Stuff Weekender 7/6/15

The films, books, apps, albums and games that'll start your weekend with a bang

Got anything planned this weekend? We have.

We intend to fill our days off by watching some top films (American Sniper), checking out some great apps (Musixmatch, Implosion), listening to a top new album and reading a fascinating book about UFOs. 

And you can be just like us by reading this week's Stuff Weekender. Enjoy.

Album to listen to: The tallest man on earth / Dark bird is home

Sweden has given us plenty of things to enjoy over the last couple of years, and this album joins Koppaberg cider and Zlatan Ibrahimovic among them. 

Kristian Matsson, aka The Tallest Man on Earth (he isn't really), is the man behind it and it's his distinctive voice which drives the album forward and gives it its character. It is at times a delicate indie-folk effort, but far noisier than his previous three efforts, and in the likes of Darkness of a Dream and Slow Dance also one to savour. Trust us, your summer playlists just won't be right without it.

Stuff says ★★★★✩

Buy Dark Bird is Home from iTunes now

Mobile game to download: Implosion: Never Lose Hope

Implosion developer Rayark aims to bring AAA console gaming to mobile. It’s a lofty goal, but this is certainly a fab-looking slice-and-dice action title with seriously impressive production values. The audio and controls are great and the visuals shine on smaller displays (although they’re a touch blurry on iPad). It’s tough, premium and lasts well over a dozen hours: it won’t replace your PlayStation but the gap is closing.

Stuff says ★★★★✩

Download Implosion: Never Lose Hope for iOS here

Download Implosion: Never Lose Hope for Android here

App to download: Musixmatch

The world's best lyric-syncing app is a must-have app for music lovers, allowing you to recognise songs by searching for lyrics and also working like Shazam to recognise the song that's playing.

The good news is that it's recently had a significant UI overhaul: its Floating Lyrics feature is now more powerful, popping up in Spotify or your lock screen, and there’s an Apple Watch extension too.

Download Musixmatch for Android here

Download Musixmatch for Apple here

5-minute hack: Go on a smartphone diet

You and your Android phone are best buddies, but sometimes you need to know when to unplug and maintain your other tech friendships. Let’s introduce some QualityTime:

1. Download QualityTime (free, Android). On its own this app will give you breakdowns of how long you’re spending in each app, brutally exposing the extent of your Trivia Crack addiction. 

2. Now go to ifttt.com/qualitytime and activate the QualityTime channel. This will give you access to various recipes, such as logging excessive smartphone binges on a Google Spreadsheet or Calendar. 

3. To treat hardcore addiction set up a trigger, such as a notification when you exceed your daily time ration.

Book to read: How UFOs conquered the world

Smartphone cameras haven’t exactly sparked an explosion of convincing UFO videos. Could it be that flying saucers and their ilk are a 20th-century human syndrome that reflected the pop culture of their time?

That’s the argument of this fascinating book by Dr Clarke, a childhood believer-turned-UFO journalist. Critical without belittling its many eyewitnesses, it revisits major UFO events to show how films such as Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and the Cold War primed Western minds for the idea of being watched over by shy aliens. It’s a fine read – even for Mulder types who still want to believe.

Stuff says ★★★★★

Buy How UFOs Conquered the World

Blu-Ray to buy: American Sniper

It’s more patriotic than an overweight bald eagle driving a Mustang with a stars’n’stripes paint job but, some dubious and overly simplified politics aside, American Sniper is a gripping tale of the US military’s deadliest marksman.

In all honesty it's unlikely to change your life and it’s difficult to shake the feeling at times that there’s a more interesting story to be told, but if you just want to be entertained for a couple of hours, it'll get that job done with aplomb.

Stuff says ★★★★✩

Buy American Sniper on Blu-Ray here