20 Watts

ISSUE 19 | Sound-Alikes: Taylor Swift by kjfahey

Taylor Swift shares a sound with plenty of indie artists out there

Taylor Swift may not have Kanye West’s approval, but the girl makes music people like. Swift was the first country artist to win an MTV Video Music Award, and her album Fearless has been wildly successful on the Billboard charts since its release last November. And, oh yeah, she’s just 19 years old — an age when most kids can barely do their own laundry, let alone front their own tour.

Despite her success, Swift seems to have managed to keep acting like a regular girl. In her video “Thug Story (w/ T-Pain)” she jokes about her love for her mom and the joys of baking cookies. On her Twitter page, she regularly discusses argyle socks, hanging with her friends and walking through Radio City Music Hall.

Basically if you like Taylor Swift, you’re probably drawn to her love-struck country ballads and cute-and-wholesome girl-next-door image. The only thing she’s missing is indie cred, which is why 20 Watts has compiled this list of similar indie artists — you’ll likely love them, too. Continue reading


ISSUE 19 | PODCAST: Sounds-Alike Taylor Swift by Irina Dvalidze

Taylor Swift may not have Kanye West’s approval, but the girl makes music people like.  The only thing she’s missing is indie cred, which is why 20 Watts has compiled this list of similar indie artists you’ll likely love.

Mary Cappabianca dishes the dirt on Neko Case, Jenny Lewis and others in this 20 Watts podcast.  Read her print story here.

— Mary Cappabianca and Irina Dvalidze

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20 Watts Issue 19 | November 2009 by 20watts


Artists in the Issue


Pop Art

The Ithaca Sound


Playlist copy

Editor’s Pick 178: Maiko’s Kanye West/Taylor Swift Mash-Up by caitlindewey
September 19, 2009, 2:04 pm
Filed under: Editor Picks | Tags: , , , , , , ,

It was cute, at first.  But six days after Kanye’s VMA meltdown, all the “Imma let you finish…” jokes are admittedly getting a little old.

Thankfully, one unlikely DJ has emerged from the fray to feed our lingering “Kanye-gate” obsession without resorting to yet another lame Beyonce pun.  Matt Kammerer, a Hawaiian electronic musician who goes by the name Makaio, released an irresistible mash-up of Kanye’s “Stronger” and Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” earlier this week.  In an interview with Paste magazine, Kammerer said  the original impulse behind the mix was sympathy for the downtrodden Swift — like many of us, he thought “oh this poor girl!” when he saw the VMAs.

“And then I started thinking, oh, it’d be amazing if I could put some Kanye on here,” Kammerer told Paste.  “I thought it would be fun and, forgive me for using this horrible term, post-modern, to put these two artists from completely different genres together, playing off of that conflict from Sunday night.”

I don’t know about postmodern, but the resulting track is definitely fun.  Stream it on Kammerer’s Youtube channel and watch for his two-disc debut, “Town/Country,” scheduled to drop sometime this year.

— Caitlin Dewey, Editor in Chief

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News of Note: Kanye Walks over Taylor Swift, Flaming Lips and Deerhunter at ATP, Jim Carroll Dies, Smiths Bassist Cries Foul Play, and Much More! by 20watts
Kanye's drama queen antics rained on Taylor's parade

Kanye's drama queen antics rained on Taylor's parade

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Taylor Swift’s “You Belong to Me” MP3

When Taylor Swift won Female Video of the Year at last night’s VMAs for “You Belong to Me,” egomaniac Kanye West just had to have the last word.  Interrupting her special moment, the rapper hopped on stage, grabbed the mic, and announced that Beyonce better deserved the award for “Single Ladies.”  Cameras cut to Beyonce, who could be seen mouthing “Kaannyee” in as much surprise and disgust as the audience.  Taylor was left speechless and was escorted off the stage.  When Beyonce won Video of the Year later in the night, she invited Taylor back onstage.  Kanye later insincerely apologized via his blog. His outburst has already led to parodies like this one. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: To Celebrate Kanye West’s New Book, A Compilation of Genius Kanye-isms]

