5 Best Gadgets for Musicians

Purchasing holiday gifts for your family and friends is one of the most enjoyable parts of the season. The quest to find that perfect present is exhilarating, but can leave you spending hours surfing the web and browsing store aisles. One group that’s particularly difficult to shop for is the musically-inclined bunch that also enjoys the latest tech gadgets. Luckily, there are some lesser-known devices out there that are sure to light up their eyes with glee and surprise.

iDJ Pro

photo: Amazon

Do you have a loved one who loves to drop a beat? If so, the iDJ Pro is the perfect gift to take their mixing on the go. Through an iPad dock, all their loops and tracks will be transferrable to the device. The compatible app will display on the large iPad screen, making it easy to navigate buttons and fine tune that next great mix.

photo: Drummer Cafe

Aerodrums Air Drumming Percussion Instrument

There’s always that friend who has air drummed for as long as you can remember. Make their day by giving them an Aerodrum. This percussion instrument allows you to practice your air drumming, but provides the sound for you. The volume control also makes this a great gift for that teen or roommate who has to practice his music skills at two in the morning.

AfterShokz Bluez 2s Headphones

photo: CoolPile

Maybe you have a friend who doesn’t necessarily feel the urge to play music, but loves to listen. The Bluez 2s are some of the most innovative options on the market. These wireless headphones actually conduct the sound through your bones, meaning they don’t have to go inside of your ears at all. Carry on conversations while still listening to your music through your cheekbones with these amazing tech gadgets.

UE Boom 2

photo: CNET

For those that like to share their music, the UE Boom 2 speakers deliver superb sound and feature innovative technology. Once you download the app, you’ll be able to play music from any streaming service you choose. Not only that, but people around you can also take a turn playing. The speaker will support up to three smartphones at a time, making it the ultimate option for a party or any other gathering.

Piano Apprentice

photo: RegMedia UK

If you have a loved one who isn’t musically talented but is working on it, the Piano Apprentice may be the perfect gift to help them reach their goals. A 25-key keyboard features light-up technology to show which keys need to be played. You can dock your iPad or iPhone to the top and receive tutorials on each step of the learning process, making these the most enjoyable piano lessons you’ll ever take.

As you search for the perfect tech gadgets for your musical friends this season, check out these devices and other innovative options. You’ll light up their eyes with these holiday gifts and keep them smiling all winter long.





Adele Says Hello, Goodbye To Streaming of New Album

Adele's "Hello"


This summer, when Taylor Swift went after Apple Music and Spotify, streaming music took a hit, and the hits keep coming. Adele’s reps recently announced (after much speculation swirled), that her most recent album after 5 years, “25”, will not be offered through streaming.

Who’s Afraid of Taylor Swift | Peter Getty Music & TV

Read more…

Though, music services like Spotify and Apple Music are scurrying to get Adele back, stores like Target, who have been broadcasting commercials for the album, are thrilled, according to Target representation Lee Henderson, “We fully expect this to be one of our best-selling albums ever.”

Online streaming service Spotify is not-so-subtly hoping Adele will come back to the fold, “We love and respect Adele, as do her 24 million fans on Spotify. We hope that she will give those fans the opportunity to enjoy ’25’ on Spotify alongside ’19’ and ’21’ very soon.”

But, not all services are sweating over the trend. Tyler Goldman, chief executive, of the North America division of online streaming service Deezer said, “One individual artist is not going to change the inevitability of streaming.” Those are pretty bold words as more and more big names like Beyoncé, who withheld her last album “Beyoncé,” for almost a year after its 2013 release, are joining the anti-streaming sentiments.

But it all comes down to revenue. Will this affect online streaming music’s bottom line?


Digital media analyst for Media Research, Mark Mulligan said, “This is a minor issue for Adele, but a major issue for the streaming services,” and, “For two years running they’ve not had the biggest album of the year.”

And No.

Millions of listeners have been shown to prefer streaming to buying downloads or CDs. Spotify has 75 million listeners, Apple Music has reported it currently has 6.5 million paying subscribers, and an additional 7.5 million using it through a three-month trial period. And it should be noted that both aforementioned Swift and Beyoncé eventually allowed the online streaming of their music; it wouldn’t be a surprise if Adele did the same after a “window” of withholding.

Until then, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Apple. Adele’s single “Hello” will still be available through iTunes, and the entire album can be purchased through iTunes. Whether Adele will change her tune is TBD.

