Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

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seemanski
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by seemanski »

owl wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:53 pm
seemanski wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:20 pm
Well, I saw that one coming. I've been clinging on to the bottom of the pile for a while and I knew there was a reason I was reluctant to press the send button.

A massive thank you to all the judges and people who took the time to listen to my stuff and provide me with some really great constructive critism. It was wonderful to be able to come to each new week with different things to try.

On a personal note the past few months have been really hard. Juggling both childcare and working full time has been insane and this competition gave me a drive and something to go for to help me get through it and go a little less insane. It kind of feels apt that I should go out now my little girl has managed to get back into nursery and the work/life balance has been restored... for now.

Its now time for me to preorder my copy of last of us 2 and kill some zombies over the next couple of weeks.

Mike out!
Submit a shadow or two! I think we've all been impressed with how you were reinstated and then really stepped up your game. We were wondering if the whole reinstatement thing would lead to people being reinstated and immediately cut again but I'm happy to see you got this far and proved the merit of the whole idea--you've written some awesome songs.
Thanks, I fully intend to carry on submitting.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by furrypedro »

Dang, it's getting exciting now. I thought Glow Worm were gonna cruise to the overall win, but goes to show how fickle Nur Ein can be.

Btw, thanks to Vom and Jon for listening to and enjoying my tune this week. Glad you liked it! This was the song I wanted to write all tournament, but didn't want to blow my load too early since it often pays to save the best for last (or later at least).

Congrats to Frankie. I dig your more rockin stuff so I'm glad you did this. Unfortunate that there's no more immunity now you've finally won a round, eh?
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by frankie big face »

furrypedro wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:58 am
Congrats to Frankie. I dig your more rockin stuff so I'm glad you did this. Unfortunate that there's no more immunity now you've finally won a round, eh?
Thanks furrypedro. It dawned on me yesterday that I haven’t touched my acoustic guitar the entire competition!

Feels good to win a round, but of course it’s a little bittersweet when one judge ranks you last. But that’s why man invented the phrase “Fuck you, Judge 3!” I, of course, would never stoop so low, but it’s good that the phrase exists for others to use when they encounter similar situations.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by furrypedro »

frankie big face wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:33 am
furrypedro wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:58 am
Congrats to Frankie. I dig your more rockin stuff so I'm glad you did this. Unfortunate that there's no more immunity now you've finally won a round, eh?
Thanks furrypedro. It dawned on me yesterday that I haven’t touched my acoustic guitar the entire competition!

Feels good to win a round, but of course it’s a little bittersweet when one judge ranks you last. But that’s why man invented the phrase “Fuck you, Judge 3!” I, of course, would never stoop so low, but it’s good that the phrase exists for others to use when they encounter similar situations.
It is important to take the negatives from a crushing victory.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by frankie big face »

Haha. Yes, that is a good philosophy when maintaining one’s curmudgeon status.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by Cybronica »

I am sad that we are out, but it was bound to happen! Good job to everyone who made it through- it’s a playing field filled with talent!
I’m glad that Glenn didn’t hate it! Is it safe to say you might have even... enjoyed some of it? :lol:
Vom thanks also for the Reviews- and im really happy that you like the sheer fun of it! We had a lot of fun just writing silly beach song, and I’m glad we made it.

Congrats, Frankie! See y’all in the shadowland!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by owl »

frankie big face wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:02 am
Haha. Yes, that is a good philosophy when maintaining one’s curmudgeon status.
You do realize you don't have to be a curmudgeon, right? Hahaha

@cybronica Glad to hear Mandibles plans to shadow! You guys had a great run this year.

@iveg Yay, glad you finished the shadow! I will try to remember to listen to it later! Did you email it to Niv, can we get it up on the site?
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by frankie big face »

owl wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:29 pm
frankie big face wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:02 am
Haha. Yes, that is a good philosophy when maintaining one’s curmudgeon status.
You do realize you don't have to be a curmudgeon, right? Hahaha
Well, I never said I was a curmudgeon only that I had the status! Everyone knows I’m a softie on the inside. 🤪

And anyway, I’m supposed to be in Tuscany right now and instead I’m hanging out with all you punks! What do you expect!!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by iVeg »

It WAS in this thread - an inline attachment.
Having said that, I did not listen to my final vocal takes until after I had submitted the file. And they sucked.
I don't know that I can do any better today, but I plan to try.
I have 15 minutes right now. Ok. Here it is.
iveg-North-Beach-Vampires(2).mp3
(3.37 MiB) Downloaded 9 times
facebook.com/ivegband
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by mo »

R5 North Beach Vampires:

Sorry again for the delay in putting these together, it’s been a hell of a week at work and at home. My reviews are in results order, not my ranking order, again because I’m too lazy to reorder the template hahaha.

