Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

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Chumpy
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Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby Chumpy » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:24 am

Knock, knock
Who's there?
The interruptive cow
The interrup...
MOO!
"Nice and quirky. Like the lyrics, but Is this arty enough for Songfight?" --Spud
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby Lunkhead » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:08 pm

I'm trying to post the new title and songs but am having some technical difficulties getting the site updated. Please stand by...
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby Lunkhead » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:16 pm

Songs posted.
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby vowlvom » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:26 am

Chumpy - love that jangly chord progression, and the vocal melody is very catchy. On first listen I felt like it was maybe a touch too long, but revisiting it this morning I think I was wrong. Strong lyric and good take on the title.

Micah Sommersmith - you deserve a lot of points for the coward / Howard rhyme! Impressive a capella, although there are some moments of silence that feel a little disjointed to me - maybe a bit of reverb would help? Or maybe I'm just being too picky, this is very well done.

Minty Handy - this really reminds me of something (a band or style rather than a particular song) but I can't place it. It definitely feels quite late-90s, I think due to the crunchy guitars and vocal FX (which I like a lot!)

Zack Facco - I really like the mysterious organ intro and the retro-sounding drum machine. The song itself isn't really to my personal taste, but it's well executed.

Vom Vorton - this is me, going for that pulsating synth-bass kinda thing. I wrote the music before the words on this one and ended up with a weirdly triumphant vibe that sort of does and doesn't work with the lyric? I dunno. I'm pretty happy with it.
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby Noah Canning » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:31 am

Soundsword is in! Maybe. I just got my account activated, I’ve been wanting to reply to people‘s comments, so greatly appreciated getting me in. We are typically really really busy but want to participate, so that’s why our songs sound unfinished and still in development phase, because they pretty much typically are. Sacred coward is no exception, my nephew added all the percussion and sounds at the end and I hurried through the melody which I think really sounds awful, but whatever. If you listen to any part of it listen to the end
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby Lunkhead » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:06 am

I added the Soundsword song to the fight.
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby vowlvom » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:05 am

Soundsword - there are definitely parts of this that feel unfinished, but I really like the vibe and love your voice! This reminds me a lot of the band Wheat, who have been a favourite of mine for a long time. Unfortunately I've already voted (which was foolish of me, given the submission problems for this fight) because I totally would have voted for this one too.
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby Chumpy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:07 pm

Minty Handy: It was close, but This is my favorite song of the fight. Those lead guitar parts remind me of the Pixies and really make the song for me. My only complaint is that lyrically the Sacred Coward bits seem tacked on at the end, and for me this song should really be called "How Long, how long". None of this matters though, the song is still great, the title unwieldy, perhaps this was the right approach.

Vom Vorton: I like what you did with the title, you embraced it and made it totally work in the context of the lyrics. I pretty much like everything about this song, the synths, concepts, lyrics, melody, YOUR FAVORITE THING IS ACTUALLY BLAND! I think at times the verse music starts to sound a bit repetitive. There is a section between verses where you hear it without any vocals, that might have been better if it was only half as long.

Micah Sommersmith: Great lyrics! I love the lines "speaks with the power of holy writ" and 'true bravery has flowered', this is super well written. I really dig the sea shanty type "way, hey, hey" gang vocals. There are a few parts of the lead vocal where your voice is on the verge of cracking, like "ready aim" where you might have wanted to do a punch-in overdub. These spots are not terrible, but it's easy to focus on them when you're out there singing naked. Might as well take advantage of studio wizardry right!? I'm surprised you didn't add a quiet accordion part for this song, I think it would have added a lot.

Zack Facco: Some of the mixing decisions make this song hard to listen to. There's a reason percussion and bass is almost always heard in the center channel. My left ear can only handle so much muffled thumping, ponging, and drum sounds before it needs a break, which never comes. The music here may be interesting, soulful, and good, but I can't focus on it, because my left ear is angry with me.

