LG sent out invitations to press this evening for an April 28th event that is going to be taking place in New York, London, Paris, Seoul, Singapore and Istanbul. (Due to the magic of time zones the event will be taking place on the 29th for those last three locations.)
The safe bet is that the announcement is for the LG G4: the invite says “See the Great” and “Feel the Great,” with the G in both cases matching their traditional stylized G. The invite features a stitched leather background, which would be an interesting break from the rest of the crowd that is leaning towards all metal construction these days. LG is rumored to be steering in that direction as well, but not until the G4 Note.
This timeline for the G4 announcement lines up nicely with reports we brought you last month indicating that LG was pushing the G4 release in order to get out from the shadow of the HTC One M9 and the Samsung Galaxy S6. At the moment this seems like a wise strategy, but we’ll have to see if it was worth the wait come April 28th.
Is there anything that LG can bring to the table with the G4 that will win you over?
The most noticeable piece of the update will be the user interface, which takes on the same look as the LG G3 (on other carriers, that is. Apologies, Verizon G3 owners.) and the overall Lollipop styling, with the caveat that this is still the LG skin and far from stock.
The “recent” button will also now make an appearance on your home touch buttons, right in between the home and menu button by default, but you can move them around as you wish.
A single swipe down will now display both the “Notifications” and “Quick Settings” panels, with a single swipe up leaving you with just your notifications. The notifications will also appear on your lock screen with a number of gestures available to quickly dismiss or act on them.
If you are interested in reading about all the other additions, take a look at Verizon’s full six-page overview via the link below.
Once you get Lollipop running on your G2, we would love to hear how it is going for you. And G3 owners on Verizon, hold out hope that your update will be coming soon; they even accidentally make reference to your device in these update docs.
Monday, 3/30 Alt-J Madison Square Garden 8:00 p.m., $39.50 – $49.50 Since Alt-J released its magnificent album, This Is All Yours, to near universal acclaim last year, the band has been nearly ubiquitous. Standout track "Left Hand Free" has popped up everywhere from Spotify’s better-than-expected Happy Hipster playlist to advertisements for HGTV’s just-as-great-as-you-expected Rehab Addict. And therein lies the band’s accomplishment: writing riffs and melodies that resonate in Middle America as much as they do in Brooklyn, with the band celebrating this very triumph with a set at the world’s most famous arena. Phantogram opens. — Chris Kornelis
Lieutenant Saint Vitus 8:00 p.m., $15 No matter wherever he goes, Nate Mendel will never be able to shake his Sunny Day Real Estate roots and Foo Fighters upbringing, but this doesn’t mean the bassist for America’s rock sweethearts can’t forge his own path where he’s weed-whacking brushes of Lo-Fi power pop and raspy vocals. Mendel, who must be accustomed to standing stage left most of the time, plants his presence in the middle of Lieutenant, exchanging his bass for the guitar and playing songs that recall the rigged ambiance of SDRE. In support of their debut If I Kill This Thing We’re All Going to Eat for a Week and with only a few shows under their belt since SXSW, Lieutenant could just be another side project that rockets by unnoticed or a bold statement made from one of rock’s persistent shadow lurkers. Yukon Blonde and Piers open; the show is 21+. — Silas Valentino
Tuesday, 3/31 Houndmouth Rough Trade NYC 8:00 p.m. From New Albany, Indiana, the city just found across the river from Louisville, arrives the Americana foursome Houndmouth, a rock band with one foot in the big city while the other stays planted in the country’s riverbank. Houndmouth recalls the mid-Seventies twang of Neil Young or the Band with their jangling electric guitars and Appalachian harmonies. Currently on tour in support of their sophomore album, Little Neon Limelight, Houndmouth’s rise is something out of a young band’s daydream (their booking agent convinced Rough Trade’s founder Geoff Travis to check out their set, and afterwards he signed them to Rough Trade’s label), so consider their show Tuesday night as a homecoming of sorts. Folkie Parker Millsap is set to open and while the show is sold out, tickets can be found on the secondary market. — Silas Valentino
Slavic Soul Party! Barbès 10:00 p.m., $10 Slavic Soul Party are Eastern Europe’s answer to the funk (and "Grunt") of the J.B.’s or, more recently, the Budos Band. On their recordings, and every Tuesday at Barbès, the ten-person brass ensemble pins Gypsy melodies against the sort of jazzy R&B horn collages you hear in movies adapted from Elmore Leonard books. The best part, though, is how they interact with their audience at their concerts, sometimes breaking the fourth wall, and really making each word in their name — especially the last — pull its weight. — Kory Grow
Snail Games USA has just released Taichi Panda, a new mobile hack ‘n’ slash game. Along with a major update, the game is out now worldwide for Android and iOS and available to download on the Play Store and App Store. As always, there’s an APK below for those of you who don’t grab it from the market.