The origin of this title came from a bunch of riffing on something else entirely, that ended up somehow in talking about Stinking Bishop cheese, which led to the Stinking Rose restaurant in North Beach, which led into talking about garlic and vampires, which eventually led to HH suggesting this title. That's just the way our judges' group rolls.

Cuts were once again hard to make this round, and I did actually go back and forth a lot on the order after my top three. Almost everyone sat in a safe spot in my rankings at one point or another, so you should all feel good about having gotten this far and having continued to make strong songs. And now to the horse race:

Frankie Big Face -
This is a perfectly crafted pop song, nice double stop guitar riff that is very hooky and leads you into that pulsating I IV groove. The build into the chorus is good, and the chorus pays off well also. It’s a very Beach Boys type of lyrical theme, so the a cappella section also pays off with its echoes of that era. This song works SO much better on headphones than on my speakers, where the mix sounds really problematic. The subs are a little overwhelming and seem close to clipping. Even then on headphones some of the hard panning choices seem a bit extreme, in the sense that it I notice it and it takes me out of the song.

Jon Eric -
Compared to FBF and Moss Palace, this song lacks bass, and has a lot more cut. I like the echo on the voice when you drop it in. The mix is a little muddy even as the bass lacks punch, which is something you might want to look at. I like the humor of this song, that’s its strong point, really well written as usual, lyrically. To me, the feel of the groove is a little overly frenetic, it could probably relax just a little and sit in the pocket a little better, or maybe it’s just a question of how the drums sit back in the mix a bit relative to all the vocals—I’d like a stronger pulse. I think the bass playing does get a bit messy in parts and could be sharper on the grid. Similar take on the a cappella section to Frank’s with those Beach Boy inspired woo-ooos, but the rhythm gets a little off by the end to my ear. The halftime ending is cool, lots of great ideas crammed into this song.

Moss Palace -
I love this groove—big fan of this kind of instrumental weaving, very Rolling Stones-influenced conceptually, even though not stylistically so similar, but what, a iv-i groove, kind of the inverse minor version of Frank’s song haha. The slide guitar tone is extremely tasty although I do want to hear a little more vibrato on those sustained notes personally. Did you get a Rock Slide like we were talking about not so long ago? They are my favorites, I now have two, a ball tip brass slide and a molded glass, and they have killed all of my other slides (except the actual Coricidin bottle, which is kind of its own tonal universe. Erin sounds majestic, and that little vocal call and response hook just grabs my guts. The harmonies are gorgeous, and when the band cuts out, it fits the mood perfectly. It does miss a little bit of bass frequency, which leaves the a cappella section a little empty, but for me, that works very well with the mood and feel of the song.

Max Bombast -
The first time I heard this, I thought my player had skipped to “Right Round” from the Pitch Perfect soundtrack. I have listened to that soundtrack so many times that I made that connection, don’t ask me why I did. It’s not because of my secret love of Anna Kendrick. Because it’s not really a secret. Anyway it’s a nice mix although the one aside is a little loud to me. This is a good way to use the a cappella, breaking into this big chorus. Nice drum sound too. This song has a better build to it than what I remember of your other songs in this competition, but then it just ends, only having had two gears, and I really felt like we were going to get another gear in this song, either something stepping up at the end or breaking it down with a second a cappella section, that’s where I thought you were going. Feels kind of unfinished, to me.

Cavedwellers -
Great take on the City Lights crew. Love that bookstore. Last time I was up there I got a couple books there like I always do, even though I was a manager at Green Apple, and we all felt a little competitive with each other in the independent bookstore scene hahaha. The harmonies are nice. I like the horn, it provides a very different texture to the song. The chorus blasts in perfectly, has a great change in feel. Come on, Glen I know you want to melt my face more than this hahahaha. The design of the rhythm part in the solo break is excellent. The horn solo is a good idea but I think it would be more effective if I wasn’t listening to the horn all the way through the song. Nice a cappella break, I’ve already commented on the pronunciation of “jiangshi”—you can’t trust the internet when it’s little white kids pronouncing Chinese! But the harmonies and the lines are very effective here again.

