Tag Archive: videogames


Image For Biffy Clyro - Opposites

The sharp post-hardcore-tinged tones of Scotland’s Biffy Clyro have been slowly eroding as the band’s popularity has soared. Opposites embraces a more accessible stadium-rock style compared to 2009‘s Only Revolutions, yet spreads Biffy a little too thinly over more than an hour’s worth of material, allowing only spurts of ambitious song-writing from frontman Simon Neil.

Opposites is at its strongest when it separates its uplifting phrases from its more melancholic ones. These two disparate vibes are too closely interlinked on ‘Different People’ and ‘The Thaw’, making for uneasy changes in tone. Once they are separated though, the band come into their anthemic element on ‘Sounds Like Balloons’, and create a haunting synth-backed lament on ‘Skylight’. Read more here: http://bit.ly/154CuDu

 

The Lords of Salem Logo

“From the singular mind of horror maestro Rob Zombie comes a chilling plunge into a nightmare world where evil runs in the blood. The Lords of Salem tells the tale of Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie), a radio station DJ living in Salem, Massachusetts, who receives a strange wooden box containing a record, a “gift from the Lords.” Heidi listens, and the bizarre sounds within the grooves immediately trigger flashbacks of the town’s violent past. Is Heidi going mad, or are the “Lords of Salem” returning for revenge on modern-day Salem?”

The Lords of Salem will be in theaters April 15, 2013.

Watch the trailer here: http://t.co/WKTnsFNV

all content courtesy of best-horror-movies.com

Lana Del Rey helped launch the campaign for Jaguar’s F-TYPE convertible with her tune ‘Burning Desire,’ and now there’s a video to accompany the song.

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The clip features the sultry singer onstage in an empty ballroom, swaying to the seductive beat, Gina Vespa reported for diffuser.fm. Read more here: http://bit.ly/14V5ihU

It’s no secret that we’ve been anxiously awaiting a new LDR record since the release of ‘Born to Die’ last year – even when she claimed it might be her final album, Gina Vespa from diffuser.fm reported. Rumor has it that she’s working on a follow-up disc, as she was recently spotted at a recording studio in L.A.

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Justin Timberlake is wasting no time making his comeback. Just a few hours after he brought sexy back to the Grammy stage, he released the newest single “Mirrors” from the upcoming album “The 20/20 Experience.” Timberlake’s team promised a surprise for fans post-Grammys in a tweet. They fulfilled their promise debuting “Mirrors” on YouTube. The track — produced by rapper Timbaland — is slightly over eight minutes and embraces Timberlake’s old-school, slow jam vibe heard in the previously released singles from the album.
Read more here: http://on.mash.to/WF6eF5
Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage/Getty Images

Shoegaze: a beginner’s guide

Guardian.co.uk recently asked their readers to pick 10 essential shoegaze tracks for newcomers. Here’s what they came up with …

My Bloody Valentine

Best enjoyed at maximum volume … My Bloody Valentine

Earlier this week we asked readers via Twitter and Facebook which shoegaze songs they would recommend to newcomers. We’ve compiled a list of 10 tracks, intended to act as a introduction to the genre.

You can listen to these tracks as a YouTube playlist, or you can watch each individual video. We’ve included a little bit of information on the songs, comments from the people who recommended them, and some links to our coverage of shoegaze bands.

1. My Bloody Valentine – You Made Me Realise

Packs a mighty sonic punch with wall of sound/breakdown towards the end. Beats anything by any other band. – Greg Lowe

2. Ride – Vapour Trail

Taking shoegaze to another level – Murray Easton

3. Cocteau Twins – Carolyn’s Fingers

A very, very dreamy tune – @Syaugeek

4. Slowdive – Alison

To really encapsulate the scene in a song, Alison by Slowdive has everything you need – Andy Hazel

5. My Bloody Valentine – Sometimes

Accessible yet endlessly nuanced. Also packs surprising emotional/lyrical weight – @hughdignan

6. Jesus and Mary Chain – Just Like Honey

A band that have been around since 1983, split in the late 90s but are back together and still touring. Be sure to check out their distortion-laden Upside Down as well.

