Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.

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Pigfarmer Jr
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Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:40 am

Cuz you're gonna listen to all the songs, anyway, right? Might as well write down your thoughts.

Right?!?
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:09 pm

Andy Balham - I liked the laid back delivery of the lyric. I like that end is near vibe in the lyric, too. The instrumental interlude worked for me as well. Not a bad listen, but I'm not sure if this will stick with me much.

Jerkatorium - I like the rhythm throughout, the vox, especially on the chorus and the kind of old school sounding new vibe. Could have been in that movie "The thing that you do" or whatever it was with the Oneders in it! Seems like a lot of your songs which against my better pre-judgment. *evil grin* The more I listen the more I like, too. Oh, those cymbals over on the right side are annoying as hell. Seriously, what were you thinking?

Flaming Tiger - I like guitars. The drum sounds are almost as bad as the ones I use half the time (the snare mainly.) Good energy. Well performed vox. Well performed just about everything. This mainly reminds me that I use entirely too much distortion on all my guitar sounds.

Paco - I like the backing vox. The melody was pretty interesting. No idea what this is about, although I thought I knew then I decided I'd have to research to find out and then I decided I'm too lazy to do such a thing. Or rather… although I liked the song well enough, I didn't like it enough to motivate me to actually take action in doing something.

Lichen Throat - Pretty darn loud. The strings work for me, the rhythm underneath worked but struck me a bit odd. The vox delivery and tone and basically everything doesn't do much for me. The attitude was cool enough but I wonder if that would change if it were mixed and not as loud. (Yes I know I could just turn down the volume, but I refuse to reach across to the amp or click on the volume button. I'm stubborn, too.)

Pigfarmer Jr (Me) - I like guitars. Needs another pass on the mix. The lower vox in the chorus needs go down a hair. Sounds like a one take verse vox (it was.) Second verse doesn't really fit and should have been rewritten. (Side note: I wrote and recorded 12 songs in two days. This was one of them.)

Brisbane: I liked this from the opening chord. The vox is cool, but it seems like it has some mids needing cut (or maybe in the reverb) because it muddies up just enough to make my ears strain to understand the lyric. (They are pretty tired, though. This week has been brutal in listening and ear fatigue.) But that vocal performance is killer.

I don't usually list votes, but I definitely think Jerk, Tigers and Brisbane had the three I liked the most… or would be most likely to listen to again.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby lichenthroat » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:51 am

Andy Balham—The vocal lines that have abrupt pauses (as in “…when storms lash the land…”) come off well. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of the New Age-y instrumental bridge in the context of the rest of the song, but it’s kind of grown on me after multiple listens. The ending seems a little too abrupt, however, and out of keeping with the slower unfolding of the rest of the song.

Brisbane Social Scene—That vocal is gorgeous! Overall, this sounds like a James Bond theme, and it brings matching imagery into my mind every time I listen. Not quite my cup of tea, but the execution is faultless. VOTE

Flaming Tiger—I like the rapid-fire rhymes and the guitar tone, as well as the repeated cymbal crashing at the beginning and the end. On the other hand, the “Wait a minute—I think maybe you get it” line leads me to expect a distinctive instrumental change immediately following, which leaves me a little disappointed when it’s not forthcoming. Nice job overall. VOTE

Jerkatorium—The mix is on the quiet side. Otherwise, thumbs up. The drums, in particular, sound great. The changes in instrumentation that coincide with the last word of vocal lines work very well. This was my favorite of the week. VOTE

Lichen Throat (me)—Yikes, that’s loud! Sorry about your eardrums, everyone. I’m not sure why that happened, but I’ll be careful to prevent a recurrence. This one just didn’t come together well, for a variety of reasons. In particular, I need to think more about how to write songs where my bad singing is less detrimental to the overall song quality.

Paco del Stinko—The opening guitar/bass/sequence, which is repeated throughout much of the rest of the song, is quite good. As for small nitpicks, the repeated cymbal tapping in my left ear during each chorus is a bit distracting, and I think the keyboard could be toned down a little. Lyrically, I’m not quite sure what this is about, but nevertheless, it evokes a pleasant sense of childhood summers well spent. VOTE

Pigfarmer Jr.—Nice guitar hook, and the interweaving of multiple guitars is cool. The factual exaggerations in the IRS line seem out of place, since everything else is at least arguably correct.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Chumpy » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:20 pm

Andy Ballham - I like the feel you've created here with the heavenly reveryby synth, punctuated by the high pitched sounds that remind me of water dripping. The song is definitely a downer, but well done. The singing sounds confident and full of spooky Nick Cave like character. Good use of doubling for lyrical emphasis. The synth solo sounds like something you might hear in a Vietnamese restaurant.

