April 3, 2012 at 9:24 am

This Week in Music Apps: iOS Music Helpers, Searchable FM, Free Independent Music

With spring mostly sprung at our East Coast headquarters, it’s time to revive our weekly roundup series of the latest and greatest music apps. February and March were prolific months for music apps, and with SXSW, two Music Hack Days, and everything else going on, This Week In Music Apps was on pause. The good news: There’s plenty to talk about for this edition, starting with a few picks for the iPhone-toting musicians in our midst.

As a quick aside, you might have noticed that Evolver.fm now hosts a fully-curated directory of thousands of music apps, each one sorted for easy discovery. If you haven’t checked that out yet, take it for a spin; there’s something for everyone on pretty much any platform you can think of. Of course, you can also browse previous installments of This Week In Music Apps for more great picks for Apple iOS, Google Android, and your web browser.

First… The Latest Reviews

Apple iOS

unstuckitUnstuckit (free; pictured):  This app for musicians proffers tips to kickstart the creative process when the juices aren’t flowing. Some are more “thought process” than “recording process,” such as the fortune-cookie-like adage, “Close your eyes and play.” Others offer (slightly) more practical advice: “Drop out the drums,” or teach you how to use reverb and EQ to bring new life to a stale mix. None of this is rocket science, but if you’re drowning in the details, sometimes a shot of the obvious could be all the spark a musician needs to get unstuck.

Tonara (free): This iPad app displays your sheet music with an added bonus: no page turning — not even virtual page swiping. This is an app we were pretty excited about when it debuted last year. The latest update adds the ability to scribble and save notation in multiple color-coded overlays. For those not familiar with the excellence of this app, Tonara is a note reader that actually follows along as you play, detecting individual pitches as the occur and moving the cursor in time for nearly hands-free practice and performance (in most cases, you will still need your hands to hold your instrument.)

Tenuto ($4): This app packs twelve customizable exercises designed to keep your musical brain sharp, helping you remember your scales and arpeggios — you know, like those cartoon cats recommend.

Radioline (free): This once Mac-only app has migrated to iOS so you can listen to thousands of FM stations worldwide and search for whatever stations currently are playing your favorite artist, all in real time.

Google Android

Nodebeat ($2): This iOS favorite is now available Android too. It offers a unique, visual approach to music-making with movable nodes that generate different tones and textures (more here). Nodebeat packs 20 different scales in all 12 chromatic keys, with a seven-octave range — the equivalent of a grand piano.

The Whip (free): From the makers of Nice Butt Puzzle (we’ll leave you to find the link), The Whip is not a music app per se, but it is capable of making sound — a bullwhip sound to be precise — which we all can agree isn’t in enough songs (just like the cowbell). The app was reportedly featured on The Big Bang Theory, television’s first non-PBS attempt at astrophysics for the masses, which could explain how it ended up in the “Brain and Puzzle” category. To the astute reviewer who observed, “I don’t think it is good enough because you can’t fool anyone with it,” we can only suggest that anyone you can successfully trick into thinking your smartphone is a bullwhip should probably spend more time in the Brain and Puzzle category too.

Canabalt HD ($3): This one is a bit on the pricey side, given that it is a a relatively straightforward infinite running game, but earns its inclusion by virtue that it sounds totally awesome through good headphones (which you should be extra careful don’t end up lodged in your ear canal, by the way.) This app is also available on iOS, and started as a free web app that still exists if you want to try before you buy.

mSpot (free): mSpot’s cloud locker service wirelessly syncs your music, playlists, and podcasts on multiple devices in the cloud. The first 5GB are free, with larger storage options available through a tiered pricing model.

Web Apps

Listnr (free): Is your music collection getting stale? This free web service serves up nine million tracks from independent artists on Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and MediaNet’s independent archive for your on-demand streaming pleasure, making it easier for you to discover them on those services and share their music with your friends. Listnr also lets you filter recommendations with pretty slick controls, dedicated sections for trending and recently-starred, and top tracks and artists charts that deliver the most popular new independent music across a wide variety of genres.