Sneak Peeks — David Bowie Shares “Blackstar” Track & Short Film Trailer

David Bowie plans to release his new album “★” (pronounced Blackstar) on January 8. This week, he revealed a peek of the title track, and is now, giving us a peek at its accompanying short, directed by Johan Renck.

Here is the The Last Panthers | Extended Preview of New David Bowie Track “Blackstar” but be over 18 if you don’t want to be scandalized by the content.

And here’s the trailer for the Blackstar ★ Trailer

“Blackstar” will also air next week at Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn, NY. Specs are here.


TMC’s “Humans” Is More Commentary Than Scary



AMC’s Humans has devised a show to conjure an evocation of emotion by examining the conflict between humans and machines called “synths”. Firstly, the robots aren’t necessarily out to get us and secondly, they have had to deal with a dysfunctionally weird (which is a sort of typical) family dynamic.

Devindra Hardawar, for Engadget, suggests that there has been a shift in media representations of A.I. With movies like Ex Machina and provocative shows like Black Mirror (also a U.K. show), depictions of AI evoke emotion — and fear. “We’re still facing our fears and anxieties of this new tech through science fiction,” Hardawar argues, “but now it’s on a much smaller and more intimate scale.”

In the show, people en masse really really don’t want their robots to be or to become sentient. The dialogue surrounding the imminent coming-of-robotic armageddon, as depicted in the Terminator movies, acknowledges that a wasteland of dead John Connor followers in a post apocalyptic earth may actually be more complicated. AIs may not take our lives as much as our jobs, our spouses and the love of our children. They are faster, cheaper, better and if the show is any indication, a lot more attractive.

Though the show has a futuristic feel, the truth is: A.I. isn’t in our future. It is here. Unlike the show however, present day robots don’t look like us. Instead, manufacturers have been fabricating non-humanoid robots for specific tasks modeled after animal-esque machines, also called “theroids”. Japan’s first robot-staffed hotel is staffed with theroids that look like dinosaurs or bears.

We can rest easy for now.

But in the parallel world, in a non-disclosed time, this British television show reveals synths who excel at gleaning the subtleties of human life and behaviors. From massaging (or sharing intimacy with) a tired spouse or reading to a child before putting him or her to bed, Humans does a good job at representing synths as more human than humans.

Photo credit: Google play

Four Small Towns With Big Music Scenes

Bluebird Denver

It’s a rather old trope, but apart from the occasional “supergroup” or Prince protégé, bands usually start in garages — and houses with garages tend to be in small towns or suburbs. In fact, I bet someone with more patience than I have could do an interesting study comparing the percentage of houses with garages in a given town to the number of bands it produces. Lesser known venues in small cities have been a breeding ground for great music scenes for ages, from Liverpool to Athens, GA. Right now, I’d be curious to know the garages per capita of these towns:

Omaha, NE

Omaha, NE

You younger lot may be asking: Omaha, Nebraska? Yes, Omaha. In the 1920s when the city was a center for jazz and blues, a local could catch acts like Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. One of those places, the Dreamland Ballroom, was at the center of that scene for 4 decades. Since then, there have been some rising stars associated with Omaha, the biggest name being Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst).

The city hosts summer festivals like the Riverfront Jazz and Blues Festival and the Hullabaloo Music and Camping Festival. Some venues that would be great for visitors to check out are the Slowdown, The Waiting Room and Sokol Underground.

Chapel Hill, NC

Local 506 Chapel Hill

I forgot to mention colleges. It’s great to have a garage to rehearse in, but it also helps to have a local college to attract kids trying to out-cool each other. Home to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and within a brief drive of both North Carolina State University and Duke University, Chapel Hill suffers from no shortage of young, tuned-in music fans keeping venues and promoters on their toes to book the hottest acts for relatively low-cost tickets.

With eclectic record stores, thrifts shops and late-night dining options, you have a setting that appeals to students and musicians alike. Proximity to Raleigh and Durham also makes it a draw for bigger musical acts. Artists who have been associated with Chapel Hill are James Taylor and Ben Folds Five. You can catch some local acts at the Cat’s Cradle, Local 506 and Haw River Ballroom to name three.

Cambridge, MA

Middle East Cambridge, MA

My old stomping grounds, just over the Charles River from Boston, Cambridge has long been known by the locals as a place that up-and-coming bands of all genres come to play. It comes as no surprise that acts like Aerosmith, the Pixies and Joan Baez made names for themselves in the quaint city that houses little-known colleges like Harvard and MIT. The best known spaces for great music on any given night can be found at The Middle East (which has an upstairs and downstairs) and T.T. the Bear’s Place. Both are unpretentious and can get filled to the gills with great talent and locals who know it when they hear it.

