20 Watts

Editor’s Pick #283: Neon Indian Hits up Jimmy Fallon by tjwell01

PREVIEW: Neon Indian’s MySpace

Norwegian boys, Kings of Convenience, were originally slated to play Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night, but Neon Indian slipped in because of a last minute cancellation. Not that anyone was upset since Neon Indian rolled in like a champ and put on the moves for the mainstream spotlight. You could tell Alan Palomo brought his A-game with his Buffalo Bill dance moves on stage (thanks, Carly). Who knew Jimmy Fallon was such a hipster? Apparently he found out about Neon Indian through Shazaam on his iPhone.

With this stellar performance and their slated appearance at Bonnaroo recently announced, Neon Indian is blowing up faster than most expected. Even Questo of the Roots was impressed via Twitter. Can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store for their Buffalo show at Big Orbit Soundlab Space on March 12.

–Jett Wells


Editor’s Pick #157: Muse’s “United States of Eurasia” by Dan
After treating fans to an in-depth, interactive game through its website over the summer, Muse leaked two songs from its upcoming album, "The Resistance," in July

After treating fans to an in-depth, interactive game through its website over the summer, Muse leaked two songs from its upcoming album, "The Resistance," in July

PREVIEW: Download Muse’s “United States of Eurasia” MP3
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Editor’s Pick 146: Thom Yorke and Bon Iver Soundtrack New Moon

Over the summer, Muse have slowly, but surely, been feeding us information about their upcoming new album, The Resistance, which hits shelves on September 14. It started with a Twitter announcement of the album’s title in May, and tour dates were revealed on the band’s website in early June.

But the peak came in mid-July, when Muse kick-started an international treasure hunt, called the “Ununited States of Eurasia.” Fans in six different cities around the world took part, searching for keys hidden somewhere in the cities that would unlock certain portions of the track on Muse’s official site.

And on July 20, the Ununited became United, and the song “United States of Eurasia” was released to the world.

While the album’s first single, “Uprising,” showcases a grooving, almost dance-influenced direction for Muse, “United States of Eurasia” sounds like a slightly darker version of Queen. Singer Matt Bellamy‘s vocal harmonies sound like Freddie Mercury at his most theatric, and you’d think he stole his guitar licks directly from Brian May. In fact, upon first listen, you might think you’re hearing “Innuendo, Pt. 2.” After a calm, piano-driven introduction, Muse serve up an absolutely bombastic verse and chorus that could be the soundtrack for a fireworks show.

In most cases, Queen imitation is dangerous territory for a band (The Darkness, anyone?). But for Muse, it feels completely natural, and they pull it off wonderfully. If you weren’t excited about The Resistance before, this should get you on the bandwagon.

— Dan Kaplan, Front-of-Book Editor

20 Watts Interviews Neon Indian by tjwell01
Alan Palomo is the mastermind behind Neon Indian and VEGA

Alan Palomo is the mastermind behind Neon Indian and VEGA

READ: 20 Watts Reviews Neon Indian’s “Terminally Chill.”

After some struggle, 20 Watts finally got to talk to Alan Palomo, a fast-rising emerging artist based out of Austin, TX, and the face behind disco house act VEGA, and up and coming electronica band, Neon Indian.

In light of Neon Indian’s upcoming debut LP release in October, Palomo, soon to be 21-years-old,  talked a little about how Neon Indian got started and where he gets his inspiration.

20W: Talk a little about where you are from and your history with music.

Palomo: I was born in Mexico and grew up in mostly Texas, and I’ve been exposed to music all my life. I’m nostalgic to the Beatles, Wings and Michael Jackson. My brother had always been more musical than me, and only at the end of high school did I start playing music.

20W: How did you get into electronica and techno?

Palomo: I always had an interest in electronic music. It just happened one day when I found a an old synth machine at a pawn shop. It always stuck out to me.

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Sarah Aument’s Debut EP Out Free on O, Morning Records by 20watts
SU sophomore Sarah Aument

SU sophomore Sarah Aument's debut EP is free on O Morning's Twitter


Things are looking up for Syracuse University musician and former 20 Watts cover girl Sarah Aument: with the free release of her first EP and an upcoming Northeast tour with two other local bands, Aument has been hard at work making the rest of us look like slackers in comparison.

