electronic

JAPANESE WALLPAPER EMERGES FROM ITS COCOON
October 27, 2016 9:28 am

When I was 17 years old, I was doing what most other 17 year old teenagers do; playing sports, doing homework, driving a car for fun, I was even playing guitar a lot by most standards. But I was creating nothing like Gab Strum did in his seventeenth year.

He started the electronic pop project Japanese Wallpaper and released his first single “Waves” back in 2014. Even at this early stage in his career, the sounds he created were nearly on the same level as ambient titans Tycho and Boards of Canada. The ethereal, jovial tunes started drawing attention from some pretty well-known folks in the industry such as fellow Australian, Chet Faker. Also in Gab’s seventeenth year, he won Triple J’s Unearthed High competition. Oh, and his track “Breathe In” was also featured on the soundtrack for Zach Braff’’s follow-up to Garden State, Wish I Was Here. Seventeen! I think this goes to show how the state of modern music equipment has altered the music scene. If a high school kid fifty years ago wanted to make music with more than a guitar, he would find it incredibly difficult to do so. The tools to do so weren’t easily available yet. Now we can download software on our laptops and create magic.

Gab did his first tour of Australia back in 2014 with great success. He has since been putting out EP’s with some fantastic remixes in the last couple years. Most recently this year he released the single “Cocoon.” Earlier this year, he released a deluxe edition of his self-titled EP that came out in 2015 with a slew of new remixes. The remix of Between Friends” by Sable is a noteworthy track from the record. The single “Forces” featuring Airling is a smash. I think it’s safe to say that Japanese Wallpaper has a promising future ahead of him. He has a few tour dates left in 2016 if you happen to live in a major Australian city. I imagine he’ll make his leap over to the states soon enough and I for one will be right there in the crowd grooving along to these incredible tunes.

BRAVE BABY BECOMES OUR NEW ELECTRIC FRIENDS
October 18, 2016 9:41 am

Brave Baby are a band from Charleston, South Carolina that currently carries the torch for the niche genre of southern indie rock. That title is normally reserved for bands that have at least one banjo, or cracklin’ piano, not synthesizers, 60’s-style organs, nor lead singer Keon Masters breathy delivery. The 5-piece is an eclectic mix of tender melodies, upbeat, danceable, radio ready singles, and southern charm.
They released their debut record Forty Bells on Charleston indie rock label Hearts and Plugs in 2013 that bring a DIY ethos, self-producing that record in their storage unit turned recording studio. The band released their follow up, Electric Friends, in 2015 to critical acclaim taking a giant step forward in terms of songwriting, and musicianship. The band’s multi-layered, synth-pop approach falls right in line with the millennial culture. Songs like “Daisy Child”, “Ancients”, and “Larry on the Weekend” have poured on comparisons to Arcade Fire, The Shins, and Death Cab for Cutie. The band is at once delicate, needing great care and undivided attention, yet ready for the long road-trip, with too many friends, crammed in the backseat of a Toyota Corolla.

WALKFORADOG IS AS EASY AS ITS NAME
October 14, 2016 9:51 am

Having to trudge through the overpopulated, polluted-as-all-hell maze that is New York City every day can be dispiriting. Shoulders are bumped, footwear gets dirty, and faith in humanity is questioned. Perhaps the one glimmer of hope most people here get all day is the moment a cute dog waltzes past them with a big smile on its face and no worries whatsoever.

Dogs have no idea that we’re all prisoners to capitalism, nor do they complain about being surrounded by concrete and steel barriers that are illegal for them to pee on. They’re just happy to be outside! It’s fresh air time. Dogs are the living embodiment of optimism and being able to see them throughout the day helps me treat others slightly better than I normally would have. Thank you, dogs. You inspire me to be a slightly less terrible person.

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More than anything, I want to show my appreciation for dogs and help out the ones not lucky enough to have a home yet. But because life, especially in the city, is just an endless cycle of work and commute, there isn’t much time to do that. This is why I got so excited when I heard about the app WalkForADog.

From a functionality standpoint, WalkForADog couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is set up an account, select an animal shelter you want to raise money for, keep the app open, and then walk. The more you walk, the more money you raise for that shelter. That’s it. Seriously, it’s the easiest thing in the world. Why aren’t you doing this.

You see? I shouldn’t have to persuade you any longer. Just download the app and start helping out some dogs in need. They already do so much for us!! It couldn’t be any easier and there is nothing stopping you from trying it out.

