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[No. 036] In Which We Say Hello Again... 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

... with the help of Texas' mascot, Rangers Captain. I guess?
While we were away, not one, but TWO of this year’s best albums dropped: Jamie xx’s In Colour and Tame Impala’s Currents (links to both of them below). They join my top 4 of the year, along with Natalie Prass' debut and Kendrick's masterpiece.
The next tier would be something like Ryan Adams' Carnegie Hall live album, Tobias Jesso Jr.'s latest, Fort Romeau's debut, and a few others. I'm sure I'll do a proper list at some point.
So: WE'RE BACK. The new design clearly retains a lot of stylings from the old one, but it's much more visual, much more interactive (HIT THAT TWEET BUTTON BELOW), and gives me the freedom to do a lot more. So, yay MailChimp. There will be a few design tweaks here and there, but I think this works. But enough about me talking about this newsletter. What's in store today?
A cool interactive map with playlists from locales all over the world (Ann Arbor is a huge disappointment!), a judge rules that a tweet with an original joke is copyrightable (finally, Jerry Seinfeld will stop stealing my shit!), how do you fall asleep with your phone (me? with it next to my bed while I lie awake contemplating the meaning of life or at least that one crappy email that I still regret writing!), and a bunch of amazing music!
It feels good to be back. Smiley face emoji. 🏀Actually, nevermind. Basketball emoji. Ball is life.

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This damn song. I hate it. And then I love it and it crushes me. Fucking Ryan Adams, man. 

THE LEDE

Musical Map: Cities of the World [Spotify]

Another cool project from the Spotify Insights people. Hit the link above for an interactive map with almost a thousand clickable cities to hear a playlist of music that is most distinctively enjoyed there (distinct = music that people in each city listen to a lot which people in other cities don’t listen to that often). In Detroit, the playlist features lots of super local local rap. Fine. Ann Arbor? Lots of terrible country (what the fuck, Ann Arbor). Read more about it here.

GOOD STUFF

Twitter Judges Tweeted Jokes Copyrightable [Techcrunch]

I think this is a good thing? Social media platforms like Twitter have introduced a whole slew of copyright/intellectual property issues and comedy seems to be at the forefront. Comedians and lay people alike rip off tweets and images without source attribution so, so often. Fuck Jerry is a very popular Instagram account with essentially no original content and no credit. The Fat Jew has been doing it for years.


When you start to consider that accounts like that one are being monetized by their creators (or they’re accepting deals based on their popular accounts), you can see how this is an issue. There are moral and ethical problems with plagiarism, of course, but when dollars get involved, people start to care.
 

When You Give A Tree An Email Address [City Lab]

The city of Melbourne assigned email addresses to some 70K trees, so people could report problems about them (like dangerous branches, for example). Turns out, people really just wanted to write love letters to their favorite trees or spill their biggest existential crises to these trees. God Bless Australia. My letter would be like, “Hey. Hey tree. You know I see you waving at me every day. You don’t have to play so coy, like it’s not you. Let’s turn a new leaf in our relationship and stick together. Wood you take my hand?”


Sorry. I had to.
 

How To Fall Asleep With Your Phone [The Awl]

What is your nighttime/phone ritual? Is it healthy? I’m usually pretty good about plugging mine in, making sure the alarm is set, and then putting it face down and out of sight. I’ve had stints using Sleep Cycle, which you set under your sheet so it can track your movements/sleeping patterns and graph them over time. Then I got depressed looking at the graph every morning (like, yep, this app is great at confirming how shittily I sleep).
 

GIFS That Bring Street Art to Life [Hyperallergic]

Spanish artist A.L. Crego takes other peoples' street art, and brings it to life in GIF form. He used to just take photos of local graffiti and also make unrelated GIFs at the same. Then, one day... WHOA. WHAT IF THEY WERE COMBINED. Crego does some pretty amazing, visually compelling stuff, and I highly recommend you click through to check out the rest of his stuff.

LONG READS

Why Aren’t App Constellations Working? [Andrew Chen]

A recent mobile trend has seen social networking and mobile other apps “unbundling” their services or, put another way, they’re trying to build “app constellations.” Instead of wrapping all their services into one app, much like a desktop platform, they’re breaking off those services into standalone apps. Facebook has Paper, Messenger, Pages Manager, and Slingshot. Instagram has Hyperlapse, Dropbox has Carousel, Foursquare has Swarm, and so on. The prevailing wisdom was that people prefer these one-shot, simple apps, versus apps that try to do everything. Except for Facebook Messenger, they’ve pretty much all been resounding failures so far.

 

In “Why Aren’t App Constellations Working,” a bunch of smart tech folks take a stab at why. A few key points: people just don’t download many apps. To work, a new, standalone app needs to be an existing primary feature within the main app. Some of the app makers might care more about iteration and experimentation, and are waiting for app discovery/seeking to catch up to the mobile experience.

 

As a side note, it’s still super interesting to me that messaging apps are vitally important to smartphone users worldwide but that WhatsApp and LINE, which are huge globally, play second fiddle to Facebook Messenger in the U.S.

 

Is The Apple Watch Really Worth Your Time? The Ultimate Review [The Apple Watch Project]

I’m not a watch guy, but I can envision buying one at some point. Probably an Apple Watch. But maybe version 2 or 3. This review features the opnions of 25 people, but it's a quick enough read, and it's pretty thorough from a regular-person-user perspective. Also, LOL at something called "The Apple Watch Project." Also, LOL at me linking to it. Whatever.

MUSIC

July's playlist (link below), featuring Best Coast, Knxwledge, J Dilla (duh), and The Internet (maybe my favorite band name of the past few years)

Album: DJ Koze - DJ-Kicks [!K7, 2015/Spotify]

The DJ-Kicks series has reached legend status in the DJ/mix world, where some of the world’s best and most important, sometimes up-and-coming DJs take their favorite records and mold them into one coherent piece. DJ Koze’s contribution is so. so. so. good. It starts downtempo, with lots of great hip-hop/inspired beats and instrumentals and morphs its way into a deep dance party towards the end. A truly magnificent experience.

 

Album: Jamie xx - In Colour [Young Turks, 2015/Spotify]

Beautifully done. A top notch collection of varied, emotive electronic music.

 

Album: Tame Impala - Currents [Modular Recordings, 2015/Spotify]

This album signals a shift in sound for Tame Impala (which, really kind of isn’t a band - it’s basically one dude, Kevin Parker). The main themes throughout the album, lyrically, are of change and movement and new directions. And it’s definitely got a dance pulse throughout, in a wonderful way. This is Tame Impala’s third album and, for my money, I’m not sure there’s been a more solid three-album career opening for some time. Maybe Kanye?

 

Playlist: [Greg’s Playlist - July 2015] Think Twice [Spotify]

Dig in.
Copyright © 2015 Greg's Newsletter, All rights reserved.


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