Denver, CO

Red Rocks Colorado

Okay; maybe not such a small town, but the Mile High City has been steadily providing great music for decades.  Denver rivals Austin, Texas with its overwhelming amount of music venues, places boasting calendars packed full of local and national acts every night of the week. There are about 2,300 music-related jobs in Denver, which is higher than Seattle and New Orleans on a per-capita basis.  Denver is home to 44 music venues and at least 60 more mixed-use venues that offer live music every night of the week — one of the favorites being the Bluebird Theatre.

Some acts that were local to Denver that have now gained national (and international) attention include The Fray and OneRepublic, who probably went from the smaller Bluebird to the larger Red Rocks Amphitheatre — which is a must-see in itself.

In conclusion: there are all sort of hidden gems to be found all across America. You just need a map and an ear for good music.

Netflix’s Tale of Two Families

Two peculiar though loveable families, who were sadly ushered from primetime television too soon, are getting a revival on Netflix. The network, that has not-so-slowly become a powerhouse entertainment channel, has had great success with its choices in programming thus far. It would come as no surprise if these reboots hit the mark as well.

Full House Gets Fuller

The Tanners (Full House)

The beloved, wholesome Tanner Family has been resurrected from the 90’s and comes equipped with the entire cast, including but not limited to Bob Saget, Lori Loughlin, John Stamos, etc. Fuller House is the sequel to Full House and follows up with the lives of the entire Tanner clan.

The Bluths (Arrested Development)

The unstable Bluth clan, complete with Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Portia De Rossi, is set to get a fifth season although production has not yet begun. When Netflix brought the cult classic back from the grave, fans rejoiced, tuned in and became stalwart Netflix fans.

Arrested Development Cast

Here are just a few of the reasons to be excited to tune into what might become two of television’s greatest or theatre of the absurd-like reboots:


Insatiable curiosity to find out what those notorious Olsen twins are up to these days. Besides reading about their wildly entertaining dating jaunts, these two have a clothing and entertainment empire. Only time will tell if the Olsens will join the reboot and which one will get to reprise the illustrious role of Michelle Tanner.

Bob Saget

If you’ve ever been to Bob Saget’s comedy shows it can be summed up in one word: raunchy. It will be amusing to see Saget continue to play his role as the widowed,devoted dad with the cheesy humor as we remember his version of the Aristocrats joke.

Life Lessons

From adults who act badly (spoiled, incarcerated are just a few words to describe the dysfunctional Bluth clan) to the heart-wrenching life lessons of Full House, everyone needs a bit of a morality check once in awhile.

Catchphrases and Collateral

Which new catchphrases and scenes will find a way into the audience’s hearts? Both of these programs have spawned everything from collateral  (Bluth banana t-shirts, anyone?) to catchphrases such as “How rude!” and “No Way, Jose”  that will have an eternal place in pop culture heaven.

Child Stars

The resurrection of child stars: From Jason Bateman to Jodie Sweetin we get to find out what they have been up to in the years since they ruled the primetime airwaves.

Second chances

Arrested Development was hailed as an underrated show that didn’t get its fair share of network screen time and Full House had a huge fan base in the 90’s. It will be interesting to see if either or both shows will generate a new and larger fan base the second and third time around.

Netflix has already made a name for itself in the redux department, running an eight-episode series prequel to Wet Hot American Summer that aired in July. Most importantly, Netflix knows its audience, quirks and all.

New Mini-Series from David Simon

Peter Getty David SimonDavid Simon’s The Wire was an early indicator of television’s astonishing rise an as art form. His next series, Treme, was received well enough, but fans have been waiting for another cultural smash from the writer and producer.

They may just get it with HBO’s upcoming miniseries Show Me a Hero.

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the 6-hour story. First, it’s based on a book of the same name by Lisa Belikin, a non-fictional account of a young mayor in Yonkers, New York. The book is a fantastic look at race and desegregation in America, chronicling the fallout after a federal court orders the building of a number of low-income housing units in and among white neighborhoods. Trust me on this one, the story is very compelling, and the issues with which the story deals are particularly timely.

David Simon is helming the project, partnering with his Wire co-writer William Zorzi. Paul Haggis, the writer/director of 2004’s Crash, is slated to direct. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Crash, nor of some of Haggis’ later directorial efforts, but something about him makes sense for this project. And it’s hard to argue with three consecutive Oscar nominations, for Crash, Million Dollar Baby, and Letters From Iwo Jima.

