Stuffle das mal – mobiler Flohmarkt anders

Stuffle ist eine iPhone App aus Hamburg (bald auch Android) die es im letzten Jahr geschafft hat, einen Markt aufzubauen und zu eroberen. Und das obwohl die Mutter aller privaten Onlineverkäufe eBay 2012 ebenfalls eine sehr gute neue App released hat. Nach mittlerweile 8 Verkäufen und 2 Käufen vielleicht mal Zeit für ein kleines Fazit.

Grundidee hinter Stuffle ist das Einstellen neuer Artikel und die Verkaufsverhandlungen so einfach wie möglich zu gestalten. Es gibt also keine 47 Pflichtfelder sondern man macht ein Foto, schreibt Name des Artikels und 1-2 beschreibende Sätze und legt den Preis fest – fertig. Interessenten können Fragen stellen oder Gegenangebote machen (ein Feature, das der Verkäufer bei eBay explizit zulassen muss).

Käufer bei Stuffle bekommen Artikel in einer Pinterest-ähnlichen 3-spaltigen Übersicht angezeigt und zwar nach Entfernung zu sich selbst sortiert. Dies ist ein wichtiges Feature, da die meisten Transaktionen bei Stuffle in einer persönlichen Artikelübergabe münden. Versand kommt vor, ist aber eher die Ausnahme.

Grundsätzlich funktioniert das System gut, bisher hatte ich nur einmal den Fall, dass ein Käufer sich dann hinterher nicht mehr gemeldet hat und ich den Artikel noch einmal wieder einstellen musste. Ein kleiner Geniestreich war der Stuffle-Sound, in diesem Fall das “Huhu” einer Eule, die mich auf Nachrichten hinweist (Nutzer von Oink kennen die Idee). Warum nicht mehr App-Entwickler eigene dezidierte Sounds verwenden ist mir schleierhaft (Pun intended).

Was mir nicht gefällt:
Legacy: Ich bin seit Anfang an dabei und genauso lang sind einige Artikel im Angebot. Hier müsste meines Erachtens eine Zeit von maximal 2 Monaten  eingestellt sein, damit die Menge an Artikeln nicht unnötig aufgeblasen wird und die Selektion unübersichtlich macht. Und ehrlich, was nach 2 Monaten noch nicht weg ist geht auch nicht weg.

Was ich ändern würde:
Den ‘Nachricht senden’-Dialog. Mir ist schon mehrfach passiert, dass ich eine Nachricht getippt, auf “fertig” geklickt und die App dann verlassen  habe, weil ich den “fertig”-Button so wie bei einer SMS verstehe. Dieser Extraklick verwirrt mich, außerdem merkt sich die App meinen Text natürlich nicht bzw. erinnert mich. Ich denken ich habe geantwortet und mein Gegenüber wundert sich.

Was ich mir wünsche:
Eine Suche und die Möglichkeit, bereits gesehene Artikel auszublenden. Und ja, dafür würde ich auch etwas zahlen.

Fazit: Unbedingt ausprobieren, macht viel Spaß.

Review: Black Country Communion – Afterglow

This is a review I didn’t expect to write. Not that I don’t mind writing bad reviews or anything but I’d rather write about records that trigger some kind of emotion. And I didn’t expect Black Country Communion’s (BCC) Afterglow to do that for the simple reason that I am not such a big fan of the late 70s rock sound unless everything falls together. In addition, I had listened to the first two albums and thought, nah, not my cup of tea.

Long story short, Afterglow (Spotify link) is a hell of a record. Very moody but the perfect fall release. If you don’t know, Black Country Communion is Glen Hughes on bass guitar, Joe Bonnamassa on guitar, Derek Sherinian on keyboards and Jason Bonham on drums. Yes, one of these supergroups. What really surprised me most is that the vocal melodies and timbre of Hughes voice appeal to me. I wonder why he has never popped my horizon so far. He brings a big range to the table and is able to go very high which complements guitar and bass lines very nicely.