7. Lush – Sweetness and Light

One of the most prominent shoegaze bands of the early 90s. This song has all the classic hall markings of the genre: ethereal vocals, distortion breakdown and shimmering, layered guitars.

8. Chapterhouse – Pearl

Epitome of the genre – @thegroupies

9. Swervedriver – Never Lose That Feeling

For sheer euphoria, duelling guitars & that swarming instrumental coda -@dandouglas

10. Horrors – Mirror’s Image

The Horrors formed in 2005 and took a couple of years to develop their sound. Their 2009 album Primary Colours was met with critical acclaim, wowing many who had previously dismissed them as all style over substance. The video for See Within a Sea, a song from the same album, was directed by Douglas Hart, a former bassist with the Jesus and Mary Chain.

More about the article read here: http://bit.ly/WOWfdj

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Singer threatens prime minister with legal action if he uses his songs to promote the Conservative party at next election ‘I can’t say I love the idea of a banker liking our music’ … Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.

Thom Yorke has threatened to “sue the living shit” out of David Cameronif the prime minister uses a Radiohead song in a future election campaign.

“I can’t say I love the idea of a banker liking our music, or David Cameron,” the singer told Dazed & Confused. “I can’t believe he’d like [2011’s] King of Limbs much. But I also equally think, who cares? … As long as he doesn’t use it for his election campaigns, I don’t care. I’d sue the living shit out of him if he did.”

Keane found themselves in that position in 2010, when their song Everybody’s Changing was played at a Conservative party launch. “Am horrified,” wrote drummer Richard Hughes. “I will not vote for them.”

While Yorke holds strong opinions on social and environmental issues, DJing for Occupy London and attending the UN’s climate change conference in 2009, he admitted that “politics is not a fun thing to write about”. These days the Radiohead frontman tries to calm himself down – and perk up his spirits – with yoga and meditation. “I’m not as volatile as I used to be, which is good, ‘cos I’d have burned out if I was,” he said. “I can still be a nightmare, though.”

The 44-year-old is also a workaholic. “When we got back from tour, I gave myself a week off from the studio and that was it,” he said. “I was cheating anyway, because I was actually working on my laptop on the quiet.” Over the past year, that has mostly meant working with his side project Atoms for Peace, whose debut album is out on 25 February.

“It’s not like [2006 solo album] The Eraser at all,” he said. “But it’s not a band album either; it doesn’t sound like a band playing … We wanted to go into the song realm, because it felt good to do that. [But] if it were up to me, every track would be 10 minutes long … To me, the Atoms album is not dancey enough.”

Despite this, Yorke said he could never imagine making an instrumental album. “I’ve got all these nice little boxes for my studio, and I kind of half know how to use most of them,” he said. “Really, I just enjoy writing words sitting at a piano. I tend to lose interest in the drum machine.”

 

–source the guardian.co.uk image from foe.co.uk

Cool Stuff From A To Z in 2012

A TO Z OF 2012

From Korean pop sensations to rain-soaked flotillas, David Whitehouse presents our guide to a momentous year

A

APOCALYPSE

The Mayans believe that 21 December 2012 represents the end of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, and thus the end of the world. If it’s now after that date and you are reading this, it turned out to be nonsense. If you’re not reading this, everyone you’ve ever loved is dead. Or you forgot to pick up ShortList.

B

BBC IN PIECES

BBC Director General George Entwistle resigned in November after just 54 days in charge of the Beeb, after Newsnight falsely implicated Lord McAlpine in a child sex abuse scandal. On ITV, Phillip Schofield hijacked the PM live on air with a list of people who might be paedophiles. The next day he was back talking about love triangles in Corrie.

