20 Watts


20 Watts Video: Sleigh Bells @ Spark Art Place (INTERVIEW!) by tjwell01
April 9, 2010, 3:59 pm
Filed under: 20 Watts Video, Scene Around Town | Tags: , , ,

PREVIEW: Sleigh Bells’ MySpace

[EDITOR’S NOTE ON THE INTERVIEW: Derek Miller of Sleigh Bells did work on M.I.A.’s upcoming album–its not the other way around. PLEASE IGNORE THAT PART OF THE INTERVIEW!!]

It’s been less than a year since Sleigh Bells broke out at last summer’s CMJ Festival, and the hype keeps getting bigger. Spark Art Place in Syracuse, NY doesn’t get much more smaller or more obscure for such a big indie band, but it didn’t matter. The bodies in the crowd exploded as Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller pumped their shoes into ground, rattling the small art gallery till the dry paint on the walls began to crumble on Thursday. It took no longer than the second song for the guys in the crowd to start flying in the air and throwing elbows. It was sweaty, dirty and raw–just how the band likes it. Sleigh Bells live is a high-powered, emotional, full bodied experience Syracuse won’t soon forget.

Props to Mouth’s Cradle for setting the tone, as the band celebrated their first show since releasing their debut LP, The Next Big Thing. Kevin Hegedus and Brandon Linn rocked the red suit jackets and flourished under the spotlight with fun DJ jams and witty rhymes.

–Jett Wells

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20 Watts Reviews Mouth’s Cradle’s The Next Big Thing by tjwell01

20 Watts Reviews Mouth's Cradle's The Next Big Thing and gives it 17 out of 20 Watts

PREVIEW: Mouth’s Cradle’s MySpace

WE GIVE IT: 17/20 Watts

DOWNLOAD: The Next Big Thing on iTunes

LISTEN: “Show Me Off” by Mouth’s Cradle

These days, greatness seems to come in pairs. Enter Mouth’s Cradle and the final product they’ve been sweating over for months, The Next Big Thing.

The album starts off with a song with a great story, “Ghosts.” Brandon Linn, Mouth’s Cradle’s DJ half, says he thought of the song the exact day before Michael Jackson died when he dreamed he saw a ghost in his room. You can’t make this stuff up. “Ghosts,” secretly Linn’s and Kevin Hegedus’ favorite track on the album, sets the tone with hard thumps and catchy ring tones. Linn’s a master of stringing odd noises and flipping them into head-banging beats, and “Ghosts” floats and rips catchy beats alongside Hegedus’s trademark high-pitch rhymes.

Very smoothly, Mouth’s Cradle takes it down a few notches with their famous “Princess of the Beatz,” which loops several vocal tracks all from Hegedus and a strumming acoustic guitar. The iconic sounds in this album don’t stop there though, as the single “Honey from a Stone” picks it up with fast-paced drum and piano keys.

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EXCLUS!VES: Mouth’s Cradle’s The Next Big Thing by tjwell01

Mouth's Cradle's "The Next Big Thing" hits iTunes tomorrow.

PREVIEW: Mouth’s Cradle’s MySpace

LISTEN: “Ghosts” by Mouth’s Cradle

LISTEN: “Princess of the Beatz” by Mouth’s Cradle

LISTEN: “Honey from a Stone” by Mouth’s Cradle

20 Watts gets the first crack at Mouth’s Cradle’s much-anticipated The Next Big Thing, because we’re cool like that. The LP drops on iTunes tomorrow, and just like that Mouth’s Cradle sets the stage for a big leap from relative obscurity to becoming Syracuse University’s electronic/hip-hop titans. In addition to brand new tracks, the album features all the same hits from their debut EP Baby Teeth, which dropped last semester and got the buzz whirling. They also got some special help from experienced engineer and SU alum, Andrew Maury, who worked with Ra Ra Riot and The Static Jacks.

Kevin Hegedus (right) and Brandon Linn (left) accomplished something special with this album and it comes at a perfect time for the band on the eve of their coming out party this Thursday when they open for Sleigh Bells at Spark Art Place.

Stay tuned for an in-depth review of the LP tomorrow!

–Jett Wells



20 Watts Radio: Syracuse Concert Analysis Roundup by tjwell01
March 26, 2010, 4:22 pm
Filed under: 20 Watts Radio | Tags: , , , , , ,

A special guest joins me to talk about upcoming Syracuse concerts.

LISTEN: “Concert Roundup”

A special guest, Adam Biswanger, a.k.a. the classic rock scholar, dishes his thoughts on upcoming indie performances at Syracuse, Miike Snow and Sleigh Bells. Biswanger also talks about the role of indie rock and the hardship of crossing over to the mainstream. He’s excited about one band, and not the another, but who’s got the leg up? Sleigh Bells and Miike Snow go head-to-head in this special 20 Watts podcast.

–Jett Wells

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Editor’s Pick #295: Sleigh Bells at SXSW Revisited by tjwell01
March 26, 2010, 10:46 am
Filed under: Editor Picks | Tags: , , , , ,

Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells rocking out at SXSW in Austin, TX, shot by SPIN.

PREVIEW THE BAND: Sleigh Bells’ MySpace

PREVIEW THE EVENT: Sleigh Bells @ Spark Art Place (4/8/10)

LISTEN: “Crown on the Ground” by Sleigh Bells Live at SXSW Festival (Recorded by NPR)

Just in case you missed it last week, Sleigh Bells tore it up at South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX, and the critics raved loud. NPR recorded the whole set, but I edited it down to their final song “Crown on the Ground,” which sounds so much better live than on their MySpace with the fuzzy bass. It’s fitting because Sleigh Bells’ long-awaited performance at Syracuse’s Spark Art Place is less than two weeks away! Until I heard NPR’s podcast, I had no idea what their live concert sounded like, and I’m now ecstatic more than ever. I can’t wait.

–Jett Wells

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Spring CNY Concert Season by tjwell01

Neon Indian is just one of many great upcoming concerts scheduled for CNY

The Spring Central New York concert lineup is turning out to be pretty legendary. Don’t have a car? Carpool with some friends, because star-studded gigs like these don’t come every year when you’re stuck on the banks of the Erie Canal. The highlights are everywhere, whether it’s Neon Indian and Passion Pit in Buffalo, or Sleigh Bells in Syracuse or The Flaming Lips in Ithaca.

Buffalo

Cold Cave @ Mohawk Place (2/21)

Cursive @ Mowhawk Place (3/7)

Free Energy @ Big Orbit Soundlab Space (3/10)

YACHT w/ MNDR @ Big Orbit Soundlab Space (3/7)

Neon Indian @ Big Orbit Soundlab Space (3/12)

Passion Pit @ Town Ballroom (3/28)

Bassnectar @ The Tralf Music Hall (4/20)

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News of Note: The Hold Steady to play The Wescott by tjwell01

The Hold Steady are coming back to Syracuse for an encore.

PREVIEW: The Hold Steady’s MySpace

The Hold Steady are back. The Wescott just announced that the Hold Steady will play there on April 10 along with The Oranges. Tickets are available on Feb. 5.

The Hold Steady played at Syracuse University a couple years ago as part of that year’s Bandersnatch Series, and it turns out Syracuse left quite an impression. Of course, this isn’t exactly the same band, since Franz Nicolay left the band last month after five years. Nevertheless, this band wasn’t bred to disappoint.

Now with this concert set and Sleigh Bells confirmed yesterday, the stage is set for the second week of April to rock hard.

–Jett Wells