Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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Pigfarmer Jr
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Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

.... so cool what they came up with, eh?
Evil Grin has an album: https://evilgrin.bandcamp.com/
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1Dcqs6LhwsoYS6EDGPhCCk

My solo Album: http://tcelliott.bandcamp.com/

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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

lyric thread here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11640

Please add your lyric if you haven't already. Thanks
Evil Grin has an album: https://evilgrin.bandcamp.com/
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Songs posted!
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by Jim of Seattle »

This title reminds me of something Madi did a few months back. Playing the proud dad card I'm posting it.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zbl0vh8099s4z ... 6.JPG?dl=0
Here's my record label page thingie with stuff about me if you are so interested: https://greenmonkeyrecords.com/jim-of-seattle/
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by gizo »

Jim - that’s a gorgeously sad comic. Thanks for sharing.

I’m excited about this fight. I really like my song, although I struggled to perform it / to catch the way it makes me feel

But seventeen entries is awesome - and I’ve already heard a demo of TOSHIRO which was amaze, and King Arthur is here and oh just wow everyone.

I’m home today with a sick family and I am sick so maybe I’ll be listening to all these with the kids and we’ll see what we see.

Huzzah!
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by glennny »

I have a late entry. Hopefully, the Fightmaster will be so kind as to add it to the fight.
If not, you can hear it here:

Phillipso, Older Brothers, Semolina Pilchards, Zipline , Thank Glennny for the Frisbee, The Odoriferous Valley, The Worldly Self Assurance, Berkeley Social Scene, Very Gentle Knives, Daddy Bop Swing Set, GUNS, The Kraken Lives, Cavedwellers
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by Toshiro »

gizo wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:48 pm
Jim - that’s a gorgeously sad comic. Thanks for sharing.

I’m excited about this fight. I really like my song, although I struggled to perform it / to catch the way it makes me feel

But seventeen entries is awesome - and I’ve already heard a demo of TOSHIRO which was amaze, and King Arthur is here and oh just wow everyone.
Toshiro. I don't know how it became TOSHIRO but TOSHIRO feels like yr dad's pants, far too big.

edit: and I mean yr dad when you're a kid, not that yr dad has enormous pants specifically. Though maybe he does, I don't check his labels.
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by Jim of Seattle »

Wow, strong collection indeed, fully half the entries fell into the Easy Votes category. My finger is sore from all the clicking on vote boxes.

EASY VOTES

Evil Grin
Very nice. I think the lyrics are solid. There's a clear idea and and the imagery is clean. I like especially how you echo words from the first chorus in the second. A few nitpicks, of course :-). The lyrics in the first chorus feel a bit awkward. You pull it off, but just barely, and I was nervous. There are also a few syllabic stresses in weird places that could be easily fixed, and should. Also, I wish the lead was more on-key, especially when he strains on the high notes. But good job!

Glenn Case
Hall & Oates! Great as always. Snare is too heavy, and the tempo is a tad slower than I'd like. other than that, you don't need me to tell you it's good.

James Owens
I love this one. You could have taken it even further, meaning dirtier, louder, etc., but it works just fine like this. I love the slight dissonance under "That's what it will take". The bass riff nicely echoes the theme of the song, gives it a slimy vibe. Couple nits: The piano intro doesn't get you anything, I'd cut it entirely. Also, and in all honesty I didn't notice this until about the fifth listen, but he's telling her that IS what it will take. It doesn't make sense that he's asking her if that's what it will take. What he's saying in the song is that IS what it will take. Without thought about the scansion of the line, what he should be saying is "If you don't mind what it will take" or simply "That's what it will take". Now I can't unhear that goof and it buggeth. Geek moment: You play a delicious sharp 9 chord under "take my hand", which I love, and I would have told you to make a lot more of that and use it in every verse. You skip it completely underneath "head on a spike" and JoS is disappointed. Anyway, great job.

King Arthur
Like listening to "Free As a Bird" for the first time. Sounds just like King Arthur, alright. Enjoyed this. not much to say about it, it all works.

Lily Plus Martin
By all accounts this shouldn't work at all, but it does. Reminds me of the mellow Jefferson Airplane experiments. I think the reason this works when a lot of Song Fight music is like this and fails is that there is enough solid underpinning of competence to convince me it's all on purpose. It's got a lovely light touch with a lot of clearly intentional but seemingly random details. It's the kind of thing people invent at 2am. I could hear a whole album of this kind of thing.