Soundsword: Sweet emo low-key singing, this song has a nice sad vibe to it which I really dig. Creative use of guitar/amp noise. I like how you use the pickup selector to quickly cut it out and bring it back, and when it suddenly stops all together after a climax is quite effective. I also really like towards the end when the handclaps, and bass come in, unexpected and nice! The random sounds during the song, like a chair moving, or somebody dropping a screw or something, and the finger drumming at the end add a cool texture and add interest. There is a lot to like here, but you didn't do much if anything with the title, which is a disappointment.

Chumpy: Musically I was going for a cheesy 70s Burt Bacharach type sound with the schmaltzy strings and clean guitar solo. I wrote the music first, which may have been a mistake, because I really struggled with ideas for the title. The only take I could come up with was a Pigfarmeresque political rant, which I really didn't like but it was all I had, so I went with it. I felt it was better to execute on a bad idea than to do nothing at all.
"Nice and quirky. Like the lyrics, but Is this arty enough for Songfight?" --Spud
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby josh » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:25 pm

mintyhandy: Great sounding song! Reminds me of the Pixies, one of my favorites. Killer vocals and tasty guitars.

chumpy: Nice mix of kinda jazzy chords in a pop/rock setting. A pleasant listen.

micah: I definitely wasn't expecting a sea chanty. Not bad, nice harmonies.

soundsword: You might wanna look into some kinda normalization or maybe limiting, your mix is a lot quieter than the others and the others aren't at all over compressed or anything. I like the noisey breakdown in the beginning. It's creepy. Overall good edgy, ominous piece. I like that. It does drag on a little though.

vomvorton
: Engage dance mode! Lots of cool sounds. At times it seems like the same thing repeats a little too much though.

zackfacco: Yup, that's me. I learned some things doing this, but I'm kinda so, so on the results. It's pretty vocal driven, but there's not a lot of conviction in the performance. I thought the bass came off pretty nice.

Minty Handy was an easy winner for me.
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby Noah Canning » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:33 pm

vowlvom wrote:Soundsword - there are definitely parts of this that feel unfinished, but I really like the vibe and love your voice! This reminds me a lot of the band Wheat, who have been a favourite of mine for a long time. Unfortunately I've already voted (which was foolish of me, given the submission problems for this fight) because I totally would have voted for this one too.


I just checked out Wheat-------love it so far!!!!! I've been looking for something new to listen to---- Thanks man--- and thanks for the nice comments, I always struggle with hating my voice like most of the world , so that's really appreciated. We are going to make an effort to make a more finished song this next time, a lot of it depends on me writing it soon enough, or at least the initial part. I think we might go metal this time, and I am not at ALL a metal guy so it could be fun.
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby vowlvom » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:48 am

Chumpy wrote:Vom Vorton: There is a section between verses where you hear it without any vocals, that might have been better if it was only half as long.

josh wrote:vomvorton: At times it seems like the same thing repeats a little too much though.


Yeah, you've got me there. Because I was doing this album-in-a-month thing and the challenge has a target length (rather than a number of songs or whatever) I didn't always edit down things like that as much as I should have done.

Noah Canning wrote:I just checked out Wheat-------love it so far!!!!! I've been looking for something new to listen to


Awesome! I revisited their first two records yesterday after making that comparison and your song would definitely fit on the first one.

Thanks all for the kind words. I'm trying to muster the energy for a song for the next fight but feeling a little burned out after a musically busy November. I have an idea though...
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby MintyHandy » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:52 pm

Zack Facco: I like the organ, and the bass is good (although the bass and kick are too strong on my mediocre speakers.) Would have liked to hear the guitar fade up earlier during the last organ chord, long before the bass started. Too many long verses made the song longer than I prefer. I really like the chorus and the solo.

Vom Vorton: There's a lot to enjoy here. That repetitive note got annoying quickly, and perhaps should have been temporarily dropped during the vocals. The lyrics are strong, and if you softened the vocals a bit with some effects, the vocals (especially the harmonies, which are quite good) would have been better blended. "Back down, back down you sacred coward" is delivered perfectly.