The series will costar Oscar Isaac (fresh off his success with Inside Llewyn Davis) and Catherine Keener (who is finally starting to get recognized for her enormous talent). The cast is rounded out by Winona Ryder, Jon Bernthal, Alfred Molina, Terry Kinney, Michael Stahl-David, and James Belushi.

There is particular excitement surrounding the casting of Winona Ryder, who hasn’t had a meaty role in some time. Ryder will play Vinni Restiano, a Yonkers councilwoman. Like the mayor, her career is jeopardized by the planned housing project, but she manages a political comeback.

The show seems like familiar ground for Simon, whose television work always deals with the friction between citizens, law enforcement, and politicians. And of course, everything is racially charged. His experience as a police reporter in Baltimore helps to explain why he has such a grounded and realistic vantage.

Like many people, I’m very interested to know what Simon has in the works for his next full series. In the meantime, Show Me a Hero will hit the spot just fine.

Canadian Television is Sort of Groundbreaking

The great thing about modern television is our access to the entertainment offered by other countries — one being Canada. A decade ago (maybe even 5 years ago), Americans wouldn’t know the first thing about Canadian television, aside from die hard fans of the cult hit Kids in the Hall. Now, with BBC America, Netflix, and the Syfy channel offering an arsenal of popular shows, people are getting to know our Northern neighbors a little more.

Orphan Black

Orphan Black

When the pilot episode starts, you know there’s going to be drama. A lone woman on a train platform donned in a leather jacket evokes the feeling of trouble coming. When she sees a jumper seconds before the suicide and witnesses her own face looking back, our trouble evocation is confirmed. Danger and clones are coming.

Tatiana Maslany plays all the female clones to great amusement. Sarah, the main clone, is an English orphan who had been put through the foster system with her brother Felix (who is really the best character in the show, played by Jordan Gavaris), but eventually saved and moved to North America by Mrs. S.

A soccer clone, a lesbian techie clone, Sarah’s abandoned child, and Maria Doyle Kennedy as Mrs. S, come together to uncover clone conspiracy, medical experiments and of course, the military element.

Motive TV Show


Motive is a police procedural drama set in Vancouver, B.C., following the investigations of working class single mother Detective Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman), who audiences may recognize from the television show The Killing.

Each episode reveals the killer and the victim at the beginning, then details the investigation — going back and forth from flashback to present day. The episode eventually brings the past and present together, revealing why the killer did it, the events leading up to the crime, the killer’s attempt to cover up the murder, and his or her subsequent arrest.

This format has been used a few times, on Cold Case and Colombo. Motive uses it successfully and along with the entertaining storylines, the relationship between the two lead detectives is just as interesting as the murder itself.



Historical-ish dramas can do well on television. The series, an Irish/Canadian co-production, is loosely inspired by the life Viking Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), a legendary Norse hero who starts off life as a simple farmer, and becomes king through his raids on England and his ambition. This ambition puts him at odds with Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne) — which presents us with gritty historical drama.

Vikings is a sweaty, dirty show full of conflict and the struggle for power. With the supporting cast that includes his brother Rollo (Clive Standen), his son Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig), and his wives — Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland); Lothbrok continues his quest for ultimate supremacy.

Lost Girl

Lost Girl

Lost Girl is a supernatural show based in the world of the “fae” who live among humans. The show follows the life of a bisexual succubus named Bo, played by Anna Silk, as she learns to control her abilities (evoking desire from others and healing herself by sex),  help those in need, and discover the truth about her birth.

Bo is joined by non-supernatural sidekick Kenzi, played by Ksenia Solo, and sometimes love interest half-wolf Dyson, played by Kris Holden-Ried, and other love interests, grandfathers, and various attractive people.

The show isn’t high, gripping drama, but it’s an entertaining alternative to Vampire Diaries or shows that feature mostly men.



Continuum is a science fiction series that centers around the conflict between a group of rebels, called Liber8, from the year 2077 who time-travel to Vancouver, BC, 2012.. A cop, Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols), unintentionally follows the group into the past where she must hide the truth of where she comes from while trying to stop the rebel group on its violent campaign to stop corporations of the future from replacing governments.

Cameron must stop Liber8 before it can take down the corporations which will one day rule the world — thus altering the course of the future and changing the 2077 world where her family awaits and her former life awaits.

Canada can be the butt of many of American jokes, but those American jokesters are missing out on some great television.

