[The Audiofiles] Throwback Thursday: Rockin’ to the 90’s

Last Weekend, when Danny and I gallivanted up the California Coast for our friend’s beautiful wedding at the Falkirk Cultural Center – we took a necessary deviation from what’s seemingly become our standard road-tripping playlists, bass heavy, glitch infused tracks that more often than not lack a vocal track.  Don’t get me wrong, I thrive on the complexities, deviations in structure and the plethora of noises that stem from Electronic Music.  But, now that I’ve had my ‘Robot Ears’  on for the better part of the last decade – songs from individual genres seem to blend together effortlessly into musical amalgamation of Dubstep, Deep House and Trance.

If it weren’t for the varied live groups like Modestep, Odesza, Keys n Krates, EOTO, Emancipator Ensemble and STS9, expertly fused live DJ sets from the likes of Bassnectar, Andy C, Beardyman, Kastle, Disclosure, Bonobo and Shpongle and exceptional one off live Trance shows like Armin van Buuren’s Armin Only and Above & Beyond’s Acoustic at the Greek – I wouldn’t lost my faith in the umbrella genre of EDM long ago.  So, for this 10 hour cruise – we put up our disco duds and busted it old school thanks to some help from Spotify, and a whole lot of great memories from our childhood.  On my infinite list of things I love about Danny, it’s that even though we didn’t grow up near each other nor share any childhood memories – we both used to rock out to the same ol’ songs and that fact brings us so much closer together.  Music, as it already stands, is a building block of our relationship (hell, we met EDC weekend 2010, said the magic words at LIB then got engaged at Shambhala) – but it’s also an emotive, binding force.

As only children, a lot of the time we were left alone with music and our own thoughts – meaning that these artists had a substantial impact on our childhood, as well as our world view.  For the drive, we listened to it all.  From Rock and Roll like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sum 41,  blink182 and Sublime to Linkin Park, Foo Fighters and the Barenaked Ladies to Hip Hop and Rap  from Run DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, The Fugees, Nas, Puff Daddy (back when he was actually Puff Daddy), Notorious B.I.G. and some guilty pleasure pop music a la Celine, Whitney, Mariah, Alanis and Fiona – we went back, way back – and it was the best time ever.  So good, in fact, that I’ve made a collaborative playlist on Spotify and y’all can add your favorite 90’s tracks, too!  So take your hair down, put your feet up and let’s kick it old school for Throwback Thursday.

What’s your go to 90’s track? Leave it some love in the comments below – or better yet, head on over to Spotify and add to my collaborative playlist!

[The Audiofiles] ‘Listn’ Up, Music Lovers – There’s A New App For You

One of the many amazing benefits to growing up in an excessively digital age, is our constant accessibility to music.  Whether it’s by our choice or not, it feels like our brains are being bombarded by beats on the daily: it’s the hold music on your company conference calls, the muzack playing in the elevators between the floors at the doctors office, your iPod at the gym, the SiriusXM radio in your car, the Spotify app you hooked up to your Facebook account or the occasional stop off on Soundcloud.  Believe you me – I’m not complaining by any means; in fact, if possible I would have an ongoing soundtrack to my life and I would always be in charge of the volume.

Listn’s Dashboard

Throughout the years of being expertly plugged into the interwebs, I’ve developed a network of sites that I use to feed my thirst for tunage.  Back in it’s inception, I dove right into Soundrop.fm – which is a great social resource for new music; slowly but surely, all that came from that was a reintegration into Spotify.   I currently dabble in Hypem and Soundcloud when I’m on the prowl for something new, Spotify when I’m curious what my friends are groovin’ to and then the occasional YouTube video for some visual treats.    The only downside to having multiple music platforms is that there hasn’t been a quick or easy way to streamline all of the sites into one. Thankfully, with the growing popularity of websites like Klout that aggregate your social media presence it only makes sense that some group of music loving techies thought to do the same with all of the streaming media around the web.  So, world – meet your new best friend, Listn: a social way to aggregate your audio and find out about the latest and greatest in the music scene.

photoTrust me when I say  – you don’t want to know how many tabs I have open in my browser right now and about a third of them are devoted to the pursuit of music. There are a host of stites that Listn uses to manifest user data, and right now that’s iTunes, Spotify, Hypem, Youtube and Soundcloud. The latest and greatest to addition is Rdio – a website that lets you stream high quality audio for a minimal fee: after 6 months of free listening, $4.99 a month or $9.99 for unlimited listening capabilities. If you’re like me, you’re thinking- WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER – and if you’re not, we might want to rethink the future of our relationship.