AGE OF YOUNG EMPIRES
October 5, 2016 2:33 pm

Upcoming band alert!  Winston Churchill once said, “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” If this is the case then Canadian band Young Empires is on their way to taking over the world. While I’m honestly not a huge fan of electronic music, Young Empires mixes indie rock and electro in a way that is not overbearing and just feels damn good.

The trio from Toronto that formed in 2009 is made up of Matthew Vlahovich, Jacob Palahnuk, and Taylor Hill.  The band experienced major hype after their debut EP, Wake All My Youth, was released in 2012 and high demand for tours took over before they were able to spend a solid amount of time working on their first full-length album, The Gates, which was released last fall.

As empires go, they have been gaining ground internationally and conquering media outlets left and right.  NME compared them to The Killers, Arcade Fire, Yeasayer, and Foals. Quite the compliment from a magazine who gives out “Worst Band” awards.

To me they sound like a blend between Cut Copy and Two Door Cinema Club.  It’s energetically electronic while still being ear-otically pleasing.  You can and may very well want to dance to it, but hey, you can chillax to it too. And it is this very precise balance on which they are building their empire. Their lyrics are quite the balancing act as well. Gospel-like lyrics contain omens of both despair and hope.  For example, their song “The Gates” sings, “No I won’t lose hope, no I won’t lose sight, but heaven is a place I just can’t find” and features a music video that includes haunting scenes of religion displaced with images of humanity, beauty, and destruction. The video recently was names one of Vimeo‘s staff picks and you can watch it here.

iOS 10: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE USELESS
October 4, 2016 5:52 pm

The craze of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus a few weeks ago and the flood of memes about it having no headphone jack is basically all everyone was talking about in September. Surprisingly though, iOS 10 seems to be where the actual rich changes are in Apple’s products. iOS 10 is good, a nice upgrade for those who are obsessed with more flash and less function. There is a huge amount updated, and I won’t go through all  of it, but here are my impressions of having it so far.

THE GOOD:

It is fun. It is entertaining. Siri is smarter and opens programs for you or just does what you ask with certain apps, like finding you directions to the closest gas station. The iMessanger has been greatly overhauled, almost too much for my blood. Maybe it is my age, but I don’t need ALL these features. You can draw with cool effects, send messages that slam into the conversation and search all sorts of gifs to send friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love all these things, but it getting to be too much. Like how often am I going to honestly send a neon drawn picture with kissy lips appearing all over it? The change in shape and design of alert banners seemed odd and unnecessary at first, but I’ve gotten used to them, they just hover for too long in my opinion. One of the best, and my favorite, things is that I can finally delete a lot of iPhone permanent apps that weren’t previously aloud to be deleted, so I am very happy about that. Also the quick menu that you get from the bottom is a little weird, but not terrible, the fact that you can swipe to media that is being played and change it there is pretty cool, but still slightly cumbersome.

 

THE BAD:

It is getting messy. I had to download ANOTHER app called Home which I automatically put into my group of dumb apps that I don’t need and just take up space. The messenger keyboard will sometimes get stuck sideways making me have to restart the app just to fix it so I can type. When I double click the home button, the app will shift sideways and I can’t select, scroll or close them, and so I have to lock my phone and unlock it to  get it to function correctly again.

 

THE USELESS:

Like I was saying in the “Good” section, the messenger is getting too cluttered, and has too much different functions that I am never going to use on a daily basis. The forced install app Home, which connects itself to you home system of light, TV or other electronics), seems cool, but if you don’t have everything already set up and have Apps or remotes for those things, you won’t ever need it. I guess it can be helpful because who really wants to get up to turn off lights with a light switch anymore? That was so last millennium (heavy sarcasm).  The new left swipe list of new and alerts looks unorganized and pointless to have, just like before, but now it is slightly different and I have no desire to learn how to use it effectively.

 

All in all getting the update isn’t that bad, it just has so much hullabaloo and so many bugs that it is kind of annoying. It is fun for sure, it really is, but it feels like a stupid app you download for fun because your friends did, but unfortunately it is permanently here and essential to the future function of you Apple device. I hope for some good updates and cleaning of iOS 10, because it does have the potential to be something great.

