Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.

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Pigfarmer Jr
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Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:54 pm

... whether they are good reviews or not....
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Lunkhead » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:25 pm

I'm trying to get the site updated but my Internet is almost completely crapping out on me. :/ I'm gonna keep trying, might be a while...
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Lunkhead » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:52 pm

Whew, ok, songs finally posted. Had a busy week, got a bit delayed, but now you can enjoy some hot new tunes. Hooray!
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Chumpy » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:07 pm

I for one welcome our new Joey Wildcat overlords.

Those are some tight harmonies. I am blown the fuck away. Like Jim Croce had a session with The Byrds in Muscle Shoals. Bravo!
"Nice and quirky. Like the lyrics, but Is this arty enough for Songfight?" --Spud
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby thehipcola » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:43 am

Ditto - Joey Wildcat knocks it out of the park. What a voice and those guitars.. nice!
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Rone Rivendale » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:15 pm

Glad to see a decent amount of entries this time. I was starting to worry after the last couple fights. :)
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby BoffoYux » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:48 pm



What the hell. I have some time, let's do a LP right now!

SongFight Listening Party for 'Old Friends' Pre show starts now - LP at 9:00 pm.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2a9CINozBw
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Jerkatorium » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:32 pm

Okay some quickie reviews:

Balance Lost: The five percent nation of casiotone. Really well done. The vocal melody and drum machine combo has that Rural Alberta Advantage charm. I like it a lot.

Berkeley Social Scene: That first chord hits like a soft wave. I wish I had the guts to compose a song with non-rhyming lyrics. The secret must be in the cadence and confident, natural delivery, which this performance definitely has. Nice, relaxing tune with a lovely guitar tone.

Lichen Throat: I'm beginning to believe that what I'd originally thought was inventive and experimental about Lichen Throat might instead be a consistent, distinctive style and not a conscious effort at an original approach. That doesn't make it any less interesting to listen to. It's like Laurie Anderson meets Daniel Johnston meets Spaulding Gray... but last week's LT entry sounded like that too.

Joey Wildcat: Those harmonies are solid, tight. Good lyrics and instantly listenable. The best song of the fight. I wish the harmonies escaped the lead vocal earlier in the song - for most of the song the harmonies just layer the lead vocal, and the backing vocals don't start doing anything on their own until the end of the song. But that doesn't matter, it sounds great, I still think this song is the best of the bunch.

WreckdoM: Lately WreckdoM has been submitting entries that are inventive and compelling, but this song isn't really doing it for me. Maybe the chorus is a letdown in this one? I can't put my finger on it. They deserve big points for originality and nerve, and I always appreciate hearing something out of the ordinary in SongFight, but I just don't want to listen to this one more than once.

Andy Balham: The drum machine setting is distractingly bad. The semi-monotonal vocal melody reminds me of Depeche Mode and Bauhaus. That comparison might be the meanest thing I've ever said about any SongFight submission, yet I don't dislike this song. It effectively conveys this ominous feel which somehow seems to build over the course of the song.

NeilYounger Jr.: So very Neil Young that I can't help but like it. It's just so, so, so Neil Young. Definitely my favorite Pigfarmer Young oops I mean Neilfarmer Jr oops I mean Pigfarmer Jr song to date.

Dark Side of the Sun: Jim Carroll's "People Who Died" after a half jug of moonshine and a handful of Ambien. Seems off time/balance here and there. A little gimmicky, but you'll always win points from me with a banjo.

Flaming Tiger: Oh goddammit I love you guys. Obviously way too short, left me wanting more more more.

Jerkatorium featuring Micah Sommersmith: Micah did so much on this song, both music and lyrics, that the band name should really be "Micah Sommersmith featuring Jerkatorium", but we kept the current name for consistency. The idea was to do a song in the style of one of the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope duets like "Teamwork" or "Put It There Pal".
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Chumpy » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:52 pm

Some half assed reviews, because I am a lazy fuck.

Wreckdom: Parts of this remind me of Ween, probably the line about watching a hobo throw up mucas. I like the chorus vox. The unfocused BVs kinda ruin it for me though.

Flaming Tiger: WANT MOAR.

Balance Lost: This sounds great. Dig the way you sing Aeroplane. This has such a happy up-tempo groove, I love it. VOTE.

