20 Watts

ISSUE 22 | Soundalike: Owl City by 20watts

Owl City

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!

PREVIEW: CLICK here to check out Owl City‘s website.

Adam Young likes being cute. Really cute. Consider this lyric from his chart-topping smash-hit “Fireflies”: “I get a thousand hugs / from ten thousand lightning bugs.” However, if you do the math on that saccharine gem of Owl City lyricism, it comes out to 1/10th of a hug per lightning bug. Given the size of said insect, I think most of us would prefer something a little more substantial. All math aside, the Minnesota native Young has stormed the globe with a blend of major label buzz and controversial compositions. Check out these bands and get back to us: you might get an idea of why everyone’s so fired up about Owl City. Continue reading

ISSUE 22 | PLAYLIST by 20watts

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!


20 Watts Reviews Minus the Bear’s OMNI by JohnCassillo
May 4, 2010, 10:17 am
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: , , ,

Minus the Bear's OMNI is a successful electronic experiment

PREVIEW: VISIT Minus the Bear’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Minus the Bear have always been associated with experimentation. The electronic trysts of their past records are some of the various aspects that allowed them to stand out in the oh-so-crowded indie rock scene of the past decade. But now, as they return with their first record since 2007, the landscape surrounding them has changed dramatically. No longer the novelty they appeared as in 2002, the band seems threatened with being relegated to a status of white noise. Good thing that they refuse to be labeled as such.

OMNI, the band’s fourth album, is as adventurous a front as the band has ever presented. Rather than produce electronic-laced indie rock, we see a much different turn– rock-laced electronic experimentation. The change is apparent from the first few bars of opener “My Time,” setting the tone for an album full of moody, synth-heavy bouts with emotion. Yes, guitars are present, especially for solo work on tracks like “Secret Country” and “Hold Me Down.” But for the most part, the sprawling chords splay themselves out behind dreamy keyboards and surprising uses of Auto-Tune (see “Summer Angel”). Continue reading

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Editor’s Pick #299: PS22 Sings Beach House by JohnCassillo
April 12, 2010, 3:08 pm
Filed under: Editor Picks | Tags: , , , , ,

PS22 is impressive in covering "Zebra"

PREVIEW: VISIT PS22 Chorus’s Blog

Maybe the internet has removed some of the novelty of amateur cover songs, but nonetheless, this one’s worth a glance. Staten Island’s PS22 Chorus recently posted their rendition of Beach House‘s “Zebra” (off of 2010’s Teen Dream), and the results are stunning as the fifth graders manage to nearly equal the haunting beauty of the original. For kids who wouldn’t listen to Beach House otherwise, it’s no small feat.

Of course, this also isn’t the first time the chorus has tried its hand at indie music. In the past, their harmonies have also been used on Passion Pit‘s Manners (see “The Reeling,” “Little Secrets” and “Let Your Love Grow Tall”). Couple that with the mainstream hype they’ve received from covering the likes of Beyonce, Lady GaGa and Alicia Keys (among others), and it’s easy to understand how they’ve amassed over 15 million online views over the past couple of years.

Check out the video below the cut and see for yourself. Continue reading

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News of Note: Matt and Kim @ Hamilton College on April 10 by tjwell01

Hamilton reels in another big name indie artist in Matt and Kim.

PREVIEW THE ARTIST: Matt and Kim’s MySpace

PREVIEW THE EVENT: Matt and Kim @ Hamilton College

Hamilton College pretty much solidifies its reputation as an indie-rock college, now that they’ve booked Matt and Kim for April 10th at The Annex. Earlier this semester they booked YACHT and MNDR, and have also nabbed Passion Pit, The Dirty Projectors and Dan Deacon for May 7th. I’ve seen Matt and Kim twice, and they’re a fun show overall. The opening acts are The Death Set and Downbeat Keys.

–Jett Wells

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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Editor’s Pick#286: Breaking down Block Party’s “Surprise Act” by tjwell01

No, Passion Pit is not going to be the big "surprise" act for Block Party this year.

The Drake announcement for Block Party was expected, but what wasn’t expected was the hush-hush mystery of a “surprise middle act.” The act will be named later, but there’s enough information available to break down the mystery. The Newshouse’s Otto-Tune blogger, Nathan Mattise, does a solid job of analyzing the possible candidates that might be the surprise act. It’s more than speculation, because Mattise refers to the student survey posted online, highlighting UU’s thought process to fill out the lineup.

Drake was on the list for UU’s headlining act, along with Common, Kid Cudi, Ludacris, MGMT, Modest Mouse, Mos Def, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend and Weezer. We know how this played out.

However, the list for the possible supporting acts goes as follows: 3OH!3, Cobra Starship, Passion Pit, Keri Hilson, LMFAO, Lykke Li, Miike Snow, Pitbull and The-Dream. Now, it’s easy to eliminate candidates by process of elimination based on their tours already scheduled, and who is available for April 30th. It also makes sense for the band to be near by Syracuse, NY at a nearby date.

Let’s break it down:

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