Brisbane Social Scene - Bluesey, soulful, love that Rhodes. Pepper's voice here is really nice and has a dreamy quality to it, and when she wails at the end, it's powerful. The band is on point, and I like Glenny's restrained soloing.

Flaming Tiger - So good. Stoked to have gotten 3 choruses. I especially liked how the drums become minimal leading up to the final chorus. Is it a room reverb that makes those 2x tracked 'do you have a plan' chorus vox stand out so well? It's a great effect, and one used on every Flaming Tiger chorus so far. ;)

Jerkatorium - Organ, clav, and horns oh my!

Lichen Throat - At Dinner last night with a couple of friends. B: "Oh hey, I listened to the SongFight songs today, did you hear that one about Dave Trampier?" Me: "Dave who?" D: "You know the guy who did all the cool art for D&D, like the cover of the Player's Handbook?" Me: "Oh." B: "Yeah, I voted for it because ... Dave Trampier." Me: "Oh." B: "You guys were ok." We then spent spent the next 20 minutes talking about Wormy, D&D art, and the tragic story of Dave Trampier.

Paco: Nice use of happy synth sounds in this song, and I especially dig it at the end. I got a kick out of listening to this song and figuring out exactly what it's about. Nostalgia for 1973! You left just enough clues for me to get it. I bet you could make a swell video for this song using footage I found online.

Pigfarmer Jr: I like the mix of your high and low voices in the chorus, it kinda reminds me of the LA punk band X. Some of the verse lyrical phrasing is clunky and you have to do some gymnastics to make it fit, like how you stretch the word 'ammo'. The main riff, despite its simplicity works pretty well.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Smalltown Mike » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:35 pm

Chumpy wrote:Is it a room reverb that makes those 2x tracked 'do you have a plan' chorus vox stand out so well? It's a great effect, and one used on every Flaming Tiger chorus so far. ;)


Thanks, man. I don't know what Rob's been doing after I send him my tracks, but the chorus "gang" vocals are five (six?) takes,panned to different spots. I then lightly season them and send him one stereo track. HipCola can tell you what he does on them at that point.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Andy Balham » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:53 pm

From the mind of Balham to you...

Brisbane Social Scene
I like the constrast in the clean voice and the distorted guitars. It is all nicely produced and I liked it when the vocal got wilder towards the end. I suspect I would have liked it even more if it had got even wilder along with the guitars.

Flaming Tiger
The vocal delivery fits well with churning guitars and in general flows well too. The lyric doesn't hugely engage me and I was itching to hear a solo of some kind after the second chorus.

Jerkatorium
This is very well crafted and a rather more positive take on the title than I managed. I enjoyed the change in rhythm in the delivery of the lyrics. The backing vocals are very well done too. Very nice job.

Lichen Throat
The vocal delivery is putting me off here. There is clearly a degree of thought that has gone into the lyrics, but the lack of emotion in the tone means they fail to draw me in. The instrumentation is interesting enough, but I can't get past the voice this time.

Paco Del Stinko
I haven't a clue what this about, but it is all rather jolly. At points it has a rather Kinks-esque feel to it (which can't be a bad thing). Overall it was a pleasant, if mysterious listen.

Pigfarmer Jr
I like the opening riff. The vocals seem a little high in the mix to my ear. The transition into 'The power you give' sounds to me like it could be smoothed out, but overall there is a - pleasing to my ear - Dead Kennedys feel to it.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:26 pm

lichenthroat wrote:Pigfarmer Jr.— The factual exaggerations in the IRS line seem out of place, since everything else is at least arguably correct.


Agreed. At risk of being political in the forums (which I've successfully avoided so far) the point was that for Americans who pay federal income tax (pay in more than they get back) their effective tax rate is around 43%. But that isn't income tax alone. It is all the taxes, fees and licenses required. Property tax, sales tax, drivers license fees, registration fees, parking meters, tolls, use taxes such as gasoline taxes (in addition to sales tax) etc., etc. But that's not what the song said.

I'll reiterate that this is one of twelve songs I wrote and recorded in 36 hours.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby lichenthroat » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:21 pm

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
I'll reiterate that this is one of twelve songs I wrote and recorded in 36 hours.


That's a really remarkable achievement, by the way.

And the rest of your explanation made sense too.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby thehipcola » Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:57 pm

Hey Chumpy - yah, you got it right with those backing vox - I throw them in a few different rooms, pick one (using Valhalla Room usually - great room verb) and play with the mix sit them back a little. Sometimes I throw a touch of izotope widener after the verb in the chain to spread 'em out.