C

CURIOSITY ROVER

On 6 August we put a car-sized robot on Mars. It studied rocks, took soil samples and prompted everyone on Twitter to make the same gag about Johnny Five from Short Circuit.

D

DANDY

On 4 December, legendary children’s comic The Dandy, home of Desperate Dan, printed its last issue after 75 years on newsagents’ shelves. In the Fifties, it sold two million copies, but figures had fallen to below 8,000. The final edition had an appearance by Sir Paul McCartney. Presumably he’d turned up just to blame the death of another British institution on Yoko Ono.

E

EROTIC FICTION

EL James’ Fifty Shades Of Grey series became a publishing phenomenon, selling 60 million copies worldwide and spawning far too many copycats. It became a commuting classic. And yet when ShortList writers flaunt their arousal publicly, they’re ejected from the swimming baths.

F

FRESCO JESUS

‘Ecce Homo (Behold The Man)’ by Elias Garcia Martinez was so stunning a painting of Jesus that it held pride of place in Sanctuary Of Mercy Church near Zaragoza for more than 100 years. Noticing it was suffering the deteriorating effects of moisture, octogenarian Cecilia Gimenez gave it an unauthorised touch-up. The results, which went viral, meant the world knew what the life of Christ would have looked like if filmed by Jim Henson’sCreature Shop.

G

GEORGE LUCAS SELLS STAR WARS

Star Wars fans everywhere were shaken by November’s news that George Lucas had sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4bn. “How dare he sell out!” cried many, into mobile handsets currently advertised by Yoda.

H

HIGGS BOSON

They call it The God Particle, and something that might be it turned up in the Large Hadron Collider in July. Apparently, its existence will greatly enhance our understanding of the universe. Hang on, are we confusing this with a Dan Brown book?

I

IPHONE 5

According to Bing, the most searched term of 2012 was ‘iPhone 5’. Apple addicts were disappointed that it couldn’t project solid holograms that it was possible to make love to. To be honest, we’d probably still buy it if it bullied our dog.

J

JIMMY SAVILE

Wrestler, DJ, presenter, grotesque.

K

KATE MIDDLETON’S BABY

Within days, its existence had indirectly led to the tragic death of a nurse. A reminder the monarchy still has power, just in a different form.

L

LEVESON

Lord Leveson (played by a friendly, sleepy bear) was asked to conduct an inquiry into media ethics. Everyone came, even Hugh Grant (played by a Hugh Grant impressionist) and Rupert Murdoch (played by a testicle). Lord Leveson found that some people have been treated disgustingly by the press. David Cameron (played by a moist piece of ham) decided to ignore his recommendations anyway.

M

MARK ZUCKERBERG FLOATS FACEBOOK

On 17 May, Facebook achieved the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company – $104bn. Finally, a price had been placed on that most primal human instinct… the urge to see your ex’s new partner and confirm they’re fat. Worth every penny.

N

NEW YORK

Hurricane Sandy showed up in New York in October, part of a journey that would take 253 lives and cause damage costing $65.6bn. So, around half a Facebook. Once more, a city we’re used to seeing decimated in films looked like so many CGI versions of itself. We were disappointed the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man didn’t turn up.

O

OLYMPICS

Olympians, Paralympians and the great British public conspired to create something beautiful, enormous and inspiring, something it was impossible to moan about. For a second, we even quite enjoyed dressage, a sport in which a horse looks like it’s trying to make a difficult decision. Strange times.

P

PUSSY RIOT

On 21 February, Russian feminist punk-rock collective Pussy Riot performed an anti-Putin song at a Moscow cathedral. Two members were eventually sent to prison. Huw Edwards almost went into spasm as he was forced to say the word ‘pussy’ over and over again on BBC News.

Q

QUEEN’S JUBILEE

Gary Barlow waved a final goodbye as he disappeared into the Queen’s bottom. Music by Brian May.

