Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

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Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Pray for good reviews. And votes!
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by Jerkatorium »

I've been shirking this whole review thing for a while, so I guess it's my turn to dive in first this week.

A lot of great entries this time around. In no particular order (i.e. the order randomized for me on the front page):

Cory A.G.: Slick G&G. Sweet song with utterly beautiful singing. Why does it sound like it was recorded off the TV speaker using a Radio Shack tape player? Doesn't matter, it's still excellent.

Inflatable Vegetables: Great verses, catchy, fun chorus. Genius lyrics. Good for repeat listens. I'd love to hear a guitar version.

Cookie Blue: Medieval ASMR nursery rhyme folk song. Extra points for 3/4 time, extra points for originality, extra points for great lyrics, extra points for great singing.

Berkeley Social Scene: The trickly guitar in the right ear is really nice. Great work on the backing vocals. Slick song, with a good catchy chorus.

Micah Sommersmith: Love the accordion. Nerdcore skillz to be sure, great great delivery. It might take me a few more listens before the chorus sounds like a good fit with the rest of the song.

Macaque Attack: OMG >5min you have got to be kidding. I don't like the choice of guitar tone. Having said that, I like the song as a whole. Really good at creating a mood, a well-balanced and immersive aural landscape.

Starfinger: I didn't know Fred Schneider had a brother. Fun, impossible to dislike. Is there a wah on the bass guitar, or is that a clav?

Nick Soma: G&G that sounds sweet, but with wicked lyrics. Sounds semi-live or something, and that is not a good thing if it is not actually a live recording. I do like this song though.

Paco Del Stinko: Dick Dale meets 50s horror. Please tell me you made those sounds on your synth instead of an actual theramin; if you used an actual theramin then I'm going to have to go buy one too. Fun song, fun lyrics, great production.

Jerkatorium: The verse lyrics are obviously a Cheap Trick homage/reference, that's on purpose. Call it a ripoff if you want, I'm fine with that.
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

It's off to the Theremin store for you, Sir! Thanks for the review.
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by noma »

Jerkatorium wrote:Nick Soma: G&G that sounds sweet, but with wicked lyrics. Sounds semi-live or something, and that is not a good thing if it is not actually a live recording. I do like this song though.
Not actually live. The recording was a bit rushed because I was already late. I am not really satisfied with it myself. Still, thanks for your kind words :)
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by starfinger »

Jerkatorium wrote: wah
yes
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by j$ »

W.A.I.L. I.A.A.C.
Thought I’d warm up for Nur Ein judging by offering my own humble opinions. Also, I came close to being in this fight but decided my attempt, unintentionally, turned out a bit too depressing. I did rhyme ‘Male praying mantis’ with ‘big flabby man-tits’, though, which no-one else seems to have done. This time out, everyone gets a description of the video I imagine would suit their entry best. I’m kind like that.

BBS – pretty! The solo’s a bit ‘long-haired guitarist atop a windswept rock, locks blowing in the wind in slow motion’ – which is fine, depending on your inclination  I really like the verse guitar parts – the chorus is not quite as epic as I was hoping for but hey, it’s a good song.

Cookie Blue – is that a single glock strike at the beginning of the song, or am I going mad? Very 60s folk-rocky feel all round. I am not sure I like the tone of the electric that you’ve chosen but what’s being played is good. I imagine a video with hooded band members walking through a wood in search of pixies. Well, I do! Good tune well put together. I think 2:25-ish, that final verse and guitar riff is a bit superfluous; not terribly but it just felt like the natural end at that time – though to be fair, I do like my songs short.

Cory – It’s a pretty melody very well sung but even on second listen it feels like it doesn’t quite fit the tempo and chord structure? I can’t figure it out – it’s definitely in time – maybe some of the wordier sentences would be better served if the song was played a few BPM slower? It just feels a bit rushed every now and then. Otherwise very good tune and good overall mood, and the story you set up is an interesting take on the title. I think the video would be in black and white, maybe you playing on a street corner as all sorts of ordinary couples walk past ,caught in their tribulations – one pair arguing, one PDA-ing ,etc, etc. You’re welcome.