Pigfarmer Jr
Terrific. I love the take on the title, and I like that inner rhym you stick to on every verse and the rhyme across verses on the lst lines. And I like that guitar hook. Obligatory nits: I don't think the rhyme of handshake/mistake plays, I'd rewrite that out. Also, at about "And now I'm feeling bad for you" the vocal tune is wearing thin, as we're exposed to it twice every verse. I'd consider adding a vocal hanrmony around there just to add some variety, or maybe do some different interpretation on the lead just so it doesn't get too repetitive.

ShoehornTC
Great playing, great arrangement, charming vocal performance. The lyrics are a little awkward in places, with some forced rhymes and syllabic stumbles, but fun and clever for the most part, so no biggie.. I kept expecting something unexpected to happen in the story, but nothing ever really did. But this one is good to go I think.

Third Cat
This one grew on me after 2-3 times through. That A chord in the verse is cool, gets me every time, and I liked the key change in the bridge. I like the tune and the structure a lot. The kick feels unnecessarily heavy, and the vocal feels a bit dry and thin, but overall this is a favorite in this impressively strong fight. Better late than never with the hand percussion!

TOSHIRO
Noice. That almost shispered vocal style really works with the clean arrangement. Everything points in the same direction here, and it all works together really nicely. I really wish the song ended less abruptly, so points off for that, and I have no idea what the lyrics are about. Changes are awesome, tune is interesting and catchy. Solid.

BEGRUDGING VOTES

gizo vs the 17.455
Good. not a lot to say here, it all pretty much works. I especially like the satisfying repetition of "I'll show you" followed by that nice chord change. I did find that that same melodic phrase gets heard way too many times. Given the emotional content of the lyrics, a little more exploration with more variance in the melody might have been worth the effort. Because that tune is so repetitive it falls into the begrudging category, but this is super solid.

Paco del Stinko
This is perfectly competent, but something about it puts me off. Not sure what, exactly. Seems tortured and too angsty or something, not a lot of fun.

ALMOST VOTES

BSS
Nice enough. I don't understand the significance of the spoken story. If he didn't know where he was going or what he would go when he got there, then it doesn't make sense that later he's screaming to be let in. I wanted this to ultimately be a more interesting story. This is fine, but it would be buried deep into side two of an LP

The Magnetic Letters
I like the bouncy groove and it's produced nicely, but the lyrics are really opaque, which is in total contrast to the style of the song. I have no idea what you're talking about, and the tune is rambling. So I left this song pretty confused.

NO VOTE

Hot Pink Halo
"I hold an earthquake in my arms" is a great image, and you stick with it with talk of lightning later, and of atmosphere. It's all very big. But the bridge, where you talk about the secret handshake, doesn't follow , and all of a sudden I don't know what you're talking about. Musically I'm afraid this is just too weak to contain the size of the lyric images, so I find myself not believing you.

Megadank Vs the Bloke Explosion
I'm put off by the vocal style in the verse. The chorus is better, and almost redeems the whole song. I like the arrangement mostly, so it's not a total loss, but the verse vocal is pretty annoying. And the song just stops cold rather than actually ending.

Phlebia
Oh wow, I couldn't make it all the way through this one. Sorry, but this one really grated on my nerves. If one is going to have a spoken word vocal, then those words better be damn interesting to justify removing the whole "singing a song" element from it. Songs can get away with opaque lyrics like this when there's an interesting tune or great vocal performance to hang them on, but IMHO one can only get away with talking the lead vocal when it's so compelling we don't miss that there's no tune. That is not the case here. And that drum is not interesting or kinetic, just sort of assaults me, so the vocal can't even be heard. I'm afraid this one fails on pretty much every level for me.

Glennny
Technically this goes into the No Vote group because it missed the deadline, but if it had made it it would have gotten a begrudging vote. This all works, and the tune is especially tight and catchy. I find the guitars a bit buzzy, and the song lacks a certain specialness, though I don't know what to change without turning it into a different song.

