Above is a lovingly crafted original T-Shirt for our in-apartment band, "Just the Tip." You can find more of them at the merch table in the back after the show.
I spent the last two Wednesdays playtesting the drums and guitar for Rock Band 2 at the Harmonix offices in Cambridge. I had a really good time, despite my realization that I labored for four hours in exchange for two cans of Fresca, three slices of pizza, a promotional t-shirt and the sense of deluded self-importance that comes with signing a non-disclosure agreement. It was a solid trade. (At this rate I will be able to construct a crude shelter out of Harmonix promotional t-shirts come the apocalypse.) Because of the aforementioned NDA I can't talk much about my time there, aside from saying that you will be pleased by what they are cooking up. The sequel, from what I saw, provides for virtually every lingering inconvenience in the previous installment and adds new features catering, with near-clairvoyance, to my previously unknown desires.
Aside from the fact that Rock Band is more fun than Guitar Hero by an order of magnitude, it has another advantage over its sister franchise. It is the fact that Rock Band is not a product, but a platform. Rock Band's in-game music store is converging in its presentation and functionality on iTunes, and this is not accidental. When you go out to buy Guitar Hero: Aerosmith (this game exists) you are purchasing a disc full of songs. When you purchase Rock Band you are getting a retinue of charmingly absurd miniature instruments, the song “Wanted Dead or Alive,” and a library card to a growing repository of content. The selection has, and will, satisfy a wide range of plausible viewpoints about constitutes good music. Both the highbrow rock nerd and the Jimmy Buffet aficionado will walk away happy. As Harmonix announced last week, you will take that content with you with you into Rock Band 2 when it comes out this September. The disc that ships with this game will also have much to interest people who like Rock music.
Finally, I learned of fifteen-track song pack from The Who today, coming on July 15th. I know it is crass, at this point, to plead for more while awash in a sea of plenty. But I have a fistful of microsoft points, a moist kiss and a six-pack of Löwenbrau for anyone who can provide me with either of the following:
1) The Slider by T.Rex
2) Boys and Girls in America by The Hold Steady