Lichen Throat: Lots of room for improvement on vocal timing and rhythm. In some spots like "All the stock options and the dividends" it feel like you're cramming too many sylables into the space allotted. Words crisply landing on beats would go a long way towards improving the listenability of this song.

BSS: I bailed at around 02:00. I figured after one verse, one chorus, and some guitar noodling I'd heard enough.

Joey Wildcat: This is my favorite song of the fight by a long shot. I was singing this in my car yesterday, "I knew them back when they were Gods / I know we were not meant to beat the odds". I could remember exactly how this part went, because it's a killer hook.

Dark side of the Sun: Nursery school rhymes, herky-jerky timing, bleak subject matter, I didn't make it all the way through.

Andy Ballham: I'm a fan of your deep Nick Cave style vocal delivery, but I struggle with all the synth. So. Much. Synth.

Pigfarmer Jr: I can't help but like this, because it reminds me of a certain someone. I can't quite put my finger on it. I think this is the first song I've heard you sing a harmony part on, and it sounds great. VOTE.

Micahtorium: I quite like the bit where Micah and Ryan have an accordion/guitar duel. I don't sing this in my car because I can't remember how it goes, which is sad because I must have heard it like a hundred times by now. Will our shameless SF meta pandering pay off?
"Nice and quirky. Like the lyrics, but Is this arty enough for Songfight?" --Spud
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Smalltown Mike » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:17 am

A couple thoughts about just a couple songs:

Andy Balham — I definitely have a genre bias here, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I think this could use some variety in that synth. Could it drop in? Drop out? Disappear for a bit?

Pigfarmer — Great voice. Sometimes it treads too closely to Neil Young territory, in that it almost sounds like a cover. I like the “old friend” refrain. It’s haunting. Really nice.

Joey Wildcat — yep, great. This wouldn’t be out of place on the radio, and I mean that in a good way.

Lichen Throat — Keep making music! 10,000 hours. Hope you’re enjoying the process.

Jerkatorium et al: This is really fun. I hope you had a lot of fun making it. Great work.

Flaming Tiger — Sometimes I think we should go back and add verses and repeat the hook, but then these would just be regular songs instead of uber-short Flaming Tiger songs and that would make us sell-outs.
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:34 pm

Joey Wildcat - The 70's guitars are awesome. (Reminds me slightly of both the byrds and Doug Sahm.) This is a tight arrangement, tight harmonies and just all around good performance. It's a catchy hook. You done good, kid.

Jermicahtorium - It's meta and typically meta is a dangerous ground for me. (Mainly because when I do meta it sucks.) But I friggin' love this song. It's the perfect kind of meta for my taste. It helps that the melody is fun, the beat is light, the arrangement supports the melody and the lyric is funny.

Pigfarmer Jr (me) - I was afraid I'd get called out for sounding too much like another song (not Neil Young) but I guess all those Neil Young comparisons I got those years ago were more apt than I originally thought. To be fair Neil Young has done a huge range of songs. And my voice only sounds a little like him, I think. But I'm gonna take all those Neil Young comparisons as a compliment as I didn't intentionally mean to swipe his groove. (I'll admit to being a fan, though.) I do like this song. And for the record it is about the passing of a friend/musician that participated in Songfight a handful of times as Hoops and part of Micky Skylark and even won once as the later.

Flaming Tiger - This would fit in a Reverend Horton Heat set, I think. (At least back in the 90's when I saw him every time he came around.) It's got energy, a cool groove and a vocal performance that I liked. It was good enough that I thought it was too short. I saw what you said about arrangement, but I think a break of some kind and a repeat of the chorus wouldn't be selling out. You could still come in around 1:30 if you wanted. But there is something to be said for hitting them in the face with a great tasting pie and getting the hell out before they can wipe the whipped cream out of their eyes.

BSS - I liked the inflection of the vocal but a spot or two was a bit distracting. I liked the mix well enough. The arrangement, too. That solo was fun. I really like the instrumental sections a lot. The slower vocal melodies, too. Yeah, this is good, but I think the chorus is weaker than the verses (but not terrible or anything.) Actually, I think I just don't like the bounce in the rhythm as much. Although I liked it better on the second listen.