ME

Jim of Seattle
I give myself a solid B for this effort. My favorite part of writing music is when those rare "Oh yeah I nailed it" moments, when you come up with something that just works exactly right. This piece has a couple of those. If I'd had more time I would have added a whole layer of organization that's not there yet, and it probably would have been a couple minutes longer.
Here's my record label page thingie with stuff about me if you are so interested: https://greenmonkeyrecords.com/jim-of-seattle/
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by crumpart »

Jim of Seattle wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:20 pm
Hot Pink Halo
"I hold an earthquake in my arms" is a great image, and you stick with it with talk of lightning later, and of atmosphere. It's all very big. But the bridge, where you talk about the secret handshake, doesn't follow , and all of a sudden I don't know what you're talking about. Musically I'm afraid this is just too weak to contain the size of the lyric images, so I find myself not believing you.
I wrote the verses and chorus metaphorically, and the bridge goes very literal as a counterpoint to the metaphor. Interesting that I lost you there. Maybe it’s too oblique, and I’ll go into more detail later as to what it’s about, but I want to see some other reactions before I do. One question for clarification, when you say that it’s musically “too weak”, what exactly do you mean? Structure and theory choices? Instrumentation choices? Performance?
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by Æpplês&vØdkã »

Thanks for the new signature! Sorry my intrusive food dehydrator solo rubbed your ears the wrong way.
I'm afraid this one fails on pretty much every level for me. - Jim of Seattle

My bandcamp! https://phlebia.bandcamp.com
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by Jim of Seattle »

crumpart wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:05 pm
Jim of Seattle wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:20 pm
Hot Pink Halo
"I hold an earthquake in my arms" is a great image, and you stick with it with talk of lightning later, and of atmosphere. It's all very big. But the bridge, where you talk about the secret handshake, doesn't follow , and all of a sudden I don't know what you're talking about. Musically I'm afraid this is just too weak to contain the size of the lyric images, so I find myself not believing you.
I wrote the verses and chorus metaphorically, and the bridge goes very literal as a counterpoint to the metaphor. Interesting that I lost you there. Maybe it’s too oblique, and I’ll go into more detail later as to what it’s about, but I want to see some other reactions before I do. One question for clarification, when you say that it’s musically “too weak”, what exactly do you mean? Structure and theory choices? Instrumentation choices? Performance?
Yeah, so the clue is when I said "I don't believe you". From what I can gather from the lyrics, this sounds like a pretty big deal to the singer, and the music feels small and mild in comparison. It would be like if a person said "Someone just ran over my dog", or "I just won the lottery", but they said it kind of quiet and deadpan. the mildness of the way they said it in relation to the enormity of what they're saying is incongruent and so I don't believe that thing really happened to them. No worries, here comes the chorus of people saying I'm totally wrong, so grain of salt and all that.
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by owl »

crumpart wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:05 pm
Jim of Seattle wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:20 pm
Hot Pink Halo
"I hold an earthquake in my arms" is a great image, and you stick with it with talk of lightning later, and of atmosphere. It's all very big. But the bridge, where you talk about the secret handshake, doesn't follow , and all of a sudden I don't know what you're talking about. Musically I'm afraid this is just too weak to contain the size of the lyric images, so I find myself not believing you.
I wrote the verses and chorus metaphorically, and the bridge goes very literal as a counterpoint to the metaphor. Interesting that I lost you there. Maybe it’s too oblique, and I’ll go into more detail later as to what it’s about, but I want to see some other reactions before I do. One question for clarification, when you say that it’s musically “too weak”, what exactly do you mean? Structure and theory choices? Instrumentation choices? Performance?
FWIW, my instinct was to read this as a song about a neurological illness (e.g. epilepsy, Parkinson's, MS) and the "hand shake" as a literal shaking hand but this could just be me having been primed by your last song that talked about vertigo and tinnitus.
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by shoehornTC »

In order of listening… I’m an old newbie so I have to get to know the songwriters a bit better but I’m likely not one to offer suggestions to make it better. Maybe more of that after I get my feet under me here. Here’s what I liked about them.

King Arthur - Very nice guitar work. “Abracadabra” is cool in the chorus. Swinging fun.

Jim of Seattle - I wish I could do something like this but my brain is not wired that way and I’m not patient enough, very well put together, like the vocal choir in there.

Glen Case - The melody speaks to me, background vox spot on and guitar solo is wonderful. The 70’s Rundgren vibe I’m getting is nice.

