guitarist
Oct 28

Best iOS Apps for Guitarists

By Mark | tech

Musically Apple is the superior choice on many levels, and with the selection of tools for musicians growing daily that lead will only grow. There really isn’t a lot that a person can’t do musically with an apple product, and a little practice. Below are some of the best apps for guitarist on the iOS.

Garageband

For anyone familiar with the Garageband that comes packaged with OSX, this is the stripped down but still functional version of its big brother. It’s every bit as awesome and powerful, while still managing to have a very varied set of features. If you’re already an owner of a Mac, then the option to carry your project and make changes that sync up across all devices is a killer feature. This really is the all in one package for most users, with guitar use just being one of the hundreds of features. The price is only $4.99 and will end up paying for itself by the end of the day.

YouTube

This is the largest database of guitar resources on the web, with a video for just about anything from beginners to advanced users. Consider the worldwide usage of YouTube, for a resource that isn’t available a request can easily be made and fulfilled within days. There are several playlists to accommodate all levels, and for the most part people are friendly and answer questions quickly. It has its share of knuckleheads, but is unmatched as a visual aid. Sign up is still not required, but if paired with a YouTube downloader app this can really be a lethal combo in a guitarist’s arsenal.

Tab Toolkit

With the abundance of tab apps available in the app store, the thing that makes Tab Toolkit so different is that it’s smaller interface on a phone or tablet still has more options than some of the bigger counterparts on home computers. It has one of the best multi tab interfaces available, and fantastic integration with Guitar Pro and Powertab. The Ultimate Guitar website lets you download tabs directly into the program, or you can opt to use the built in tab store from Tab Toolkit. This is really one of the best options available, and it only costs $3.99.

Soundcloud

This is an interesting pick as it really isn’t meant for guitarists, but like YouTube has a lot of desirable features for them. Through the use of Soundcloud’s account services, users can record and upload their music both publicly and privately. The entire process and storage makes it easier than using the built in voice app, and an entire set of options even further how useful it is to the user. Diving deeper into the features of this free app, a guitarist is given an entire library or playlist of artists to follow to match their own style. This is really one of the more overlooked apps on the list.

Chord Master!

This is an interesting take on the many apps that have come out over the years that allow you to play a virtual guitar on the phone. The twist in Chord Master is that it is aimed at beginners as a teaching tool through the use of a repetition engine. Users can easily learn up to 14 guitar chords, with in app purchases allowing that number to go higher. A great social plugin via Facebook lets fellow players go up against each other, so in a way this app really promotes practice. With the right attitude, this can help a lot of beginner guitarist.

blues music
Sep 02

Blues Music Is Alive And Well

By Mark | genres

In many ways, blues music is alive and well. It may not be the most mainstream genre around, but everyone is well aware of it. While the general stereotypes about what exactly constitute blues music will always be there, the traditional aspects of the songs that first formed the style are all still in effect in much of the popular music of today. The blues genre has gone on to shape several different styles that have been prominent over the last few decades, and its lineage shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Of course, the stereotype about blues music is that its lyrical subject matter is generally of a sullen and depressed nature. The traditional songs in the genre generally used each song as a platform to tell their own tale, and the end result was often a harrowing and honest look into some truly difficult lifestyles. That stark, personal reflection is alive and well even in the most popular music of the day. In fact, having lyrics that people can relate to is almost a prerequisite to having a hit.

A catchy melody and beat go a long way, but words people can see themselves in will always go even further towards creating a lasting connection. Many people’s favorite music is something that seems to reflect a personal struggle they might be going through. Just as with traditional blues, any gigantic hit these days with confessional and bravely revealing lyrics gives a voice to the unheard and can be deeply cathartic. Any means of realizing that you aren’t alone in whatever you’re going through is always going to be easily clung to. It may not seem immediately obvious, but any modern song that manages to connect to someone on that level owes a lot to the blues.