Mandibles -
This vocal mix punches me in the ear in not a great way from the beginning, like it needed something to step up into it, and something about the lead vocal treatment doesn’t sound right to me. The chorus is missing something that would pick it up, maybe it needs a different drum beat? I am not a fan of the “hi-ide” vocal hook. Hey, Truth, I like this bit, maybe just because it’s a voice I wasn’t expecting. The last chorus with the harmonies (with full band) sounds really good. The a cappella at the ending also continues sounding great.

Glow Worm -
I love this synth patch under the a cappella intro and want to cuddle with it. You have a great way with these really personal lyrics. The transition from verse to chorus is a little abrupt, I feel like it wanted a moment or something there, something else to help shift the gears. I feel the same way about the “oh no” that I felt about “goddamn goddamn” in that it feels forced and less authentic to me, but I guess it’s part of the style that I just won’t get. By the end of the song, the subs feel a little oppressive to me, like I like that they’re big, but I don’t enjoy how they are clipping, again YMMV. I really thought you have such a cannon of a voice that listening to this very minimal version of an a cappella section is a bit disappointing, it’s not the musical/vocal tour de force I was expecting, and that I think you probably need to make this song stand out against the competition. I mean, not that it had to be super big necessarily, although that’s one way to do it, but it didn’t feel special to me.

see-man-ski -
Bold choice, Cotton. I am fine with the choice actually in the abstract. The actual execution of the singing and the parts etc. is also fine. I am not into this much of this reverb, which to me made it a bit muddy, and I think the parts need some reworking to add depth to the chord changes. The first time I heard this I got bored because it sounded almost like just one chord for 2 minutes straight. I realized later this wasn’t the case when I got the headphones in, but you needed more strength in the bass voice to sell the changes, which would really have helped I think. There are some really great moments in the song, but the song itself is something that didn’t stand out to me this round. It may very well be that this song will be the kind that sticks around in my head longer, but in two days of listening, it felt more like the last song on an album to wrap it all up with something “off the wall” rather than something that competes with the other headlining songs in this round.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by Adam! »

Glow Worm! See-man-ski! You were my two favorite new competitors this year. You both submitted wonderful, exciting songs throughout the competition. I am sad to see you both go; I will be following whatever you do next.

No video this week, so here are my liner notes: I wanted to write a ukulele song about twee vampires.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by owl »

Shadows, I'll add your reviews later if I have time to get around to them, sorry I didn't have time right now. This has been an insane week for me--the last 7 days have included having an offer accepted on our first house (edit to clarify: we are buying our first house), having a client audit at work, discovering my driver's license expired 2 months ago and having to go renew it, and having a hopefully minor but probably expensive and unpleasant medical issue come up today! And we'll be out of town camping this weekend, so time is short. Here are my reviews of the active competitors' songs, in ranking order.

Frankie Big Face - I like the crunchy electric guitars on this one, and I think the hard panning call and response stuff is cool. This sounds considerably better in headphones to me than on the little speaker on my desk, where the vocals sounded suuuuper hot in the mix and the drums were really quiet and the whole thing just sounded kind of rough. I like the dynamic shifts in this song--in particular, where the vocals drop down from the multitracked versions to a solo track with the higher melodic bass stuff happening, it suddenly sounds pleasingly vulnerable. The a cappella bit is nicely arranged and has a real purpose in the song--didn’t feel like it was shoehorned in there for the sake of the challenge. It’s a nice arrangement in general; the backing vocals add a lot but don’t draw attention to themselves, and I like the rhythmic interplay between vox/guitars/drums/bass in the second verse. I also really like your lyrical take on the song. When we assigned this title, I figured it would be hard with a title like that to make a song that both stands on its own and is serious--making it the team name is the perfect way to do that. Lots of cute but subtle wordplay around the stakes, bursting into flames, etc. without ever losing that desperate, small-town Springsteen vibe. I think the lyrics are generally really good, but I wasn’t hugely into the gated community verse--”inbred immunity” just felt a bit clunky to me. The melodies are catchy--I love the “feel alive” bit of the prechorus, and the chorus itself.