ShoehornTC - My second submission since a long hiatus and both are optimistic random found love story songs. Weird, but it’s what popped out of my head.

Evil Grin - Its a love story song!! similar elements to above. Bad dad.

Third Cat - Love the keys, quickly growing on my brain, like the solo too…

Lily Plus Martin - another that is more difficult on my particular brain, change at :50 is nice.

Berkeley Social Scene - I have to go back and listen to more of yours, Cake-ish. Lots to like about this, kind of up my ally.

Hot Pink Halo - New here, wrapping my brain around this one, love the strings and bass.

Gizo vs. 17 ,455 - Change at 1:53 brings this one together and the resulting solo even further…

James Owens - Love the bass line, and the “if thats what it will take” breaks.

Paco Del Stinko - Rocking song, loved it all.

Pigfarmer Jr. - wonderful acoustic guitar work!

Toshiro - vox & effects are great, and another great bass line here, big fan of the piano throughout.

Megadank Vs The Bloke Explosion - Love the chorus and subsequent instrumental break, funny stuff, “spurious” = wonderful.

The Magnetic Letters - this one speaks to me, I guess that shows my particular tastes a bit, I dare say probably my fave.

Phlebia - I like the crows, this is interesting in a good way. Another example of something I wish I had the brain and patience to pull off.

Great work everyone!! Glad to be here. I’ve learned a ton in my two fights!! Thanks!!
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by crumpart »

owl wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:13 pm
crumpart wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:05 pm
Jim of Seattle wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:20 pm
Hot Pink Halo
"I hold an earthquake in my arms" is a great image, and you stick with it with talk of lightning later, and of atmosphere. It's all very big. But the bridge, where you talk about the secret handshake, doesn't follow , and all of a sudden I don't know what you're talking about. Musically I'm afraid this is just too weak to contain the size of the lyric images, so I find myself not believing you.
I wrote the verses and chorus metaphorically, and the bridge goes very literal as a counterpoint to the metaphor. Interesting that I lost you there. Maybe it’s too oblique, and I’ll go into more detail later as to what it’s about, but I want to see some other reactions before I do. One question for clarification, when you say that it’s musically “too weak”, what exactly do you mean? Structure and theory choices? Instrumentation choices? Performance?
FWIW, my instinct was to read this as a song about a neurological illness (e.g. epilepsy, Parkinson's, MS) and the "hand shake" as a literal shaking hand but this could just be me having been primed by your last song that talked about vertigo and tinnitus.
This is 100% correct. Well done!

I have a genetic essential tremor that affects my motor function. I hid it for a long time and didn't go see a neurologist until it about 8 years ago when got bad enough that a few people noticed and made me go. My grandfather had Parkinson's before he died, so I was terrified it was that. As far as is known, they're not related, but the concern is always there. I'm not sure if it's just obstinance, but I have a tendency to want to do all the things that require super fine motor skills, like very detailed drawing and playing violin. The reason that the music is primarily violin is that, and also this story.

On the deadpan note from Jim: I'm Australian. Deadpan is our default.
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by owl »

crumpart wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:23 pm
owl wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:13 pm
crumpart wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:05 pm


I wrote the verses and chorus metaphorically, and the bridge goes very literal as a counterpoint to the metaphor. Interesting that I lost you there. Maybe it’s too oblique, and I’ll go into more detail later as to what it’s about, but I want to see some other reactions before I do. One question for clarification, when you say that it’s musically “too weak”, what exactly do you mean? Structure and theory choices? Instrumentation choices? Performance?
FWIW, my instinct was to read this as a song about a neurological illness (e.g. epilepsy, Parkinson's, MS) and the "hand shake" as a literal shaking hand but this could just be me having been primed by your last song that talked about vertigo and tinnitus.
This is 100% correct. Well done!

I have a genetic essential tremor that affects my motor function. I hid it for a long time and didn't go see a neurologist until it about 8 years ago when got bad enough that a few people noticed and made me go. My grandfather had Parkinson's before he died, so I was terrified it was that. As far as is known, they're not related, but the concern is always there. I'm not sure if it's just obstinance, but I have a tendency to want to do all the things that require super fine motor skills, like very detailed drawing and playing violin. The reason that the music is primarily violin is that, and also this story.

