Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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Pigfarmer Jr
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Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Do I hear the "Jaws" theme?
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Lyric thread: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11757

Please add them if you haven't.
Please read them if you want.
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Songs posted.
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by Toby Roktot »

Some good songs here. We’ve listened to most and preliminarily, ‘The Pannacotta Army’ seems to be our fav. BSS is ok, too.
More in depth reviews later.
Cya
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by Smalltown Mike »

I call these speed reviews — no one even gets a full listen. Lots of skipping around. But you know what? I’m going to vote for EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU. You’re welcome.

Pigfarmer Jr
Rob — that guy I record with all the time — pointed out the other day that I like my drums dialled down a bit with a lighter velocity, which is exactly what I would do with this. Just bring ‘em a bit. Great chorus. and good mix

Lichen Throat
Keep making music! That chorus is really anti-music, though — and a little tough to listen to (for me).

The Pannacotta Army
Wonderful — I’ve been listening to the soundtrack of Netflix’s Wanderlust and this would fit in. You can’t cross borders right now, though. Well done, my friend.

James Owens
Harmonies are good but my gawd those lyrics are literal. I’d be interested in hearing a story that wasn’t just how you found a new guitar tuning.

toby roktot
Well produced, great voice — guy and guitar often sounds a little samey throughout, which this does.

Phlebia
Nicely recorded guitar. Nice enough groove. Like the way the chorus transitions. Nice little solo there after the chorus. Nice nice nice.

WreckdoM
My head is nodding. That is some good funk right there. What are you going to do with it? I was going to say no but I love the way you’re saying “waters.” I was going to say no again during the acapella part, but then you came back in and it was great. Great work. You generally have a place in my heart.

Vom Vorton
I didn’t like the start but it got much better when your vocals kicked in. Great chorus but sadly I don’t think this song is going to stay with me.

Brown Word and the Big Whine
I have high hopes for you after last week. Are you going to let me down? Interesting, interesting. What else you got? Like the second voice. Like the landmines line. I hope both vocals come in together, all powerful and stuff, at some point.

Berkeley Social Scene
Completely competent as usual but I don’t think it’s going to stay with me. Great vocals though.

Hot Pink Halo
These are the kinds of drums I like. I think this — and the music you make — is just REALLY not my thing. It never works for me. That’s ok, though, right. You’re not making music for me.

Amby Moho
Good start, hoping it goes somewhere even better. That verse (verse)?) riff is interesting and so the lead just before the 2-minute mark.

The Gross Tones
This feels very live off the floor — is it? Even a bit adlibbed, off the cuff. It’s pretty good either way. The chorus is quite loose, which goes a little too far into the adlibbed feel. BUT a fun enough song.

Third Cat
Ok — what have you got? REALLY good. Lovely voice. A little bit Band Of Horses, maybe? Great production. You’re my favourite.

Sweeney Toad
Fuck I hate that piece of shit that is your president. Between that and the really slow prodding part, I don’t find this very … wait! that bit of rapping part is really cool (though I don’t like the pretty fly for a white guy line). Good enough to make me go back and listen from the start. Seriously, though, he’s a big piece of shit. Him, not you. Good rap part.

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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Smalltown Mike wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:16 pm
Pigfarmer Jr ... I like my drums dialled down a bit with a lighter velocity, which is exactly what I would do with this.
Agreed.
I sometimes get comments indicating my drum levels are just a bit too low. I purposefully raised these a hair but I think that this song maybe doesn't need it as much and I may have raised them a two hairs instead of one. That being said, I intend to listen back to my own song with a, hopefully, fresh and critical ear when I review the fight to get a better perspective. Thanks for the review.
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by Smalltown Mike »

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:11 am
I sometimes get comments indicating my drum levels are just a bit too low. I purposefully raised these a hair
It wasn't necessarily the volume, but how hard the drums are hit. You won't be able to edit live drums, of course, but if they're .... you know, not an acoustic kit, you might try just lowering the velocity a bit.
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Ah, right. Well, they're not an acoustic kit. While I have a $65.00 acoustic set and an electronic set I typically stick with midi because... well, if you'd ever heard me drum you'd understand...
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

Reviewing on shuffle this week, but I've listened through everything twice before my "review" run-through. Note - me saying “vote” means you got a vote. But me not saying it doesn’t mean you didn’t.

Third Cat - You’ve historically been an artist who leans into sound palettes that make me happy. I dig the 6/8 shuffle of this. The melody and synth work and that background cymbal are great. I also really like the chorus, though I kind of wish that that pad you used was a bit louder. A minor nitpick, eh? Come to think of it those chorus vocals are super strong, especially those harmonies. Really I’d have made a lot of the synths a little louder, like that glockenspiel? The “saaaaaalinnnggg” bit is amazing, with that tremolo’d synth and the guitar arpeggios, mmmmmmmm. While it ain’t perfect mostly due to mixing complaints, this is a big fat vote from me.

Clavikill - How many names do you have? I can’t complain, I don’t think I actually settled on one until my current streak - new names are fun! So yeah, I caught that this was basically justa recap of Finding Nemo quite a bit. I’m not sure that I’m huge on the spoken word bits, but I dig the groove that this finds and maintains through most of the track. And again - Mike’s voice is always nice on my ears. The scratching is fun -- is that actual scratching, a sample, or done with a plug-in? My attempts at actual scratching didn’t sound nearly that good. Anyway, I enjoyed it, even though Wall-E is by far the best Pixar movie.

Lichen Throat - Whoa, that’s an interesting guitar tone. It’s so -- spring reverby. But I enjoy how simplistic it is. So I’m noticing that the drums aren’t perfectly quantized. Are you playing that on a pad? V-drums? God, the rhythm in this chorus is a mindfuck. The lyrics are extremely poetic -- and kind of match with my vision for this of flooding and destruction. I’m a hydrologist by trade so naturally I love the imagery you’ve got going in here. This is melodically stronger than most of your entries, and the lack of double tracking is good -- your voice sounds better by itself! All in all this song makes me feel...disjointed. Which is a good thing, and I can’t say I’ve ever heard anything like this. Vote!

