Tribal

tribal1New kids on the block Gorilla Themes have released the monster wordpress theme Tribal. Mixing the dirty grunge theme feel with urban graff overtones this theme delivers in both looks and functionality.

Tribal has been developed to be used by anyone wanting to promote heavily within the music industry. It is intended to be used by artists, bands, record labels, radio stations, reviewers and industry news. With a little imagination though it could be used and developed for so much more.

Using the latest technology available the home page of this site presents your visitors with a nice and dynamic featured content section (jQuery) with full slide show of all your latest news / posts. This would look at home on any flash site but harnesses the power of wordpress and jQuery to be nice and SEO friendly, more importantly though it is simple to use with just a few options in the admin.

Click to see slideshow of Gorilla Themes monster creation 'Tribal'

The first thing your visitors will notice however is the beautiful jukebox style music player, here you can really show off with album art, as many tracks as you want played and minimal controls making for very easy use. This is one of the best music players on the web at the moment and its built into your theme!

Features

  • Jukebox music player with album art.
  • Flash titles system
  • Flickr Integration
  • Add your own Logo and Styles Easily
  • Featured Content Slideshow
  • Feedburner Integration
  • No Custom Fields
  • Gravatar ready
  • Widget ready
  • Adsense ready
  • Turn all-or-individual banners on/off
  • Full support and tutorials
  • Suitable for: artists, bands, press, promoters, labels, reviewers, magazines, industry and many more

This music wp theme also has a built in flash titles system which renders all your article headers in the themes grunge font keeping everything in style and looking one step ahead of your competitors (and still SEO friendly!).

Tribal also has a built in system for auto sizing your images and avoids the use of custom fields for ease of use.

With adsense built in (if you want it), feedburner, subscribe options (so you can quickly build a mailing list ), and search engine friendly design, this is a strong business orientated website masquerading as an urban graff street theme. Any hip-hop or similar label should be proud to have this as there front of house marketing portal. It can also be developed very easily to suit any branding.

We recommended Tribal very strongly if you are serious about expanding and promoting your business.

BlogKurus WP Theme (Thin Blog)

blog-kurus-thumb1We are so excited about this!! Ladies and gentlemen we proudly present to you BlogKurus! Translated as Thin Blog this is the most innovative and fantastic use of design we have ever seen from a WordPress theme designer. That designer is of course Mohammad Mustamar Natsir.

BlogKurus is not just thin its THiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiN. With very simple functionality and beautiful styling we can see a potential competition ahead between WordPress developers to see who can make the best use of this theme.  But the bigger fight might be to see who can create the best background image to fit either side of the blog,  (have a look at the promo shot below!) please please post links to your developments of BlogKurus in the comments below we are chomping at the bit to see them.

WOW BlogKurus
WOW BlogKurus

We still haven’t mentioned the very best thing about BlogKurus yet, it’s free!! That’s right, one of the best wp theme designs on the net is completely free to download and use straight away (download link at bottom of page).

We cannot believe just how much of what you would expect to find in a blog is right there in this streamlined theme, inline comments, menus, footer content, gravatars and search bars. Can you imagine this developed into a twitter like application or a ultra hi-tech portfolio (changing background images anyone?)

BlogKurus
BlogKurus

Obviously we recommend this theme! There’s a full demo below and a link to Mustamar’s website which is a must see. We love this one so much we are even offering installations of BlogKurus for £150 which is our lowest price so far, so if you are a non-tech WordPress newbie you can have this theme too!

Lastly a big thank you to Mustamar we hope you keep designing and we are looking forward to the next one!

Download BlogKurus Here

Grunge Theme

Grunge ThemeDon’t be fooled by the name, Grunge Theme is not only for grunge bands and the 90’s Seattle scene, according to iThemes it is suitable for designers, musicians and artists. So no need to break out the old baggy checked logging shirts and combats and make a drastic change in musical direction to use this site!

Grunge Theme is a web 2.0 WordPress band theme and has been developed by iThemes.

If you are an artist (visual) or designer we do not recommend this theme! There are  themes available which will be a million times more suited to your needs, unless you are particularly in love with this one we think it is a no-go.

For bands however this theme would be perfect, its sharp and clean with easy navigation. Although its not overloaded with features it is very functional and once branded will make a good impression on your fans / visitors.

Grunge Theme Home Page
Grunge Theme Home Page

So what has it got? Well it has a very well designed ‘latest news’ section, the ability to run as a blog or conventional site, is widget ready and is easy to brand. Above all it is the look of the site which really makes Grunge Theme stands out as a cut above the rest. Its glossy web 2.0 looks set against the dirty industrial background work very well (something to keep in mind while your stylising this site to your own branding) and the composition of the navigation and sidebars / content is very nice indeed. We really like the use of font styles and lines within the content aswell.

The theme could do with a built in mp3 player but there are plenty of free plugins for this functionality. It would also be nice idea to use a shop / sales plugin if you wish to sell merchandise. Both of these features would be very easy to integrate (for the WordPress savvy).