On the deadpan note from Jim: I'm Australian. Deadpan is our default.
In that case, I don't think the lyrics are too oblique :)
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by Toshiro »

Jim of Seattle wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:20 pm
TOSHIRO
Noice. That almost shispered vocal style really works with the clean arrangement. Everything points in the same direction here, and it all works together really nicely. I really wish the song ended less abruptly, so points off for that, and I have no idea what the lyrics are about. Changes are awesome, tune is interesting and catchy. Solid.
It's about the recent terrorist attack on London Bridge and Boris Johnson's attempt to capitalise on it for political gain.

I agree that I'd like it to be longer - something for the album version perhaps.
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by gizo »

Jim of Seattle wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:20 pm
Wow, strong collection indeed, fully half the entries fell into the Easy Votes category. My finger is sore from all the clicking on vote boxes.

gizo vs the 17.455
Good. not a lot to say here, it all pretty much works. I especially like the satisfying repetition of "I'll show you" followed by that nice chord change. I did find that that same melodic phrase gets heard way too many times. Given the emotional content of the lyrics, a little more exploration with more variance in the melody might have been worth the effort. Because that tune is so repetitive it falls into the begrudging category, but this is super solid.
Yeah - so many great tracks, well done everyone.

Thanks Jim for the comments. That's interesting about the repetitive melody, I'll keep that in mind and see if I can find more variation in future.

On that 'nice chord change' - that's probably my favourite chord to play, so I'm stoked that someone else has found it worthy of a comment ;) It's basically a D but I fret the F# on the low E instead of the high E. And often I'll just dump the two highest strings altogether.
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by gizo »

I'm off work today because sick but listening to songs and seriously all I can say so far is THAT BASSLINE from toshiro is awesome.
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by vowlvom »

Berkeley Social Scene: I really, really like the spoken word stuff here. It's something I don't think I've heard from BSS before and you do it really well - the use of repetition is really effective and there's an excellent energy to the spoken delivery. Chorus is catchy and effective too, and I appreciated the restrained lead guitar. One piece of hopefully constructive criticism, when the vocal comes back in over the second half of the mini-solo it feels like the voice and guitar are competing for space a bit, if the guitar got doubled and panned out wide or had some creative EQ / reverb / delay going on (ask yourself: What Would Third Cat Do?) then I think it could sound really cool.

Evil Grin: one of those awkward-to-review songs where I don't have any specific criticism but it didn't really click with me for some reason. I like your voices together, although Amanda's harmonies could maybe be up in the mix a little. But on the whole this is well written and performed, it just didn't quite hook me in.

gizo vs. the 17,455: for me this is a bit of a step down from your last couple of songs, but they were my favourites of their respective fights and I'm not expecting that every time. Besides, it wouldn't be fair on everyone else. I had the same problem as Jim, in that the vocal melody gets very repetitive - but I'm not actually sure it would bother me if the vocals weren't also so high in the mix and if that sort of boxy reverb sound didn't grate on me. I think the song itself is good, there's some lovely guitar work in there. The mix and melody just kept it back from greatness for me.

Glenn Case: I enjoyed this one a lot, and it's definitely in my top-tier for the fight, but I still have a few bones to pick with it - one is that it really feels like it could use some more dynamics, that synth sounds great but it really packs out the mix, it would be cool if there was a half-verse that dropped the guitar and went full electronic or something. The lead guitar frequently sounds lovely but there's just a bit too much of it for my tastes (sorry mo) - the solo in particular goes on twice as long as it should for me. The ending is clunky too, it feels like things just stop but not all at the same time. The song and mix are strong enough to win through despite these minor objections, though!

Hot Pink Halo: I think I'm repeating myself from a previous HPH review here but what's with the extremely quiet drums? It feels like you're not sure whether to leave them in the mix or not and have compromised by leaving them on the edge of earshot where they're slightly irritating without giving any real rhythm to the song. Your take on the title is a clever one and I appreciate that your songs always sound like nobody else but you, but this one didn't really work for me I'm afraid.

James Owens: lots of individual things I like in this one, the intro is cool, the bassline is great and reminds me of 60s spy movies, there's some nice lead guitar work. It doesn't all hang together for me though, and I had some issues with the piano - it sounds natural and good in the intro but very robotic and every-note-maximum-velocity when it comes back into the song. The vocals also don't really fit the song for me either, it feels like they need some more energy or maybe just some more space in the busy mix.