Balance Lost - I liked the rhythm/groove in the bass and guitars. I like the melody. Somehow the mix just doesn't come together as well as it maybe should. But I like the song. Another one that I like better on second listen.

Andy Balham - Vocal delivery suits the music very well, but there are inflection (and possibly pitch) problems that distract me just enough to take me out of the song. I liked the synth work. I'd agree that this song would benefit from some dynamics in the arrangement as was stated before, but I don't think it's bad as is.

Dark Side Of The Sun - Cool band name. It almost sounds as if your guitar has a slightly out of tune G string. Maybe it's just the banjo? I like some of the lyric and the rural feel. Something about the melody/vocal delivery that doesn't sit just right. Maybe a faster tempo. Or maybe it's panned too much off center for my taste. Maybe not so much space on it. Take the vocal effect back a hair? That vocal line on the left side was a hair out of tune, btw. At any rate, I enjoyed listening although it's not my favorite. Sounds like some of my relatives smoked some weed and went down to the low water bridge to jam. Reminds me of home a bit too much.

Wreckdom - Where Dark Side sounds like they smoked some Mary Jane and took their bluegrass instruments down to the bridge, this sounds like y'all took some acid and did something similar. Just enough off that I'm not sure if I like it or not. Parts of it are cool. Fits the chorus, I suppose. On second listen, I'm beginning to kind of like it in Captain Beefheart kind of way.

Lichen Throat - You know there is something in the music that is enticing. I think that you didn't learn the melody well enough to phrase it properly. The timing is off just enough to be distracting. It does have a stream of conscious creative attraction. But not enough to keep me in the connection.
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Andy Balham » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:10 pm

Balance Lost
This was a jolly listen. Some nice changes of pace and some nicely crafted lyrics. All very polished to my crude ear.

Berkeley Social Scene
Another polished piece with some fine instrumental work and an interesting change into the 'old friends' section. It jarred a little the first time, but felt better when repeated.

Dark side of the Sun
This was fun, even if only to start guessing the second line to endless couplets.

Flaming Tiger
I like the urgency here and indeed the brevity. It certainly did not outstay its welcome.

Jerkatorium feat. Micah Sommersmith
More fun in store here. The way the lyric gently roasts each other is done very well indeed. The production is top notch too.

Joey Wildcat
Yet another polished effort, perhaps even more so than the previous entries. Nothing to really fault here, but perhaps a break from the multi-tracked vocal could have worked.

Lichen Throat
An intriguing story and a lot of musical ideas going on in the background. It didn't quite grab me, but provided a welcome change of tone.

Pigfarmer Jr
I really like the guitar sound here. The music reminds me of something I can't quite put my finger on. Overall this is my favourite of the songs here.

WreckdoM
Another interesting story being told here. This is reminding me of Beck for some reason, depending on your predilictions that may or may not be a good thing. For me it is a good thing.

Andy Balham (me)
Yes, I probably did overdo the synths a bit this time.
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby lichenthroat » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:03 pm

Andy Balham—I’m not as averse to the synths as some of the other reviewers; the song has a consistent tone and feel, so, although it has a bit of an 80s sound, I think the synths are okay. On the other hand, I’d like more variation within the song. It kind of seems like it’s too long, and then I’m surprised when it’s already over. Maybe try to build up to more of a crescendo, or add another instrument after the first verse.

Balance Lost
—Very pleasant. The recording is a little hollow and echo-y, but that’s not a big deal. Good songwriting and vocal performance.

Berkeley Social Scene—Not my cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t well written and performed. Nice mix on the guitar.

Dark side of the Sun—You can share the award for strangest capitalization with WreckdoM. I like how this sounds, but it wears out its welcome before the end. Given the dark humor of the lyrics, I think this would work pretty well if it was more clearly presented as a novelty song, maybe shortening the duration and dialing up the flair of the vocal performance.

Flaming Tiger—My thoughts on this song are difficult to articulate. Mostly, the song sounds really good. Somehow, however, it ends on the wrong note, perhaps both literally and figuratively. There’s something unsatisfying about the conclusion that is probably related to a combination of the duration and structure, but which my meagre knowledge of music theory is inadequate to precisely identify and describe.