R

RACISM IN FOOTBALL

As the beautiful game was dragged through the court, an ugly head was reared. From some angles it looked like John Terry’s.

S

SYRIA

A nation kills its own. The world watches.

T

TAX AVOIDANCE

We could all learn lessons in saving money from the following in these times of austerity, who, thanks to legal loopholes, allegedly haven’t been paying as much tax as they should. Step forward Amazon, Starbucks, Jimmy Carr, Chris Moyles, Gary Barlow and many more. Three cheers, guys.

U

US ELECTION

Barack Obama scraped into four more years as US president, surprising many Republicans. They shouldn’t have been that shocked: their nominee had been filmed dismissing 47 per cent of the population, and some of their congressmen had 18th-century opinions on rape. In a sensible world, Obama would have been voted in with a landslide even if he’d had experimental breast implants.

V

VATICAN MEETS TWITTER

The Pope appeared on Twitter as @pontifex. For a while he said nothing, and as such there was no evidence that he actually exists. Seemed apt.

W

WIGGINS

In 2012, Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France and Olympic gold, then got knocked off his bike going past a garage. British achievement will always be weighted by a sense of Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em.

X

X-RATED ROYALTY

August, and phone pics emerged of Prince Harry naked at a party in Las Vegas. A month later, topless pictures of Kate Middleton were published in France. At the time of writing, the completion of a Royal Nudity Golden Triumvirate is yet to

be completed, with Prince Edward’s purple ruddy arse still under wraps.

Y

YOUTUBE’S BIGGEST EVER VIDEO

South Korean pop star PSY’s Gangnam Style, would have made an excellent soundtrack to a You’ve Been Framed video of a dog fruitlessly humping the air. Instead it reached more than one billion YouTube hits and is still raising the number of calls made to Dignitas.

Z

ZIPWIRE BORIS

New York’s mayor tackles crime and nudges the city to recovery after a superstorm. London’s gets dangled from a zipwire he’s too fat to use like a piñata fill of bon mots.

 

— articles and image taken from shortlist.com

 

12 Books You Need To Read In 2013

What, no Bridget Jones?

Hands up who’s looking forward to 2013? Yeah, us too. You won’t find any of that hard-to-beat-2012 ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ cynicism around these parts, matey.

(Images: Rex Features)

And one of the reasons we can’t wait to get stuck into 2013 is because of all the new books we get to devour. This year we’ve loved Chad Harbach’s baseball novel The Art of Fielding (don’t fret, it’s about more than baseball); John Lancaster’s coruscating dissection of rising property prices in London, Capital (don’t fret, it’s about more than house prices); and Ben Fountain’s memorable anti-war novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (don’t fret, it’s about more than guns and gore).

These are 12 of the books we expect to be raving about this time next year.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods

1. GAVIN EXTENCE: THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS

The buzz surrounding this debut novel from erstwhile chess prodigy Gavin Extence is building nicely. Alex Woods is a 17-year-old misfit, struggling to make his way in the world. That’s until he meets elderly Mr Peterson, a temperamental widower who urges Alex to embrace the world. What follows is a comic tale of friendship and the nitty gritty of life.

Release date: 31 January

Bedlam

2. CHRISTOPHER BROOKMYRE: BEDLAM

To describe Christopher Brookmyre’s novels as jet-black would be to do them a disservice. His outrageously dark and comical books are full of meticulously observed barbs and regularly take accurate aim at some of society’s more ridiculous mores. Expect Bedlam, ostensibly about sci-fi surrealism, to plough a similar terrain.

Release date: 7 February

Lenin's Kisses

3. YAN LIANKE: LENIN’S KISSES

Chinese writer Yan Lianke is something of an agent provocateur in his homeland – his highly contentious novels often being subject to state censorship. His latest book, Lenin’s Kisses, is a cautionary tale about China’s lust for power, that involves hairbrained plans to buy Lenin’s embalmed corpse.