Of course, modern pop and rock song structure also stems from the blues in many ways. The way that verses and choruses are broken up largely in fours comes right from the earliest blues traditions. The note choices and scales that comprised early rock music also stem from the blues, and that same framework is still being used as the foundation for endless new songs today. A band like Royal Blood may sound fresh and modern, but whether directly or indirectly, everything they due is based on the blues at its core. That’s true of more music than you can possibly realize. Long story short: the modern state of all music owes a lot to the blues.

wu tang clan
Sep 01

Finding The Things I Like In Hip Hop

By Mark | genres

I am a lover of music. I could not get enough MTV when I was a teenager in the 1980s. My parents laughed, saying everyone my age was into MTV, but I was also into a few different radio stations at the time, ranging from rock to pop to variety. I also never missed the Top 40 every Sunday. I knew back then that I loved to listen to lots of different kinds of music, and that has not changed as an adult.

YouTube I love and adore. Nowhere else can I find practically every genre out there all in one place. My playlists cover genres from rock to classical to yoga music. While I grew up on hard rock and still love it, I have dived a little deeper into the dream pop and trip hop subgenres, while also enjoying the Buddha Bar series my yoga introduced me too. Interestingly, these all are not that far off from some hip hop artists.

Hip hop is a genre that I have always had an awkward relationship with. While I do not care for the majority of it, when I do find a hip hop or rap artist I love, I really do like the music they create.

My older relatives do not really get this, but they were not exposed to Run-D.M.C. or LL Cool J as children, nor did they grow up through the 1990s, when hip hop and rap really entered mainstream culture and became societally acceptable outside of the urban neighborhoods where they had their roots.

While the hip hop label is not universally agreed upon for every artist, I have loved the work of Eminem, Outkast, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg. I have a strong preference for the works of Ice Cube, Mos Def, and LL Cool J as well.

It does seem like the lines between genres are blurring these days with the Internet. Is Macklemore a hip hop artist? Tech N9ne? I love their work, but I am not sure how to label them. Should I?

Sometimes the hip hop label does not even seem like it fits. YouTube introduced me to works that are labeled as Japanese instrumental hip hop, and yet while they are gorgeous works to listen to, are they hip hop? Artists like Nujabes, Nomak, and DJ Okawari are a pleasure to listen to.

justin bieber
Aug 31

Three Great Reasons To Love Justin Bieber

By Mark | entertainers

There are many people out there who are Justin Bieber fans, and there are just as many who could probably live without him. The funny thing is that I am probably one of the latter. With that said, I still find it easy to understand why people would love him. In case you are curious about why he is so appealing, keep reading.

His Music

Okay, so I heard some of his earlier music and I have to say that I was not very impressed with it. While it is not the worst thing I have ever heard, it is certainly something that is meant for the Disney crowd. Since he has started to mature, many of his songs are starting to as well. I am not about to rush out and buy any of his albums, I do have one of his songs, “Right Here,” one a couple of my playlists. Not bad for a guy who used to sound remarkably like a girl in earlier years.

His Looks

I am not in awe of abs and hunkiness like some people, but I can see why girls go crazy for Bieber. He has a pretty decent body and apparently he is blessed in areas that the world should not see. This is probably why he enjoys being caught in compromising positions by the paparazzi. It gives him a chance to let go of the little boy image he has had for so long while giving people a chance to find out what he is working with.

His Fame

Many times when you deal with people who are famous, you believe that they are on a much different plane than yourself. The fact that Bieber rose to fame because of some videos that he made on YouTube shows the world that anyone can make it if they try hard enough.

There are people of all ages who have never realized their entertainment dreams, yet Bieber shows them that there is an alternate way in. Of course he has probably changed a bit since reaching stardom, but at least the average Joe knows that anything is possible.

