This week brings the ultimate music app for fans of Arabic music, a nice Android music player, a new way to stay updated on your favorite artists’ album releases, and more.
First, our latest reviews:
- The Nifty Trick Behind Pulselocker, a.k.a. ‘Spotify for DJs’
- iWitness Reports: The Real Stories Behind Rock’s Biggest Moments, Now on iOS
- The Infinite Jukebox Makes Any Song Play Forever
- Turntable.fm Amps Up the Party with Bigger Rooms
- Whyd: Do We Really Need Another Social Music Discovery Site?
- Roving Sound Taxi Turns Street Noise Into Music
Indie Shuffle (free)
This hand-curated selection of music lets you check out the latest tracks, search by genre or tag, and instantly listen to full-length songs with no ads. If you create an account and log in, you can keep track of your favorite songs. Highlights include Song of The Day, easy-to-find remixes and covers, and a “smart playlist” feature that lets you build a playlist off of any song in the app.
This app is simple, and there are many like it. Select a song, then change its speed and pitch. It also lets you create a loop to hear a particular section on repeat, so whether you’re slowing down a song to try to learn that guitar riff you love or are wondering if Vampire Weekend will sound like the Chipmunks when sped up (Answer: They do), this is a handy app to have in your arsenal.
A Shazam and SoundHound alternative for Android, TrackID can identify the song that’s playing. After identifying the song, you can “like” the song on Facebook or read the artist biography or watch videos for song on YouTube.
Fusion Music Player (free)
An alternative to the music app that comes pre-loaded on some Android phones, this ad-free option has an equalizer, sleep timer, search function, multiple view options. You can also get a bit more fancy: Trim songs to eliminate annoying intros; use gesture controls (so that holding your hand on top of the phone will pause the music, waving right will go to the next song, and so on); and control your music even when your phone is locked.
This is a must-have app for anyone with an Android or Blackberry who enjoys listening to Arabic music. It’s basically Pandora for Middle Easterners, but better. Type in an artist and Yala creates a radio station with related music — but unlike (the free version of) Pandora, it lets you can skip as many times as you want, as well as fast forwarding and rewinding within songs.
There’s also an on-demand component. You can listen to full albums from hit artists like Nancy Ajram and Amr Diab; select pre-made playlists such as “All Time Favorites” or genres (i.e. instrumentals or romantic songs); and create your own playlists while listening. What are you waiting for? Yalla, download the app.
Are you having trouble keeping track of albums and tours? There are plenty of ways to deal with that, and here’s another, which distinguishes itself with simplicity and the fact that it uses the web and email.
Type your favorite artists into TuneViper, and it will send you emails when they’re about to release an album or stop in your town. If you forgot who you’ve signed up for, you can go back to the site and type in your email. The site will pull up your list of artists so you can edit it.
Jam with Chrome (Free)
If you didn’t check out Google Chrome Jam after reading our review, you should. With “easy” and “pro” modes, plus easy-to-use controls, Chrome Jam is among the best web apps for playing instruments we have ever seen, and we have seen many of them. One of its greatest strengths lies in the options and customization. It has multiple types of drum sets, drum machines, keyboards and guitars, as well as settings for selecting the musical key in which your “band” (you can invite up to three friends to join) will play. A sliding bar lets you speed up and slow down the tempo. Choose an instrument, create a nickname, and start jamming.
If you’re like me, and switch between Spotify and iTunes, you know it can get confusing to pause the music with your keyboard shortcuts. This free Mac app can help by letting you control iTunes from the Menu bar, with the ability to customize the information displayed (song name, artist, time remaining, etc.). An automatic shutdown option lets you set a time for your computer to turn itself off, which is nice if you’re using your laptop to play music as you drift off to sleep.
See previous iterations of This Week in Music Apps.