Release date: 7 February

4. ERIC HOBSBAWM: FRACTURED SPRING

Heavyweight Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm passed away this year at the grand age of 95. He finished his final work, an exhaustive study of 19th and 20th Century art and culture, just months before he died. If it’s anything like his other historical tomes it will be an engaging, propulsive and necessary read.

Release date: March

5. ERIC SCHMIDT & JARED COHEN: THE NEW DIGITAL AGE: RESHAPING THE FUTURE OF EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

Google big cheeses Schmidt and Cohen attempt to pen a book about the realities of our brave new digital world. Among the lofty questions posed in the catchy The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of Emerging Technologies are the following: How will war, diplomacy, and revolution change when everyone is connected? What will be the impact of having both a full virtual life online, and a physical one? Light reading for the toilet then.

Release date: 23 April

6. LIONEL SHRIVER: BIG BROTHER

Lionel Shriver doesn’t shy away from big issues. And for her new novel, Big Brother, the superb novelist behind We Need To Talk About Kevin, has literally turned to the notion of big, as in overeating. Pandora’s brother Edison has ballooned in size since their last meeting. How will the rest of her family react to this new obese Edison. A novel that gets right to the heart of Western consumption.

Release date: 9 May

7. KHALED HOSSEINI: AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED

Hosseini is best known for his much-loved 2003 debut novel, The Kite Runner. His new book is destined to be another overarching weighty tome. Hosseini has already said it’s a multi-generational tale with the theme of family to the fore. Expect Hollywood to come knocking once again.

Release date: 21 May

8. BEN JOHNSON: UNTITLED ARCTIC MONKEYS BIOGRAPHY

Next May sees the 10th anniversary of Arctic Monkeys’s first gig. To celebrate the fact – and no doubt to make you feel very old in the process – Omnibus Press is publishing a comprehensive biography of the Sheffield band. The band are notoriously press shy, so we expect this biography to be a compelling read.

Release date: May

9. NEIL GAIMAN: THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE

The man behind comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust and The Graveyard Book, returns to adult fiction for the first time in 10 years with The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Focusing on the dual themes of childhood and memory, Gaiman describes it as a ‘story of magic, about the power of stories and how we face the darkness inside each of us’.

Release date: 18 June

Doctor Sleep

10. STEPHEN KING: DOCTOR SLEEP

Stephen King’s The Shining was published in 1977. Next year, 36 years later, his sequel, Doctor Sleep finally sees the light of day. Although whether Doctor Sleep will be light reading is probably moot. The novel will focus on the young boy from The Shining, Dan Torrance. Now a middle-aged nursing assistant, Dan finds himself in another struggle between good and evil. In other King news, the prolific writer is also set to publish crime novel, Joyland.

Release date: 24 September

11. GEORGE PELECANOS: THE TROUBLE

We ain’t too proud to say it, but we’re massive George Pelecanos fanboys. His D.C. Quartet series is among the best pulp fiction of recent time. And that’s without mentioning his involvement in The Wire and Treme. He’s recently hit on a new protagonist – Spero Lucas – for his novels. The Double, the second Lucas book, will doubtless be another detective/crime thriller masterpiece.

Release date: TBC

12. ROBERT HARRIS: TBC

The final instalment in Harris’s Cicero trilogy is due next year according to book publishers Hutchinson. Following Imperium and Lustrum, the yet-to-be titled book is another historical novel about the life of Roman Renaissance man Cicero.

Release date: TBC

— articles and images taken from shortlist.com

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Whether you’re running Android or iOS, 2012 was a great year for the advancement of apps. With the return of some old favorites on iOS (Google Maps: distance indeed made the heart grow fonder…) and some amazing newcomers like my new personal favorite, Paper, we’ve taken the time to rank our 10 favorite. List yours in the comment box below.