IV – Ah, with this synth-pop, truly you are spoiling me! I love the efficient simplicity of the arrangement. Maybe the chorus harmonies could be a little higher, to make it stand out? The ones you do are good but they are perhaps a little tight to the lead melody? Just a suggestion. The lyric is fun and I like the way the deadpan performance highlights (deliberately) some of the more awkward rhymes  Video definitely a beach-party band performance intercut with a story about a giant praying mantis looking for her lover while destroying an American city (maybe Miami) but done on a deliberately cheap 80s sci-fi budget. Depeche Mode meets B-52s?

Jerkatorium – Like: that amazing bouncy bass line, cheeky synth-line, fantastic harmonies, and great clean guitar tone chosen as well. Nice, brief solo that works without overpowering what’s around it. Very inventive song structure / arrangement that belies the first impression that it is a simple song. The lyric doesn’t jump out at me but it doesn’t distract from the song for me – and hey, the title was not the easiest to do anything wildly different with, IMO. Gets in, does the job and knows to get out on time when it’s done. Much like my sex-life  Nerd-pop of the TMBG route and all the better for that. Bopping round the room – although a few minutes after listening and I don’t remember too much about it? Maybe that’s just the lyric and as I said, that’s a problem for everyone this fight. The video would be a faux-Natural Geographic documentary, with the band’s heads superimposed on real praying mantises and spiders. Or maybe that creepy effect people sometimes do where it’s just singing lips on a variety of predators’ faces. You know I’m right.

Macaque Attack – Great dumb name, BTW. It’s weird how the first five or so seconds suggest an entirely different song from what’s coming. I like that a lot. This works really well. I can’t make out all the words on the first listen but I don’t think that’s important. The vaguely gothic mood is shaped out well. I think it could do with a more striking ‘chorus’ – not that I always ask people for that (I do) but it runs the risk of being misinterpreted as a little dour/indulgent without a little more difference in the structure? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it’s either off those things but with the very long run-time and the over-abundance of well played guitar riff-ing, I guess I’m hoping for a more pronounced riff to hang onto / wait for. It’s a good song but it feels like it could make more impact, without too much work. Anyway, what do I know? Video-wise, it would be definitely be filmed in an old abandoned building with lots of cobwebs for the singer to be filmed near and insects perched atop old music boxes and broken record-players and the like. There would be significant use of mood lighting as well.

Micah Sommersmith – I like the semi-prog opening/choruses and I like the nerd-rap approach, conceptually. I am not sure about the accordion VST – it’s well-done and an interesting idea, in contrast to the rest of the song, but I don’t know if it works in actuality. Unusually for me I wanted this to be longer, to give me more time to get into the various disparate elements and how they lock in to each other. It’s all done very well, and there’s not a thing wrong with any of the constituent parts; but just for me it doesn’t quite become more than the sum of its parts. It feels, Gods forbid, a little throwaway. Video – live band performance in a mid-sized venue; as the song develops, singer notices a human-sized praying mantis in the audience. Keeps popping up in a variety of short shots until at the end the singer crowd-surfs and the last shot is the Mantis opening its mouth as he is carried towards her jaws …

Nick Soma – As always a lovely melody - “Cum and you’re done” is a striking lyrical phrase! Love the glockenspiel action. Some of those harmonies/main vocal notes are a bit sour – maybe take it down a key or two? I like the lo-fi arrangement (not that the song’s a lo-fi recording but the structural approach). Video-wise, I imagine all the ‘band’ dressed up as various insects, in a Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band stylee, playing in appropriate natural locations around the globe (a waterfall, a forest glade, a desert etc.) – interspersed with shots of praying mantises and other predators locked in fatal sex embrace, at the 'vinegar strokes'. You may need to look that one up ;)

Paco Del Stinko – great B-52s opening riff. Camp song. ‘Phantom of the Opera’ camp! Makes me smile to hear the eccentric Sabbath arrangement, as always. Great bass-line. Video would be the singer in a phantom-of-the-opera cape and half-mask watching a collage of disaster shots from 50s B-movies on giant TV-Screens. Also freak-show residents playing Theremins and banging out rhythms on toasters and faxes. Others are shown building some mysterious steampunk-style artefact which at the end is revealed to be an altar for sacrifices for the giant Mantis, of which the singer will be the first. I didn’t really notice the length ‘til it was over (matron) so that’s a good thing. Silly as F and all the better for it. Also I did think you were singing ‘with its giant dick eyes’ which would be better. Just saying.