Jerkatorium feat. Micah Sommersmith—Two sets of double thumbs up! This is exactly the right way to do a song like this: funny, lively, and clever. It’s interesting to hear Micah’s voice in a different context than usual; it sounds really good. I’d be interested to hear how you guys wrote the lyrics. Did each of you write the parts for the other to sing?

Joey Wildcat—Welcome to Song Fight! And wow, way to throw down the gauntlet in your debut! This sounds like a classic song I would have been hearing on AOR radio for the last 30 years. If you’re looking for a nitpick, a slightly mellower guitar tone might have been better, but this is fantastic. Very, very well done.

Lichen Throat—Not my best, obviously. The vocal is terrible, even by my standards. I was sick when I recorded it, but that probably wasn’t even much of a factor. When I started doing Song Fight, I decided that I had to turn in every song I finished, no matter how bad, because I’m nowhere near good enough to be picky, and because the only way to learn is to keep trying. So, in that spirit, toward the end of recording the vocal, it finally occurred to me that if I want there to be a discernable vocal melody, I have to actually sing the notes at different pitches. Quite a revelation to all, I’m sure. Finally, I agree with everyone else’s previous comments about this song. In response to Jerkatorium: you’re right, a lot of the weirdness in my music is attributable to my inexperience and limitations, rather than to a particular desire to be experimental. That said, I did try to do something a little different for my upcoming entry, so we’ll see how that turns out.

Pigfarmer Jr.—This does have a bit of a Neil Young sound. I often don’t like Neil Young all that much, but I do like this song. In particular, you’ve made a very good choice of chords for the guitar at the beginning of the vocal lines.

WreckdoM—I really like the vocal melody on the first couple of lines. I'm less keen on the weird voices, however. What instrument did you use for those super low notes? Is that just a regular bass, or something more exotic? Anyway, it sounds good and adds a lot of interest to the song.

It’s hard to imagine anyone not voting for both Joey Wildcat and Jerkatorium/Micah, so I boldly predict a tie for first place.
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Chumpy » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:15 pm

lichenthroat wrote:I’d be interested to hear how you guys wrote the lyrics. Did each of you write the parts for the other to sing?

Ryan pitched the "buddy song" idea (we previously had been talking about doing a sea shanty) and came up with the first few verses and chorus lyrics. Micah and I each wrote a verse, and all of us worked on a bunch of edits to polish it up. Micah came up with the chord progression, played piano, accordion, composed the vocal melody and harmony parts, and sang. Ryan programmed the drums, played rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, organ, and sang all the backing vocals. I sang, twiddled knobs, and looked pretty.
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby MicahSommer » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:05 pm

Some really good songs in this fight!

Andy Balham - Solid though not particularly memorable tune. Nice synth melody between verses and in the ending. The production could use more variety between the verses and chorus, even if it's just more involved percussion during the chorus, or something.

Balance Lost - Lots of fun. The instrumentation, especially the drums and electric guitar, is cheap-sounding, but it's high energy and varied, and you've got a great vocal melody that you sell with a great performance. I really like this song!

Berkeley Social Scene - I like the double-time feel moving from the verse to the chorus - it's unexpected and gives a welcome boost of energy. Not much to say otherwise - you guys are remarkably consistent from fight to fight.

Dark side of the Sun - Good melody. Clever concept but it overstays its welcome a bit. I don't need to hear about quite that many of your friends who have passed on in bizarre and gruesome ways. This feels like a first pass at what could become a rollicking high-energy bluegrass tune.

Flaming Tiger - I don't have a problem with short songs, but it sounds like you just stopped playing because you couldn't think of an ending. Your style is well-defined and fully developed, but the downside of that is that this song kind of just sounds like every other Flaming Tiger song. That said, you guys clearly know what you're going for and you go for it.

Jerkatorium feat. Micah Sommersmith - This was a blast - thanks to the Jerks for reaching out to collaborate again. Ryan really outdid himself especially with the backing vocals and by demolishing me in the accordion/guitar duel.

Joey Wildcat - This is certainly the most professional-sounding song in the fight. You've got a solid, memorable melody and your vocals and guitars are impeccable. My complaint is that it sounds a bit more like a pastiche than an original song in its own right - from the very familiar I-IV guitar riff that follows the vocal hook, to the double-tracked vocals throughout, to the CCR lead guitar licks under the verse.