Berkeley Social Scene - Do you have a really short decay reverb on this or did you double track your vocals? They’re sitting really richly in the mix and it sounds good. This song sounds pleasant, but it’s almost too pleasant, y’know? Like maybe it’s just my weirdo tastes but it doesn’t quite stick with me. I dig the tinkly synth that pops up hard-panned to whatever speaker wound up over my right ear. I listened to this while planting tomatoes earlier and it was a nice musical accompaniment. The harmonies in the chorus sound good. Though I kind of wish they were mixed slightly higher. I don’t hate it, but it just doesn’t speak to me much. (I’m still listening to your Four Corners, damn that was a good song)

WreckdoM - Oh boy, clicky hi-hats. The synth-work in this is really nice in that wooshy subterranean sort of way. This makes me feel seasick, and I think it may be the echoey aquatic feeling. Or maybe it’s the relatively full glass of wine I just drank over the course of the previous reviews. Hmm. But anyway, the sensation seems to fit well with the tune. I really like how it picks up and moves into that more uptempo bit. Personally I wish that the instrumental part that picked up would have gone on a bit longer before bringing the vocals back in, but it seems like the songs that I have compositional critiques of are the ones that grab my attention. And that gun cocking, geez, that’s an interesting psychological effect. You sure like your greasy meat imagery. Anyway, a bit disorganized, but it took me into uncharted waters for sure!

Amby Moho - I told you last week that if you haven’t listened to “Applesauce Tears” you really ought to. I still feel that way. This is as delightful as most of your material. Your guitar work that comes in is great. You know what my favorite chords to shift to without warning are? Major sevenths. I’m a fan of minor chords with added ninths too. And the tremolo on the vocals you bring in periodically is dope. I know I’ve mentioned a few times that I reallllly like your style and this is no exception. Also you got me to read about Ululililila and wow, that was...interesting! By the way I checked out your Laser Background page. I love it. Subscribed (which means you probably know my real name now, ha) Vote!

Toby Roktot - I find the double tracking of the guitars to be kind of an interesting effect because they’re kind of out of sync with each other and each one is hard-panned to the other one. Your voice is nice and gravelly and it fits the style. Personally the double tracking being introduced only in the chorus doesn’t quite work for me, I kind of wish that you’d stuck with a single vocal track. This is a very sparse kind of track! Kind of an optimistic tune, as optimistic as you can be writing a song about social distancing. This sure sucks, doesn’t it? I’d have started on my reviews earlier but I was too busy stitching facemasks. Not huge on the fade-out, feels inconclusive.

Phlebia - Oh it’s me. I recorded this in my bathroom on a 4 track and barely did any post-processing on it, though I did do a few punch-ins on the vocal track to fix some factual areas. Like changing “Dominica” to “the Virgin Islands” cause Irma didn’t hit Dominica, that was Maria -- hurricanes don’t usually travel due north. Anyway, the idea was “do something new”. I’ve never recorded a song this stripped down. It’s just guitar, djembe, and my bass played in the upper register periodically. I also usually don’t solo. I’ve been a huge weather nerd since I was a kid -- and I’m a hydrologist in the southeastern US who grew up on Jimmy Buffett albums. So I guess I had to write this on a pet favorite topic of mine.

Hot Pink Halo - You’ve gotten more confident with your high notes. Or you’re just getting better at singing. And I dig it! Like you nailed the “tonight we’ll go” part and that was some high stuff! Again, sometimes I wish there was a bit more harmonic complexity to this. And maybe I’d suggest a bit more reverb on the guitar to add some space. I’m glad you’ve been playing your violin more lately, violins are awesome. Anyway, I’m not entirely sure I know what your lyrics are talking about but I dig the imagery!

James Owens - Okay, if there’s anything I could complain about with this tune it’s that the lyrics are just a *little* bit too meta, which is funny cause I was spending like half the intro thinking “man, I dig this guitar sound, this is some kind of open tuning, eh?”. And then you start singing literally about how you’re playin around with open tunings. But then again -- why not? Open tunings are fun? Just for kicks I’ve been playing around with downtuning my acoustic down three half-steps because why the hell not. It adds some novelty to an ordinarily static sound! Honestly I love how the layered guitars sound -- I just can’t decide if the self-conciousness of the song itself works for me, but I’ve enjoyed it through my three listen-throughs of the fight so I guess it does work for me.

Vom Vorton - I’m getting to the point where I can ID your songs as you about right away, which is definitely a good thing. I like the chorus, though maybe I’d have found a way to beef up that guitar tone a bit and maybe... I dunno do something with that synth tone. It doesn’t quite work for me for some reason. Too thin maybe? Anyway, the chorus is bristling with energy. These lyrics speak to me a lot. Today driving around I felt like the world had been replaced with a weird mirrored version that looks the same but just...isn’t. In a hard to quantify way. Discombobulating times we live in.

Pigfarmer Jr. - Lyrically, yeah pretty much. The line “on a ride that may go slow” feels kind of forced but it works. The melody is pretty solid. I kind of feel like you’re playing it safe with this one? Like nearly all of the chord progressions are kind of predictable. I mean it sounds good; maybe this song would work well for someone else. It’s technically good, well recorded and performed, but does almost nothing for me. I do enjoy the “hold your breath” bit, and there are a few well done lyrics peppering this one. Just not really for me I guess.

Pannacotta Army - Have I ever mentioned that really love your band name? And I’m a huge sucker for those little bits of slide guitar that I hear popping up hear and there. Actually just the guitar work in general is delightful. And the oohs sound nice. And the way you fade in the synths with that lightly tremolo’d guitar is tight! Tight tight tight! The lyrics are simple but effective, no need for a tome. I did learn a new meaning of the word augur from this one. I just thought of the thing that you clear a drainpipe with, but apparently that’s “auger” not “augur”. Yay, building vocabulary!

I’m getting sleepy...ahh, only two left.