Jon Eric - This was ultra-dorky but catchy, bouncy, and enjoyable, and was lyrically much more of the type of song I expected to emerge from this prompt than Frankie’s--nothing wrong with that, but it was a little less interesting to me as a lyrical take. I love obscure monsters as much as the next girl (probably more, actually) and I was pleased to have to click through in your lyrics to find out what a cadejo was--I don’t get to learn about a new monster every day. Although Ben recommended a podcast to me with hundreds of episodes that’s all about different monsters, so I guess if I listened to that more regularly, I probably could. Anyway, I digress. I like the harmonica, the mix seems a bit rough but not to the point where it particularly bothered me, the a cappella stuff fits in perfectly style-wise in this song and it’s just a lot of goofy fun. Musically, it feels like a pastiche, it’s not super interesting to me, but it does what it set out to do just fine. (By the way, you asked in the LP about the bit at the end, I definitely could not make out that “Puttin’ on the Ritz” part without looking at the lyrics and listening for it specifically.) I don’t think you entirely sold me on the lyrical idea; the big list of random misunderstood monsters doesn’t have a lot of repeat listening value for me, and the part linked directly to the title seemed weak… this is nitpicky, but I don’t quite get what you’re going for with the vampires, and if you’d asked me what this was called I would have guessed “A Million Monsters.”

Moss Palace - Ooh, yes, those lovely ethereal vocals, so pretty. The guitars, and the mix for this song as a whole, seem a bit dull and muted to me in comparison with your previous tracks. This song also felt long to me--I found myself wanting more dynamics and more editing, despite liking each of the individual parts--the choruses seem like they are trying to pick up into a loud part but the energy barely feels like it lifts there. Probably some tweaks to mix and arrangement would fix that easily, though. I like the chorus melody a lot. The lyrics have a good, musical flow and a nice dark mood; I was most taken with the chorus lyrics, the others work but no phrases really stand out to me. The a cappella parts didn’t feel super well integrated into the overall flow of the song to me; beautifully performed, they just sound lovely, but I found myself missing the instruments, and where it goes back to the song, the transition into the full instrumentation seemed kind of uninspired... no big crescendo, no big dynamic contrast. Anyway, I feel like I’m complaining a lot about individual things, but I ranked this second after Frankie’s, so don’t take it as me not liking this song, it's good!

Max Bombast - Love the intro, that doorbell into the a cappella instantly hooks you. Love the layers of vocals in the arrangement. The lyrics are goofy and cute, though a bit at odds with your vocal delivery, which sounds essentially as intense as ever... I think pulling it back a tad except for emphasis, or letting the intensity grow throughout, might work better with the lyrical content. I saw Vom’s comment about the first line ending in the middle of a sentence, which actually didn’t bother me since when you’re singing it you do proceed smoothly, but there were a few little phrasing things that bothered me--the fact that you’re rhyming “you” with the filler word “to” and putting it on a strong beat, the emphasis on the word “invite” bugged me (should be “IN-vite” for the noun). The little dropout on “no, they’re not offensive” was a cute touch. It’s a nice song and very tightly performed, but I didn’t feel like it drew me back for repeat listens as much as the ones I placed higher.

Cavedwellers - I didn’t get a chance to shadow for this round, but I had this whole idea about writing a kind of love letter to San Francisco via a framing story about my college roommate going LARPing with this Vampire: The Masquerade group. You put a lot of the same kind of lyrical ideas and ultra-specific city-love into this song that I was hoping for, so I was happy to see all those little details and characters popping up here. I was entertained by the Chinatown nod despite the pronunciation issue mo mentioned (as an aside, I highly recommend Mr. Vampire to anyone who likes slapstick Chinese vampire kung fu movies. Who doesn’t?!) I like the rhymes and sounds of your words in general, but some of the actual phrases sounded really awkward to me--loved the cloves/prose/rose stuff, hated the Google goggles and the clunky fanged philosopher lines. The backing vocals in the chorus are cool, love that high harmony part! (It seems a bit flat in a few places, though...) The a cappella part works nicely in context. I agree with Glenn’s notes about the solos, the guitar solo in particular didn’t seem like it had a real purpose, and they felt too long to me. I really didn’t like the sax honking away constantly, I found it intensely distracting and I think it would have been much more effective deployed in only key parts of the song. Maybe if you turned the level down a bit, but I felt like it really drew attention to itself in the mix. I like the melody and chord progression in the chorus, it has a good groove.