Andy (I think), and someone else? noted re: guitar solo. We were late with this so the solo was nixed, but it's going to happen one of these days. Hoping everyone's just air-shredding some amazing guitar solo in there as a placeholder in their heads for now. ;P
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Caravan Ray » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:37 pm

Brisbane Social Scene! LOL. Not Jondaryan Social Scene?
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby PepperJane » Sat Nov 26, 2016 8:12 am

Caravan Ray wrote:Brisbane Social Scene! LOL. Not Jondaryan Social Scene?


Had to start with B, to keep with tradition.

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:I'll reiterate that this is one of twelve songs I wrote and recorded in 36 hours.


Piggy, that sure is epic *bows head and applauds quietly*
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Niveous » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:11 pm

Wow BSS and Pepper Jane. Your track is ridiculously good. Phenomenal work.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby thehipcola » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:54 pm

Lichen Throat - loved reading the lyrics while listening. I dig some unexpected chord changes... keeps it fresh. Cool! Find the singing to be unfocused melody-wise, but that's either intentional or you're working on it - cool either way.

Brisbane Social Scen
e - moody, and I like it! Great vocals, great mix - spacious and plinky guitars/keys - very cool. Nice work. Chorus is cool beans.

Paco del Stinko - Love that key lead off the top. And the theremin style descending keys bit in the last part of the verse - nice touch. This is classic PdS - strong songwriting with cool bits all over the place. This is great.

Jerkatorium - dig that you start with the vocal - confident, with good reason. Great chorus! Extra points for having pre-choruses. Really nice touch. Every part of this is great.

Pigfarmer Jr
- poignant lyrics! musically reminds me of 54-50 - nice! wishing for tighter lock between guitars and drums but it moves along - many checkmarks here.

Andy Balham - this is oddly compelling - the swelling sweet pads and ice drop synth bits are a great juxtaposition to the lyrics/singing. Nice!

Flaming Tiger - no time for a solo - and the snare sounds like a$$. Tried mixing with the drums in mono - unsure if that's cool or not - but gives the guitars lots of space - at what cost tho? questions, questions.... thanks for the reviews everyone.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:07 pm

PepperJane wrote:Piggy, that sure is epic *bows head and applauds quietly*


Thanks the album is up at http://deadambassadors.bandcamp.com/album/11-november-2016 if you are interested in listening. Ignore if you're not. I won't be insulted.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Paco Del Stinko » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:04 pm

Quick reviews, been a busy week or so. But...I'm catchin' up! Please ask for clarification, I'll be glad to oblige.

Andy Balham - Dig the synth work, excellent all around. Thought provoking lyrics could fit in any setting, almost odd here in this near dreamy soundscape. Music from a modern Logan's Run (?)

Brisbane Social Scene
- I was going to reference Bond themes as well, great work that. I probably wouldn't have guessed that it was PJ here, if I wasn't alerted to it. Shows how versitle she is. Bridge gets a little unsure or muddy, but song redeems itself many times over. Greatness.

Flaming Tiger
- All over the place, Descendents attack at the start. This makes me want to snort Ajax and plow cars out of my way while doing a buck eighty. Well, in spirit anyway. Sorta. So much happens in a short time, always great fun. A moire explosive ending might've been cool, but I ain't really complaining.

Jerkatorium
- Aw, man. Tasty goodness throughout. Pulsing keyboards and ra-ra chanting leading to the round and around chorus. Whiffs of Saturday morning in the chorus too. Great bridge to ease back on the manic drive, slightly. Fantastic all around.

Lichen Throat - The music is complex and very oriental, for lack of a better term, sounding. The vocals need much work in both delivery and perhaps whittling off some of the lyrics bulk. Maybe fewer lines/syllables and focus on simple melody.

Paco del Stinko
- WAY too many re-runs as a kid inspired this. Right, Chumpy?

Pigfarmer Jr
- I like the lyrical content, and the main riff, but there's a bit of goofiness in the presentation, somehow. Heh. I can certainly represent goofiness. Needs an angrier edge, perhaps if you decide to re-do this. Still, good message.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby lichenthroat » Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:54 pm

Paco Del Stinko wrote:Lichen Throat - The music is complex and very oriental, for lack of a better term, sounding. The vocals need much work in both delivery and perhaps whittling off some of the lyrics bulk. Maybe fewer lines/syllables and focus on simple melody.



