I haven't the foggiest idea what boundaries you thought the Cavedwellers were pushing. I thought all the rhythms melodies and chords were rather standard rock.
This is what makes you special, because your music usually sounds like you're trying to be different! It's a gift. Just because it isn't always my cup of tea does not mean I do not appreciate the insane effort and talent I can hear.
I'm going a little nuts trying to hear the difference between production MG likes and what he hates. Somehow Fingers Crossed was good and the rest have been bad. I'd love some elaboration on which instruments and frequencies are causing ear hurt.
I think you once said "MG only likes songs with 8th notes" so there's that. Sometimes I imagine your songs as fast-paced talent shows instead of songs.
I actually liked most your entries...
0. Fingers Crossed - except the reverse stuff
1. After You - just the mastering's gross, and it was in a pack of really good uptempo songs.
2. Tired of Talking - mostly the drums at the beginning and the wacky lyrics that I ding it for. The audio compression becomes detectable during the singing especially toward the end by the solo.
3. Regime Change - This one ranks toward the bottom. The scale, drums, and vocals just kind of irritate me until the chorus (which is very catchy!). Mastering is probably similar to Tired of Talking.
4. A Sense of the Absurd - It's much louder and causes ear fatigue. Mastering is maybe along the lines of After You.
The things that I find turn-offs synergistically play off each other. I just get too overwhelmed and distracted to enjoy the good stuff, and that makes it difficult to be unbiased when I've got to compare it in a competition. I want a song I can bob my head to and feel like singing along to.
So let's break it down. I don't think this will be anything you haven't heard before, but who knows?
* Drums - The high-hat hurts because of the frequencies. In fact, it's often the only thing I hear from your drums. Your drums have no meat! I do not know your set-up, but even if you have a single drum track you should be able to mic it differently or at least EQ up the thuds and EQ out the hiss hiss hiss hiss hiss. This is especially a problem because of your longer and unorthodox musical phrasings - something
needs to tell the listener where 'ONE' is.
* Bass - Is great! Sometimes way too high in the mix! As a listener, I want to be following the vocalist's melody and bass secondarily. Your bass is almost always a counter-melody, which I love, but maybe lay it back in the mix or chill it out sometimes?
* Vocals - Very hit-or-miss! I'd rather you get good singing that's on-key than add a vibraslap or twiddle with engineering. Mixing usually errs on the side of too loud, which is probably why you have compression problems.
* Mastering - Varies wildly because, I suspect, your songs vary wildly. Maybe your "worst" mastering is comparable to "radio" mastering but it makes you stick out and it ruins your songs by accentuating aformentioned mixing and EQ problems.
* Find a groove
* Allow the primary melody and main hook to shine through
* Nail the vocal takes
* EQ single tracks - roll off the inaudible bass, accentuate the vocals
* Mix before mastering
* Crank the loudness setting while mastering
* Run a harmonic exciter on your track(s) unless you know exactly what you're doing (tbh I think if you're using a mastering plugin, it's doing this, and this is what hurts)
* Use compression unless you know exactly what you're doing
* Play that funk double-time drumbeat until it's invited to the party
* Introduce a bunch of distractions until you've established your melody with the listener
I think I'm fairly predictable... just be more like BSS.
Glad you're enjoying the show!