Sweeney Toad - I just thought about how I was getting sleepy. So this has this queasy weirdness to it and I think it’s how riduculously slow the track is. I think I recognize those drum samples, is that the FL Studio “RD” drum kit? Oh boy, the pres deciding to run his mouth about the epidemic. Sighhhh this track works to me way more than it should have. So you really had this shit, per the comments? It’s nice to have you back! There’s some times where it feels like your vocals start to get a bit behind the beat with the really slow section, but honestly it works. I did receive my stimulus check, it was a strange but welcome sight. Not unwelcome though? The “wave static” works a lot and I love how it feels like you’ve got the tempo on a really slow oscillator at times. While this isn’t something I’d listen to a lot, it gave me a weird uncomfortable feeling that I also got from Lichen’s track which is a good thing tonight for some reason.

Brown Word - I think it’s the half-spoken bit and the shuffled drumbeat but this bring me back to like some experimental mid 90s something or another. The screamy bits that pop in are fun. And the cacking and kind of alarming synths at times. And the backwards bit! I’m trying to find the closest touchstone for this, but really it’s just rooted in a particular sound that I wish was still around way more than it was. The synth base in the “we’re in uncharted waters friend, we’ve never been here before” bit was great. The vocal snippets about the broadcast system would have been cooler if they were sligthly different each time? I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Oh I miscounted, I’m not done.

The Gross Tones - Well, I’m glad that there’s a whole lot less noodly synth this go around. I like the drum fills -- actually pretty much any entry with live drums gets points from me. This has a very live, loose feel to it which I usually enjoy. The bit about trying to play a saxophone through a facemask made me giggle a bit. Those things are uncomfortable. There’s not really much melodically to hold onto it this song, but the one note bit works pretty well towards the start. Another track that I hear and think “this is competent but doesn’t really do it for me”.

---

Uhh, favorites this week? Hmm. Top three:

1.Third Cat
2. Amby
3. Lichen

Zzzz it’s my bedtime, g’night
"There's a lot to be said about a full-on frontal assault on the ear drums" - Pigfarmer Jr.
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by crumpart »

sleepysilverdoor wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 7:57 pm
Hot Pink Halo - You’ve gotten more confident with your high notes. Or you’re just getting better at singing. And I dig it! Like you nailed the “tonight we’ll go” part and that was some high stuff! Again, sometimes I wish there was a bit more harmonic complexity to this. And maybe I’d suggest a bit more reverb on the guitar to add some space. I’m glad you’ve been playing your violin more lately, violins are awesome. Anyway, I’m not entirely sure I know what your lyrics are talking about but I dig the imagery!
If you’re ever unsure what I’m writing about, it’s usually space, more specifically the Voyager mission and/or an artwork. If neither of those apply, consider the TV show ‘Angel’.
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by the panna cotta army »

Some brief thoughts after a few listens through...

Third Cat - Has bit of a Tame Impala and Beck sound about it. I like your fragile vocals and there's some nice melodic guitar and synth elements. The washy atmospheric reverby thing in the chorus is perhaps a bit overdone but the synth bassline is nice and overall I this is a good one.

Phlebia - The choppy acoustic and percussion are nice and the bass solo bits provide some good variation. I feel I should like this more but the vocals sound somewhat lacking in commitment and the scansion is strained in places. Probably benefit from some more instrumentation here and there too.

WreckdoM - The intro with the beat is cool but that repetitive looping delayed wailing vocal sample doesn't really do much for me . The vocal delivery approach owes itself more to preaching from the pulpit than rapping. I like the change when the bass guitar comes in.

Clavikill - I get an Odelay-era Beck vibe with the keyboard stuff and beat and particularly your vocal delivery. (I seem to be hearing Beck everywhere this week). The basic groove is okay and rapping/lyric works well. Not sure if that spoken male voice is sample or text-to-speech, but I'm not so keen on this - feels like filler. Quite like the way the tempo slows for the last minute or so.

Pigfarmer Jr - Strong vocals - I'd have liked more reverb but that's personal choice. The arpeggio guitars perhaps compete a bit with the vocals in the verses and I would prefer the instrumentation to vary a bit for the verses. In the main though it's some handy guitar pop - this gets a thumbs up.

Lichen Throat - The timing of vocals, guitar and drums is all off. The twang is too loud. I'm just struggling to find anything positive or constructively critical to say. Let's just say it's just too way beyond the scope of my appreciation.

Amby Moho - I love the guitar riff and the lo-fi drums. A bit oddball but it's got something about it. I just really like the overall groove, vocals and melody. I even don't mind the tremolo vocal effect. The little instrumental break floats my boat too. I think my fave this week.

Berkeley Social Scene - Slightly REM vibes in the music. Strong on melody and the guitar motif is hooky. Vocals and guitars sound good. Yeah, not much wanting here - nice.

The Gross Tones - I like the intro and drums. It's a fairly straight singalong rock n roller musically, which is okay but I feel it needs something more memorable vocally or instrumentally to elevate it. Guitars could do with some more presence. Vocals could be more dynamic.

James Owens - I think the concept of having guitars in different tunings is clever and the instrumentation works fine but the vocal melody feels rather forced and the meta nature of the lyrics a bit awkward.

Sweeney Toad - The rapping is okay but at this tempo, if you're going over the 5 minute mark, you need more musical variation to maintain the listener's attention and interest. My mind began to wander.

Hot Pink Halo - Vocals are alright and I like the violin when it joins in. The guitar could do with some more conviction and the chorus some kind of lift, even just adding a tambourine or similar. The end to the chorus feels a bit unresolved.

Brown Word and the Big Whine - I dig the wurly riff and beat but there's another occasional stabbing bass synth that sounds in the wrong key that I don't. The song slightly loses its momentum when all the random hysterical stuff starts coming in but it sort of recovers itself a bit towards the end. The vocals are cool and I kind of like this in parts though it would improve greatly with a decent bassline.

Vom Vorton - There's a Jarvis Cocker thing about the vocal phrasing that 's good and I get a general Pulp type vibe off the song as well as a bit of 80s new wave. I'd have preferred the guitar to be either heavier or cleaner - it's a sort of half way compromise. I like the racy rhythm and drive but the guitar motif ain't the catchiest. There's good things here but the package feels like it's missing something.

toby roktot - I think you sing this well enough and the guitars are okay, albeit a bit brittle/tinny sounding. I can't find there's too much wrong with the song on the whole but at the same time I'm rather unmoved - it neither provokes me to praise it or to particularly criticise it.