I have noticed that a lot of the music I compose has the "Oriental"-sounding characteristic that you mentioned. I don't know why this happens, and it's not something I do intentionally. If anyone can identify the cause, I'd certainly be interested.

I agree with your comments about paring down the syllables and lines. I kept that in mind for my "Hugs" submission, but I'm not sure who successful it was.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Chumpy » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:14 pm

Paco Del Stinko wrote: WAY too many re-runs as a kid inspired this. Right, Chumpy?

Heh, yup. All six seasons of that show ran in syndication forever, and are probably still being aired somewhere. Was sad to hear about mom passing recently.
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby MicahSommer » Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:06 am

lichenthroat wrote:I have noticed that a lot of the music I compose has the "Oriental"-sounding characteristic that you mentioned. I don't know why this happens, and it's not something I do intentionally. If anyone can identify the cause, I'd certainly be interested.


A few things I noticed about your music that, to me, gives it a non-Western, specifically Middle Eastern feel:

1. Musical mode - major vs. minor
Major-key tonality has such a stranglehold on Western music that anything else is going to sound at least a little bit foreign. A lot of Middle Eastern music is based on musical modes that, while not exactly like the Western minor mode, have some similarities. From what I could pick out on my keyboard while listening to your "Do You Have a Plan?" it seems like your song is basically in A minor.

2. Instrumental sounds
Your opening strummed chord instrument reminds me of a qanun, which is an integral part of a lot of Middle Eastern music. (Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CQDdHIQyIs - obviously this guy is miles better than any of us, but you can hear the similarity in the instrument sound). Likewise, the sustained sound playing the melody in the middle section reminds me of a Middle Eastern violin.

3. Heterophony
This is a musical technique that's quite common around the world but not so much in Western classical or popular music, involving multiple instruments playing different variations on the same melody, rather than one melody with accompaniment. I hear this in your song especially around 1:40, where the voice, the sustained instrument, and the plucked instrument are all playing/singing not quite the same melody but variations on each other. Heterophony is the defining organizational feature of a lot of Middle Eastern music, for example the takht ensemble, which features a small number of instruments with contrasting sounds, all playing a single melody. Check out this great tune by Simon Shaheen, one of the titans of modern Middle Eastern music, and his ensemble - if you can pick out the different instruments, you may hear that they are all playing the same melody but each one is varying it in its own way. Anyway, it seems to me like you're doing a similar thing with your different instruments and your voice.

That may be more analysis than you expected, but those are the features of your music I heard that point my ears in that direction. I should add that I have enjoyed both the songs you've submitted and I look forward to hearing more. :)
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby jb » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:16 am

Here are some reviews. I tried to be constructive, but I am a bit critical in a lot of this. I love you all. Just sayin'.

Flaming Tiger
Nicely produced. Kind of a screed, but I don’t think it’s catchy enough to do its job. And the lyrics are well-composed, but they need some kind of visceral impact words to break through. It’s like “hey that’s pretty good… I don’t care if I ever hear it again though.”

Lichen Throat
Buddy, I know you're just getting your feet wet and I hope this doesn't discourage you, but this entry is three minutes and 13 seconds of tuneless singing with little variation. It’s recorded pretty well, but it doesn’t matter because man it’s just not listenable. Don’t let me put you off though, I'm just an asshole with an opinion. The archive is full of terrible, terrible songs. BTW it sounds like Chinese music because you use a pentatonic scale in that violin melody. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1tcovZ4_Sc

Andy Balham
I like a nice wide pad. I take it you’re doing a Leonard Cohen tribute? This isn’t as well-produced as the Flaming Tiger song, but I’m more likely to listen to it again because the lyrics have some holding power. I think you should have done another take or two on the vocals in the beginning of the song— they’re out of tune, but the latter-half vocals are in tune.

Pigfarmer Jr.
You worked really hard to get the wide-panned doubled guitars exactly right, and then slacked off on the vocal rhythms, especially when they are doubled. Man, do takes until you get it right! The lyrics are heartfelt, but some of them seem tossed-off because they ramble. When you do a repeated thing like “they’re gonna make, they’re gonna make, they’re gonna make you pay” it would help to have the musical arrangement reinforce the lines using the same rhythm. It’ll make it sound like you wrote it purposefully rather than stuck vocals on top of music and called it a song.

Jerkatorium
This is the kind of lyric writing that the Flaming Tiger would have benefited from. Super catchy in both words and music! I like this song a lot! But the mix. Dudes. Ugh. WTF.