Overall Grunge Music WordPress Theme is very good, with some extra development it could be amazing.

Proximity News Theme

proximity-thumbDeveloped by Nathan Rice Proximity News Theme is one of the major players in the news theme market. But is it actually any good?

Well for a start the entire CMS for this wp theme has been built to prevent you from ever having to alter any code or styles during customization. Everything is configurable through your admin interface. If you are not sure how to use any of these options then  Proximity comes with full support forums, tutorials and training videos. If you have never used a CMS (content management system) site before then this level of support is invaluable, a factor you should take into consideration when choosing which news theme is right for your publication.

Features:

  • Google Adsense built in
  • Social bookmarking
  • Video ready
  • RSS
  • Author archives / Information
  • Gravatar ready
  • “Smart” Home page
  • Advanced side bar
  • Dropdown menus
  • Printer ready
  • Breadcrumb  Navigation

The front end of this website is just as impressive, with broadsheet style and keeping the illusion of being minimal while actually providing your reader with a lot of options. We were very impressed with the author archives which allows readers to see all the articles published by a particular author including a small biography and gravatar. All this information is pulled in from the users (authors) options in the admin! We also really liked the featured video system, but it is not obvious if this can be included with each article.

Click to see full size pages
Click to see full size pages

The theme also has the ability to prevent duplicate content on the front page using what the developer has dubbed “Smart” home page technology. This is a very important feature as normally a number of plugins have to be configured to stop this happening.

Publishing with this theme could not be easier, all image handling is controlled through your admin, including cropping and uploading. No more hours of photoshop and ftp usage before you can get your article out. Writing could not be easier either, if your authors can use microsoft word then they can use this system with no additional training.

When a reader clicks through to a stories page they get social bookmarking options (Digg, Stumble Upon, Facebook etc) and they also get a print button. This has been specially developed so that the story will be printer friendly and print perfectly, printing is usually an overlooked problem with news websites.

Navigation could not be easier with the inclusion of breadcrumb navigation, intelligent links within stories and archive pages, not to mention drop down menus and advanced sidebar features like most popular, most commented and recent posts.

The overall look of the theme could do with some improvements though, it is always difficult to tell when looking at a demo website exactly how it will look until your branding is applied. If the developers boasts are true though any problems with aesthetics should be very easy to ammend. If this is the case then we cannot recommend this theme enough if you are serious about online publishing.

The Bel Air Real Estate Theme

the-bell-air-theme-thumbJust to prove how versatile WordPress themes can be along comes ‘The Bel Air Real Estate Theme‘ This is not just a theme but a complete setup for any property based company wanting to reach a wider audience. All the features you could need for sales or property rental are installed with the theme, including an impressive payment or mortgage calculator (easily converted to any currency), photo galleries for each property and even profiles for the ‘agents’ who do the selling.

In essence you will be able to start selling straight away, the backend or ‘CMS’ admin area is very easy to use so entering and publishing each properties details is painless, making it a powerful piece of real estate software. If you or your client are a real estate agency then this theme should be a serious consideration.

Bel Air comes with a choice of five different colour schemes and it is easy to add your own branding. It is also advert ready with a built in ad banner management system so you can monetize your site or if thats not your cup of tea then use these areas to promote featured properties and services. There’s the obvious areas where details of different rooms etc can be entered. But what really caught our eye was the auto thumbnailing of images (when clcked they open in a lightbox style gallery), and the ‘no custom fields’ ease of use when publishing. The authors of this design have gone to a lot of trouble to make sure that publishing is a breeze and that you (or your client) never have to deal with code or anything tricky.

Features

  • Five colour schemes built in (sea blue, red, navy blue, gold and black)
  • Easy to brand and change the colours (if you don’t like any of the above)
  • Mortgage / payments calculator
  • Image auto thumbnailer
  • Lightbox style photo galleries for each property
  • Featured properties rotated on home page
  • Easy search drop down menus (price, location and type)
  • Advert ready
  • Ad banner management

Click to see pages and features of this site
Click to see pages and features of this site

Our only frustration with this theme is that it is not yet using google maps, which is not exactly new technology and would be a perfect addition to its features. The sites authors WP-Realtor are currently considering adding google maps into a future update of the site. Our advice would be to use one of the many Google Maps plugins availible for WordPress until this update is ready to avoid frustrated customers. Actually there is another ‘bug-bear’ with this theme, you have to by either buy a ‘single agent’ or ‘multi agent’ version. The latter being more expensive. Ok so we haven’t had that much experience with real estate software, well actally we’ve had none at all!! So maybe this is normal in the world of property (let us know below if it is!!) but it does seem strange. However neither ‘agent’ version will break the bank and if you find that you need to upgrade then you can do so easily.