The Pannacotta Army - I basically tried to rip off a kind of Cigarettes After Sex vibe but inevitably failed to get anywhere near that level of hipness. Still, there's some things I like and others I don't so much.
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

crumpart wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 2:02 am
sleepysilverdoor wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 7:57 pm
Hot Pink Halo - You’ve gotten more confident with your high notes. Or you’re just getting better at singing. And I dig it! Like you nailed the “tonight we’ll go” part and that was some high stuff! Again, sometimes I wish there was a bit more harmonic complexity to this. And maybe I’d suggest a bit more reverb on the guitar to add some space. I’m glad you’ve been playing your violin more lately, violins are awesome. Anyway, I’m not entirely sure I know what your lyrics are talking about but I dig the imagery!
If you’re ever unsure what I’m writing about, it’s usually space, more specifically the Voyager mission and/or an artwork. If neither of those apply, consider the TV show ‘Angel’.
I know I've told you to check out Broadcast because cause they seem like they'd be up your alley, but their song "Arc of a Journey" is about exactly that. So if you didn't, I continue to suggest that you do. :p
"There's a lot to be said about a full-on frontal assault on the ear drums" - Pigfarmer Jr.
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by amby_moho »

Broadcast is so sick. i have not checked out “Applesauce Tears” but i will! Thanks for the kind words & for checkin out Laser Background :)

I really dig yr Phlebia stuff too. i like when you really go for it & get experimental

Said this in my other posts but i think this community is rad! Excited to listen through all of this week’s submissions
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by Toby Roktot »

I’ve listen to some and will get to the rest later. Starting to rain out here.


Third Cat
A lot going on in this song, which I really like. From the start the beat and vibe are very pleasing. Only suggestion, please brighten the background instruments...of course, they are background but, they need to be heard for more enjoyment. Overall one of the best this week.

The gross tones
Yes !! AC/DC intro morphing into Motörhead !! Love it !! Great lyrics, however...
The vocals do not do justice to the overall song... they are not bad, just don’t have the screaming growl the music demands. Also, the chorus needs something more.
Specifically, the first verse vocals were very good... but, alas.. kinda went downhill from there.

Clavikill
Not my normal listen range but, damn.. nicely done and kept me entertained !!
The last 45 seconds could have been omitted, imho ...

Wreckdom
The music is very good. Enjoyable tune. Now the lyrics and vocal delivery didn’t do much to support that music, though. Try matching this music with a different lyric vibe ... could be a very pleasing song.

James Owens
Now this is a great song except, :50 to the 1:00 minute part. Witty lyrics without really trying to be... kinda John Hartford like. I could learn a lot about guitars from you... seriously !!

Pigfarmer Jr.
I do believe this is the best song this week (sorry PA).Great production, lyrics and music.
A very well crafted song. Some parts remind me of American Pie.
The only thing I think could make this better is for the vocals to have a little more depth. More bottom. I’m sure some of the mix techies could enlighten me as to what I’m trying to get across.
P J.... very nice work !!!
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by thirdcatmusic »

Amby Moho - This is very much up my alley, I like this one a lot, probably my favorite of the fight and a definite VOTE. I love how it goes from this super weird vibe to the pretty guitars. Tastefully strange and pretty in a way that feels fun & fresh.

BSS - Good one with one of the best choruses of the fight. The verse doesn't pull me in as much but it's all quite good. I'm going to give this one a VOTE as well as I think it's among the better BSS songs I've heard.

Brown Word and the Big Whine - Some interesting sounds and some interesting lyrics. Overall it doesn't totally work for me., even though I appreciate the strange places it goes. It definitely works with the title (and I assume with the optional challenge although I'm not familiar with your stuff otherwise).

clavikill - The bass sounds great. Great groove. Probably the most fun song to listen to out of this fight. I like listening for the samples ("Barracuda") and the 'just keep swimming' thing is great. The vocals work for this style. Inventive arrangement. The slow jam ending is the cherry on top. Good stuff. VOTE.

The Gross Tones - Topical lyrics can be fun (although often they're not) and I think these work pretty well. Overall this song doesn't make a huge impression on me. There are parts that remind me of other songs but I can't quite place any of them. Sounds pretty "live" which is what I'm assuming you were going for. Not bad.

Hot Pink Halo - Not one of my favorite HPH songs. I've been away from SongFight for a while but I remember your songs being quite atmospheric and interesting a lot of times, this one seems a bit undercooked.

James Owens - There are some really nice guitar bits here but the joke/meta lyics/vocals aren't as tasty. Still, the guitars are enjoyable enough.

Lichen Throat - Some new sounds from last time I listened to LT, which is nice. Nice lyrical imagery.

The Pannacotta Army - Really pretty, especially the wordless vocal part. Easy VOTE. Pleasant as heck. I like it a lot. Not quite as much "my thing" as the Amby Moho track, but definitely really good.

Phlebia - My favorite part of this one is the little guitar lead (that we first hear at about 12 seconds) - that's really tasty. This is definitely quite a bit different from anything I've heard from Phlebia before, when I first listened to this fight I did it in bed before sleeping and wasn't looking at the artist names. I actually thought this was Micah Sommersmith, never would have guessed Phlebia! So I guess big ups on the optional challenge (assuming you were trying something way different for that?) The hurricane/climate change lyrics are ... not bad. But I don't really know what to make of 'em. Overall this is a neat song but not one of my favorites this time around.

Pigfarmer Jr - Probably my favorite Pigfarmer Jr song I've heard. Nice production/mix/guitars and strong vocals. VOTE. The chorus is very catchy although I think that is partly because it reminds me of "American Pie."

Sweeney Toad - Extremely disorienting which is what I think you're going for. I like the sound design. I'm not totally sold on the vocal bits. And I hate Donald Trump so much I don't even like hearing his voice in this context. From this track I'm pretty sure you hate him too. but I'm so sick of the motherfucker I don't even want to be reminded he exists.