Taichi Panda is a hack and slash action games filled with a fast-paced combat system, four playable and fully upgradeable characters, PvP and cooperative modes, and a plot spanning 12 chapters. The game gives a player the opportunity to save the land of Avsar with one of four different character types. If you’re a fan of action game, then this new Android mobile game may just appeal to you.
Taichi Panda has all the necessary components that make up a great hack ‘n’ slash action game. A very well put together and visually stunning combination of full blown PC MMORPG and mobile device hack ‘n’ slash. There is good char customization, smooth gameplay, great controls, UI, solo-play and PvP set-up. It’s great for beginner to never-loggers.
Here’s a list of game features on Android: • A Stunning Fantasy Adventure • 4 Playable Characters • Fast-Paced Combat • Upgradeable Gear and Pets • Guild wars and Team Instances
While the game is free to download and play, be aware that it also contains in-game purchases. You can download Taichi Panda APK file below and install it directly on your Android phone and tablet.
Download APK Requires Android: 2.3+ File: 44MB (Taichi Panda APK)
After making changes to its pricing structure and upgrade process, introducing new features, and more with its Un-carrier moves, T-Mobile is now turning its focus to its coverage map.
The new T-Mobile Next-Gen Network Map is a “crowdsourced, customer-verified” coverage map that T-Mo says is based on more than 200 million customer use data points each and every day. The information shown on the map is pulled from multiple sources, including actual customer reports of network experience, data that’s updated twice per month, and speed test information from “trusted” third-party apps that show customers speeds from the last 90 days.
Carrier coverage maps can sometimes be a bit vague when it comes to where they got the information that they’re displaying and the last time that they were updated. T-Mobile’s Next-Gen Network Map aims to change that with fresh info from apps that’ve been vetted and actual T-Mobile customers. The new map doesn’t seem to be working fully as of this writing, so it’s tough to get any impressions of its accuracy right now, but it could be worth keeping an eye on if you’ve been thinking of switching to T-Mobile.
In some ways, Sufjan Stevens typifies the public caricature of a musician from Brooklyn: weird, borderline unpronounceable name; pretty boy good looks; a level of fame and success in the indie world that borders on Beatlemania while remaining relatively unknown to mainstream audiences. On the other hand, he thwarts the stereotype at every opportunity. He made his name on two decisively uncool, epically twee masterpieces about the history of Michigan and Illinois. His music is unapologetically spiritual, anchored in a Christian ethos decisively unfashionable in indie rock’s anti-establishment roots. He’s more likely to show up to a show wearing a Tron outfit or giant angel wings than a leather jacket and Ray-Bans.
Whatever the case, Stevens is one of New York’s most prominent musical ambassadors (apologies to Taylor Swift) in the indie world and beyond, and his music’s relationship with the city is at once elusive and evocative. Unlike our rock icons from Lou Reed to the Strokes down to recent fixtures like the National, Stevens doesn’t typically address New York in his music, with some notable exceptions. To understand the role the city plays in his compositions, we have to dig a little deeper.
Stevens’s Carrie & Lowell, out March 31 through Asthmatic Kitty, will spur a thousand reviews marking it as his return to his "folk roots." And fair enough: the album is a spare, delicately beautiful affair, especially restrained when considering its maximalist, Technicolor electronica predecessor, The Age of Adz. Though the label belies the avant-garde streak that has always made his music more unpredictable than many of his soundalike peers (Iron & Wine or Andrew Bird, for example), much of the discourse surrounding Stevens paints him as a folk musician. The guitar-voice foundation of Seven Swans (2004) and Carrie & Lowell, as well as many of the original compositions and the interpretations of classic Christmas songs on his holiday albums, Songs for Christmas (2006) and Silver & Gold (2012), fit most comfortably in the folk tradition. Here, it’s easiest to see the connection between the Sixties folk revival — in New York, centered in what’s become a mythic Greenwich Village — on Stevens’s sensibilities.