What also separates this release from similar sounding material e.g. Led Zeppelin (hey, I said similar, not the same. It’s just so you have a hunch of what this could sound like) is that the long instrumental passages are missing which makes it much more listenable in my opinion. While I appreciate a great guitar riff probably even more than anybody it serves the song when it’s not overdone.
Thumbs up!

Here is a snippet from the title track Afterglow:

And here a snippet from my favorite The Circle:

Review: Paul Gilbert – Vibrato

As you might remember from entries like this about Steve Lukather, Steel Panther and of course my review of the latest Mr. Big album that I am quite a fan of Paul Gilbert. As mentioned not only of his guitar chops but his songwriting as well. For those who don’t know Paul aside from Mr. Big, he has done about 12 solo albums in addition to Mr. Big and Racer X…

This month his latest opus Vibrato (Spotify-link, but I bought it!) was published and it is classic Gilbert an then again not. His last release Fuzz Universe was all instrumental, more in the instrumental guitar album vein, and Vibrato is nothing like it. It’s very bluesy, very song-oriented (Gilbert is a highly underrated songwriter) but also has jazzy touch too it. The whole album has much better ‘band’ feel too it than e.g. Fuzz Universe, Thomas Lang on drums (he who also auditioned for the Dream Theater drum job, among many other accolades), Kelly LeMieux on bass and his wife Emi on keyboards are the guilty parties. My guess is that a lot of the studio tracks were tracked partly live, at least that’s how I hear it.

Vibrato is a very accessible record, not a shred record, although there is great musicianship on display as well as Paul’s virtuosity of course. If you have so far not tried his solo records and would like to  this is a good place to start. It definitely is a more serious record than e.g. Alligator Farm

Review: Richie Sambora – Aftermath of the Lowdown

Richie Sambora is mostly known as Bon Jovi guitarist and ex-husband of Heather Locklear and Denise Richards. Very unfortunate because he’s a brilliant blues guitarist and composer. Stranger in this Town (1991) and Undiscovered Soul (1998) were great blues records and I was very much waiting for a new record, especially since Bon Jovi are taking it slower these days.

Aftermath of the Lowdown features 12 very diverse songs ranging from classic full-band pieces to just his voice and acoustic guitar. In Bon Jovi he sings a strong second voice but aside from being a very important songwriter of the band (and he’s in the Songwriter Hall of Fame), he really does have a strong voice and is able to carry lots of emotion, a feature many singers curiously lack. Lyrically the album seems like a retrospective on his recent struggles with substance abuse and relationships.

If you like your Mellencamp a bit stronger, thought the last Bon Jovi albums lacked a certain originality or just want to listen to a classic American A&R album give this a spin.

Review: Flying Colors live in Hamburg, Markthalle 9/9/2012

I said in March that Flying Colors‘ new and first record would be a hot contender for album of the year and that still holds true. Last night they came to Hamburg to play only their third show, first show in Europe. And it was great! (See some bad photos here.)

I had to miss epic Beardfish’s support performance unfortunately but that’s ok, I saw them two years ago with PoS, but was positively surprised to see that the Markthalle was packed when I arrived. Judging from the audiences reactions both Portnoy and Steve Morse had a lot to do with the turnout, maybe Morse even more so than Portnoy.

As announced, the setlist was basically the album plus one track from each artists catalogue. Not to pick bones, but I would have picked different tracks for Portnoy, Morse and McPherson, but hey, it’s their show. Neal Morse’s track was an ace. As a newfound bass player I would have liked a separate song by LaRue as well, the small solo he played was exactly that.