Jim of Seattle: I know you mentioned something about the syllables of the title informing the writing of this song, but as a listener it just feels like any old instrumental with the title repeated a few times at the start, which makes it immediately a less interesting entry from a SF! point of view than any of the others. I mostly like the music though, the stacks of Philip Glass-esque arpeggios and brass work for me and there's a nicely dynamic swell to it. My main objection is the choir vocal thing, which I just cannot stand - it sinks the song for me completely.

King Arthur: like the Evil Grin song, this is well-written and performed but never quite grabbed me. You clearly know your way around a song but I missed that interesting hook or unusual idea that might have pulled me in. The only thing I can think of as a constructive note is that some backing vocals or something to lift the chorus would be a nice touch, I think - but generally I think this is just not particularly for me.

Lily Plus Martin: this feels unusually scrappy for L+M, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It still has moments of magic, most notably when Lily's vocal comes in strong after the loose first section - if the song evolved from there then I think you could have had something special here, but instead it kinda drops back to the first thing and that lost me.

The Magnetic Letters: I found myself comparing this to your other similarly rambling-lyric efforts of recent fights and it felt like there was more of an effort to structure them into a traditional verse / chorus structure here, which worked for me. It didn't fully click with me like your carrot song or... whatever the first one was that you did after returning to SF. Your songs are very musicianly, which I feel like I have a bit of an inverse-snobbery bias against, which is on me. I liked it quite a bit, though.

Megadank Vs The Bloke Explosion: this might be my least favourite Song Fight! band name ever, but despite that and a fair few other objections, this won me over. I'm not sure whether it's the catchy chorus (is this a Balance Lost collab, or just a Pete soundalike?) the use of the word "ombudsman" in the lyrics, or the synth solo... but I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Paco del Stinko: this is another one at the more rockin' end of Paco, which never really clicks with me genre-bias-wise as much as your poppier stuff, but I thought the chorus was surprisingly catchy for such a rocking song. The frantic solo here is also maybe my favourite bit of guitar from this fight. But on the whole, admired rather than loved.

Phlebia: love your drum sound again here, I know you've experimented with different sounds and techniques but when drums sound lo-fi in this "I feel like I'm in the room with a drummer! But I can turn him down!" kinda way I always love it. This kinda gets stuck in one place though and I feel like it really needs some change-ups to keep it interesting, so it wasn't one of my favourite tracks from you.

Pigfarmer Jr: your voice does indeed sound good here, kudos for beating illness to enter! I think your lyrics and delivery are strong too, there are none of the rhythmic issues here that I've mentioned (perhaps repetitively) in the past. The song as a whole falls into a similar category to Evil Grin and King Arthur where it didn't click with me but I have no useful comments, it's solid songwriting performed well.

ShoehornTC: I loved your last entry and I love this one too, this is head and shoulders above everything else at the top of my personal ranking for this fight. The lyrics are charming, your voice is warm and melodic and a joy to listen to, and the music is executed to perfection. My only criticism is that you didn't enter a song in the last few fights, please submit more, I am a fan.

Third Cat: I wouldn't necessarily say this is my favourite 3C song, there are a few that have really grabbed me for whatever reason, but this one feels like a great example of all the things you're very good at - unusual production choices, clever change-ups, doing-a-lot-with-few-lyrics. The middle 8 is particularly interesting, it feels like it goes in a totally unexpected direction in an extremely satisfying way. Nice work.

TOSHIRO: this passed me by a little on first listen but quickly won me over when I listened closer. It has some nice subtle touches that make it a really pleasurable listen. I sometimes find that the tracks with subtle pleasures get a bit left behind in this kind of playlist, but this caught my ear despite not being as obviously attention-grabbing as some of the other tracks.
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by thirdcatmusic »

BSS - I like this one quite a bit. I think the spoken word verse sounds really cool and works well. The song has a really cool groove on the verse. The pre-chorus works and the chorus is pretty killer. Overall one of the better BSS songs I've heard and a definite vote for me. My only negative is that that I find the lead guitar tone a tad bit harsh/trebly. I often feel the same way about my own lead guitar tones and then can't seem to get them right anyway. Still so many cool musical layers on this one. Was even better on 2nd listen.