Born in Detroit in 1975, Stevens moved to New York in 2000 to attend the New School’s creative writing program. He’d already released his debut, A Sun Came (2000), on Asthmatic Kitty, the record label he co-founded with his stepfather, Lowell, that same year, though his most classically "folk" material would come after his relocation. A caveat: though playing "spot the influence" is great fun for critics and fans alike, it’s impossible to say definitively — unless the artist in question has explicitly stated as such in interviews — whether a particular song or band actively influenced a later songwriter. Still, with Stevens’s well-documented epicurean listening habits, it’s safe to assume that by the time of his move to New York, he’d listened to, oh, Bob Dylan. While the Dylan of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963) and its picked template emphasize his free verse lyricism, there is a clear predecessor to Stevens’s own poetic, loosely narrative folk songs. It’s in the music of Dylan’s hero, Woody Guthrie, that Stevens’s most prominent ties to the Village’s Sixties scene show themselves.
Guthrie lived in New York in the early Forties, returning in 1954 until his death in 1967. Dylan famously visited Guthrie while he was hospitalized after showing symptoms of Huntington’s Disease and was instrumental in popularizing Guthrie’s music among the growing cadre of folk musicians in the Village and elsewhere. Guthrie, like Stevens, found immense inspiration in the folk history of the United States and often used his songs as conduits through which to tell — and to shape — stories of populist history. A song like Guthrie’s "The Sinking of the Reuben James" takes the now-obscure story of the first U.S. ship sunk by German U-boats in World War II and transforms it into a heartbreaking tale of death on a human level with devastating chorus ("Did you have a friend on that good Reuben James? / Tell me, what were their names?"). It also provides a clear-cut path to Stevens’s own transformation of historical footnotes into poignant, palpable human stories on his "Fifty States Project" albums, Sufjan Stevens Presents… Greetings from Michigan, the Great Lakes State (or Michigan, 2003) and his most popular record, Sufjan Stevens Invites You to: Come On, Feel the Illinoise (or Illinois, 2005). Numerous Guthrie songs, from "The Great Dust Storm" to "1913 Massacre" to "The Song of the Grand Coulee Dam" tread this ground before Stevens did. And Guthrie’s explorations of Christianity — "Jesus Christ," "They Laid Jesus Christ in His Grave" — and his fixation on America as an endless fount of earnest promise worthy of this material, which could be viewed as populist, secular hymns ("This Land Is Your Land") prefigure Stevens’s own redemptive, awestruck vision of America, rooted in Christian notions of equality and hope for the future in spite of the pains of the past.
Touches of more obscure figures (today, anyway) of the Sixties Village folk scene show themselves in his music, as well. Stevens’s songs have none of the blues in them that heavily influenced the Sixties folk revival — his voice, for one, is too classically beautiful to suggest the grit of a figure like Lead Belly, idolized by many of the artists in New York’s scene at the time. But listening to a track like Odetta’s "900 Miles," from the adored Odetta Sings Folk Songs (1963), or the songs of Reverend Gary Davis ("Samson and Delilah"), whom the Sixties revivalists lionized, it’s easy to hear a deep yearning — for home, for belonging — present in much of Stevens’s music. Carrie & Lowell, about the death of his mother and stepfather, fixates on a sense of displacement, of a lost home, a feeling central to the blues that influenced Dylan and other folk musicians. Throughout his discography, songs like "Chicago" and "To Be Alone With You" sound like ballads of the expatriate, written by someone with a deep-seated restlessness and desire to find stillness and belonging, though they may not exist to be found. In that way, Stevens fits right in with the musicians, from Guthrie and Dylan to Odetta and Davis, who came to New York to find a sense of musical kinship.