10. Simplenote
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This is a cloud-based note-taking app that’s elegant in its simplicity. It syncs with a number of different desktop/laptop note-taking apps (I sync mine with the minimalist Notational Velocity), and ensures that whatever notes you take on the road will be there for you when you return to your home computer, and vice versa.—George Howard

9. Phraseology
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A tablet would never be my first choice for writing or editing, but when I’m in a pickle Phraseology makes it work. It’s a smartly designed word processor app that lets me shuttle words, sentences and paragraphs around with ease. It also lists more stats than a baseball card, running down my word count, my total characters, my average number of words per sentences, and more. It’s still awkward typing on a virtual keyboard, but even without a keyboard attachment Phraseology is a useful little writing app.—Garrett Martin

8. Viggle
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If you love getting punch cards at restaurants and coffee shops, you’ll love Viggle. Viggle is a television loyalty-rewards app that “checks-in” users to shows. Once Viggle magically confirms that you are indeed watching a show on your television, you’ll immediately begin to rack up Viggle points that you can eventually spend on rewards like gift cards and even a free month of Hulu Plus. It seems a bit hokey at first, but in the era of television streaming, Viggle is a noble attempt to get people back in front of their TVs and watching their shows together in community. Plus, who else has ever offered you free stuff just for watching TV?—Luke Larsen

7. Pocket (Formerly Read It Later)
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Pocket is a complete revamp of the now-familiar Read It Later service, complete with a name change and a new interface that allows video and photos to be saved for later. And we’re not talking about simply aggregating a list of virtual bookmarks; Pocket caches all your content (outside of video) so it’s all available offline. This handy service works across Android and iOS devices, as well as computers. It’s easy to use and it’s got an interface that makes Instapaper feel a little dated. But Pocket isn’t interested in competing with Instapaper; one is for text and one is for multimedia. Pocket is great at what it does, and comes highly recommended.—Luke Larsen

6. The Magazine
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The Magazine, developed by Marco Arment (who also created Instapaper and kicked off the read-it-later trend), finally gave me a good reason to use the Newsstand feature of iOS. It’s an entirely digital magazine, covering topics from achieving the perfect wet shave to the Tour de France, with an issue every two weeks. Originally written for geeks by geeks, The Magazine continues broadening its scope and embracing more and more variety as it grows. Subscribing costs $1.99/month, and each issue comes with four to six articles for your perusal. The user interface is beautifully intuitive; it’s so easy to use that many people have suggested the app is re-inventing what a digital magazine should look like. 8-ball says that might be true!—Nathan Snelgrove

5. Clear
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Clear is nothing more than a to-do list. You can make tasks, rename them, reorder them, and delete them. That’s it. However, the success of Clear speaks to the real purpose behind these things we call “apps”—especially the things we call “productivity apps”. Clear doesn’t just make tasks fun—it has actually made me more productive. In the most intuitive and beautiful way possible, this app does exactly what it promises: cuts out all the extra baggage that most productivity apps pile on and leaves you with a clear view of your tasks at hand.—Luke Larsen

4. Flipboard
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Flipboard didn’t debut in 2012, but it did expand its wings this year to devices beyond its iPad and iPhone origins and embrace Android devices. Flipboard has been the killer app for news aggregation on the go for two years ago, and that claim has only solidified this year. Integration with Facebook, Twitter, and yourRSS Feeds make it the perfect way to get news. Beyond that, though, the Flipboard team started experimenting with in-app advertising. At this point, you’ve probably noticed the full-page glossy-style advertising that seems like it’s been ripped straight from a real magazine. But beyond that, Levi’s was the first to take advantage of a Flipboard catalogue in September, a first for a mobile app. Flipboard’s approach to advertising may be in-your-face compared to some of their competitors, but it’s working for them and users seem to actually enjoy it. And those pageflips!—Nathan Snelgrove