Brisbane Social Scene
I like slower songs in Song Fight because they seem kind of rare. It’s too tempting to make entries fast-paced because they’re all one-offs. This sounds like a James Bond theme kind of. The vocals need to have some mud taken out of them because I’m struggling to understand the words. Though what I can make out of the words sounds a little pat to me, lots of cliche phrases strung together. The vocal performance is pretty nice, especially when it gets a little gritty. Perhaps a bit more improvisation all around in the music and vocals than I personally enjoy.

Paco Del Stinko
Oh man I love that synth patch at the beginning. And the thereminny kinda sound in the verse. Your arrangements are always so completely thought out and clever. I think your lyrics could use some editing to improve their prosody and flow and fit better within your really nicely crafted arrangements. When you sing “run out of wind”— I think the vocal tone on “wind” is something I don’t normally hear from you, can you sound more like that for all of the vocals? Or is that just something that happens when you open up on one word?
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby Chumpy » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:59 am

jb wrote:... But the mix. Dudes. Ugh. WTF.

There are things I don't like about the mix too, just curious if we're hearing the same thing, or something else. Is it that the distorted rhythm guitar and the heavy metal organ stabs are stomping all over each other?
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby jb » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:16 am

Chumpy wrote:
jb wrote:... But the mix. Dudes. Ugh. WTF.

There are things I don't like about the mix too, just curious if we're hearing the same thing, or something else. Is it that the distorted rhythm guitar and the heavy metal organ stabs are stomping all over each other?


At :23 the wide guitars go away and your mix is essentially in mono. Plus, it seems at that point that your compression goes haywire or something because the chorus vocals recede and are kind of pumping. At :39 on that chorus, the crash cymbal has no impact or tone and sounds like constant static in the right speaker. It's generally over there on the right with just a couple of hits over on the left for some reason, so I have this kind of washy sound on the right side for a lot of the song. At 1:59 the mix gets a bit wider I think because you have a new synth patch (an organ?) going, and you've put some backing vocals on the left. But then there are a bunch of like, string hits or brass hits, or something also panned way right and so little on the left. It's just outta wack to my ears, with a bunch of panning, EQ, and compression issues it seems-- of course I can't tell how it sounds on your system.

I'm listening at pretty low volume from a basically proper distance on two low-end Mackie nearfield monitors.

JB
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lichenthroat
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Re: Do You Have A Plan (on how you're gonna get your reviews done?)

Postby lichenthroat » Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:07 pm

MicahSommer wrote:
lichenthroat wrote:I have noticed that a lot of the music I compose has the "Oriental"-sounding characteristic that you mentioned. I don't know why this happens, and it's not something I do intentionally. If anyone can identify the cause, I'd certainly be interested.


A few things I noticed about your music that, to me, gives it a non-Western, specifically Middle Eastern feel:

1. Musical mode - major vs. minor
Major-key tonality has such a stranglehold on Western music that anything else is going to sound at least a little bit foreign. A lot of Middle Eastern music is based on musical modes that, while not exactly like the Western minor mode, have some similarities. From what I could pick out on my keyboard while listening to your "Do You Have a Plan?" it seems like your song is basically in A minor.

2. Instrumental sounds
Your opening strummed chord instrument reminds me of a qanun, which is an integral part of a lot of Middle Eastern music. (Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CQDdHIQyIs - obviously this guy is miles better than any of us, but you can hear the similarity in the instrument sound). Likewise, the sustained sound playing the melody in the middle section reminds me of a Middle Eastern violin.

3. Heterophony
This is a musical technique that's quite common around the world but not so much in Western classical or popular music, involving multiple instruments playing different variations on the same melody, rather than one melody with accompaniment. I hear this in your song especially around 1:40, where the voice, the sustained instrument, and the plucked instrument are all playing/singing not quite the same melody but variations on each other. Heterophony is the defining organizational feature of a lot of Middle Eastern music, for example the takht ensemble, which features a small number of instruments with contrasting sounds, all playing a single melody. Check out this great tune by Simon Shaheen, one of the titans of modern Middle Eastern music, and his ensemble - if you can pick out the different instruments, you may hear that they are all playing the same melody but each one is varying it in its own way. Anyway, it seems to me like you're doing a similar thing with your different instruments and your voice.

That may be more analysis than you expected, but those are the features of your music I heard that point my ears in that direction. I should add that I have enjoyed both the songs you've submitted and I look forward to hearing more. :)


Thank you! This is very informative and is exactly the kinds of thing I was wondering about. You have a good ear to recognize the A minor. I thought I was writing the song in C major, but this is further proof that I don't have a good grasp on the distinction between major keys and their relative minors.

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