Mandibles - This song definitely feels like you had a lot of fun building up that vocal arrangement, and I liked the retro-pop feel of it. Unfortunately, I like the feel and mood of the song more than its execution--the whole thing feels very messy to me, and in a vocal-centric challenge (and coming from professional singers) that seems like a fairly big flaw. For example, the lead vocal was pretty flat in the “time for some fun/gonna get out and bask in the sun” part around 1:10 and the Instagram bit around 02:07, and in general the backing vocals felt like they could have used some editing in terms of the arrangement--seemed like a lot just constantly going on, with multiple voices in the same frequency range, and the layers of vocals didn’t always seem like they blended well, partly due to some pitchy spots in the backing vox as well. The a cappella stuff worked fine in context but didn’t blow me away. Truth’s lead vocal sounds really great, though, by far my favorite part of the song, great backing vox there as well. I like that old timey rock ‘n’ roll guitar, sounds sweet. I liked your lyrical idea in general, but the cutesy Amazon/Instagram references really rubbed me the wrong way--they felt too precious and self-conscious. The mix sounded off to me in the full band parts, I think maybe lead vocals and guitar are mixed a bit too loud.

Glow Worm - Fantastically melancholy and catchy. For me, the biggest flaw in this song is the challenge, unfortunately--the “na na na” parts feel cliched to me, and also seemed jammed into the song without really fitting into the feel of the rest of the song... just out of place. I really enjoyed the rest of it--so much feeling in your vocal, good space in the verses, nice concrete images in the lyrics like the cigarette and steering wheel lines, and the “we built an empire” hook makes the whole thing feel desperate and epic. Although I really loved some of them, the lyrics didn’t entirely work for me--that “oh no” seemed cheesy and just felt like a lazy rhyme, and “we were by the water” was a bit of a weird line to me; felt like you were just trying to explain how the title fits in, without it feeling like a natural fit otherwise. I didn’t love the distortion in the choruses Vom mentioned and I tend to agree with mo about the subs feeling oppressive after a while, also. They do make an impact at first though! And I like the subtle squeaky seagull-like synths seesawing around under the verses.

see-man-ski - This is really bold and brave, and I admire your decision to go all a cappella. The little whoops and howls in the chorus arrangement are incredibly fun. The execution kind of sank this for me--it didn’t feel quite tight enough to carry a 100% vocals-driven song, it seemed to have the same intensity level throughout the whole thing without any big shift between verse and chorus or through the song, and the song itself didn’t feel very compelling as a whole aside from the idea of doing it all a cappella. The pause + “...ires” (ers?) echo at the end didn’t really work for me; it felt very unnatural. The lyrics are really cute--I loved some of the lines like “don’t cross your t’s” and “for a brief moment it felt kind of nice”--clever but subtle comparison to the social distancing issues. Very creative, very ambitious and charming.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by frankie big face »

Thanks for the reviews, Mo and Owl. I’m not sure what to do about my mixes on various listening devices but, for now, I’m opting not to let it drive me crazy (as it has in the past) and just mix in headphones, figuring that’s how most people are listening these days.

Owl, thank you for always paying close attention to lyrics. I spend a lot of time working on lyrics and they mostly go unnoticed. I appreciate your attention to detail. And when you point out a flaw, it’s always something I’ve second-guessed or knew was a flaw, which is oddly comforting.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by grumpymike »

Late! The New Ugly is now The Old Ugly! Some priorities took precedence.
I humbly submit to you how dumb we sound.

http://podcast.songlander.com/?name=202 ... v_ires.mp3
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by Cybronica »

Podcast! Yay! Thank you for putting this together- I always love listening to what you guys think of all the songs. :)
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by vowlvom »

I can confirm that my song for this round was very definitely not inspired by Animal Farm, sorry to disappoint!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by grumpymike »

Well, it's good I took out the 5 minutes of us pondering whether George Orwell was British.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by glennny »

great podcast!

I laughed really hard at the end " This is the biggest honey pot for Cavedwellers ever!....."

you guys are hilarious! Always fun!

Thanks for all the work! It's very entertaining!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by crumpart »

Thanks for the podcast! Although please never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever try to do an Australian accent ever again please!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by grumpymike »

crumpart wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:58 am
Thanks for the podcast! Although please never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever try to do an Australian accent ever again please!
You should check out Manhattan Glutton's Byron Bay.

Edit: Wow this song hasn't aged well. Good thing that guy doesn't come around here anymore.
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iVeg
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by iVeg »

Ben and Mike: Thanks for the kind words. I recorded the vocals with a Shure SM-58, rather than the inbuilt iPad mic.
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Adam!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by Adam! »

Necromancing this thread once more to post liner notes from the ancient past:
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