Photo credits



Lost Girl

Orphan Black

Film to Television

At first blush, television shows based on films seemed like a part of the now-long-running trend of rebooting everything ever releasedpeter getty hannibal for a second round of profit.

NBC’s Hannibal, whose season two finale may have been the finest hour of network television this year, features rich, dark storytelling. The show matches the psychological realism of the film series from which it was born, and became an unlikely success story.

So too did Fargo surprise us, a fine piece of dark-humored television. Though the series doesn’t present anything original in the way of themes or characters, the further exploration of the Coen brothers’ original universe is well worth the trip. Fargo is also among the new breed of anthology shows, which may allow for bigger names to jump into the fray for a season.

But if you think that these two success stories wouldn’t bring about any imitators, think again. Despite flops & non-starters (Rosemary’s Baby & Say Anything, respectively), there are currently a host of new film-cum-television projects in the works – many of which are bound to make you groan.

From a brief search online for examples comes a not so brief list. These shows are really all in development…
12 Monkeys, American Gigolo, Bachelor Party, Big, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Devil’s Advocate, Frequency, Ghost, Hitch, The Illusionist, In the Heat of the Night, In Good Company, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Limitless, Marley and Me, Minority Report, Monster-In-Law, Mortal Instruments, Problem Child, Real Genius, Rush Hour, School of Rock, Scream, Shooter, Terminator, The Truman Show, Uncle Buck, and Underworld.

From the law of averages, we can expect that a few of these might turn out alright. I’ve written about Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island reboot Ashecliffe before.

Another promising project is Ash vs. Evil Dead, the television sequel to Sam Ramie’s Evil Dead film trilogy. Raimi is creatively involved peter getty west worldwith the project, and Bruce Campbell will reprise his leading role in 10 half-hour episodes. Part of the fun of the films was the low-budget – they may be able to ace the tone on a TV version.

Westworld may be the most promising of all. The new HBO series is based on the 1973 Michael Critchton’s 1973 film about a robot cowboy who goes crazy at an amusement park. JJ Abrams and Jonathan Nolan (brother and writing partner of Christopher) are behind the new series, which is being tagged as a ‘dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.’

So prepare yourself for the coming onslaught of old films in serialized form. What’s your favorite film of all time? They may come for that next…

Who Are The New True Detectives of Season 2?

Who are the detectives for the 2nd season of True Detectives and will the writing and acting chops continue to retain the dark, compelling storyline that the first one did?

Nic Pizzolatto, who wrote the episodes for the first season, is slated to write for season 2 as well. The second season will have multiple directors, Justin Lin, the director of the Fast and Furious movies being one.

The new True Detective Cast Season 2: The Breakdown:

Colin Farrell, a California Highway Patrol officer, plays a character who deals with drug and anger management problems. Add those attributes with a suspension for “exploiting” a woman he pulled over, and we have a colorful combination.

Vince Vaughn plays Frank Semyon, a character who attempts to go legit when the death of a business partner thwarts this plan. Using corruption and his criminal influence, he’s got politicians and ample amounts of money in his pocket to divert his efforts into a Plan B.

Rachel McAdams, the female lead, or Sheriff Ani Bezzirades, plays a Ventura County Sheriff’s detective whose stringent moral code gets tested by the dictates of daily often unscrupulous law enforcement system.

Taylor Kitsch plays Paul Woodrugh, a motorcycle-riding war vet and California Highway Patrol (CHiPs) officer. The character’s need to escape a mysterious past continues to plague his present life and propels his actions throughout the season.

These four characters’ lives intersect when the death of Vince Vaughn’s character’s business partner Ben Caspar is found killed and dumped on a highway with evidence of occult ritual symbols on his body.

According to DenofGeek, there was a leaked breakdown of the upcoming storyline:

“The second season of True Detective will follow the death of Ben Caspar, the corrupt city manager of a fictional California city who’s found brutally murdered amid a potentially groundbreaking transportation deal that would forever change freeway gridlock in the state. Three law enforcement officers from different cities and branches of the government are tasked with finding out who did it. They soon discover their investigation has much broader and darker implications than they initially thought. Caspar’s 52-year-old corpse is found on a lonely stretch of Pacific Coast Highway near Big Sur—satanic symbols etched on his chest. It turns out he had a penchant for rough sex and may have been involved in the occult.”

It’ll be hard to outdo Matthew McConaughey’s and Woody Harrelson’s chemistry from the first season but despite the change of the cast of actors, with the writers and executive producer intact; the brooding, character-driven show is in a good position to retain its first season fans.

Here is the intro for Season 2 – which starts June 21, 2015.