SPIN gives readers the best and worst of New York’s All Tomorrow’s Parties this past weekend. Participants included The Flaming LipsPanda BearAnimal Collective and Deerhunter, amongst many others. One of the most notable moments however, was not of the musical variety. Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox announced mid-set that the band will be going on hiatus, effective immediately, to work on other projects. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Reviews The Flaming Lips’ “Silver Trembling Hands”]

Wolfmother paid a visit to SPIN’s NYC office to chat with the magazine, and play a few songs, which were captured on video here. Among them were two older tracks, one off of the upcoming Cosmic Egg and a Neil Young cover. Some may recognize the band from the (500) Days of Summer and Spider-man 3 soundtracks, respectively. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Reviews (500) Days of Summer OST]

Pitchfork and The New York Times reports that Jim Carroll died of a heart attack in his apartment on Friday.  Carroll is most renowned for penning 1978 Basketball Diaries, but he was also a poet and musician as the frontman of the influential punk rock band, the Jim Carroll Band.  He has worked with artists such as Lou Reed, Pearl Jam, and John Cale. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: Beck Covers The Velvet Underground]

The Flaming Lips will appear on “The Colbert Report” this Wednesday, September 16, Pitchfork reports.  The band will likely perform a song from their latest album, Embryonic, as well as chat with Stephen. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Reviews The Flaming Lips’ “Silver Trembling Hands”]

In a new interview with Eyeweekly.com, Andy Rourke, former bassist of The Smiths, stated that he was fired from the band by a note left on his car by Morrissey. Denying the claims, Morrissey said this wasn’t the first time Rourke has perpetuated this story. “It is a recurring comment whereby Andy confirms that his dismissal from The Smiths was made via a handwritten postcard from me telling Andy, ‘You have left The Smiths’,” Morrissey said. “If such a postcard ever existed, it is likely that an unfunny stunt was played on Andy by someone attempting Morrissey-scrawl — easily done.” Morrissey will kick off a fall European tour in October. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Reviews (500) Days of Summer OST]

Pitchfork premieres the latest Tiesto track, which features Sigur Ros’ Jonsi Birgisson.  The seven-and-a-half minute “Kaleidoscope”  is off his forthcoming full-length album due to hit stores October 20.  [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: 20 Watts Reviews Jonsi and Alex’s Riceboy Sleeps (Sigur Ros Side Project)]

According to StereogumKid Cudi performed “Pursuit of Happiness” on the Late Show with David Letterman this past Friday night. Backed by snappily dressed backup singers, a string section and Ratatat, who appear on the album version of the song along with MGMT, the performance was a great success. Letterman praised it as having “a lot going on there” and endorsed the album. [Previous 20 Watts Coverage: News of Note: Pitchfork Posts New Kid Cudi Song]

— 20 Watts Staff

Chester French Cover Shakira’s “She Wolf” by ashleycollman
Chester French cover Shakira's "She Wolf"

Chester French cover Shakira's "She Wolf" for their blog

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Chester French’s Cover of “She Wolf” MP3
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: New Chester French Mixtape, Free Shakira Single “She Wolf”

It’s hard to put a genre on Harvard alumni band Chester French’s music. This week they delved into something completely unexpected by covering Shakira’s hit single “She Wolf.”

The cover came about in a new regular feature on their blog appropriately titled “Which Song Should We Cover.” The band has fans vote for one out of four song choices on their blog and the winning choice is covered. Fans have a week to vote and then Chester French produce it “as soon as humanly possible.” “She Wolf” was voted over other mainstream choices like “Ringleader Man” by T-Pain and “Party in the U.S.A” by Miley Cyrus.

Continue reading

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EDITOR’S PICK #59: LILY LOVE by alpolste
February 17, 2009, 2:52 am
Filed under: Editor Picks | Tags: , ,

Lily Allen

With the exception of Taylor Swift, my long-standing obsession (how can you NOT obsess?), I’ve never gotten into many female artists. So when a friend burnt me Lily Allen’s new album, It’s Not Me, It’s You, I gave it a go without expecting much. I put it on as background music while I did my homework, but pretty soon I had to put my reading down because I was grooving! I wasn’t just sitting at my desk, bobbing my head, I was seriously jamming; it was the first time I was listening to the CD but I was already trying (only sometimes successfully) to sing along. Lily’s blunt lyrics are just flat out charming. Check out the ironically lighthearted sound of “F**K You.”

-Allison Polster, Copy Editor

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