3. Paper
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It’s always the apps that are built from the ground-up with a specific device in mind that feel the most intuitive. In that way, Paper for the iPad seems like a no-brainer. Paper is the simplest painting app imaginable. No menu of tools and brushes — just a single brush and the blank white canvas to start off with. Paper’s limited tools will definitely force you to use your imagination but in a world dominated by software like Photoshop and Microsoft Word, the limitations are a breathe of fresh air. With Paper, less is definitely more — and we couldn’t be happier about it.—Luke Larsen

2. Figure
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Media consumption dominates so much of what smartphone and tablets users do on their devices. That’s why when an app as beautiful and fun to play with as Figure comes around, we should all pay attention. And who better to make a miniature synth sequencer than Propellerhead, the creators of the industry standard MIDI sequencing software Reason? But Figure is more than just a bite-sized Reason. It is simplified, but it’s also an incredibly satisfying new way to create beats and loops. Hit record and you might just be a few swipes away from your next big single.—Luke Larsen

1. Google Maps
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Under the direction of Tim Cook and Scott Forstall, 2012 was going to be the year that Apple would finally release itself from Google’s hold on map and GPS services on their devices. Instead, Apple ended up making of their biggest software blunders in recent memory and left iPhone users wondering if Android users really were better off. Fortunately, Google released Google Maps—the best iOS app they’ve ever made. It features a superb UI, turn-by-turn voice navigation, and some very snappy new vector-based maps. If you still need proof that Google knows UI just as well as it knows algorithms, look no further. Most importantly though, iPhone users will no longer be driving around completely lost screaming into their phones.—Luke Larsen

 

— articles by tyler kane for pastemagazine.com

Top Ten Best Comic Books of 2012

batman paste best of 2012.jpg

10. Batman
by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
DC Comics

Ever since the debut of his short story collection Voodoo Heart, Scott Snyder has balanced searing creativity and disciplined craftsmanship with academic finesse. No writer has weaved foreshadowing and plot threads together with such dynamite precision since DC’s British Invasion of the ’80s. The latest feather in Snyder’s cap is Batman. It’s a bold redirection of geography etched into modern mythology, warping a fictional institution into a booby-trapped funhouse. This is one of the Caped Crusader’s most cinematic, atmospheric outings in recent memory. (SE)

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9. Daredevil
by Mark Waid and various artists
Marvel Comics

Marvel has dropped more than a few hints throughout the decade that they might yank Daredevil out of the Xanax-swilling abyss of misery and torment that the title has inhabited since before we were born. Even with such tantalizing promises, nobody was quite prepared for the sheer swashbuckling elation that Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin (among many talented others) bestowed upon us this year. Whether lawyer-by-day/vigilante-by-night Matt Murdock is swapping tongue with a gangster’s bride (hey, her perfume drives him crazy) or trading blows with Mole Man, fun and smart have rarely intersected this beautifully. (SE)

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8. The Hive
by Charles Burns
Pantheon

The first quarter of The Hive works like nesting dolls of fantasy, adding both dreamworld comics and their “real world” counterparts to the mix, and as you’re jerked among the narratives, you can’t find your footing, an experience both nauseating and somewhat pleasurable. Burns seems to be exploring a theme about the function of visual fantasy, but it’s never obvious. He’s always been a genius at bringing out the gross side of the uncanny as he’s focused on the desires our superegos do their best to quash—a Stephen King who says the horror is in us, not outside us, and more horrifying for that—and this series is no exception. It will provoke both attraction and revulsion, often within the same panel, as well as a deeply felt sadness veering into depression, “the bad thing” David Foster Wallace wrote of. Intelligent, carefully crafted and emphatically not for everyone. (HB)

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7. Hawkeye
by Matt Fraction, David Aja and various artists
Marvel Comics