Even if you are not a fan of teen pop, you should have at least a scintilla of respect for Justin Bieber. Taking into account the fact that he is an average guy who is fairly attractive and musically talented, there really isn’t any reason not to.

beyonce
Aug 30

The Quick 411 on Beyonce

By Mark | entertainers

Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter was born on September 4th, 1981 in Houston Texas to Mister Matthew Knowles and Misses Celestine Beyonce. She is most commonly known as Beyonce and sometimes called Sasha Fierce. This R&B artist rose to fame when she was the lead Singer of Destiny’s Child, this all girl group which included Michelle Williams as well as Kelly Rowland.

Destiny’s Child became the girl group known as one of world’s best selling to have ever existed, after her highly successful stint in Destiny’s Child, Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter set off to create a career of her own, as a solo artist. She began this career with an impressive bang, her debut album no only sold over eleven million copies worldwide, it also won Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter five Grammy Awards

Those who knew Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter as a child claim that she always displayed a keen interest in music as well as dance, even at a very young age she regularly sought to participate in as many local talent shows as possible. When she was only seven, she won her school’s talent show, to do this she had to beat the other contestants who were all already well into their teenage years, this came as quite a surprise to her school authorities.

The above mentioned Destiny’s Child was a group that Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter formed with some of her friends when she was still quite young, they were not originally called Destiny´s Child however her father recognized the potential in his daughter, Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter and decided to become her manager. As we all know, Destiny´s Child was how Beyonce made her entrance into the world of music later creating her even more successful career as a solo artist and actress.

In 2008 Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter married the well known Jay-Z and in 2011 Beyonce gave birth to their first child, a baby girl named Blue Ivy Carter. Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is well known for her charity work, in 2015 Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter and Kelly Rowland founded the Survivor Foundation which offers transitional housing for those who in 2005 were victims of the awful hurricane Katrina. In 2012, she was named the ambassador for the World Humanitarian Day Campaign where she donated not only her song “I Was Here”, but also the music video.

Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter has been the inspiration for many other soulful singers such as Adele, Leona Lewis, Rihanna and Misha. Her example has paved the way for many other female artists to leave their personal stamp in the world of music.

vmas
Aug 26

The MTV VMA Awards Are Finally Here Again

By Mark | television

The MTV VMAs have come once again and will air on August 28th, 2016. The live broadcast will be shown on the MTV cable channel and on their website, with cable footage starting at 6:15 pm and online footage starting at 7:00 pm. For the first time ever, the awards will take place in Madison Square Garden.

The recipient of the Vanguard Award will be none other than pop sensation Rihanna. The award celebrates the lifetime achievement of a particular artist who has been influential to MTV and the music industry as a whole. The award was first given in 1984, but was later had it’s name changed in 1991 in honor of Michael Jackson, who had received the award in 1988.

Britney Spears makes her triumphant return to the VMAs after 10 years. The artist will be performing her smash hit with G-Eazy titled “Make Me”. Continuing with the theme of artist collaborations, Nick Jonas will perform “Bacon” Ty Dolla $ign. Young singing sensation Ariana Grande will give a performance of “Side to Side” with Nicki Minaj. The combination of powerful vocals, fantastic flow, and sex appeal is sure to please the live audience and the ones viewing at home. Even the producing team known as The Chainsmokers will perform for the first time with the artist Halsey.

One of the most interesting things about the awards is that Kanye West has been given 4 minutes of time to talk. When Kanye won last year’s Vanguard Award, the artist made a lengthy rant for 11 minutes about various topics and even mentioned a 2020 presidential run, leaving many to wonder if he was being serious. It’s safe to say whatever he has to say this year will leave a lot of jaws on the floor. Rumors have been floating in the air that Taylor Swift will appear, which would make a dramatic scene, but nothing has been confirmed.

Singer Beyonce has been nominated for 11 awards, including the biggest of the night, video of the year. In the same category, Adele, Justin Bieber, Drake, and Kanye West all have nominations, making the fight for this award one that is packed with heavy hitters.

The pre-show is set to include Lizzo, Charlemagne Tha God, and well known artist and producer DJ Khaled. Award presents include Olympians Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman, artists Alicia Keys and Fifth Harmony, Kim Kardashian West, and many more.