Soundsword: Slow and steady wins the fight. Your vocals work really well. Wanted more melodic repetition to settle more firmly into the hypnotic vocal vibe. Warbling, ghostly harmonies on your non-lyric verbalizations would have made it even better. I wished for some kind of slow build in the arrangement, rather than having it come in all at once at 3:30.

Chumpy: Love the intro. Got a bit of a Too Much Joy vibe once your verse kicked in, and you'd do well to give their early stuff a listen; they knew how to push vocals into a weirder place while reinforcing a simpler melody with repetition, and you could benefit from that combination. Don't be afraid to go falsetto, or just drop the key a bit. I like the chorus a lot. If you'd dropped the vocal bridge, and moved some lyrics into the non-vocal lead-ins to the chorus, it would be really tight.

Micah Sommersmith: Not what I was expecting. I feel like this needed a rock-solid, repetitive melody to be anchored properly. You don't have that in the verses, but you have it in the harmonies, which I very much liked. I like your voice.

Minty Handy: Yeah I did, after a six-year hiatus. :roll: Introducing my twelve-year-old daughter on backing vocals, albeit quiet ones.
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby MicahSommer » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:01 pm

Chumpy - Good solid tune although it doesn’t stick very strongly in my head. Nice guitar playing, lead and backing vocals, etc. The snare drum feels a little thin and monotonous, but other than that the production is solid. Some clever lines, especially the one about that damn high note in the national anthem. I still can’t decide how I feel about this kind of politically topical song in general, but I’m trying not to spend all day today thinking about the Alabama senate race so that might end up working against you in this fight…

Minty Handy - I’m very impressed by how succinctly the lyrics manage to capture the complex subject matter - the ambivalence about ending a less-than-ideal relationship. I especially like the lines “Am I a fool for staying / Am I cruel to say goodbye.” I feel some tension between the vocals and instruments - the vocals are sorta dreamy and spacey with reverb and echo, while the instruments are pretty dry and end up sounding harsher by comparison. Finally, the title feels a little shoehorned in - this title almost demands that you somehow deal with the sacred cow pun (though with your vocal delivery and the echo effect, the last syllable of coward gets lost, so if I was listening to this without the lyrics or knowing the title, I think I would have heard sacred cow, which I’m not sure what I would have done with).

Soundsword - A pleasant sleepy song that could probably get trimmed down. I like the ending section but don’t like the awkward transition into it. Lyrically, there are some nice lines that add up to more of a general mood than anything concrete, though that may just be because the lyrics aren’t posted on the boards for me to follow.

Vom Vorton - The narrator is a coward about expressing his opinion about the sacred cows of pop culture. That’s a pretty clever take on the title, but I wish it had 1) an explicit invocation of the phrase “sacred cow” to make the connection clearer and 2) specific examples, to bring it out of the realm of the abstract, which would have also given more opportunities for lyrical cleverness. Plenty to choose from… the Beatles? Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman? Batman in general? That said, there are some nifty lines, and the “wary when / contrarian” rhyme is especially tasty. The thumping synth production is great too.

Zack Facco - Seems like your take on the title is somewhat similar to mine, though yours is more abstract and maybe therefore more interesting. A little more variety in the arrangement and performance would be welcome, though I do like the easy going country vibe.

Micah Sommersmith - I started working on something, then decided to abandon it, then at the last minute decided to go for it, then had some very annoying issues with my recording equipment, then ended up recording it very very very last minute. Given more time, I would have either worked up to a better vocal performance, or done more sneaky editing to piece one together, and would have done more to sweeten up the sound (EQ, reverb, etc…) - as noted, it’s just three dry vocal takes with some stereo panning. I did have an accordion bassline originally, but I thought it cluttered things up so I tossed it in favor of the a cappella mix. For me, this is something that might turn into something worth listening to, but it didn’t quite get there this time.
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Re: Don't have a cow! (Sacred Coward Reviews)

Postby josh » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:55 pm

@Micah & @Minty: Thanks for the suggestions. There were a lot of reviews for a small fight, that's awesome. I agree totally with the sentiment that the song needs more variation if it's going to stick around that long, and probably the solution is to simply cut some of the repetition, probably from the verses. Maybe I'll rework this one "some day".
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