Evil Grin - Guitars sound good throughout. Real nice acoustics. I like the verse quite a bit more than the chorus on this one (vocals get a bit shaky there at times). But my favorite part is the bridge. Nice song. Maybe vote.

gizo - Interesting dissonance in the guitars although I'm not sure it quite works. Vocals sound pretty good, maybe a tad bit too much above the mix? (rather than in it.) I like the guitar break around 2:15 minutes in. This one has a lot of ideas I like and I think it could be a real grower with more listens. Overall the mix seems a bit light. Maybe vote.

Glenn Case - I love the synths. Vocals are maybe slightly low in the mix? They still cut through and sound good but it feels like they should be a bit higher in this kind of song. Nice guitar solo, but maybe goes on a bit long. Catchy rhythms in the keys. I have to vote for this one. Vote.

Hot Pink Halo - This doesn't quite gel for me but I like the ideas. It feels like there's not quite enough holding it together.

James Owens - This is a real interesting song/arrangement. Sounds like you're going for a spy movie theme song type thing. I dig the main bassline. I might appreciate this more than love it. But it's a pretty impressive effort either which way. Maybe vote.

Jim of Seattle
- I like a lot of this and I really dug how the music mutated from the spoken word. I'm not entirely sure I like the choir vocals but I also think I might love them. I'm definitely not an expert in this kind of music but I do like some Steve Reich stuff and that's what this reminds me of a bit. A maybe vote from me, will see how it grows on me. Definitely impressive work!

King Arthur - This sounds like a pretty good song that is let down by some of the sounds/production. Overall sound is thin. And it all seems to sort of go along at the same energy level. Nice guitar leads, those are probably my favorite part of the song.

Lily + Martin - The parts are really pretty. Lovely guitar/vocals. Might be a bit of an under-realized song/more of an interlude/or section of a song but I still just really like how it sounds and enjoyed listening to it. Maybe vote.

The Magnetic Letters - This is pretty cute and well performed. I think it maybe deserves a vote but it's not really my thing and not sure I can overcome my genre bias on this one. Just a bit too cute maybe?

Megadank - Sounds good and some funny lyrics. Maybe vocals are a bit thin but they sound pretty good. A probable vote.

Paco - Sounds great as always. Great guitar solo. Still; for some reason this one isn't grabbing me as much as my favorite Paco songs have done in the past. A maybe vote if it grows on me.

Phlebia - I love it. Maybe one that won't be as good on multiple listens but on my first couple I've found myself pretty transfixed by it. Vote.

Pigfarmer Jr. - Nice acoustic guitar, I think I've said this about your songs before but they acoustic guitar playing reminds me of early '70s Rolling Stones which I mean as a compliment for sure. Good vocals. The drums fit in the mix pretty well. I think this is another one that probably deserves a vote even if not entirely up my alley genre-wise. Good work.

Shoehorn TC - Fun upbeat song. Enjoyable listen. Well performed. I can't really think of anything constructive as far as criticism as it seems pretty well realized as far as what you seem to be going for but if I have to stretch for something I'd say that the lead guitar licks in the right channel are maybe a bit much at times. I liked this. Vote.

Third Cat (me) - For the optional challenge I have a static C major chord on the outro with an E Major chord sort of floating in and then disappearing (before turning into a C major as well the last time through.) Pretty cool alternative way of creating tension/release that I hadn't tried before.

TOSHIRO - This sounds great. Really cool guitar lead on the intro. Nice bass. Vocals sound great for this style. Definite vote.
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by Jim of Seattle »

thirdcatmusic wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:56 am
I'm not entirely sure I like the choir vocals but I also think I might love them. I
vowlvom wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:38 am
My main objection is the choir vocal thing, which I just cannot stand - it sinks the song for me completely.
shoehornTC wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:15 pm
like the vocal choir in there.
This is interesting. Everyone is calling out the choir vocal, even though that doesn't appear at all until the playout at the end, and IMO is more a subtle pad than anything. Or are people referring to the vocal soloists in the middle? I'm confused.
Here's my record label page thingie with stuff about me if you are so interested: https://greenmonkeyrecords.com/jim-of-seattle/
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Re: Look at these cool (Secret Handshake Reviews)

Post by shoehornTC »

I am referring to the singing in the middle. it is bold.
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