Liisten

by Tyler Hayes

Tyler is a music and technology enthusiast, so this is a collection of items related to music and technology.

Read this first

5 Takeaways from Brand New’s Science Fiction

Brand New surprised everyone with a new album on August 17th called Science Fiction. (Though, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the band just put it out whenever they felt like it, without advance notice.)

Instead of reviewing it, trying to argue it’s good or bad, let’s break it down a little differently and talk about its interesting characteristics.

1) Science Fiction isn’t too out there

Love it or hate it, Daisy was divisive for Brand New fans. That release in 2009 seemed, to me, like the band was moving more towards putting out music that scratched their itch for something new–for the sake of being different for themselves.

If Brand New put out another album two years after Daisy, who knows what it would have been, but I probably wouldn’t have cared for it. There’s a good chance it would have been wildly experimental.

Science Fiction has its quirks, like the interlaced spoken

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Brand New Science Fiction Release Info

Brand New has a new album called Science Fiction.

 Be sure to check out my 5 takeaways from the new album.

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Here’s the back story on its intentional leak:

The album went up for vinyl pre-order on August 15th. Then, a CD with a single 1:01:28 long track burned on it was sent to those 500 people that pre-ordered the vinyl.

The album, as a single track began making the rounds today, August 17th, before the band put the release on its store for purchase.

What does it sounds like?

Well, it’s a pretty good mix of material the band has released up until this point. There’s some acoustic guitar, some moments of hard rock, but overall a lot of songs that sound like what you might assume Brand New’s 5th album would be.

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The End of Music Reviews

Music reviews in 2017 are stupid.

When a new CD cost $15.99 at Tower Records and there was little way to figure out how much you were going to enjoy all the other songs beyond the radio single, writing a review of the new music made sense. Inform people about the product before they spend their money.

Fast forward, there’s almost zero need to inform people about a music album because of the internet. Spotify provides free access to new music. Even buying from iTunes or Google provides buyers a minute and 30-second samples of the songs for free. In which case, why does 500+ words need to be spilled on telling people whether the music is good or not? They can decide for themselves faster than it takes to read a review.

What about the cultural element a review provides in showcasing this new music? That is important, but it no longer needs to be a “review.” Reviews should be

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Track 1

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What makes a great opening album song? Is it a slow burn or is it a banger? I don’t think there’s any specific musical characteristic for an opening song which guarantees its success, rather, I think it’s one that perfectly sets the tone for the album, pulling you into the rest of the record—even if the rest of the songs suck.

Here’s some of my favorite track 1s (in no order) from the last ~10 years:

  • Bon Iver - 22 (Over soon)
  • D’Angelo and The Vanguard - “Ain’t That Easy”
  • Wild Cub - “Shapeless”
  • Ace Enders - “Reintroduction”
  • Teen Daze - Cycle
  • Tokyo Police Club - “Favourite Food” & “Argentina pt. I,II,III”
  • Rhye - Open
  • Khalid - “American Teen”

And possibly one of the best album openers of all time, Jimmy Eat World’s “Futures.”

In case you’re wondering what song Matt is referencing in the screenshot, it’s TV On The Radio’s “I Was A Lover.”

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My Chill Mix

Discover Weekly, a feature of Spotify, in hindsight, has been a catalyst for automated playlists everywhere.

Apple tackled and recreated Spotify’s hit with its My New Mix Mix, but now it’s continuing to attempt to recreate this adoration Discover Weekly has garnered for computer curated playlists with an attack on another tried and true reason for music consumption: “Chill.”

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This new dedicated playlist is rolling out to Apple Music subscribers under their “For You” section now.

My Chill Mix will add songs on a weekly basis, pulling cues from a user’s likes and listening history.

I dig it.

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Things To Consider When Buying A Tesla Model 3

Part of the appeal of Tesla’s Model 3 is that it’s an attractive car, one that you’d expect to pay $35,000 for, regardless of its fuel consumption methods.

It’s got a sleek and sporty look. It has an eye-popping 15-inch screen as its center console and vehicle controls. Plus, it’s relatively fast.

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The problem with the Model 3 is that it’s possibly too desirable, teasing a price that’s mostly unrealistic. Here’s a breakdown of the cost realities you should expect from actually buying a Model 3 with 220 miles of range:

 Base price does not include:

  • Any color that isn’t black. ($1,000 for other color options)
  • Premium upgrades - Heated seating, premium cabin materials, power adjustable seats, enhanced speakers and sound, tinted glass roof, auto dimming and power side mirrors, additional USB ports and phone docking options. (+$5,000 for package)
  • Enhanced Autopilot - Matching speed to

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iPhone 8 and Wireless Charging

Rumors suggest the next iPhone in 2017 will have wireless charging. False.

The next iPhone (iPhone 8?) looks like it will have inductive charging so you won’t have to plug the phone itself directly into the wall, but don’t confuse this with “wireless charging.”

This is wireless charging:
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Where a transmitter sends energy, through the air, to receivers plugged in or built into a device. Energous is a company that is exploring (actual and magical) wireless charging.

Plugging a charging pad into the wall, and then needing to take the phone over to a location and set it on top is not “wireless.”

Inductive charging would be an awesome feature on the new iPhones, but for the love of everything, please don’t call it wireless.

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Netflix Skipping on iOS

Why does Netflix’s iOS apps only provide a 10 second rewind button? Amazon’s Prime Video app, by comparison, offers 10 seconds forward and 10 seconds back.

Don’t worry, there’s a trick to change this if you own an Apple Watch and enable a native 10 second skip forward button.

Netflix iOS app
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Amazon Prime Video iOS app
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If you pull up the Now Playing app on Apple Watch, it’ll magically display a 10 second forward skip. Enjoy.

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The Best Ways To Create Gifs From Your Phone

There’s no excuse needed to go over some of the best apps for creating gifs from your phone, but if you do need one: iOS 11 will natively support gifs in the camera roll. 🎉

Here are some of the apps I use. Type any of these app names into the App Store and you’ll be set.

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 From scratch: Giphy Cam

Looking to make your own gif from scratch? Giphy Cam can help with that. You can also upload existing images and add plenty of effects.

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 Quick fire fun: Giphy Stickers, Sticky

Using Giphy Stickers, take a photo, trace an object, and then pick an animation to add to it. The app leads to super quick turn around when you come across good photo opportunities.

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Sticky is a cool new app that will auto-detect the main objects in a photo and cut around them for you. Put it through Giphy Stickers, or another app, and you’ll have a gif in no time.

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 Live photos: Motion Stills, ImgPlay

Motion

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The BPM Game

Here’s a causal game inspired by playing in a band, listening to a click-track. The tempo and beats per minute are the heart of a song, in the sense that it breathes and pumps blood at a certain rate, in order to sustain it. (The obvious comparison is The Bee Gees live-saving song “Staying Alive”.

While hopefully playable to some degree in its current state, this mostly serves as reference to an app or full feature implementation in the future.

BPM Game Objective:

The goal is to be able to correctly identify or articulate how many beats per minute a song plays at. The player (or team) with the most points at the end of the second round wins.

Song collection: 500 most listened to songs on Spotify during 2016.

Round one: Guess that BPM range

During the first round, a randomly selected song (out of the collection) will play and the player or team whose turn it is must guess the range

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