The brainchild of Montreal’s MFive Labs, Listn is currently being funded through Kickstarter – where creative endeavors (like Apps, Movies, etc) go for funding.  As of right now, they have raised approximately $500,000 and have released the application for free!   Right now the application is only available for the iPhone (le sighso if you’ve been eating your Apple a day, you’re in luck.  As with most everything in life, good apps come in due time for Android.  The iPhones have an essentially seamless interaction between their applications that Android simply doesn’t have yet,  so hopefully there will be a a version that can work with the upcoming Android KitKat 4.4 OS installation in January (fingers crossed).

Listn’s Userpage

   

 

[The Audiofiles] Soundrop – Music To My Ears

Hello.

My name is Amanda, and I’m addicted to music.

Electronic Music. Acoustic Music. Trance Music. Rock Music.

Live Music.

Good Music. 

All Music.

Thoughts come to me in song lyrics.
I’m too busy dancing to your ringtone to answer your call.
I eat, breathe, laugh and sleep in four to the floor time.
I equally love and hate Shazam when it can’t recognize the eccentric remixes I find.
That ‘new’ song you love? I probably know a remix in each and every EDM genre.

By a rough estimate, I spend at least half the time I’m awake enveloped by the pounding basslines, serenading synths and delicious drops of music: From the moment I wake up, the current alarm tone on my phone sets my pace for the day at 128 BPM, I refresh my Hypem feed as clothes fly around my room like a hurricane and with my iPod in hand – bounce from my apartment to the car, plug it in, turn it up and head out.

The glory of living in the age of social media sharing, technology and kickin’ beats is that there are always new ways to both share and listen to music.

It started off with Pandora and the ability to craft unique radio stations that evolve over time and Last.fm which keeps track of your listening history and makes it easy to share favorite tracks socially.  As the social media craze caught wind, so did the necessity to change the way we’re both listening to and appreciating music.

Spotify, currently one of the best known third party applications for both listening to and discovering new music with friends, has more or less revolutionized this idea.  The company was started in the United Kingdom in 2008 and finally opened up registration to include the United States in the 2011.  Shortly after, they formed a timely partnership with Facebook that requires all users to tie their accounts together – not only encouraging the social aspect of Spotify, but more or less requiring it. There are tons awesome features on Spotify – like the ability to create collaborative playlists with your friends.  However, once you’ve linked accounts you can tell which one of your friends still listens to Nickelback and who has suddenly become a raver kitten – so world be warned, if you’re embarrassed by your musical selection Spotify might not be the music application for you.

I wasn’t a huge fan of people being able to track my latest and greatest melodic moves, and I definitely didn’t feel like scrolling through a laundry list of the bands I stopped listening to years ago every time I logged into my Facebook.  Needless to say, I was on the hunt for something better.  When another music sharing site called Turntable.fm popped up on my radar, I couldn’t help but get excited: it was unlike anything else currently out there.  After you sign up, you can go to thousands of different ‘DJ Rooms’ that have a five turntable set-up for up to 5 users to DJ “back-to-back” .  When the site was created, rooms had a 200 user capacity – but now there’s seemingly no limit to the number of people enjoying the app.  The only downfall of Turntable.fm being that if you want to have your shot at a DJ slot, you might have to wait an incredibly long time – especially in a popular room.  I used the site for a few months, but found myself going back to Hypem and Digitally Imported, where I felt that  either the sets had more strength or I had creative license to play whatever I want.

Well enter the game changer: Soundrop.fm. I litererally only found out about the website this morning, but after playing around with it for most of the day I think I’ve finally found a keeper.  They took a pretty page from the Turntable.fm book – having genre, artist and label based ‘Rooms’ where each member of the room can both add tracks with the search feature and vote their favorites into higher position.  The more votes, the closer to the top of the queue.

There are currently two ways to enjoy Soundrop, they have a nice little web based interface that’s a little glitchy but very easy to use and – in an incredibly genius move – you can also access the application through Spotify.  To me, the difference between Soundrop and Spotify is both social and temporal.  Spotify is wonderful for creating a catalog of songs your friends love that you can listen to at your own discretion, whenever you want most likely by yourself.  Soundrop, on the other hand, tells you what your friends are listening to right now and let’s you all enjoy it together.  Completely fitting that their motto is ‘Music Sounds Better With Friends’ – and I couldn’t agree more!