Fraction cuts around his Kirby hyper-scifi beats for almost mundane tales about Brooklyn and non-superhero life. Coupled with Barton’s smooth, endearing narration (“I’m an orphan raised by carnies fighting with a stick and a string from the Paleolithic era,”) Hawkeye is subversively enjoyable as an anti-superhero superhero study. Aja’s simple, worn-line work perfectly matches the grizzled photorealism of its metropolitan focus. This is a new, sentimental approach to the character that could almost count as an indie book with a few tweaks, packing more enough arrows in its quiver for the near future. (SE)

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6. The Underwater Welder
by Jeff Lemire
Top Shelf

Despite the debatable sci-fi trappings (does he really relive his past or is this more of a “life flashing before your eyes”, near-death experience type of deal?), The Underwater Welder is firmly rooted in realistic personal relationships, and isn’t that far off in sensibility from Lemire’s Essex County trilogy. Lemire has mastered the art of the human story in a genre setting. Welder reaffirms that Lemire is one of the most versatile and vital creators in comics today. (GM)

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5. Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller
by Joseph Lambert
Center for Cartoon Studies / Hyperion 

Joseph Lambert makes something new and fierce and strange from this familiar story, bursting with life and making wonderful use of the form to tell his tale. It doesn’t matter if you know what happens; he manages to convey the birth of language and the power it gives us through a case both supremely individual and surprisingly universal. You may not like history comics or tales of overcoming adversity, and you’re free to continue to have those opinions, but please don’t miss this remarkable book. (HB)

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4. Saga
by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Image Comics

Brian K. Vaughan’s return to comics is funny, humanizing and beautiful in a way that austere science fiction rarely is. Every character, including albino men with television heads, comes with a three dimensional personality that begs to be explored. Fiona Staples’ pencils, inks and colors are gorgeous, propped against warm, washed-out backgrounds that emit a surreal fantasy glow. Her storytelling and perspective are also incredibly strong, echoing artists like Dave McKean and Michael Gaydos. If it’s not apparent, I love this comic. And I honestly don’t know what sucks more: having waited years for Vaughan to come back, or waiting for each issue of Saga. (SE)

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3. Jerusalem
by Guy DeLisle
Drawn + Quarterly

Jerusalem addresses complex and heated issues with grace and deft charm. Guy Delisle doesn’t pick sides, and he doesn’t let anyone off the hook, but he also doesn’t preach or depict himself in any noble light. The result seems to be a very real and well-rounded picture of day-to-day life, a journal comic that happens to be as much journalism as autobiography, with plenty of lightness that also doesn’t trivialize the situation in Jerusalem. Smart and fun, Jerusalem is undoubtedly one of the highlights of this year in comics. (HB)

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2. The Making Of
by Brecht Evens
Drawn + Quarterly

The Making Of is an intelligent statement about the importance of process in making art that also functions as a fish-out-of-water narrative. The book looks great, unsurprisingly, with pages that could easily stand on their own as works of art. Evens isn’t afraid of awkwardness and comedy, two aspects that frequently intersect in his work and do so beautifully here. The Making Of looks at the decision to make art without being pretentious or annoying or flippant; it’s also genuinely enjoyable to read and, at 160 pages, it’s not over before you know it. That combination makes it one of the strongest comics published this year. (HB)

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1. Building Stories
by Chris Ware
Pantheon

Building Stories, Chris Ware’s box of 14 different printed things (newspapers, pamphlets, books, a Little Golden Book, etc.), is gentler and less depressing than Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. It’s also an easier read, despite the fragmented presentation. Don’t stress about which piece to pick up first. Ware highlights relevant threads in multiple places, teasing full stories that he reveals elsewhere and guiding you masterfully to assemble the whole picture while still letting you feel smart. It may leave you with a hard little knot in your chest about the human condition (birth, maturation, possibly procreation and death, all in a short span and with little to show for it but brief moments of animal joy), but it also somehow makes you enjoy the knowledge. (HB)

 

 

–made by hillary brown, sead edgar and garrett martin for paste magazine

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