Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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Lunkhead
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Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Songs posted!
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by BoffoYux »

Link for the 'Strike Me Down' SongFight LP. I should be up tonight (Monday 2/14) at 9pm EDT, crossing fingers!

https://youtu.be/B9riycaUhrI
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by Sober »

My notes.

Brown Word and the Big Whine: Love the goofy space feel. Reminds me of the exceedingly off-genre Gravitational Forces from Robert Earl Keen. Or that post-mortem Jim Morrison poetry album. There's something about the capture of your vocal performances that I feel could be better - it's like you're recording on a dynamic mic or something (which I'm sure you're not). Maybe it feels far off-mic, or it could just be how your vocal is sitting so far back in the mix. Sending all of these virtual instruments to a room reverb might help bring your voice forward and give a sense of space to the whole thing. Anyway, this is really fun.

Damp Old Runt: Sounds very Jon Eric/Porobil. There are good sounds here, but there's a flatness to the instrumentation and an overuse of tuning on the vocal that makes this sound like a Weird Al record. Drums definitely lack punch. Lots of good arrangement details here. Not a fan of the keys tone, but that's just me. Bass tone is very fun. Yeah, my takeaway here is that the ingredients are all there, but you didn't salt the pasta water. Or something.

Duncan Martin: Townes Van Zandt vibes. Rather than suggesting all the ways in which you could clean this up, I'll say you should lean into but refine the quirky folk sound. A little more soul in the vocal - like maybe two jack and cokes before you record. Uh, but maybe record the bass sober. Lots of bad notes in there. I don't know that the band and harmonies really add much. I'm thinking guy and guitar might actually be the sound here, at least as long as the full band sound is this rough. Boo fade, just end the song.

FireBear: Cut the intro in half. The gravelly moments in your voice are great. A bit of tube burn might make take a bit of the 'choir-trained' sense out of the cleaner moments. The harmonies definitely need to be pushed back and either burned, delayed, or maybe run through a subtle rotary. You have a lot of elements of ~2000 AFI here, with a few moments of self-consciousness/commitment issues that limit the impact. I'm thinking particularly of the delivery of "I'm the master of death" - feels a bit musical theatre. The guitar solo work is not the greatest. Layering those lines 2-20 times a la Smashing Pumpkins would help smooth out the accuracy/intonation issues a bit. Lots of mix tweaks could be made to punch this up. You clearly have a grasp of the genre - with some work this is gold.

Gil Sans: First part feels very Ken. Then it goes dark and muddy. Maybe that was intentional, but all I can hear is palm mutey guitar, and okay solo work (though I really like the tone of that guitar). Mix is a bit unbalanced overall. Not a lot to say here - feels like a sketch.

Idle Susan: Strong Flight of the Conchords vibe. Lots of low-mid competition happening between the bass, keys, and (painful) guitar. God yeah, the piezo on that acoustic is wretched. The hardpanned lead vocal thing makes sense for psychedelic or Bowie-type stuff, but I don't know that it works here. That also reduces intelligibility, which isn't great in a song like this where it seems like you're trying to be clever. Personally not a fan of cajon percussion, but I guess it's a fine substitute for a cocktail kit here. The vocal performance could use more work, particularly on the ending "strike me down" lines. Really don't like the ending sample. Some neat things happening here I suppose, but maybe I'm not "getting it."

King Arthur: Don't know that I like the phasey/talky guitar. I really like your voice - I wish it was super up front. The left channel acoustic guitar has a harsh midrange percussiveness that is a bit painful on headphones. Neat song overall. I'd really like to hear you showcase your voice, and not have it buried by frankly lackluster full-band arrangement. I'm thinking of Chris Smither when I say that. Be vulnerable with us, KA!

Lichen Throat: Not much I can say that I haven't said before. I do think a bit more time could be spent automating the harp bits to humanize it a bit. Strings sound pretty good.

The Magnetic Letters: Love that synth sound, reminds me of VVVVVV. Lean into the drum machine feel - I think if you gatesmashed the hell out of that snare, it'd fit really well. Is everything lined up right on the grid? Experiment with like a 5% swing - you may wind up with the Vulfpeck-style funk feel it seems like you're going for here. There are spots where the bass gets super lost in mud. Yeah, the bass needs a lot of tone and compression work. Would like to hear some variation in the vocal treatment. Like, on the "pinch me tell me is it a trick" line, a heavy tube, and some pan separation to set it apart could work. Needs a drop somewhere. Like, a chorus where everything but voice and drums drops out. Love the detail of the bossa nova bit, and that you didn't overdo it. This is really strong. Would love to hear a collab between you and Seemanski.