On the next page: Phillip Glass, the BQE and a night at the rodeo
I know it’s crazy hard to believe, but yes: it’s completely and totally possible for a scrawny white kid with a cowlick from across the pond to listen to, love and make music that rips from the more treasured refrains of American soul, blues and R&B without offending its very existence.
For some reason, the fact that that voice was coming out of that kid last night on Saturday Night Live seemed to garner the most attention, and with that George Ezra went from providing the soundtrack to people killing time to conversation topic and hitmonger in one fell swoop.
Fresh off a tour supporting the like-minded harbinger of blue-eyed blues, Hozier, the 21-year-old Ezra is readying for his own headlining trek, and his SNL showing was a strong preview for those who still haven’t heard "Budapest" or any of the other tracks off his 2014 debut, Wanted on Voyage. This is the beginning of Ezra’s major American push, in that plenty of people responded with a "Huh?" when they heard who’d be joining Dwayne Johnson for the mid-season return of SNL as the musical guest. James Blake, James Bay, Ezra — all these English dudes repurpose the tropes of American R&B, country, blues and soul in their own respective ways, but Ezra’s vein may be the most radio-friendly and pop-centric take to snare Middle America and capitalize on the warmth of a rollicking chord progression since his former tourmate stormed Top 40 with "Take Me To Church." Whether or not he’s everyone’s cup of PG Tips isn’t really the point — he’s a fine, approachable and enjoyable performer, though not a revolutionary one (and a bit dead-eyed) to be sure — but he did well on SNL, and as we know that stage at Studio 8H can be a launchpad or a fatal trip-up for a singer-songwriter on the rise.
Ezra’s big single, "Budapest," is a tune that regales the object of his affection with all the ritzy items he’d discard to prove his love for them. (A house in Budapest, treasure chests, grand pianos and such — Ezra’s got a vivid imagination, as you’d be hard-pressed to find a 21-year-old with that kind of old world romantic whimsy and wealth outside of Prince Harry’s social circle.) That velvet voice unfurled and wrapped us in a warm embrace, and the uplifting chorus of the tune was downright lovely, rife with shades of the Marc Cohn and Bryan Adams and Mellencamp tapes kicking around mom’s glove compartment for sunny drives. There’s something weirdly "Walking in Memphis" about this crowning moment in "Budapest," though the songs don’t sound anything like each other: it’s more that they both employ that untouchable euphoria found when a band brings forth a majestic major chord, and it’s met by an able guy who’s warmed up to a falter-free chorus who then arrives at the perfect note. Ezra does that here.
"Blame It On Me" was much of the same, with Ezra resting squarely in the strongest point of his vocal register and bringing a powerful belt to a straightforward, upbeat tune. There’s a bit of a Scott Stappian heaviness to Ezra’s tone, but the genius here lies in his ability to know his voice well enough so that it doesn’t drag down the light, lilting and frequently gorgeous arrangements behind him.
As for the internet? They couldn’t pick their jaws up off the floor based on the fact that these songs were being sung by a kid who looks like Ezra, pretty much. Twitter wasn’t super vocal about Ezra’s performance in the hours following SNL, but the lad was cheeky enough for the lack of commentary, as were those who did tune in.
Though the events of the last year — which started with getting dropped by Epic Records following the completion of their second album — made for a harsh lesson in the business component of the music biz, the Dead Sara’s motto remains "friends first."
"We started out as great friends, so that’s the underlying thing. Music is secondary," attests singer and Dead Sara co-founder Emily Armstrong. Guitarist Siouxsie Medley adds, "We’re like sisters, and we couldn’t be in this band without each other. Our relationship is intense. We’ve grown up together, grown apart, and grown back. We’ve been best friends and we’ve been strangers, but we’ve always had something, a connection, a bond, I don’t know…a passion or love that’s kept us together. We’ve been through so much the twelve years we’ve been playing music together. We’ve seen numerous rhythm sections come and go, labels and managers come and go, friends and allies come and go…so basically our entire adultish life we’ve spent side by side. It’s not always easy, but it’s nearly impossible to break."
