Google+ embraces its inner audiophile, launches “Studio Mode” feature for live performances online

Google+ embraces its inner audiophile, launches "Studio Mode" feature for live performances online

Yes, Google+ still exists, and no, it hasn’t overtaken Facebook as the world’s most popular time-waster. That might change in the very near future though! I mean, it probably won’t, but assuming you aren’t one of those freaks (yes, freaks) who doesn’t enjoy music, you may find yourself perusing the “Plus” region of Google sooner rather than later. You won’t know how. You won’t know when. And then you’ll be all, “Ewww! What is this? How did I get here?”

Perhaps not though…

Google+ has just unveiled, as a part of Google+ Hangouts, a new “Studio Mode” feature directed at artists who want to broadcast performances live over the web. Hangouts On Air had already facilitated the performances themselves, but Studio Mode reportedly “optimizes your individual audio for music instead of conversation.” Wait, not “reportedly;” it actually does. Check out the demo that the band Suite 709 did here.

As you should undoubtedly hear, everything sounds quite horrible with Studio Mode off; they may as well be broadcasting from Eastern Europe (apologies to those actually living in Eastern Europe). Studio Mode seems to improve the audio quality considerably, which is something that shouldn’t be undervalued when it comes to streaming music online. The folks over at TechCrunch confirm that the audio in Studio Mode streams “in stereo at a higher bitrate through a different codec.”

These performances aren’t, of course, a replacement for the real thing, but they do present some worthwhile advantages to artists who may not have the money to tour, but want to reach audiences regardless. And now, fortunately, they can do so without a ruinous sacrifice in fidelity.

• Google+ Hangouts On Air:

[Photo: The Verge]

Lily Allen is no longer Lily Allen, starts work on third LP

Lily Allen (who is cute as a fucking button!) has decided that she no longer wants to be Lily Allen anymore. In fact, she hasn’t been Lily Allen for a while now… you see, after her parents were killed in Crime Alley by Joe Chill, Lily took it upon herself to reach mental and physical perfection, harness the fear she felt as she watched her parents die so that she could turn it against criminals, and begin a one-woman war against crime. Lily Allen is no longer Lily Allen, because Lily Allen is The Batman.

Okay, she’s not Batman, but she did get married last year and changed her name from Lily Allen to Lily Rose Cooper and wants to go by that name professionally as well. I still think she should go with Batman because that name seems to be pretty popular.

I also think that Lily Allen should be far more popular than she is but I’m a little biased because I tend to have crushes on cute, brunette, British chicks. I also think you should not judge me for how excited I am at the prospect of a new Lily Allen album, which is the main reason for the name change, as Mrs. Cooper has announced that she will be heading back into the studio to begin work on a third album. I can’t wait!

• Lily (not) Allen:

Baroness recovering from serious tour bus crash; European dates cancelled

Now that the Olympics are officially over, England can go back to being a rainy, miserable place where only maudlin things occur. Pitchfork is reporting that stoner metal band Baroness were in what sounds like a pretty major car accident while traveling from Bristol to Southampton between shows. The band’s van careened over a viaduct near Bath, falling over 30 feet. Though the specific cause of the accident is not known yet, inclement weather is believed to have contributed.

All nine passengers were taken to a hospital, with two unidentified riders suffering particularly “serious” injuries following their removal from the accident by firefighters, according to ITV. The band’s label, Relapse Records, has issued a statement stating that all of Baroness’ remaining European tourdates have been cancelled. TMT wishes all a speedy recovery.


08.15.12 - Southampton, UK - Talking Heads
08.17.12 - Hasselt, Belgium - Pukkelpop
08.18.12 - Leipzig, Germany - Highfield Festival
08.19.12 - Ludinghausen, Germany - Area4 Festival

08.29.12 - Brooklyn, NY - House of Vans
09.01-02.12 - Los Angeles, CA - FYF Fest
09.06.12 - Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Music Festival
09.21.12 - Lexington, KY - Boomslang
10.27.12 - Gainesville, FL - The Fest 11
11.02-04.12 - Austin, TX - Fun Fun Fun Fest

• Baroness:
• Relapse:

Prince Rama try to win over the Mayans with upcoming album Top Ten Hits of the End of the World

The aroma of unshaven armpits is a powerfully seductive thing, especially when it’s coupled with ritualistic drumming, ritualistic chanting, reverberant vocals, and mostly incomprehensible (at least to my battered and ignorant ears) lyrics. That was basically my take-away after seeing the Brooklyn-based psychedelic duo Prince Rama open for Gang Gang Dance last year. I have no idea whether Taraka Larson’s armpits are still unshaven, and it doesn’t matter anyway. The music’s the point, even if I was temporarily distracted. Blame the circumstances of my decidedly conventional suburban upbringing.

If you’re in Europe, you’ll be able to witness Prince Rama’s music this November, when they’ll be touring with their musical godparents, Animal Collective. Body hair aside, they’ll likely be playing a multitude of tracks from their recently announced album Top Ten Hits of the End of the World, which is due out November 6, courtesy of Paw Tracks.

Concerning the theme of the new album, try and follow me here. A press release describes Top Ten Hits as a “pseudo-compilation album,” consisting of songs from invented bands (complete with names, and apparently, actual biographies) that died during a hypothetical apocalypse. The songs themselves are the deceased bands being “channeled” for a performance. Accordingly, the album “explores pop music’s relationship to memory, nostalgia, and the spirit world.”