Lichen Throat - I think this is my favorite of your submissions so far, LT. Criticism of your vocal phrasing has already been noted by others (though I'd add that in much of the song it seems like your voice is a beat behind the instruments, in terms of where the stress falls... if that makes sense - e.g. with the line "College was different than boarding school" I'd expect it to line up with the strong musical beats as "COLLege was DIFFerent than BOARDing SCHOOL" but instead we get "[rest] college WAS different THAN boardING school"). On the plus side, 1) the instrumental track is great (I love the interplay between the different instruments) and 2) your lyrics are great, with some really good individual lines, and you generally do really well at riding the line between sympathy and contempt for these old rich dudes.

Pigfarmer Jr - Like several others, I was reminded of Neil Young, especially the album "Tonight's the Night" - for both the musical style and the subject matter. The music is great. Most of the lyrics are very "heart on my sleeve" - which is warranted given the circumstances, but I appreciated the lines "The sun rose in the western sky / A blackbird told me that you had died" - which combine oblique imagery (sun rising backwards, blackbird) with directness ("you had died") in a really effective way.

WreckdoM - There are certainly some good ideas in here but to me it comes off as too self-indulgent for me to really enjoy. However, I have to give you credit for the line "In times like these, who needs memories?" - which is easily the best lyric of the fight. I had to Google it to make sure you hadn't stolen it.
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby lichenthroat » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:20 pm

MicahSommer wrote:Lichen Throat - I think this is my favorite of your submissions so far, LT. Criticism of your vocal phrasing has already been noted by others (though I'd add that in much of the song it seems like your voice is a beat behind the instruments, in terms of where the stress falls... if that makes sense - e.g. with the line "College was different than boarding school" I'd expect it to line up with the strong musical beats as "COLLege was DIFFerent than BOARDing SCHOOL" but instead we get "[rest] college WAS different THAN boardING school")

You are very, very kind.

After submitting, I noted the same mismatch between the vocal and the beats that you describe. In the recording process I use, I usually have to manually line up the vocal track for each verse with the rest of the music. For some reason, I did a really lousy job this time. I'm not sure if there was something about this song that made it harder than normal, or if I was simply unusually impatient.

Your song was really great--definitely one of my favorites of the last several months.
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Lunkhead » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:21 pm

Congrats Jerkatorium feat. Micah Sommersmith!
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Chumpy » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:57 pm

Sometimes winning leads to FRIENDSHIP.

"Nice and quirky. Like the lyrics, but Is this arty enough for Songfight?" --Spud
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:56 am

lichenthroat wrote:
MicahSommer wrote:After submitting, I noted the same mismatch between the vocal and the beats that you describe. In the recording process I use, I usually have to manually line up the vocal track for each verse with the rest of the music. For some reason, I did a really lousy job this time.


I don't know how you record but try putting a test sound at 0:00 each track. So like a three to five second beep or tone. Start each track with it. Then when it comes time to line up the tracks you just line up the tone and twala. It doesn't solve timing issues, obviously, but it's a great tool when lining up tracks recorded from different start points as it forces the "start point" to be at :00
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Re: Old Friends (will at least give you Reviews)

Postby ken » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:28 am

I always add a click to the start of any tracks I'm sharing. I use midi to just add a one or two bar count off. As long as all the other tracks include this part, it is fairly easy to line up. Also, helpful is recording to a fixed tempo and making sure everyone also records to the same tempo. Another trick that works well is to always include the start of the other track when you export your track. This only works when you don't play at the start, but for vocal tracks it works really well. Just include the first couple of bars of the back up track on your vocal track.

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
lichenthroat wrote:
MicahSommer wrote:After submitting, I noted the same mismatch between the vocal and the beats that you describe. In the recording process I use, I usually have to manually line up the vocal track for each verse with the rest of the music. For some reason, I did a really lousy job this time.


I don't know how you record but try putting a test sound at 0:00 each track. So like a three to five second beep or tone. Start each track with it. Then when it comes time to line up the tracks you just line up the tone and twala. It doesn't solve timing issues, obviously, but it's a great tool when lining up tracks recorded from different start points as it forces the "start point" to be at :00
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