Little-known fact about me: Back in my high school days, I used to be the frontman for a hard rock band. The band fell apart, as most high school rock bands do, shortly after we all started going to university and college. I didn’t play guitar for a while, but I’ve been flirting with the idea of starting up a solo indie project with just me and my acoustic. The real problem, apart from no possibility of success and the utter likelihood of failure, is that I often have trouble cracking down the whip and writing music.
Jamn aims to fix that problem. I’ve tried a lot of apps meant to help floundering musicians, but none of them work on either a visual or musical level. Most of them are ripoffs sold based on empty promises. Initially, I was worried Jamn would be the same way. I was wrong. Read on to see what makes this app so compelling for musicians. (more…)
Guitar!, a new mobile music game from accomplished iOS app powerhouse Smule offers the musically inclined mobile gamer a new twist on the virtual virtuoso theme. Playing along with popular hits using the iPhone (or iPad and iPod Touch — Guitar! is a universal app) touchscreen isn’t revolutionary.
Many past apps, including some of Smule’s own (Ocarina, anyone?) have been built around this functionality. But Guitar! stands out from the crowd, because it offers another layer of interactivity. Let’s dig into it after the jump. (more…)
The standard Music app on my iPhone has always been one of my favourite iPhone apps. It does what it does really well. Let’s be honest, for many of us, it was likely the reason we got an iPhone or iPod Touch to begin with in the early days. Over the years though, there have been a lot of changes to the app. With iOS 6, Apple gave the Music app a huge visual overhaul with a lot of chrome (which, for the record, looks terrible on anything smaller than the iPhone 5′s taller display). But there’s not a lot of new functionality to go with it.
iTunes for Mac, on the other hand, got a ton of new functionality last year. There’s absolutely no comparison. For all of its flaws, iTunes is still the best music player I know of for OS X. It’s a powerful jukebox. One of my favourite features from last year’s massive update was Up Next, a feature that lets you add any song and play it next before returning to your current playlist. I can’t tell you how handy this feature has been at my house parties. The iOS Music app still doesn’t have this feature (or many others). Party Monster aims to fix that. (more…)
I have to tune my ukulele constantly. That’s what I get for buying the blue one with the dolphin on it, right? It looks pretty, but it’s not the best instrument, and it needs constant upkeep or it starts sounding like I’m playing a tree branch.
I have a little device to tune it, a physical thing I have to lug around with me, and while it’s not all that big, it’s one more thing I need to keep on me at all times. Tunable can fix all that. It’s a great little app for tuning, and it can do a whole lot more. But can it replace the tuner I use everyday? (more…)
In the ’90s, there were few better gifts that I could receive than a fresh brick of blank cassette tapes. These 90-minutes canvases held such potential, waiting for me to put together my themed compilations made for road trips, studying and, most importantly, as gifts for friends. But with the prevalence of CD burners, and most listeners relying on digital files, MP3 players and streaming, the craft of making a true mixtape has all but died.
Enter MiTapes, a nostalgia-inducing app. With MiTapes, users can create their own playlists that can be “played back” on a cassette — at least visually, as your iPhone screen becomes a tape deck with two spools winding away. Can this throwback novelty re-ignite your love for the original form of peer-to-peer file sharing? Find out more about it after the jump. (more…)
Hot off the presses, Twitter #music has finally gone public, and we can all stop hating Wiz Khalifa and Alt-J just a little bit for getting there before we did. With Twitter charts based on trending music and recommendations sourced from your follows, Twitter #music aims to reinvent music discovery.
Is it everything we’ve been waiting for and just as good as all the famous music people have been saying? We’ll try it out! (more…)
Sometimes, an app comes along that fits a small niche in a really interesting, kind of absurd way. How many people really need an app that combines ambient music with police radio? And out of the people who think they need that app, how many are willing to pay for it? Any development time is a gambling risk; wasted time developing an app that doesn’t work out is potentially wasted money (or so the saying goes — don’t ask me, I’m still trying to earn pennies by saving them so I fall for these scams all the time). Regardless, somebody put this app together. It’s called La Vue, it’s a universal app and it’s on the App Store for $0.99.
There’s no denying the concept is pretty cool, but cool concepts with weak implementations are never any good. The real question I had going into this isn’t why anybody would bother putting this together; it’s such an original and cool idea that the real question is why somebody wouldn’t. But I did wonder if the design was any good, if the app matched or exceeded its value and who could really use an app like this. My answers surprised me. (more…)
Let’s be honest: When it comes to finding new music in iTunes, Apple could be doing a better job. Their curators for the iTunes store are good, but unless you live indie rock or pop music, you’re not likely to find more than a couple new artists every year. And for some people, that average isn’t high enough. Beyond that, Apple doesn’t promote too many small independent artists. (When I was in a rock band, I didn’t have a hope of Apple promoting me.)
That being said, the great thing about the App Store is that there’s definitely an app for that (or, in this case, several apps). One of my favourites is Band of the Day — a great free universal app that helps you find upcoming independent artists and a few who are starting to break into the scene, with a new group or individual appearing every day. These guys are great curators, but an app is about more than an iTunes link — it’s also about content and presentation. (more…)