It’s a fascinating idea! It definitely seems to come across in the first single, “So Destroyed” by Rage Peace (actually Prince Rama). Listen to the track below and go here to read Rage Peace’s full biography.

Top Ten Hits of the End of the World tracklisting:

01. “Blade of Austerity” - Guns of Dubai
02. “Those Who Live For Love Will Live Forever” - I.M.M.O.R.T.A.L.I.F.E.
03. “No Way Back” - Nu Fighters
04. “So Destroyed” - Rage Peace
05. “Receive” - Taohaus
06. “Radhamadhava” - Goloka
07. “Fire Sacrifice” - Black Elk Speaks
08. “Welcome To The Now Age” - Hyparxia
09. “Exercise Ecstasy” - The Metaphysixxx
10. “We Will Fall In Love Again” - Motel Memory

• Prince Rama:
• Paw Tracks:

Samsung launches Music Hub in the US, but only for people with a very specific $200 phone

It’s cloud and streaming mania! We’ll have to wait and see until the latest revenue figures come out, but I’m betting that the RIAA will be eating a healthy serving of a crow in the months and years ahead. The digital transition of music and entertainment generally is now fully underway, with Samsung being one of the latest companies to embrace an expansive digital music service. The only downside: you need a Samsung Galaxy S III phone to use it.

To those of you who own that particular phone, are planning on purchasing one, or are simply curious about the new service (which launched in the US last week), Samsung’s Music Hub takes an “all of the above” approach by including a cloud music locker, unlimited song streaming, a radio player, and a music store, all within a single app. That app costs $10 a month (not including song purchases), which is the same as Spotify’s premium service.

Asked to comment on Music Hub’s confluence of features, Daren Tsui, chief executive of mSpot, a digital music company that Samsung acquired in May in order to create the hub, remarked, “We purposely are trying to blur the line, whether it’s music from radio or catalog or your music… Honestly, where it comes from is less relevant especially if it’s a single plan. What you want is a holistic music experience at the end of the day.”

That sounds reasonable, but Ryan Nakashima at the Associated Press keenly points out the seeming redundancy of having cloud-based music storage, directly alongside millions of streamable tracks. That redundancy seems to be somewhat mitigated by the fact that people don’t always want to keep the music that they listen to; for instance, you have a song stuck in your head, and you stream it to get some quick relief. We all have our guilty pleasures.

Samsung’s Music Hub currently allows for a 30-day trial, in addition to one free album of their choosing. Jump on that, or something.

• Samsung Music Hub:

Tame Impala are going on a fall tour, one in which they tell you how much they love Todd Rundgren over and over again

This story is about Tame Impala going on tour in the fall. I know that. I don’t want to talk about that. See, while I was combing through their press release, I discovered a MUCH MORE IMPORTANT nugget. “Elephant,” the first single off their new album Lonerism (out October 9 through Modular Recordings), is getting a digital and vinyl release on August 28 in the US, August 27 in the UK/Europe, and August 24 in Australia. That’s fine and well, but the important thing is that the single features remixes from Canyons and… Todd Rundgren.

Congratulations, Tame Impala, you’ve made it.

The coveted Rundgren remix is the highest honor in rock. You think The Beatles are the greatest band in the history of music? You must be an idiot, because The Beatles never got a rundgmix. Anyway, to celebrate this momentous occasion, Tame Impala are going on tour. Since a Todd Rundgren kiss from heaven doesn’t happen every day, the tour will be a world tour, hitting South America, their homeland of Australia, Europe, the UK, and wrapping up in the United States. Their Swedish buddies The Amazing will accompany them on the US dates, while quietly boiling over with jealousy. Oh and I guess by the time the European leg starts, Lonerism will have been released. But who cares? Everybody will have already deleted/sold/smashed the entirety of their music library, in favor of simply keeping one mp3 of that Todd Rundgren remix.

08.15.12 - Sao Paulo, Brazil - Cine Joia
08.16.12 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Queremos!
08.17.12 - Santiago, Chile - Club Fauna
08.18.12 - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Niceto Club
09.29.12 - Brisbane, Australia - Parklife Festival
09.30.12 - Brisbane, Australia - Parklife Festival
10.01.12 - Perth, Australia - Parklife Festival
10.06.12 - Melbourne, Australia - Parklife Festival
10.14.12 - Cologne, Germany - Gebaude 9
10.15.12 - Paris, France - Bataclan
10.16.12 - Brussels, Belgium - Ancienne Belgique
10.17.12 - Hamburg, Germany - Gruenspan
10.19.12 - Oslo, Norway - Rockefeller
10.20.12 - Stockholm, Sweden - Debaser
10.22.12 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Vega
10.23.12 - Berlin, Germany - Postbahnhof
10.25.12 - Vienna, Austria - Fluc
10.26.12 - Milan, Italy - Magazzini Generali
10.27.12 - Lausanne, Switzerland - Les Docks
10.29.12 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
10.30.12 - London, UK - Brixton Academy
11.01.12 - Manchester, UK - Ritz
11.02.12 - Sheffield, UK - Leadmill
11.03.12 - Glasgow, UK - ABC
11.07.12 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
11.08.12 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
11.09.12 - Boston, MA - Royale Night Club
11.10.12 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
11.13.12 - Chicago, IL - Metro
11.15.12 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
11.17.12 - Los Angeles, CA - The Fonda Theatre

• Tame Impala:
• Modular Recordings: