The Bandito iPhone app (free) scans your iPhone’s, iPod Touch’s, or iPad’s music library in seconds to see what you listen to the most, then matches those artists against music blogs and other publications to present neatly-wrapped package of the latest commentary exclusively about the bands you care about the most.
In many cases, Bandito (from Public Radio Exchange and powered by The Echo Nest, publisher of Evolver.fm) goes beyond just being a reading app. Plenty of music blogs include full songs or samples, which stream within the app so you can catch up on new music in addition to finding out that your favorite band just announced/canceled a tour, or Pitchfork downgraded their rating to “lame.”
Bandito tracks the most-listened-to artists on your iPhone, or you can rearrange or add artists to your list. Or, if you want to catch up on the latest general music news (i.e. not just for you), you can tap to the Hot List. There’s a catch, albeit a minor one: You only get to see ten articles about your favorite artists at a time, unless you upgrade via in-app purchase for $2.
As a demonstration of what this app can do for a music fan, here are the top five things learned from our maiden voyage with Bandito:
1. It’s a tie. Two members of early American punk rock group Black Flag joined noise rock duo No Age on stage, and TheJUnderground, which might be pushing things by calling that “a reunion,” has video. Also, Los Angeles area readers can enter to win free Deerhunter tickets for their August 9th show. (I don’t live there, but still, learning about a late-breaking contest for a favorite band demonstrates the power of data-driven news.)
2. Pitchfork posted some solid photos of Deerhunter playing the Pitchfork Music Festival last month. I know — “big deal” — but this is what apps like this are all about. By merely running the app, I’m presented with timely, relevant stuff of interest that I never would have bothered seeking out on my own. I don’t remember ever looking for photos of Deerhunter playing live before, but was happy to have a look at them once they were presented to me.
3. People are sharing uncompressed FLAC versions of Boards of Canada albums all over the place. You can’t play them on the iPhone, but they’re good to know about, especially if you like things to sound nice and already have a bunch of their music, just not the FLAC version.
4. Undomondo picked Javelin’s post-urban cowboy record Canyon Candy, the soundtrack to a film by the same name, as one of the best albums of 2011. It posted the entire song “Streets of Laredo,” and you can play it within the Bandito app. (Disclosure: Javelin is my brother and cousin, which partially explains why it’s one of my iPhone’s top artists.)
5. Fans of The Fall are cursed, as always — this time because their generic-sounding name, lifted from the title of a Camus novel, and which also denotes a season or a sudden loss of altitude, renders it difficult to find. Due to our Fall fandom, we learned that Throne of Katarsis and Doogie White plan to release new albums this fall, when Jason Reitman’s “Young Adult” will not appear at film festivals. The app performed perfectly with all other band names though, and given the relative paucity of Fall fans in the world, nobody’s liable to notice.