Overall it was an awesome concert mostly due to two take-aways:
1. If anyone ever doubted Portnoy needed a break from Dream Theater (let’s put aside the fact that there was a point where he would have gone back) all you have to do is watch him with all his new projects. He seemed to really enjoy himself (same with Adrenaline Mob in June), lots of fun with his direct stage neighbors Neal Morse and Dave LaRue, and drumming that was very creative, improvisational (in a good way) and the old goof that was missing at times during the final DT shows (I have been to DT shows since 1995 and I think in hindsight that is a possible deduction). The band was received very warmly and it seemed as if they weren’t sure themselves that would happen. McPherson especially looked like he couldn’t believe his luck and Portnoy stood up from his drum chair looking at him and the crowd, saying to himself “told you (,) Casey (, it) would turn out great.”

2. When the line-up was announced and with it the info that the album would not be technical fusion-prog but Beatles-que people wondered. Amazingly, the beautiful vocal arrangements of the record held up live perfectly. Mc Pherson and Morse’s (Neal) voices compliment each other and Portnoy has improved so much from the early Falling into Infinity backings that it sounds awesome. The not so secret ingredient here is the songwriting-power of Neal Morse who has timed this tour beautifully with the release of his new solo album 😉 But in all seriousness, he knows how to write great hooklines that you won’t forget.

Additional take-aways:
– I’d never thought I would say this, but it wasn’t loud enough. Very ear-friendly, but I wish it would have tingled in the stomach a bit more…
– If you didn’t know, McPherson can sing. Following one of MPs best-of-20xx-lists I picked up the AlphaRev record which is a very cool album and he totally delivered live.
– @MPDrumTech had some work to do early on changing a broken cymbal. All during a song while MP just played on the other side of the set.
– Steve Morse looked old when the show started but turned back the clock with every song.
– I have yet to see a “guitar hero” who seems so low maintenance during a full concert. I might have missed it but I think he never changed guitars, just tuned the guitar himself. Met him once in the mid-nineties, still a nice guy it seems 😉
-They had the “Making of”-DVD on sale at the merch stand. Had I known I wouldn’t have ordered it online – still hasn’t arrived…

One small issue with the jazz police:
Infinite Fire has longish instrumental parts, during some of which McPherson played, at other times he had to wait which seemed unfair. Either give him a complete second line to play or just chords or no guitar at all. But during Sunday’s show it was a crazy mix that didn’t seem to justify his chops.

All in all, a highly recommended concert experience

Review: Flying Colors – Flying Colors

(before you get any ideas, I have the pre-order confirmation so I think it’s ok to write about it)

Although it’s only March I can say without a doubt that this album will contend for album of the year. Flying Colors, the supergroup consisting of Steve Morse (Dregs, Deep Purple), Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic, Solo), Dave LaRue (Satriani, Dregs, numerous others), Casey McPherson (Alpha Rev) and of course Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Transatlantic, numerous others) was for once not the brain child of Mike Portnoy but producer Bill Evans. With maybe the exemption of singer Casey McPherson, Evans put together a room full of egos and made it work. Flying Colors – Flying Colors is a great debut album and I am not just saying this as a Dream Theater/Mike Portnoy fan boy.

During the first listen, I didn’t even notice/remember/pay attention to the drums because they don’t stand out. Portnoy’s playing is of course outstanding, but this isn’t a drums album. When Portnoy characterized the album as Beatles meets Yes meets I don’t remember, I was thinking that this might be a tall order to follow. Of course I was hoping for it to be true but then of course the artist is going to laude is work.

Rest assured though: This album is a must have for music connaisseurs as it is as song-oriented as you would like a Beatles album to be, yet delivers enough nuggets for lovers of every instrument/fans of all participants to be very happy. Although only Portnoy knew singer McPherson and he was kind of the wild card in that quintett the vocal lines are catchy to a degree that I was whistling some lines after one listen. For a bunch of guys who haven’t been rehearsing material for half a year but just got together in a studio for 9 days, this album is truly epic. You think I am exaggerating? Listen to Blue Ocean and Kayla and try not to sing the chorus under the shower tomorrow? Listen to Fool in my heart and try not to think of old Steve Morse , listen to Better than walking away only to have your heart ripped out by McPherson’s lyrics.

Seriously, give it a spin.