective

A record label.  A collection of musicians.  An ethos.  A cult.  The Elephant 6 Collective is all that and more. Based in Athens, Ga. (after originating in Denver), and formed by Bill Doss, Will Hart, Jeff Mangum and Robert Schneider, it started out as a way to record and release their psychedelic influenced lo-fi pop. It soon spiraled and transformed, with other artists joining and band members working on each others’ albums. Eventually, it became less of a recording company than a pool of artists who shared a similar style and philosophy about making music.  And it was from this pool that some of the greatest artists of the genre’s modern era — Neutral Milk Hotel, The Apples in Stereo, of Montreal and The Olivia Tremor Control to name a few — got their start.

So what’s the very best of trip-hop? 20 Watts’ MARC SOLLINGER has the answer in our ninth 20 installment. Watch for new 20s each Thursday, only on 20 Watts, and check out our previous 20s below!