Third Cat - Overall I'm happy-ish with it, but I do think the mix could be a bit brighter. I was rushing the final master.

toby roket - This is good but somewhat underwhelming for me. I am somewhat put off by the topical lyrics, I'm not sure quite exactly why but it's not quite my thing. Still, it's good. Some nice guitar bits.

Vom Vorton - High energy, great riffin'. This sounds like it's referencing covid-19 too (like at least 3 other songs?) but in a more subtle way which for me almost always works better than explicit topical references (see I'm not even 100% sure you are referencing it.) Overall this is a good one. I like it. VOTE.

WreckdoM - Some cool sounds and I quite like the lyrics about the books / recipe. The bit that comes in after 2 minutes is pretty cool. That guitar riff reminds me of Geto Boys - "Mind Playing Tricks On Me". Overall, not quite enough here for a vote from me but I do like it and found it entertaining to listen to.
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vowlvom
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by vowlvom »

Amby Moho: I loooooooove that strange, bouncy bassline / riff. It immediately captures my attention and gets me through the start of the song where some of the other elements don't fully grab me. The switch-up with the chiming guitars happens just at the right time to elevate things, and the low-key, weird-scale synth solo has a similar effect. I'm not totally sold on the vocal FX on the verses but it does work, and this is another fascinating song from you that I'll definitely be voting for.

Berkeley Social Scene: I really like this one musically, there's some excellent melodic lead guitar work and the subtle keys (?) and shifting guitar rhythms work really well to build a sort of nautical, rocking-in-the-water atmosphere. Unfortunately the vocal melody and lyrics just kind of wash over me, which stops this from quite being in the top-tier for this fight.

Brown Word and the Big Whine: interesting arrangement, lots of unusual musical touches and plenty of space, and the dramatic interludes are fun! The rest of the lyrics feel pretty loose and meandering though, and the bits where the two vocal styles are layered but working on their own timing etc. don't hugely work for me. I guess I'd say that this song's full of interesting ideas but they don't particularly cohere into an enjoyable whole.

clavikill: I never really know what to say about your stuff, it's clearly objectively well done but, to quote a wiser man:
Smalltown Mike wrote:I think this — and the music you make — is just REALLY not my thing. It never works for me. That’s ok, though, right. You’re not making music for me.
The Gross Tones: I will second the relief from sleepysilverdoor that you've ditched the noodly synth solos from this one because they ruined your last couple of songs for me. This is a solid song that could definitely use a better mix, the vocals are really up-front which isn't necessarily a bad thing but with the live-sounding recording it kinda feels like the band is miles away and the singer's standing right in front of me. The song's otherwise enjoyable though; I'm not crazy about the verses ending and the choruses starting with the title, but I guess that's a genre thing. I DO love the bit where you get your own band name into the lyrics, I always enjoy that for some reason.

Hot Pink Halo: as usual your lyrics are some of the most interesting, not just in terms of the story you're telling but the interesting rhythms of your words (especially in the choruses here). I like the low key instrumentation and the violin adds a lot. The vocal melody is ambitious and interesting but doesn't always pay off, which is my only real critique apart from that the ending is very abrupt in a way that feels slightly unsatisfying, but I liked this quite a bit.

James Owens: love the sound of your chiming guitars in all their alternate-tuning glory! The instrumental breaks are particularly lovely. I'm not a fan of the extremely literal, meta lyrics though which is a shame as the music in this is one of my favourite things from this round.

Lichen Throat: I don't know what you're using here to generate the music, it's intriguing and unusual and during the verses everything holds my attention well. When the music gets a little more frantic in the chorus everything falls apart a bit, the vocals and the music don't seem to really have any strong link to each other and it's hard to wrap my head around. Some interesting ideas in the lyrics as usual, and kudos for embracing the optional challenge, but this is a tricky listen for me.

The Pannacotta Army: this is superb! I can kinda hear the Cigarettes After Sex influence now that you've mentioned it, but before that I would have compared this to Lambchop which is also a most welcome sound! And I'm glad you haven't followed the Cigarettes After Sex influence lyrically because as much as I love their songs, the words are absolutely insufferable. Your tremolo guitars and wordless vocal interludes really work for me, the atmosphere almost reaches Wicked Game levels of dreaminess at times. My favourite from this fight, definite vote!

Phlebia: I like the way you've made your informative weather song sound like a tropical ballad, and also that you play the melodic riff on bass, which works really well! The harmonies on the chorus are really effective too, and the general sound is really nice (and surprisingly clean for a four-track recording!). There are a few songs this round that I like more but this one's definitely in the top group and will probably get a vote.

Pigfarmer Jr: I like the addition (and the tone) of the crunchy guitar in the chorus. I agree with some of the earlier comments that the vocals don't always feel like they're blended into the track as well as they could be, but on the whole this is a really solid track with a strong melody and good performances.

Sweeney Toad: I kinda love your lo-fi backing tracks, the 8-bit waves that open this are lovely and everything else sounds like it's been put together on a Casio keyboard from the 80s which is hugely pleasing to me. Your lyrics are well crafted and delivered, too... the tempo is hard work though, I really wanted this to kick into a higher gear after the first verse, so by the time it does perk up a bit I'd lost interest - we're already three minutes into the song when the tempo rises which is too long to wait. The slow tempo does contribute to a feeling of dread that matches the queasy lyrics (and samples) but it's just too hard work for me to put this one in my top group despite all the things I do like about it.

Third Cat: hey, it's been a while! Great atmosphere, the big reverby pad swells are excellent and I love the melodic synth-bass. The mix feels like it could be a bit punchier without losing the hazy vibe, but the song itself is strong and you'll be getting a vote from me.

toby roktot: I like the wide-panned double-tracked guitars, they have a nice sparkle to them but also some good low-end when you kick into the chorus. Really solid writing, would love to hear some more instrumentation or some vocal layers in there but this is a strong G&G song.

