Monday, 3 June 2013

Top Five AAA Apps (News, Views and Music 196)




Dear all, having lost all ability to connect to the internet from the laptop I have invested in a new phone. Good grief: the last time I had a new phone I was impressed at having an alarm that worked 1 in 4 times and a torch (actually, I could still do with the torch if the manufacturers of the news phones would like to bring them back again...), but now there’s apps! And gadgets! And wallpapers! And thingumebobs! Anyway, I’m still getting to grips with the hundreds of things to play with (and apologies if that was you I accidentally phoned up the other day after pressing the wrong button...it does happen folks!) but I’ve found an awful lot of AAA-related goodies so I thought I’d share my top five finds with you all. All of these are available through Google’s ‘Play Store’, by the way, which is available on most devices, although I have made a special exception in the case of the CSN app (which is only available through I tunes at the time of writing and I only know about because I managed to badger one of my friends into installing it on her phone to see what it was like...) By the way, we did try to make an AAA app once. I spent a couple of hours on it, only for the thing to get lost in the ether somewhere. It didn’t add anything you don’t have here but it did send you alerts when new articles were available and took you straight to this website without having to tap anything else in. Hopefully now that I understand what they actually are I can have another go – I fear it will have to be when (if?) we’re back online again properly, though, as I don’t fancy trying to do it squinting at ,my tiny screen! (It was hard enough trying to do my tax returns this year!) If you’ve found another good app related to one of the AAA bands, by the way, I’d be grateful if you’d drop us a line or write a comment or send semaphore smoke signals or something. What else have I missed?...p.s. keep your eyes peeled for our Alan’s Album Archives app coming soon!

5) Pink Floyd Analog Clock

This app looks great! There’s a prism with light coming out of it, just like the ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ album cover, while if you squint really hard and set your phone to vibrate you can imagine the band playing ‘Time’ in your head. Admittedly that’s all this app does...but it looks great! And it tells the time! Which is two more things going for it than David Cameron for a kick-off. By the way, next time you’re bored have a look for ‘Pink Floyd Fridge’ on Youtube. It’s not an app sadly (chance would be a fine thing) but a full-size fridge up for sale, decorated with Pink Floyd album artwork that plays a different song every time you open it. Who says Pink Floyd aren’t ‘cool’?! I want one!.....

4) The Beatles Abbey Road Screensaver

My poor phone has already swapped flying musical notes for a levitating Tardis to a passing Ferrari F1 car but the app I’ve settled with now is the fab four actually walking across the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing! OK, so they don’t actually walk, they just sort of glide, but even so – who hasn’t stared at that album cover and wondered what it would be like if they could all move? Oh...just me then. Well, anyway, the picture zooms in and out and Lennon looks like a giant and Ringo looks like a midget and it’s all very hip and groovy and hypnotising. Just like a good Beatles app should be.

3) Belle and Sebastian Spot Specific

Sadly I’ve had to take this app off my phone as its so whacking huge! To be honest there are similar apps out there for every AAA band – a set of links to official websites, youtube, facebook and twitter pages with a scrolling news list and some nice pictures. They’re all very nice and the Beach Boys and Kinks versions nearly made this list in their own right. But the B and S app features more on top of this: a calendar listing every gig B+S will play (or not, given that they’ve had to cancel quite a few at the last minute this year), special anniversary dates, interviews with the band (which, if they are available elsewhere, I’ve never seen) plus lots of glossy photographs, which is quite a feat given how much this band hate to be photographed! Hours of fun – although, sadly, the downside is you’ll then spend hours of your life trying to work out what to delete from your phone! (Sob! I don’t want to have to take out my ‘Bamboozle’ quiz where I’m only 9758362828th in the world or the ‘rude fortune telling app!’)

2) CSN app

So, which AAA band were the first to release their own official app linking to – well – news, views and music actually, to coin a phrase? Not a biggie group like The Beatles, not one with a web-loving gadget geek like Pete Townshend and not a cult modern band like Oasis who should be more used to this kind of thing. No, its Crosby, Stills and Nash who did their career a lot of kudos by releasing an app that actually worked. There’s exclusive interviews, some very tasy unreleased songs (albeit most of them have found their way onto Stephen Stills’ recent box set now) and some of the most glorious, charismatic photographs ever taken. Sadly, I only got the chance to skim the surface before Lizzie took the app off to replace it with some godawful Deep Purple noise and some angry birds killing each other (sadly not ‘angry Byrds’, but that’s an app I’d love to see one day!) Its not compatible with my phone sadly (sort it out!!!! Now!!!) so I can’t give you any more detail as yet.

1) Deadcast

I’m in love with an app on my phone. It still seems incredible to me that, out there in San Francisco there’s still enough love for a band that’s been gone 18 years now to broadcast complete entire concerts 24 hours a day. I’m even more amazed that about 99% of these concerts I don’t know, nearly all the Grateful Dead’s 2000 odd shows having been taped (since 1970 at any rate) by somebody somewhere and the band having given their blressings to them all being re-broadcast. I’m even more astonished that I can get this San Franciscan vibe on my phone in wet, rainy, probably-snowy-because-I-haven’t-looked-out-the-window-yet Lancashire on my phone. This app is a real gift for me. I don’t sleep well, I have so many albums now I can never decide what to play in the rare hours I’m not reviewing something and I have enviously looked on as other fans talk about what a wonderful Grateful Dead concert from 1975 they’ve just bought for £30 and that there’s another seven out the same week they’re going to buy. Now, at last, I can join in, filling the holes in my collection when the Dead tackled obscure cover songs (The Beatles ‘Rain’ and ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ among them), plus around a dozen songs they never released on an official record. There’s no gap between concerts, no awful adverts for products you’ve never heard of, no egotistical disc-jockeys ruining the effect (take heed, BBC6!), a list of what song’s playing (or ‘jam’ if it isn’t actually a song – there’ve been quite a few of those already!) and the dates and venue come up on the screen, so I can look them up in my back fat Grateful Dead book, read about any interesting anecdotes about that gig and tick them off my ‘to hear’ list, just like a proper Deadhead should. Hearing these concerts Jerry Garcia is suddenly alive again, sometimes Brent Mydland, Keith Godchaux or (more rarely) Pigpen is too and suddenly I don’t curse the fact that I was born 20 years too late to hop on the Dead bus. Instead I was born just at the right time, when the technology to do this existed. Deadcast I salute you!
And that’s that. Join us for more news, views and music next week – whether you’re reading this on an app from the future, a mobile or a laptop in the present or have accidentally fallen through the Twilight Zone and ended up 50 years into the future of your own timestream. Goodbye for now!

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