Although The Bel Air Real Estate Theme is limited to estate agents, realtors and property companies (public and commercial) we couldn’t resist featuring it. We think this theme is a fine example of how to turn WordPress into an individualised e-commerce platform, something which WordPress developers and designers have been getting better and better at over the last few years (thanks to amazing advances in WordPress itself) and it is finally blasting the fated osCommerce out of the water, not only in aesthetics and functionality but most importantly with innovation.

High-Def

high-def-thumbailWe have only just discovered Graph Paper Press and are very impressed. They are a company who specialize in making WordPress themes and who put a lot of effort into helping their users with as much support as possible.

But what’s really important is ‘how good are their themes?’ Well lets find out!

The first wp theme from Graph Paper Press we have decided to review is the High-Def theme. Mimimal and stylish the name gives a big clue as to what this theme should be used for! High-Def features a built in HD video player with with full-screen capabilities, perfect for those who dont want to rely on others to host their content i.e. the good: vimeo, or the very bad: youtubes new HD player. But that not all its got! A well designed ‘mac’ style sliding content region and a powerful automatic thumbnail creator for posts (no more custom fields!!).

Features

  • A theme settings page with makes every element on the homepage optional and configurable
  • Five separate widget areas
  • Automatic thumbnail creator
  • HD player with full screen option
  • Advertising ready (if you want it)
  • RSS built in
  • Easy to change to your branding
  • Multi-media support
  • Free support forums
  • Suitable for multi-media use, magazines, review sites and too many more to list here!


Need an example of just how much support Graph Paper Press give you? Check out these screen casts:

>>Watch a brief introduction to the High-Def theme design<<

>>Watch a brief introduction to the themes admin interface<<

The minimal design ensures that visitors wont be lost on your site, and also makes it very easy for you to organise your content. The theme itself is very easy to brand and comes with

‘A theme settings page with makes every element on the homepage optional and configurable’

It is easy to monetize this theme aswell with a nice none intrusive space for adverts at the side. All in all a very nice theme and a great debut on our site from Graph Paper Press. Try it out with the theme demo below or go straight to the High-Def home page for more information, comments from other users and forums!

Revolution Office

Revolution Office comes from the creme de la creme of site designers Jason Schuller (of Revolution Two). Although this design is called ‘Office’ its use is pretty universal and is suitable for almost anyone. With Web 2.0 looks and beautifully crafted composition we cannot stress enough just how nice this site is, please go to the homepage and check out the demo to see for yourself.

Available as a WordPress theme only however Revolution WordPress themes are becoming very well known for supreme quality and an amazing level of after care support. Buts that enough about Revolution (as you can probably tell their a bit of a favorite of ours) lets check out Office theme and see if its any good!

Office is a pretty minimal site which means your visitors arn’t going to have any trouble finding their way around and getting to the information they need quickly. The homepage has an impressive image slider (please try this out in the demo it has such a cool smooth sliding action!!) with a link from the images to the appropriate page or featured article. The slider could be used in so many ways, it could be turned into a very dynamic looking menu or a showcase for photography or any products you are selling or reviewing, your imagination is pretty much the limit with this one. If you do go for this theme please post links and show off your sites below, we would love to see how you have developed this!

Features

  • Beautiful image scroller
  • Breadcrumb enabled
  • Gravatar enabled
  • Widget ready
  • RSS 2.0 enabled
  • Unlimited fast support
  • Suitable for almost any use

office-home
Click for homepage, categories and post page

When you do a search or click on catagories / featured content you are presented with a very nicely layed out page with thumbnails of each item with a text excerpt, rather than just a huge page to scroll down containing all the related articles, or worse a horrible built in google type search results page.

The articles or pages themselves are simple and effective, with a two column look, lots of room for your content and a content details section at the side. This allows visitors to see which sections of your site the article comes from for easy backtracking, and an RSS 2.0 feed. Here’s our only gripe with the design of office, below the content details is a recent content section showing the titles of all the latest storys or pages. This would be so much more effective as a related content section, this way if a visitor has not found exactly what they wanted then its easy for them to quickly get back on track.

So as you have probably guessed we love this design and cannot recommend it enough.

Now here’s the important choice you have to make if you want this site! Themes from Revolution Two are availible as free downloads directly from their site however, the free versions arn’t exactly easy to find and come with no support what so ever!! Not even an instructions.txt in the zip file! Worst of all its not always the most upto date version of the site. Speaking from experience this can be a very frustrating and time wasting way of trying to get their sites up and running quicly even for an expert. Googling dosen’t help either as their support forums are closely guarded and locked to anyone who hasn’t brought their support package. Although slightly pricey their support is unlimited across all their themes and very very quick so even a newbie can get the site up and running in a matter of hours. They even offer customization techniques and tutorials and all questions answered by experts. Their standard membership package only lasts a year however if you want lifetime option then there is a Revolution Pro Plus Membership available for not much more than the standard price! Quite frankly its the option we have gone for and haven’t (yet) regretted it! However if you carn’t afford it, or have a lot (months!) of time on your hands then plug for the free option.

Don’t forget to post and show off your versions of this site below!