Vom Vorton: I frequently write guitar riffs that I can't figure out how they would work with my general "sound", so my take on the optional challenge was to take one of those riffs and see it through to completion. I like the riff! But I don't think the song is up to much really. My lyrical concept was that the whole world is becoming more and more unknown while we're unable to go out in it, but I don't think I did too good a job with that either. But at least I got to sing "here be dragons!" and I like the cover art that I made. And most of all, this kickstarted my brain enough that I got a good one in for the next fight, at least. Sometimes you've gotta blow off the cobwebs.

WreckdoM: this is by, some distance, the best WreckdoM song that I've heard. I love the hihats, there are some great lines in the lyrics and that guitar riff that comes in later on is AMAZING. The vocal style isn't totally to my tastes but there's definitely enough here to get my vote.
Toby Roktot
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by Toby Roktot »

Amby Moho
Hmmmm.... this is neither great nor awful, just, meh...
I believe the song could have a future but, let’s liven up the verse a bit. The chorus isn’t bad. Overall, just ok, I guess.

Brown Word and the Big Whine
Haha.... this is a perfect reminder of our last ocean race on our sailboat. I do believe Red hollered the same words in the lyrics of this song, “...the captain is crazy !” Or, words to that effect.
I don’t think I’ll listen to this song again but, a nice effort.

Hot Pink Halo
This song is pretty good in a Cookie Blue or Carole King kinda way. BTW, haven’t seen Cookie Blue here for a while.
Anyways, the song could be tons better with a little vocal and violin polish.
Enjoyed listening...thx

The Pannacotta Army
This fight should, and probably will, be between Jr. and the Army.
There is nothing I don’t love about this song. Everything just seems right.
Sure, it’s The Beach Boys meet Jack Johnson...but hey, what’s a matter with that ?!!

Sweeney Toad
Ok, I’m sure you enjoy being the demon toad of a pond named Fleet, but...
How about you surprise me and let us hear that sweet voice I know you are hiding.... and another thing; Less is more....usually
Some good parts though, including the rapping.
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AJOwens
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by AJOwens »

Some songs in this fight remind me of Procol Harum's "A Salty Dog":
'All hands on deck! We've run afloat!' I heard the captain cry. . .


Amby Moho - Some very liquid sounds in this highly textured song, although the initial rhythm feels like riding a terrestrial animal. The fast tremolo is a bit unsettling, for some reason. The contrasting part is more water-like, with sweet harmonic flows.

Berkeley Social Scene - The range of the melody opens up the overall sound, and the unusual and interesting vocal harmonies add dimension. At the beginning, the rhythm treatment is dramatically staccato, but the song evolves into a more traditionally constructed ballad, with a sound that reminds me faintly of Blue Rodeo. A pretty good slow-dancing song.

Brown Word and the Big Whine - The funky synth serves as a background for the lyrics, delivered initially in a nice blues style, but with plenty of delicious invention in the overlays of different vocal treatments. The music and the words both contribute to a nice sense of not-quite-controlled chaos. The piece has great aesthetic unity. THe lyrics have edge.

clavikill - Driven by muscular percussion, decorated by simple and effective keyboard patterns and vinyl scribblings, this collage of speech and song, ranging occasionally into Eminem-like rhythms, sustains interest throughout. The change of rhythm doesn't exactly not work, but it feels unexplained. But then I'm not putting the lyrics together well, so maybe I missed something. They unfold quite slowly. The seagull reference from Finding Nemo is duly noted.

The Gross Tones - Nice rocker. The studio sounds good on you guys, and you still manage to be pleasantly rough around the edges, like a live perfomance. The lyrics are punchy, tight, efficient. Harmonies in the chorus would kick this up a notch. In all, this feels like a good song to play for a crowded bar or coffee house.

Hot Pink Halo - The production is basic, but I assume you're fairly new at this and working with a minimal set of recording tools. The song has a good feeling to it, well-constructed, building nicely, with pleasing and varied chord patterns, a melodic chorus, and a warm, intimate quality.

James Owens - Meta, meta, meta. I knew I'd get in trouble for that, and I almost wrote new lyrics, but I was too worn out from managing eighteen tuning pegs and fingering weird chords. Meanwhile, I could not escape the powerful bluegrass gravity-well caused by open tuning.

Lichen Throat - There's a balance problem with that twangy thing, but it's a cool sound. A very simple palette throughout; it wouldn't be enough to hold interest, except for the demented rhythmic changes. (I like them.) At about 1:52, without the dry nasal edge on your voice, you develop a pretty good baritone. I'm always struck by the imagery of your lyrics when I read them in the forum. They're sensitive and touching, but the music gives them a bleak, emotionless cast. Maybe that's your intention; otherwise, some minor chords would help to bring out their reflective sadness.

The Pannacotta Army - I haven't read the other reviews yet, but I bet this is the runaway favourite for this fight, genre biases notwithstanding, and for many reasons. The smooth, clean production is amazing (to me at least). The 256kb/s bit rate probably helps, but it's more than that. Maybe it's quality plugins or great preamps or solid mixing chops; whatever you're doing, it really works. At 3:33, this song is too short! The song itself, the tasteful bass, the crisp drums, warm rhythm guitar, cool Rhodes, sweet slide, the lovely singing, the little touches in the arrangement like that baritone guitar line -- it all adds up to an outstanding entry. The lyrics seem pretty good too, from what I noticed.

Phlebia - You have a guitar! A certain Latin flavour in the rhythms, choice of instruments, playing techniques, and chord choices lend this a vaguely Spanish Caribbean atmosphere, supporting the subject of the well-constructed lyrics. It's not an exciting song musically, but it's a good vehicle for the words. The bass solo is refreshing.

Pigfarmer Jr - The song has good momentum. The chorus is very similar to the verse, with a slight chord change and more aggressive arrangement adding some energy. Variations in the verse guitar part also help. The middle eight and guitar solo are well-timed. The band is mixed a little quiet. Thoughtful, topical lyrics.

Sweeney Toad - Somewhat menacing, with creepy church-organ tones, limping percussion, and toneless, haunted vocal delivery; I'm thinking zombie music. The lyrics are very dark, so the sound is appropriate. Good effects treatment on the Trump clips.

