Jukebox: Offline Dropbox Music Player

Rummaging around on Product Hunt, I stumbled upon Jukebox. It’s an iOS app that enables you to download music saved to Dropbox and listen via a sleekly designed player.

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There’s a couple of cool things to note here: first how simple the UI is.

It’s very Spotify-esque in look and feel, which means it is instantly accessible to folks who like streaming.

Secondly this could be a very neat way for music bloggers to stay on top of all the tracks they get sent.

Dropbox and Soundcloud are the de facto choice for receiving tracks to review so any app or tool that can make that interaction simpler is going to be welcomed.

Additionally, James Zhang, one of the folks behind the app said in response to a comment:

…we’re actually working on adding a private sharing feature so that you can share a song with a friend through a text link and they can stream to preview the song or download it straight to their own Jukebox.

This would be a great piece of functionality to incorporate as it will make music-sharing that little bit easier.

I urge you to download it on iOS and see for yourself!

A New Blogging Adventure

I’ve been blogging about music and technology since about 2005. Now I’m branching out in to Whisky, coffee and cheese.

I love blogging because it helps me to stay sharp in terms of writing and thinking critically about something that has been created, whether it’s a piece of music, a social media service or a gadget.

I realised a short time ago that I missed blogging for fun. Music reviewing was always a release after I stopped doing it full time, but it can be a real drain when there are other things to be getting on with, like work.

There are so many music blogs which have stepped away from the essence of what they were when they started, or got bought out, that trying to start again and walk into that particular minefield was always going to be tough.

Indeed, just getting a review with them can be a pain in the arse. Hours sending emails to hundreds of folks who claim to be into ‘new music’ or of a ‘DIY aesthetic’ but never even acknowledge you, are hours wasted.

The music blogging community has become so entrenched with it’s own perceived importance that it bears no resemblance to the community I was part of at all.

If I can’t devote time to music blogging, there’s no point; music is so important to me that If I can’t dedicate myself fully to it, then I’d be doing the artists a disservice.

That’s why I’ve decided to try something a bit different.

Malts Beans and Cheese will be a blog that documents my interests in whisky/whiskey, coffee and cheese.

It’ll be a fun distraction which I hope will complement the more serious digital culture compositions on Seldom Seen Kid.

I hope you’ll consider joining me!

Cause/Affect – Doing It Yourself

Cause/Affect

As you probably know by now, as well as working at Edelman Digital, I’m a gigging and recording solo artist.

On May 6th I released my first solo EP, Cause/Affect. It is the first in a series of three EPs that will collectively capture 7 years of work.

Each EP will be available in a limited edition cut cover package, available via mattchurchill.co.uk, accompanied by downloads of each song.

Each EP has been produced, mixed and mastered by Hyper Lion from Pariis Opera House.

The process has been as DIY as it’s possible to be (ish). The recording, packaging and promotion has been entirely self-funded, but in the age of Internet democratisation, it has been a simple project to pull off.

The recording took place at my flat, or ‘Seldom Seen Kid Studios’ as I’d prefer it to be known, and utilised a single USB microphone and Cubase.

It always helps to have a genius as a producer, so I’m fortunate that I know Hyper Lion relatively well…

All of the artwork is either my photography or that of my friend Duncan who’s been taking photos of my various musical incarnations for years.

The packaging itself was designed by me and made up by the folks at ACDSleeve, and I have to say I’m delighted with the way that it’s come out.

I’ve struggled to get music bloggers to cover the EP, although the kind folks at Indie Rock Cafe did recently, so this is something I’ve got to work on for the next release.

I have had one small success, with Tom Robinson including Of My Time, the second track on the EP, on his BBC6Music mix tape. I’m really proud of this too; it’s a life goal chalked off.

It’s a labour of love to make something like this, but I have to say I’m overjoyed with the way that it’s come out. In the age of digital we can easily forget what it’s like to make something tangible, and I’m really proud of what’s been achieved so far.

It’s tough trying to book gigs (that you inevitably don’t get paid for), manage recording, balance a budget and promote the music, but it’s so easy to do using technology that it’d be foolish not to try it. You never know what might happen.

Jamstar Acoustics

Jamstar AcousticsJamstar Acoustics is a new ‘virtual guitar teacher’ available as a web app or via Samsung Apps.

According to the friendly press guys: “Jamstar’s unique technology allows the app to listen to you as you play on your own guitar, giving you real time feedback and correcting you, bringing a whole new approach to learning to play the guitar, making it much easier and way more fun.”

The app itself is clearly laid out and easy to interpret, which is one of the most important facets any tutorial tool can have.

Jamstar Acoustic Lesson

The app is simple to use and looks like it could also be a lot of fun!

It’s great to see the opportunity to learn the guitar being afforded to people who might not be able to afford a one on one weekly tutor.

The democratisation of information facilitated by the Internet means that sharing knowledge and expertise, around any subject, can be done easily and relatively cheaply. If this means you get to learn a new skill, all the better.

If you like the sound of what you’ve heard so far, check out the introductory video below.

Top 10 Music Blogs of 2011

What are the top ten music blogs of 2011, I hear you ask?

Well, I’ve had a think about all of those that I’ve read regularly and listened music from avidly and whittled down to a little list that I hope you find time to investigate further!

Aquarium Drunkard – everything you need to know about music you’ve never heard of. Awesome.
yvynyl – simply, pick the best stuff, share. Great.
Abeano – award winning music blog, it wins awards for a reason…
Pinglewood – primarily video based, highly under rated
Off Modern – great collection of new music, intelligently picked
Gorilla vs. Bear – consistently finds new music, and it looks good too
Bear Eats Beats – into Indie & hip hop? This is the blog for you
Twenty Four Bit – amazing taste in music, a must read
Pigeons And Planes – need an introduction to a bunch of music you’ve never heard of? Pigeons And Planes does that job, spectacularly well.
Robot Pigeon – somehow the RP guys find bizarrely wonderful tracks from the most obscure of places, you’ll never leave

So, tell me, what music blogs have you discovered this year?

20 New Music Blogs You Should’ve Heard Of

Music blogs are everywhere, here’s 20 I recommend you check out!

My Chemical Toilet
We Are Hunted
The Blue Walrus
The Pop Cop
Sweeping The Nation
The Daily Growl
A New Band A Day
Another Form of Relief
Fucking Dance
God Is In The TV Zine
Winston’s Zen
Illegal Tender
Muso’s Guide
I Really Love Music
Faded Glamour
Buzzin Music
Highway Five
There Goes The Fear
And Everyone’s A DJ
Shattered Satellite

Where do you go to get your music?