The ‘Finger - Love the fatness of that slinky bass-line and the bonkers, simple arrangement that is essentially just bass and drum-machine and it works perfectly. “Don't lose your head or you'll lose your head / and all your children will never know their daddy” is a lyrical hook that is both dumb and genius at the same time. Good to hear samples in songs again as well. Again, all the changes in the arrangement keep this fresh all the way through yet the essential funkiness acts as the glue holding the song together all the way through. Not sure any video could do this song justice but I can see it as you in a womb-like jelly substance, squirming and writhing to break free, while lots of little children with Starfinger CGI-ed-on faces forming a choir, weeping and lamenting to let you be set free. Maybe that’s just my sex-fantasy of course 

So, to be honest, I could vote for every song this fight - they're all good in different ways - but votes for Starfinger and Paco, for sure and probably Jeraktorium and Cory as well (that song despite the flaws I perceive it to have has been stuck in my head for a few days now). Good werk, everyone!

j$
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by GravityJohnson »

j$ - the main reason we're here is for the reviews and feedback, and you delivered! Thank you very much for your comments. And if we make a video we'll be in touch.... :)
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

J $ - Shouldn't that be giant dick eye? Well, as the song goes "when it comes everyone dies". Ugh. I'd better get out of here. Thanks for the review!
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by j$ »

Well, Paco, why shouldn't a giant monster frozen for millenia under ice not have more than one dick? The monster still comes singular just from various unusual orifices - Just sayin' :)
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Gettin' weird, man. But could be an interesting sequal.
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by j$ »

Nothing in the world can never get too weird. Weird for the win. I'm waiting for the hot porno sequel :)
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by iVeg »

Thanks for the reviews. For the video, I would go more literal with the storyline. People would complain about stereotypes.
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by MicahSommer »

j$ wrote: accordion VST
What did you call my baby???
Photo on 2016-04-13 at 10.jpg
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Berkeley Social Scene - You guys would've gone nuts if I wrote this with you as I would have pushed for a half step down chord in the chorus. Dunno why. Good all around, simple additons like tambo vary it up nicely. The right guitar veers into 80s territory which is fine. Feedback after an epic solo, uh oh. Don't make me do it...Good tune.

Cookie Blue - Very Midaevil/Rannaisance sounding, somewhere in there. Love it even with the creepy whisper vocal. 60s fuzz tone guitar sounds great and slices nicely through the acoustic wall. Haunting vocals. Is this you alone or did you find a recording partner as advertised?Great work, probably my favorite of yours.

Cory A.G. - Tasty coffee house tune with effective backing vocals. Feels longer than 2:09 but not in a bad way, like early Beatles, but don't let that go to your head. Something about the vocal processing feels too crisp or something, but good performance and feel. I enjoy the cadence of the lyrics as well.

Inflatable Vegetables - I always enjoy where you go/try to go. Dance club chorus maybe minus some giant pumpage in the rhythm. Vocal work is good all around for the most part. The arrangement doesn't drag or overstay any section too long. Good work all around, but I may not agree with the fade out ending. Would like a snap instead.

Jerkatorium - I am a big fan, intimidated by you guys' skills. Great arrangement, vocal and melody, always superb backing vocals which are so key to the success of your songs, in my opinion. The manic energy of this might be better served by a small whittle off of the length, I start to get a little too head spinny by the end. Constructive compliment, that. Someday, when you have time, I'd love to hear about how you guys work together, process involved, who does what, etc.

Macaque Attack - Heady and mysterious. The hissing insect vibe is quite effective. Love the octave guitar, great use of that. Even the rhythm conjures up images of insect legs rubbing, mandibles clacking. Great work in keeping one's attention for a longish, at least here at SF!, song. Another quality work from you.

Micah Sommersmith - Jamie's Crying at the intro! Almost a TV theme for a second. I hope you wore plaid pants an nerdy glasses for the recording of this. I would have. Shit, I would anyway. The vocal delivery is better on the crunchy chorus but points for the ballsy attempts during the verses. Fun and doesn't overstay its welcome.

