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Editor’s Pick#286: Breaking down Block Party’s “Surprise Act” by tjwell01

No, Passion Pit is not going to be the big "surprise" act for Block Party this year.

The Drake announcement for Block Party was expected, but what wasn’t expected was the hush-hush mystery of a “surprise middle act.” The act will be named later, but there’s enough information available to break down the mystery. The Newshouse’s Otto-Tune blogger, Nathan Mattise, does a solid job of analyzing the possible candidates that might be the surprise act. It’s more than speculation, because Mattise refers to the student survey posted online, highlighting UU’s thought process to fill out the lineup.

Drake was on the list for UU’s headlining act, along with Common, Kid Cudi, Ludacris, MGMT, Modest Mouse, Mos Def, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend and Weezer. We know how this played out.

However, the list for the possible supporting acts goes as follows: 3OH!3, Cobra Starship, Passion Pit, Keri Hilson, LMFAO, Lykke Li, Miike Snow, Pitbull and The-Dream. Now, it’s easy to eliminate candidates by process of elimination based on their tours already scheduled, and who is available for April 30th. It also makes sense for the band to be near by Syracuse, NY at a nearby date.

Let’s break it down:

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20 Watts Reviews Surfer Blood’s Astro Coast by JohnCassillo

Surfer Blood's debut is a surprisingly sharp and diverse endeavor

PREVIEW: VISIT Surfer Blood’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

It ends up that all-world Gators quarterback Tim Tebow may not be the most interesting thing to come out of the University of Florida in 2010. Surfer Blood, who also perfected their own craft at U of F, have one of the early, most anticipated debuts of the year. Their initial effort, Astro Coast, is ambitious, catchy and youthful– not necessarily atypical of a band out of college, but nonetheless, there’s something still inherently different about Surfer Blood.

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20 Watts Reviews OK Go’s Of the Blue Colour of the Sky by 20watts

OK Go's latest album is full of pleasant surprises

PREVIEW: VISIT OK Go’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts

Between Surfer Rosa references, Rock Band, New Moon, treadmills and a five-year wait, I (and probably everyone else) was more than willing to write off OK Go’s latest album. Too bad it’s too good.

Of the Blue Colour of the Sky succeeds for not just its consistency as an album, but for how OK Go have pulled away from the generic power pop of their self-titled debut and sophomore effort Oh No in favor of a more dance-y, inscrutably diverse sound. The band derided for aping ’00s Weezer have crafted a diverse, synth- and hook-laden third effort — shockingly easygoing, and more fascinating than any other mainstream release so far this year. Continue reading



EDITOR’S PICK #228: MUSIC TO GET YOU THROUGH THE WINTER by dana20watts

PREVIEW: LISTEN to Free People’s “Wintry Mix”

Well, we almost made it through an entire semester with no snow, but according to this week’s weather forecast, that dream will soon become a distant memory. I don’t know about you, but Syracuse’s constant gray skies and inches of snow blowing in my face sort of put a damper on my day. If you’re the same way, pop in your headphones and listen to Free People’s “Wintry Mix” playlist. The 15 winter-themed tracks will help you actually enjoy the mounds of snow, and make you feel as though you’re living in a winter wonderland– not a sub-zero ice box.

What’s best about the playlist is that it’s a truly eclectic mix of music. There’s classic rock, indie rock and even a bit of 90s and Bob Marley thrown in. And what’s even better than the array of artists? Free People made sure to put together songs that represented the winter season in general, as well as the holidays. So instead of going crazy listening to the same Christmas songs over and over again on the radio, listen to “Wintry Mix” on your way to class and enjoy the extreme weather that you’ll be experiencing until April.

–Dana Mikaelian, Communications Director

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20 Watts Radio: Saturday Nov. 7 by 20watts
radio

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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20 Watts Reviews Weezer’s Raditude by jluposello
weezer_raditude01

Weezer's Raditude is scheduled to drop on November 3rd.

PREVIEW: VISIT Weezer’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts

When Billboard announced in November 2008 that alt-rock legends Weezer would be entering the studio to record their seventh studio release, the band’s fan base was immediately abuzz with anticipation, and with good reason. Frontman Rivers Cuomo was bringing back old friend Jacknife Lee, who had produced the Red Album’s Billboard topping single “Pork and Beans”. The album had beginnings as another notable addition to Weezer’s already impressive catalogue. Now, almost a year later, we can finally see the results.

Raditude, which derives its name from a suggestion to Rivers by close friend Rainn Wilson (aka Dwight from the Office), is a classic Weezer party album in every sense of the term. All too obvious is the fact that Rivers decided to take this album much more in the direction of contemporary pop, which will be the aspect that will make or break the album for most listeners. Most of the tracks lack the depth and inspiration of some of Weezer’s earlier albums (see The Blue Album and Pinkerton), and will undoubtedly hail some criticism from fans of those albums. Continue reading



News of Note: Weezer Collaborate with The All-American Rejects, Yeah Yeah Yeahs Release an iTunes Orginals Session, Devendra Banhart Streams New Album What Will Be, Animal Collective Support PETA, and MORE by jluposello
Weezer just finished a collaboration with All American Rejects for upcoming album Raditude

Weezer just finished a collaboration with Nick Wheeler and Tyson Ritter of The All-American Rejects for upcoming album Raditude

Keeping with the collaborative theme of their new album, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo has recently finished up a track for Weez’s new album, Raditude, featuring Tyson Ritter and Nick Wheeler of The All-American Rejects. The song, entitled “Put Me Back Together,” follows Weez’s collaboration with Lil’ Wayne, “Can’t Stop Partying.” Ritter told RS, “I was playing Weezer songs when I was 13 at parties, so now I can die happy.” Look for the track when the album drops on November 3rd.

It’s about time that we got an iTunes Originals session from New York’s garage-punk rockers, Yeah Yeah YeahsPitchfork gives us a look at the details of today’s release, which include studio tracks, interview clips, and unreleased acoustic versions of some of YYY’s most well known tracks. Check it out here.

Devendra Banhart’s seventh release, What Will Be, is set to drop from Warner Bros. Records on October 27th. Both Banhart and Band of Bees’ Paul Butler have dually produced the record, reports Stereogum. He has reportedly reenlisted the band that played behind him on 2007’s Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon: Noah Georgeson, Greg Rogove, Luckey Remington and Rodrigo Amarante. Fans that can’t wait the week for this highly anticipated freak-folk release can stream it now here (you can thank us later).

Staying true to their namesake, Animal Collective has just stepped up with PETA to protest Canada’s aptly named annual “Seal Slaughter.” The slaughter is responsible for the death of thousands of seals annually (60,000 in 2009), and celebrities such as Perez Hilton and the guys from AnCo have begun passionately speaking against the practice, reports Pitchfork. Check out the video, where Geologist eloquently states, “We all really like animals and seals, especially.” We like your enthusiasm, Geo.

Nashville’s indie rockers Kings of Leon will be releasing their most recent concert footage on DVD, reports Pitchfork. The release, entitled Live at the O2 London, England documents a June 2009 show. Look for its release on November 10th and on November 24th in Blu-Ray.

— John Luposello