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB IS THE SHAMROCK MUSIC KING
September 29, 2016 5:27 pm

Two Door Cinema Club are an Irish indie rock trio that seemingly just want to dance. Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday, and Kevin Baird make music that instantly plug ear-worms to your cerebellum with instant infection. Their music videos are also as infectious, showcasing the band’s quirky, yet honest, sense of humor. Forming in 2007, while the lads were still in school, they have since released two full-length albums, with one on the way in October, and a handful of EP’s. They have gained a substantial following in their home country of Ireland, and are doing the same in the US with incessant touring and festival appearances.

Prior to forming Two Door Cinema Club, the trio performed as a band in their teenage years dubbed “Life Without Rory”. The band, released 3 demos,  finished dead last in local competitions, and decided to move on to greener pastures. The trio came back together to form another band without a full-time drummer and settled on the name Two Door Cinema Club after Sam Halliday’s mispronunciation of the local movie theater the Tudor Cinema.

Two Door Cinema Club released an EP in 2009 titled Four Words to Stand On that gained a little interest. Their first full-length record, Tourist History, was released in 2010 with the band finding their niche. Tourist History went on to be selected for the Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year. Follow-up album Beacon was released 3 years later to similar reaction pushing the band to release a four-part tour documentary entitled What We See. An EP, Changing of the Seasons, came in 2013 coupled with a jump to Parlophone Records in 2015. Their third proper album, Gameshowand first for Parlophone, is slated for release in October, 2016.

Two Door Cinema Club will be featured at the Austin City Limits Festival on October 1st, and will continue touring North America through November 2016.

VIBBLE: SMALL START WITH GREAT POTENTIAL
September 28, 2016 11:18 am

Vibble, for all intensive purposes, is your personal mix board. With transitions, samples, and faders, Vibble gives you the sense of being a DJ while cutting out the complications. It is stylistic, easy and fun to play with, a for sure download for someone who asks always wants the AUX cord in the car. However, the app is pretty minimal and would need a lot of updates and expansions to amount to something of real substance.

The App runs with Sound Cloud. You can search Sound Cloud through this app very smoothly and very fast and add the song you want to a simple playlist. You can play a number of different samples right over the tracks adding air horns, drum beats, and vinyl scratches to whatever you like on Sound Cloud.

I love Sound Cloud as much as the next person, but the fact that this app only uses Sound Cloud is pretty limiting. Even artists like Flume or Porter Robinson which have a strong presence there, don’t show up with any music inside the app. So unless you know a whole mess of small time artists off the top of your head, it’ll be difficult finding anything worth mixing and fooling with. I’m not a pro with this app either, so I might be missing how to use certain parts like saving music playlists or bookmarking artists, but as of now I haven’t found a way to retain any mixes or set-lists that I’ve made.

With all this said, it doesn’t mean the app is great in concept. The accessible fading and samples are refreshing, the design of the app is bright and fun, and the potential for greatness is there. I can’t wait to see this app a couple of months from now, it’ll be the new way to listen to your Sound Cloud favorites.

 

SAYING GOODBYE TO THE VCR
September 27, 2016 6:02 pm

As  I’m looking over the life of the VCR, I realize that DVDs aren’t that far from become an obsolete part of the technology spectrum just like VHS tapes. The tech world is evolving expeditiously faster every year and the last VHS has been produced this past summer.

I remember those fuzzy scratchy Disney movies with fat plastic cases. The big trilogy sets of Star Wars and rewinding videos right after watching them. I was never cool enough to have the super reminder machine that did it for you, but the wishing noise of the whirling tape and finishing click takes me back 20 years.

In Japan, the Funai Electric Company has still been producing VCRs up until August of this year. This really marks an end to an era, not just of the VCR, VHS and other tape recorded products, but that we are official past the analog age and well into a digital world.

Between Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and many more, we really have no need for and physical copies of any of our media anyways, Blu-Rays and DVDs are used less and less. Digital can be taken anywhere through either hard copies , cloud storage or streaming. I’ve spent all my college years without any physical copies of any of my papers, except when the teacher asks for them. I keep it all in my accounts online.

With this shift to digital media, a lot of people still buy physical items for nostalgia and because it’s nice to be able to actually hold something with your two hands. Physical CD albums, vinyls and DVD/Blu Ray collections are becoming more popular, but unfortunately it seems pretty certain that the VHS and VCR have seen there last days and it’s time to find a digital converter for them or just throw them out. Goodbye rewinding noise, goodbye Aladdin in crappy VHS quality and good night to the age of VCR.