Aument, who has amassed a small following by playing coffeehouses, house parties, and the always accommodating Funk N’Waffles, is releasing her first album for free via her label O, Morning Records. It’s a local effort all around: Aument enlisted the help of the help of the record label’s founders, SU sophomores Dan Creahan and Sam Mason, recording the album on laptops in dorm rooms and friends’ apartments.

It wasn’t a high-tech or particularly demanding process, but it “turned out really well,” said Creahan, who is in the Bandier program. He decided to rerelease the EP on Twitter to expand Aument’s ever-growing fanbase.

“Right now we’re trying to… network as much as possible with bands and people from the area,” said Creahan. “So when we want to make an announcement we can easily contact as many people as possible, and right now Twitter can offer that ability.”

Their gambit has been paying off. The record label’s Twitter has been picked up and retweeted by people as far as Florida, and buzz around the EP is growing as people are responding with overwhelmingly positive feedback. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s completely free, a labor of love from Aument and O, Morning.

That love is audible in the album itself. Aument writes her songs with an understanding of heartfelt emotions: loss and heartbreak, apathy and consolation all filter though her wavering, Feist-like vocals. With its intimate acoustics and soft, driving rhythms, Wake Up Singing is just as beautiful as it is bittersweet.

“She’s a great songwriter, she’s a great lyricist, and I hope that it’s just the beginning,” said Creahan. “I hope we can leverage this into more success for her because she definitely deserves it.”

This summer she’ll be hitting the road with SU bands Mouth’s Cradle and Bears in America for a weeklong tour across New York, Pennsylvania before heading back to Syracuse. For the Westchester, PA native, it will be the perfect chance to hone her musical talents outside the brightly-colored walls of Funk N’ Waffles.

As of now, no official dates or venues have been announced for the tour. But keep an eye on 20 Watts as we announce further details in the coming weeks.

— Blake Rong

Brand New announce next album, “and one head can never die” by Eric Vilas-Boas
Brand New just released some brand new

Brand New just released a first glimpse of their new album, and one head can never die, which is set to drop in September.

After teasing their fans via Twitter and performing new songs live for the past year, Long Island emo band Brand New finally condescended to spilling some info on their upcoming album. For fans this is an exciting prospect, but for everyone else it’s just another band that’s become too pretentious for their own good.

In a recent Kerrang! interview, Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey expressed doubts over the band’s future and, calling the upcoming album an “exhausting record,” worried that fans would not be able to appreciate it.  and one head can never die (all lower-case, according to the publicist) is set to drop September 22, 2009.

Brand New emerged in the 2000s as one of the more popular, critically-acclaimed bands  from the Long Island emo scene. Continue reading

Best Musicians to Follow on Twitter by tjwell01
Stay up-to-date on your favorite artists by following them on Twitter

Stay up-to-date on your favorite artists by following them on Twitter

All fans can get closer to their favorite bands just by following their tweets, whether those tweets are about recording sessions, post-concert thoughts or how big their feet are.  Musicians in general are a lot of fun to follow, but these are the select few that really stand out.

1) John Mayer, a.k.a. “johncmayer”

Mayer loves to tweet, and he does so by making quirky analyses and comments to other celebrities — including the United States.  Spotted July 4th on Mayer’s Twitter: “America, since it’s your birthday, you just lie on the couch. I’ll make you flapjacks. Today is your day. I am so happy to be your girl!”  What an enigma.

2) Matt + Kim, a.k.a. “mattandkim”

Matt + Kim’s twitpics, while random, are also adorable.  The duo reflects on nachos, Disney World and recycled toilet paper, as well.

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Musicians Tweeting Artsy Nude Pictures by tjwell01
July 2, 2009, 11:46 am
Filed under: Editor Picks | Tags: , , , ,

Katie Perry poses nude for Twitter! With a half-eaten pizza, of course.

I love Twitter.

It’s a bit old, but there’s a Huffington Post slide show of nude celebrity pictures (not really), which were pulled from their Twitter accounts. There’s also a naked butt shot of Lenny Kravitz, but he likes showing off his butt. It’s not just musicians however; Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore and Lance Armstrong are also in there.

–Jett Wells