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ISSUE 21 | Reviews: Broken Bells’ Broken Bells by 20watts

20 Watts gives Broken Bells' self-titled a 15/20 watts.

Part of Issue 21 Coverage!

PREVIEW: VISIT Broken Bells’ MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts

It’s hard to call Broken Bells just another “supergroup,” because the sound of their debut album is so authentic, soulful and melodically experimental. Broken Bells is made up of The Shins’ James Mercer and Gnarls Barkley’s Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton, but they’re not a match made in heaven – they just sound great together.

Even though the album drops on March 9, the group teased the world with its groovy, smooth opening track, “The High Road” on Dec. 29. The cleanly coordinated lead single may flow with the innocence of a post-Beatles Paul McCartney song, but its electronic whirs and blips resound with the sultry edge of Danger Mouse’s Gnarls Barkley influences. Continue reading

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20 Watts Radio: Saturday Nov. 7 by 20watts
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20 Watts played Julian Casablancas, Joy Division, Sleigh Bells and more on WERW

Eric, Jett and Caitlin were in the studio from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. last night, playing new releases, editors’ picks, local favorites AND a solid hour of post-punk for all you lucky listeners.  Here’s what we played last night: new tracks are in bold, local artists are italicized.

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

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The 20.2: Your Essential Guide to New Wave by 20watts

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DOWNLOAD: 20 Watts’ NEW WAVE MIX on Mediafire

Music critics tend to throw around the word “New Wave” like it’s going out of style.  But if you’ve heard Santigold or The Killers, or if you jammed out to Bloc Party’s Juice Jam set last year, then you’re well aware that the opposite is actually true — it’s pretty much impossible to find any musical act in any genre today that doesn’t owe some kind of debt to the the punk-mod fusion that came out of the ’80s.

But put Weekend in the City on pause for a second.  Here at 20 Watts, we’re interested in getting back to our musical roots.  That’s why we’ve recruited a team of music fanatics to write comprehensive, 20-album guides to all their favorite genres. THE 20 is more than a curated list — it’s the absolute best of a style or movement, condensed to a form you can play in one sitting.

So what’s the very best in New Wave?  20 Watts’ CHARLIE WEEKS has the answer in our second 20 installment.  Watch for new 20s each Thursday, only on 20 Watts, and check out our previous 20s below!

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20 Watts Reviews Datarock’s Red by Eric Vilas-Boas
Datarock's latest full-length fails to impress

Datarock's latest full-length Red fails to impress

PREVIEW: Download Datarock’s “In the Red” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 9/20 Watts

The problem with revival music is that not all bands can pull off the same styles as well their forebears. With bands like Interpol getting compared to Joy Division, what else is there for an obscure band to do? Enter Datarock — lampooners of  post-punk.

They came onto the greater dance-funk scene in 2004 with their doubly self-titled debut Datarock Datarock, which was drenched in adolescent sensibilities (including puns off “Uranus”) and as many ‘70s and ‘80s throwbacks as your parents’ cassette collection. Five years later, they’re back with a sophomore effort called Red.

From first listen, you know that this duo lays down exciting instrumentals that could be wonderful to dance to — if you were too drunk to realize what they were saying. The album’s lyrics are largely nonsensical, and not in the way of Matt and Kim’s “Daylight.” Continue reading



Photos and Review of School of Seven Bells, The xx, and DJ Mike Wolf at South Street Seaport 8/14 by Eric Vilas-Boas
School of Seven Bells did not disappoint last night

School of Seven Bells did not disappoint on Friday night

PREVIEW: Download School of Seven Bells’ “Face to Face on High Places” MP3
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Blank Dogs, and Dan Friel at the Seaport; Pains of Being Pure at Heart, ZAZA, and Ribbons at the Seaport

From everything we’ve come to expect from River to River, there were no surprises at their last show at the lovely South Street Seaport. It was a beautiful night for a concert and while the crowd wasn’t nearly as animated as they were the week before at Casiokids or during Black Moth Super Rainbow’s incredible set, both The xx and School of Seven Bells made up for it with dreamier live acts. Opening DJ Mike Wolf? Not so much

Apart from some amusing Cure, Psychocandy, and other ‘80s throwbacks set against the modern rock tracks, overall Mike Wolf’s mixing was pretty uninspiring, with the crowd sitting through most of it. Dan Friel a few weeks ago was a far more impressive opener, but then, we can’t all be awesome enough for crowd members to tambourine for us. Continue reading



Emerging Artist: The Horrors by tjwell01

Pull yourself out of your world and slip into some new-wave psychedelic pop just getting hot from across the pond. I gladly introduce to you, The Horrors.

Sophomore album, “Primary Colours” (May 5th, XL Records), is a kick ass mix of UK garage rock, new wave electro-pop and moody lyrics. To top it off, they’ve got some style. Just from the look of them, they look like a combination of The Cure and Motley Crue.

Hit single, “Sea Within a Sea” isn’t even close to the best song on the album. I’ve been listening to the top tracks, “Who Can Say” and “Scarlet Fields” the past two days and leaving it on “repeat.” They’re brilliant in their complexity and also their simplicity. “Scarlet Fields,” for example, keeps a simple four-note bass line rolling in the back while a cranked up synthesizer howls and coos in-and-out of the chorus.

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Leak of the Week 3: The Cure – 4:13 Dream by Tuan Le
October 24, 2008, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

The leaks this week were The Cure’s 4:13 Dream, Snow Patrol’s A Hundred Million Suns and Asobi Seksu’s Me & Mary 7″.  Of those, the leak of the week is obviously going to be The Cure.  And they’re totally 80’s goth, too.  This is their thirteenth studio release (sheesh, they’re old).  My favorite track right now is “The Only One,” and “Freakshow” is pretty fun too.  Check it out; it’s worth it.

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