A PLAYSTATION 4 EXTRAVAGANZA: THE SLIM AND THE PRO
September 9, 2016 1:02 pm

Time has moved pretty quickly since the release of the Playstation 4 in 2013. But this week two new Playstation 4 models have been announced named the Playstation 4 Slim and Playstation 4 Pro.

I won’t go into the long debate of whether we need these upgrades now, but it has been three years into the life span of the PS4 and a normal consoles gets to 10 years of age before becoming obsolete. With that said, a slimmer cheaper model was bound to happen, easier for the consumer to use and take care of, cheaper and yet still perform just as well as previous models. Go here for a specs comparison of the three different models, the original, the Pro and the Slim.

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Original ————- Slim ————- Pro

The real intrigue from this week’s announcements is in the Playstation 4 Pro. This is a powerful machine that rivals gaming PCs and yet comes at a very competitive price while including a handful of features. The Pro will not only play games at a much smoother rate and performance level, it will be capable of streaming HDR and 4K capable content. If you don’t know what those are, check out a quick explanation of HDR and 4K to catch up on the latest tech.

Netflix has announced that it will have over 600 hours of 4K content, and now you will have somewhere to watch it, if you also have a compatible TV of course.

Certain games will also be HDR and 4K ready down the road, including Spider Man, Watch Dogs 2, Horizon Zero Dawn, Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1, and Final Fantasy XV.

Do you think we need all this upgrading for a gaming system that still does its job fine? Are you planning on upgrading to a fast and more powerful PS4 Pro?

Here is what I would suggest. If you are a casual player, get the PS4 Slim, you have absolutely no need for the Pro now or the near future. If you love playing games and want the baddest/strong console available, buy the PS4 Pro ONLY IF you have a 4K and or HDR TV, otherwise it won’t really be any different. I am happy to see these two be announced, they are great additions to the Sony Playstation family, but they might have jumped the gun a little because the general public is still not at that level of high definition and need for speed.

The Playstation 4 Slim will be available on the 15th of this month for $299 and the Playstation 4 Pro will be available a little later this year on November 10th for $399.

iPHONE 7 AND iPHONE 7 PLUS SWOOP IN WITH A LOAD OF NEW SPECS
September 7, 2016 6:35 pm

 

It’s that time of the year again, time for Apple to find a new way to take millions of dollars from the world. The iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus were announced and everyone is ready to throw these new products in the toilet. No, not because they are terrible, but with a list of new specs and upgrades, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus can brave even the roughest of storms.

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The newest and most important updates for both of them are as follows:

1) Water Resistant! If you leave it in a fish tank for a few days, I don’t think it will work but it can withstand a drop in the wiz-palace, the pool or a very rainy day.

2) The new Home Button will no longer be a click or touch base, but a hard touch to better distinguish between brushing over it and actually pressing it.

3) No Headphone Jack! This is a double edged sword. It promotes bluetooth use which is nice…sometimes. New AirPods wirless head phones will be coming in late October, but for now you’ll be using standard Bluetooth or an adapter for the lighting charge port that will allow you to plug in normal headphones.

4) A 12 Mega-Pixel Camera is pretty big to fit on a cell phone, but they do it somehow. Easily beats all other cameras on previous iPhones.

5) The new Black design will be the new fancy color only available for the 128G and 256G models while the other colors upon release will be Rose-Gold, Gold, Silver and Matte Black.

6) The New A10 processor will make your iPhone 5 look like it was from the 90’s.

7) Not an exclusive to the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, iOS 10 will be arriving the 13th, so be prepared for a big update for all your other devices.

 

There are a vast amount of other upgrades in it that you can check out here. The iPhone 7 Plus will have a long lasting battery, larger screen and include a second out facing camera that will allow 2x analog zoom (which actually seems pretty awesome).

The iPhone 7 will be priced at $649 with 32G, $749 with 128G, and $849 with 256G of storage. The iPhone 7 Plus is obviously at a higher price because of the extra things: $769 with 32G, $869 with 128G, and $969 with 256G.

Pre-Orders will be available on the 9th and it will be released on the 16th of this month. Are you willing to shell out close to a thousand dollars for the newest, biggest and baddest iPhone? Will you turn in your old one and upgrade it that you’ll still have some money for food and rent this month? Let us know what you’ll be doing at @ATYPICALSOUNDS on Twitter.