Complementing the sisterly love since 2009 is the rhythm section of bassist Chris Null and drummer Sean Friday (both formerly of Sonny Moore/Skrillex), who’ve been keeping the beat together since Armstrong and Medley were in their early teens. The intense rock ‘n’ roll that arises from those bonds is as fierce as the friendship. Their major-label, self-titled debut in 2012 spawned the single "Weatherman" and earned the quartet a slew of tour spots with Muse, a spot on the Warped Tour lineup, and accolades piling up from Dave Grohl, Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick, and more.
Thus, the confidence going into their second album, Pleasure to Meet You, was high, and they returned to the studio with producer Noah Shain (Atreyu, Skrillex). "Our first record was a lot wilder, and Noah was trying to capture this young band who’d never done a record, to keep us in line," admits Armstrong. "We had a lot going on in our heads, and you’ll hear a lot of delays and effects. I wasn’t that confident as a singer-songwriter, so with the second record, after touring for a year, and getting to know each other way better — you’ll hear the harmonies, a lot less fat. It’s more about a band, and our confidence."
Epic, however, begged to differ. "[Epic] approved the checks, there were people being fired and hired. But we were doing the record we wanted to do, and we didn’t think about that. We turned it in, and they were like, ‘Who was in charge of the record?’ We’re like, ‘No one was keeping tabs on it. Here it is.’ " The way they tell it, the label then posed the time-worn and inevitable query: "Where’s that one big hit?" Dead Sara’s reply: "Here’s our record. Find it."
"We didn’t think, ‘SINGLES!’ " says Armstrong of the songs on Dead Sara. "Somebody chose it for us because they liked it, and that’s the best way for it to happen — word of mouth."
With any luck, Pleasure to Meet You will find its audience — and, as Armstrong is wont to do, they’ll stage-dive into that audience as well, buoyed by a growing legion of fans. Despite the Epic debacle, Dead Sara’s confidence and chops are booming. "My rig has doubled in size from our first record to Pleasure to Meet You. I dance around a pedal board bigger than my body!" notes Medley, who has been playing since the age of eight, and cites influences ranging from Nirvana to Johnny Cash to T. Rex to Tupac.
One such influence would be Fleetwood Mac, whose 1979 song "Sara" gives the band their name. While women like Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie paved the way for female rockers, Armstrong and Medley are impervious to sexism and gender. "I’m a musician. It’s all I’ve ever cared about and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do," states Medley. "I’m in a band with two guys who treat me as an equal. We make music that we love. I don’t have the time or energy to be bothered by people’s ignorance about gender."
"We really don’t take any shit," Armstrong adds. "The way that I think we present ourselves is not necessarily cocky, but it’s not, like, wimpy. Rock ‘n’ roll is attitude. If you bring anything less than that it’s gonna show and it’s gonna be gimmicky," she concludes. "It’s easy to [stay strong] when you’re living for the music itself. If it drives you, you can get away with anything."
Dead Sara play the Studio at Webster Hall March 31 with the Wans and Lost in Society. Tickets are available here.
HTC‘s upcoming One E9+ has shown itself in a new leak from @upleaks. Wednesday gave us our first view of the One E9 in a leak and today’s pictures give us a larger, clearer look at the device. The front of the device features a larger bezel than the standard M9 and also features a circular camera hump on the back. While the previous leak showed only a cream and gold color, this new leak also shows a black and gunmetal option as well as a charcoal and gold variant.
While we have a clear idea of what the One E9/E9+ will look like, we don’t know what to expect for specs. The first leak called the device simply the One E9, which led us to believe that the device would simply be a plastic variant of the One M9, like last year’s One E8. But calling it the E9+ could indicate that it will share its specs with the upcoming One M9+. For right now, it looks as though we’re going to have to wait for an official announcement to get a hold on the specs.
Looks like the AT&T version of the One M7 is the next HTC device in line to get a Lollipop treat.
HTC’s Mo Versi just announced on Twitter that the Android 5.0 update for the AT&T-flavored HTC One M7 has received technical approval. The update is expected to begin rolling out to users tomorrow, March 31.
As for what’s inside this update, well, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out. AT&T’s One M7 Lollipop update will likely be similar to the Android 5.0 updates that’ve hit other One M7 variants, which offer Lollipop-style notifications and lock screen alerts, a new Recent Apps menu, and support for searching inside the Settings app.
Are any of you currently using Android 5.0 on an HTC One M7? If so, what do you think of it?