2014 – The Districts – The Districts EP

I wrote about The Districts in 2012, after hearing their 2011 album Kitchen Songs, and I thought they sounded promising. It turns out, I was on to something, as the regional band just made their national debut. Following up 2012’s Telephone, the band is putting out their first nation-wide EP release, self-titled The Districts. RollingStone is writing about the boys, and even has the entire EP available for streaming.

The new EP features some familiars to anybody who has heard their Telephone album, and for those who recall Kitchen Songs, you will be pleased to know that their sound hasn’t changed much. The musicians are extremely talented and are maturing at a quick rate. Lyla promises to turn some heads with hypnotic refrains and guitar talent that joins with the vocals that let you know you’re listening to someone as unique as The Districts. Funeral Beds, without question the first single off of the album, has a humble, folksy sound to it, harmonica included. But it has no shame in building on itself until you can’t help but tap your foot along with the music until you feel your whole body wanting to join in. The building in the song, however, is subtle. It sneaks up on you. It doesn’t become more rocous until near the very end of the track, but the whole time you feel it coming, and what is building is more your anticipation of it than the song itself.

A couple of new songs join the ones you know and love, and Rocking Chair really helps set the tone for newcomers to the band. In this track, the boys genuinely seem to be having a good time. It’s a more fun sound than they have had to date and feels to me like they are just happy to be sharing their music with a wider audience. The closing track, Stay Open, is another new song and yet again features the lyrical brilliance that I have come to love. I have had limited listens so far, these are first impressions of the new album, but I like to see how hard The Districts’ members are working to make sure their band takes off. Look for them at SXSW 2014, and until then, check out The Districts EP.

Two "Slims?" Xbox 360 S vs. E differences

In June of 2013, Microsoft revised the Xbox 360 console yet again. If you thought the “Slim” was the final say, you should know that there was one more change to the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 S was followed by the Xbox 360 E. The big differences are mostly cosmetic, however it is important to note the power requirements of each console: the S uses 135 watts and the E uses only a 120 watt power supply. A minor change is the number of USB ports, from 5 on the S to 4 on the E. Below is the full breakdown. The picture came from an article on syncing controllers, and the rest from a spec sheet.

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How the Steam Box Failed (already)

Within minutes of Recode.net putting up this photo gallery yesterday, which includes prices of some of the consoles, I began hearing the nails driving in to the coffin of Steam’s “Steam Box.” Reasons vary from the painfully obvious, to the semi-subtle… but alarm bells should have been going off at Valve a long time ago, letting them know that this was going to be a terrible idea. Continue reading “How the Steam Box Failed (already)”