Third Cat - Light, gentle guitar work, a brisk drum track, quirky mono synth bass, and reverb-soaked effects give this entry its unique sound. The tune is alternately lilting and dreamy, and always melodic and pleasant. The ending is rich in delightful sounds.

toby roktot - The soft, earthy singing and simple words over dual acoustic guitars create a warm, intimate vibe, and the song has a natural flow, building into a chorus that echoes the gentle rocking of the verse with a little more drama. For some reason the rise to G doesn't flow as well; the crescendo sort of pokes out of the mood. I think the interruption in the lulling rhythm also has something to do with it. The fade feels exactly right.

Vom Vorton - A solid tune. The opening slide makes a nice signature. The song rises up into the chorus and hits its stride, then continues rocking infectiously, as the layers of interest steadily build. At just over two minutes it doesn't overstay its welcome; the next move would have to be a middle eight, but for a Song Fight there isn't always time.

WreckdoM - With most of this in the low end of the spectrum, it sounds very murky and looming at first. It's attractive, in a brooding way. About halfway through, the sonic palette opens up, and various oddly constructed rhythmic components bring the song to life. The vocals often have an improvised feel, perhaps because their rhythms seem independent of the song.
Last edited by AJOwens on Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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sleepysilverdoor
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

AJOwens wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:57 pm

Phlebia - You have a guitar! A certain Latin flavour in the rhythms, choice of instruments, playing techniques, and chord choices lend this a vaguely Spanish Caribbean atmosphere, supporting the subject of the well-constructed lyrics. It's not an exciting song musically, but it's a good vehicle for the words. The bass solo is refreshing.
Alas, it's not that I don't own a guitar -- it's that I don't own an ELECTRIC guitar. Which limits the styles that I can incorporate guitars in, but I can totally do something like this! Though my "Bent Straight" tries to bring my acoustic into rockier territory. We'll see if it succeeded, heh.
"There's a lot to be said about a full-on frontal assault on the ear drums" - Pigfarmer Jr.
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SweeneyToad
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by SweeneyToad »

Vom Vorton - This sounds like something from the 90's, in a good way. It kind of reminds me of the Arctic Monkeys I think, but in a more 90's way. Was that band started in the 90's? I don't even know, but I like this better anyways. I feel like this song could have been in the soundtrack for Empire Records I think. I feel like watching that movie now, it's been forever since I've seen, but I remember liking it a lot when I was a teenager. This song was short and sweet, good job!

Pancotta Army - Oh yeah, this is groovy. It's like surf rock slowjam, feels good man. It kind of has a Chris Issak vibe but in a way less pretentious kind of way. This song is really relaxing and it makes me feel like I'm relaxing on my beach in Animal Crossing listening to this on my tape deck hoping to catch a red snapper. I'm going to totally request KK Slider to cover this next time he makes way to my town. Good stuff y'all!

Amby Moho - You know that scene in Pulp Fiction where Bruce Willis is driving around right before he crashes his little car into Marsellus Wallace? I feel like this could of been playing on his radio before that Captain Kangaroo song maybe. I guess it just has the same kind of vibe, and that's a good thing, I used to really that song on the Pulp Fiction sound track! Good job, I'm feelin' it!

Hot Pink Halo - This song is pretty alright, it kind of reminds me of that band the Raincoats, I used to really like that band. I feel like something is missing with this song, maybe a little keyboard backing added somewhere? I kind of would like to hear what you sound like if you went in a little bit more of punk rock direction, not like full on, but just a little bit, I think it would be rad.

clavikill - This reminds me of Beck, I love Beck. It also kind of reminds me of Tom Green too. Did you know he used to be a rapper who went by MC Face? Well if you didn't know, now you know! This track was dope!

Wreckdom - This sounds like a trip hop song is getting started, but then the vocals kick in and it doesn't sound like a trip hop song anymore. This sounds like a song I would have made back in the day like in a drunken freestyle kind of way, I relate with that. I really like the change up that comes in with the bass around 2:05pm, i'm really feelin' that.

Berkeley Social Scene - I like this, it's like a pretty feel good song. It kind of reminds me of a Nerf Herder song like if they shifted everything down a tempo. That solo that kicks in is really nice. Cool song!

Phlebia - This reminds me of when I used to do drug runs on the shores of Miami, lol j/k, I've never done that. I keep thinking of this song as like a Weird Al song where you doing a certain style of music but it's not a comedy song, if that makes sense. That's a good thing though, I love Weird Al! Also, I'm feeling the topic, living in Florida, i've been through a million hurricanes, so this song makes me feel nostalgic!

Sweeney Toad - This is my song! I tried to make the instrumental sound the way it felt to have this stupid sickness, it just feels dark and icky. I keep saying in the chorus that it comes in waves because that's what it was like for me, I'd wake up feeling crappy but then during the day I'd feel normal, then at night I'd feel sick again. It sucks! But it could have been a lot worse compared to how bad other people got it. I tried to do things I haven't done before, like it's slowest tempo beat I've ever made, I've never sped up a tempo and dropped it back down before either, I also tried to do more singy songy rap because I never really do that. And that's all I have to say about that!

Third Cat - This kind of reminds me TMBG, I love them, so I guess I love you too. I really like the drums, and then when the drums drop i like all the little instrumental backing sounds and humming and stuff. The ending was dreamy too! This song was really nice!

James Owens - I get a little bit of Mountain Goats vibe from this. I like that. But also a little bit of Neil Young vibes as well, I like that too! Short and sweet, I dig it!

Grosstones - Oh yeah! This is real cool! I like the kind of Weezer Hash Pipe riff going on. I like the singing, i can't think of who it reminds me of, maybe like a cross between Daniel Johnston and Doug Martsch, but not exactly. Either way, good stuff!

toby roktot - this song was pretty ok, I was waiting for it to esclate to something and it kind of did after about a minute but it wasn't really as hype as i was thinking it was going to be. It sounds like a dog barks around 1:46 in the background, I don't know if that was a dog or not, but it would be pretty cool if it was.