Nick Soma - Good song scratchpad, just under-rehearsed. Still, I like the almost campfire at times vibe that it brings up along with a bittersweet lovey feel. I think this would be great for you to kick around and polish up, it has a wonderful feel and flow to it. Please share if you do. We know who you are and what you can do. Ha!

Paco del Stinko - The first thing that I thought of when I saw the title was The Deadly Mantis, the way cheesy 50s Sci-fi flick. I borrowed the plot and nudged it to fit. Check out Them! for a far more effective 50s giant bug flick.

Starfinger - I don't know where to begin except by saying welcome back. We've only bumped into each other a few times around here, but man, I dig whatever planet your brain comes from. Rubbery, smacked upside the head, bug eyed glory. Great funk and pump. The story works for me as well. Please stick around and share some more delicious music. Thank you.
Last edited by Paco Del Stinko on Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Hmm. I am unable to edit out my typos for some reason. Can't right click on the text. Probably on my end, please disregard the slop in my comments.
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by j$ »

MicahSommer wrote:
j$ wrote: accordion VST
What did you call my baby???
Photo on 2016-04-13 at 10.jpg
I think that actually makes it worse :) Well played, sir!

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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by Chumpy »

Paco Del Stinko wrote: The manic energy of this might be better served by a small whittle off of the length, I start to get a little too head spinny by the end. Constructive compliment, that.
Thanks for the review Paco! I always dig your submissions, your music has a lot of the same elements that we strive for -- fun, up-tempo, funny songs with solid BVs. Thanks for feedback on length and the head spins, it seems easy to wear the listener out if you're not careful about variation.
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by GravityJohnson »

Thanks Paco! Appreciate your comments.
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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by starfinger »

Paco Del Stinko wrote: Starfinger - I don't know where to begin except by saying welcome back.
This means a lot to me.. thank you. I still enjoy your cover of my Twin Kiss.

Your song is great. The opening surf guitar and theremin reminds me of Famous Monsters in the Night. This really conveys that 50's scifi/horror movie vibe. I, too, hear "dick eyes" in there, a few times. That would have been scandalous in the 50s.


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Re: Little green buggers (Praying Mantis reviews)

Post by MicahSommer »

Berkeley Social Scene - I like the chorus, the spacey guitar solo, and generally the instrumental throughout. The verses left me puzzling over what exactly they’re trying to say, and at times the lyrics felt awkwardly shoehorned into the melody.

Cookie Blue - This is so weirdly delightful. I’m getting a Fairport Convention / Steeleye Span vibe but way creepier. The whispering is actually a little too much for me, but it fits. I also would have left out the sting chord at the end, but that’s a minor quibble.

Cory A.G. - Short and sweet indie ballad. The lyrics are good, the vocals are good but not my personal favorite style. The plunky acoustic guitar solo in the middle seems out of place and the overall sound quality is suspect, but otherwise the minimalist production is nice.

Inflatable Vegetables - Great 80s pop sound and very catchy chorus. The vocals could use some reverb or something; they sort of sit awkwardly on top of the instrumental rather than feeling unified. Otherwise, an enjoyable tune!

Jerkatorium - Love that synth riff at the beginning. Great vocal melody. Lyrically clever as always, though thematically it trods a well-worn path, the most obvious suggested by the title (as have a few other entries in this fight).

Macaque Attack - More sexy-woman-as-predator lyrics, but without the playfulness of Jerkatorium or I-Veg. It’s all competently written, performed, and produced, but too relentlessly grim to make for an enjoyable listen, especially one that lasts 5:36.

Micah Sommersmith - My mad flow gets less impressive with each re-listen.

Nick Soma - I love the acoustic indie instrumentation, though it feels a little sloppy - nothing is quite lined up perfectly. Good vocal performance.

Paco del Stinko - Great chorus, nice instrumental arrangement. I think it would be a lot more fun if it was half the length.

Starfinger - Started out not to my taste, but as it went on I couldn’t help but enjoy it. Your vocal style is both off-putting and compelling, and by the end of the first chorus when the ah-ah-ahs went off the rails, I accepted it for what it is.
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