20 Watts

20 Watts’ Review Roundup, Week of August 10th by JohnCassillo
Choir of Young Believers' debut LP drops this week

Choir of Young Believers' debut LP drops this week

PREVIEW: Download Choir of Young Believers’ “Next Summer” 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.

Choir of Young Believers — This Is For the White In Your Eyes [14/20 Watts]

Jannis Noya Makrigiannis embarks on his first full-length LP with This Is For the White In Your Eyes. Both eerie and fresh, the album continues to open the world of Scandinavian pop to the outside world. What sets it apart most though, is its instrumentation — a broad collection of classical and unconventional means, all combining to form an intimate and enjoyable experience. However, it’s the peaks and valleys of Makrigiannis’ vocal range that what will keep you coming back on this impressive debut.

BehemothEvangelion [17/20 Watts]

Behemoth’s latest effort, Evangelion, might just be the year’s heaviest and most lethal record. Its brash nature, and visceral vocal stylings, matched by an equally strong sense of melody, take it out of the general classification of “death metal” and into a category all its own. The album thrashes about brutally, in the type of display reserved for very few in 2009. Yet, the sense of mood, and skillful progressions feel smoother, and more natural than they have in the past. It’s a perplexing, yet welcome and encouraged change for the band which fans will surely take to.

Between the TreesSpain [9/20 Watts]

As Christian-influenced groups go, Between the Trees seemed to carve out a decent space for themselves with 2006’s The Story and the Song. Building on these subtle touches on religion, with a large emphasis on heartfelt melancholy, the band brings us Spain. Though more focused at times on the spiritual aspect they bring to the table, it does rope in just as many of the slow sentimental numbers as before. If you’re into this sort of thing, you may be pleasantly surprised.

— John Cassillo, Reviews Editor

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20 Watts Reviews Modest Mouse’s No One’s First and You’re Next by JohnCassillo
Modest Mouse's new B-sides collection is great for long-time fans

Modest Mouse's new B-sides collection is great for long-time fans

PREVIEW: Download Modest Mouse’s “Satellite Skin” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts

B-side releases always seem to take either one of two different directions. Sometimes the albums are a welcome change-of-pace with new, experimental material that just didn’t fit on the band’s other efforts. Other times, these collections are comprised of songs that just simply couldn’t make the cut once the artist hit the studio. No One’s First and You’re Next combines the two.

While some songs were obviously written in the same mindset of their latest two albums, Good News for People Who Love Bad News (2004) and We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (2007); there are also some tracks which are of the experimental variety too.

On most of their work, Modest Mouse create a theme and stick to it. Be it the struggle of the common man or the emptiness of a vast wasteland, each album has maintained a loose central trend. For No One’s First And You’re Next, pocketed angst and personal hopelessness are the moods du jour. Though the tracks were all written separately, they all fit together remarkably well; something odd for this type of release, which is usually meant to be sporadic. Continue reading

20 Watts Reviews Nightmare of You’s Infomaniac by JohnCassillo

Nightmare of You's sophomore release is greatly disappointing

Nightmare of You's sophomore release is greatly disappointing

PREVIEW: Download Nightmare of You’s “Please Don’t Answer Me” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 10/20 Watts

There were always a few revered acts in the Long Island scene in high school. One of these bands, The Movielife, helped shape trends and decide who was the next big thing. After their breakup, its members joined or started other groups, one of which was Nightmare of You. After their self-titled debut in 2005, they were the new “it” band, with accolades from Yahoo! Music and mtvU. A lot can change in four years.

From the onset, it’s obvious that Nightmare of You decided to embrace a bigger, more radio play-friendly sound on their sophomore effort, Infomaniac. Bright pop sounds evocative of The Strokes, and bouncy piano parts are just a few of the changes as the band 180s their demeanor altogether. Maybe it’s just a product of the band getting older, but the edge seen prominently just a few years back is a distant memory, and not necessarily for the better. The trade-off is memorable hooks for the band’s past identity. Continue reading

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

Release of the Week: Deerhunter by danielvallejo
October 28, 2008, 2:05 am
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: ,

Deerhunter– Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.


In deep contrast to last year’s Cryptograms LP, Microcastle opens with a blast of sound that is captivating straight from the beginning. What we have here is a total departure from the Deerhunter of old. Bradford Cox, the band’s frontman, once described Deerhunter as a pop band at heart. This record proves it. “Agoraphobia” truly begins the album after a brief intro, and this time it’s guitarist Lockett Pundt’s voice that we hear first, crooning softly as he sings about being buried alive. This contrast, of melodic hooks met with dark lyrics, is a prevalent theme of the album, as many of the songs here deal with sacrifice, suicide, and ultimately fear.

But what makes Microcastle so incredible is what lies at it’s core. What Deerhunter has done on this album is step back from their more ambient punk-ish experimentation from last year and derive it down to a pop skeleton, all while perfecting their craft as songwriters. “Never Stops” is the perfect single, barley exceeding three minuets, while at the same time keeping you hooked into the catchy melody for every second.

Continue reading

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