Pig Farmer Jr - I feel like this is a song I would have heard playing in the background of a fair in the early 90's. Like it reminds me of cotton candy and the smell of elephant ears. Just generally having a good time at the fair as i'm walking towards a ride or a fun house or something. Like the song isn't my main focus but it is definitely adding to my overall enjoyment of this memory i'm making. I really like your vocal part at 2:08 and then the feel good solo. Overall, this song just makes me feel good!

Lichen Throat - You sound like the guy from Beat Happening, Are you actually him? I like this because it reminds me of something from that band and I like that band. If you're not him and you also have no idea what I'm talking about then you should check out the band and see what I mean. Or check out his other band The Halo Benders, I personally like them even better. Cool song!

Brownword and the Big Whine - I'm feeling that whole instrumental backing and i like the singing low in the background, it's really cool. I like the spoke word thing too, it reminds me of when I used to go to spoken word poetry nights in a little dive bar. I always wished people would do more spoken word stuff to cool instrumental backings like this. This starts to get crazy with weird clips and stuff and now it's starting to remind me of Beck when he gets really weird with his instrumentals. Yeah, I really like this, this was awesome.
Last edited by SweeneyToad on Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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crumpart
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by crumpart »

AJOwens wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:57 pm
Hot Pink Halo - The production is basic, but I assume you're fairly new at this and working with a minimal set of recording tools. The song has a good feeling to it, well-constructed, building nicely, with pleasing and varied chord patterns, a melodic chorus, and a warm, intimate quality.
Thanks for the feedback. :)

A bunch of my songs recently were made while travelling, so there was a definite lack of equipment there. Now I’m home, so not short of equipment, but we’ve moved to a house less than half the size of where we were, so I’m definitely lacking space. Once we get the house set up properly, music making will happen in what’s now Toshiro’s home office. Currently I’m recording in my art studio, wedged in to the 45cm space between my plan drawers/desk and an etching press. I can’t even close the door because it’s held permanently open by our spare sofa bed. Any instruments that I can plug straight in to the interface/preamp setup are recorded that way for now, and the violin records terribly in this room, but I did my best to make it sound not awful! That all being said, my “something new” this time around was to try and make a straightforward song with a country edge, which is primarily how I ended up with a pretty simple mix. I did want to add in some banjo, but it turns out I wrote it in a key which made that difficult, and also I’m terrible at banjo.
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Re: Lying just under the surface of (Uncharted Waters reviews)

Post by lichenthroat »

Amby Moho—This track sets down a laid-back groove from the moment is starts. The rhythm is more interesting than the melodies, though I do like the gentler part at the end. This doesn’t really grab me, but there’s nothing wrong with it, either.

Berkeley Social Scene—The chorus lyrics seem a little uninspired, but the rest of this song is quite good. The guitar line in the verses is great, as is the mix. One of the best BSS songs. I’m always impressed at how cohesively the band can play songs that were just written hours (or maybe minutes) before.

Brown Word and the Big Whine—The vocal sounds unnecessarily restrained; I’d like to hear your voice sound fuller and richer. The spoken word portion of the vocal reminds me of Ani DiFranco, both sonically and in the commitment to creative freedom.

clavikill—I don’t dig the mellow keyboard, but your vocal delivery is excellent. I don’t listen to a lot of music in this style, but I think aficionados of the genre would probably enjoy this a lot. Objectively, this is a good song. The lyrics are good, too.

The Gross Tones—Nice and solid. I like the energy in the rapid-fire portion of the chorus. Makes my head bop right now as I’m writing this review. This feels both energetic and laid-back, which is both uncommon and hard to pull off. Some nice lines in the lyrics. Seems like a nice set closer if you play live.

Hot Pink Halo—The lyrics are a bit hard to make out sometimes, but I like the tone of your vocal. I like the violin, too. I think the music might sound better if it had more low-end, but I’m not positive that’s correct. Enjoyable overall.

James Owens—From the lyrics, I’m guessing that you’re using multiple weird guitar tunings, but I don’t think it would have noticed if you hadn’t called attention to it. The guitars all sound very good together, actually. I have to say I enjoyed this quite a bit. I wish it was a little longer.

Lichen Throat (me)—This was the first time I’ve used a keyboard to play notes directly into my DAW, rather than programming them first as sheet music in MuseScore. I obviously lack experience with this technique. Thanks to the couple of you who have said kind things about it. I think the verses are okay, but the chorus goes completely off the rails. Also, I clearly overdid it on the reverb settings. The music is sufficiently distracting that I think it reduces the emotional impact of the lyrics.

The Pannacotta Army—So dreamy! Excellent song: the production is good, as are all of the performances. I like how you give both the guitars and piano their time in the spotlight.

Phlebia—I liked this a lot—definitely my favorite of yours. I think this calls for a wilder vocal performance, but I love the music. The Caribbean sounds brings me back immediately when I lived in Miami. Very enjoyable. By the way, it’s cool that you’re a hydrologist, which I assume influence the lyrics. I’m a civil engineer who works in water resources, so maybe it’s not coincidental that we seem to think alike sometimes.

Pigfarmer Jr—The chorus demands a raucous, doubled vocal. I like hearing something slightly more uptempo than usual from you. This is a solid song. Not super distinctive, but definitely enjoyable.

Sweeney Toad—The beginning of this sounds like we’re setting off on an epic, but I’m not sure the rest of the song delivers on that. I think it seems a little long, too. This lyrics, mixed with the vocal samples, are good and meld into a cohesive whole. I like the atmosphere of doom and paranoia.

Third Cat—This is a little too mellow for me, but I think your performance is good, and it follows a consistent aesthetic all the way through. The production is both lush and interesting.

toby roktot—This sweet and feels authentic. I like the two guitars playing similar, but not identical music; they mesh perfectly and sound great together. Nice song.

Vom Vorton—This is the exemplar of a good solid Vom Vorton song. I don’t think it’s quite your best, but I’d be happy to listen to this over and over again for the next few years—and I probably will. I like the low guitar notes in the chorus.

WreckdoM—I like how your voice sounds in this one. The section that starts a little over halfway through is a standout. This might be my favorite WreckdoM song.
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