The Mellfire Trifecta: All kinds of eq weirdness on that guitar, and yet it's still hissing all over. Some time correction would go a long way here. I like the sparse drum approach, but it really has to be pocketed to work. More piezo acoustic 😖. There's something about the repeat of the sharp V suspension that bothers me. I feel like it needs to keep moving up, or the underlying chord should change so that it's not a strict repetition. There's a nice Michael Stipe quality to your voice. Some cool stuff here - cleaning up the washy mix would go a long way.

miscellaneous owl: There's a lovely Loreena McKennitt quality to your voice, and I feel like it would be great to hear even more proximity effect. Right up on mic, and boost the breathy frequencies of ~10khz+. Could use a cut around 60-80hz though, or a plosive reduction plugin, as there are points where the breath punches the mic a bit (hazards of proximity effect 🤷‍♂️). Guitars are lovely. A bit of automation work could help with the consistency of the guitar lines, as some bits tend to punch through, while others get a bit lost. The groove is frequently just out of pocket, with the occasional jarring loss like at ~2:58. Clean up the tails at the end. Those nitpicks aside, this is great.

Phlub: Easily wins the 'worst guitar sound' award, which you're definitely going for. Halve the intro. Somehow reminds me of Brown Word's entry. I don't know how I feel about the talky vocal approach. This reminds me of the stuff I'd hear when Myspace girls would drag me out to hardcore shows in the mid 2000s. Always fun to hear what weird experiments you have cooked up.

Pigfarmer Jr: There's a bit of harshness in the acoustic hi frequencies. Bring the cross stick sound way up when you're doing that push beat. Snare is a bit low all around. Don't know how much the crunchy guitar adds - I think a thick hammond would better suit this. Minor four bros 🙏. Some awkward prosody here and there: "kept on punching him with MY fists" etc. Some fun sounds here.

Rone Rivendale: Classic songfight sound.

ShoehornTC: Clean up the heads of your clips. I like the groove - reminds me of CCR, or even the kind of honky tonk feel you get with someone like Tyler Childers. I hate what the piano is doing throughout. Not a fan of the phasey vocal, but whatever. No bottom end to the whole mix - bass, kick, nothing pushing down there. Pretty samey-feeling throughout. At 4+ minutes, we could use some kind of contrast. Some neat stuff here.

shrts: Awesome as always. Only note I have is on the hammond - the tone is super boxy/nasally. Give it some room in the spectrum. Also, a hammond needs expression pedal. Automate it by hand if you have to. Likewise, automate the rotary speed. Otherwise it might as well be a boring old synth. Good work, y'all.

Sober: First recording the new apartment. Really trying to get a handle on the bluegrass sound, or at least as close as I can get without fiddle. It's difficult to resist the temptation to add drums. Feel like I could do more with this.

tobyroktot: I haven't kept up with listening, but I'm glad you're still around. I still have the same thoughts about the panning and the plugged-in acoustic sound, but there's certainly a charm to this. Did a neighbor flush a toilet near the end? 😆 Nice work from you as always.

Vom Vorton: Halve the intro. There's something strange about the way your overdrive is affecting the eq on your vocal. It's muddying it up, while still having a mid-hi harshness. Would love to hear the drums accent along with the 'strike-me-down' vocals. Synth melody is a bit lost under the admittedly nice-sounding guitars. Mix overall needs some balancing and plenty of eq and compression work, but this is a good effort.

wordlE: Hard not to hear pieces of Just the Two of Us. Jesus, just do without whatever that attempt at percussion is. You have a great voice, and there's some cool writing and performance here I'm sure, but that noise is incredibly distracting.

WreckdoM: Yes.

Strange bunch of songs this week. Clear standouts for me are misc owl and Magnetic Letters, with honorable mentions to FireBear, shrts, and Duncan Martin.
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

My reviews are half done. And I finally got access to my account again. Yay, thanks Fluffy.
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by owl »

I'm doing February Album Writing Month this month, so have no time for this really, but I feel like I'm behind on review karma on Songfight as I think I never finished reviews for the last couple of fights I entered, so I wanted to write SOMETHING. I only have ultra-short first-impression reviews here that were written in the span of my first two listens to each song. So I'm sorry if they are short/not very insightful!

Brown Word and the Big Whine: I dig the instrumentation already in the first 15 seconds, those bells are so cool. The spoken word approach works well, but I would like your vocals quite a bit louder in the mix--I thought you were just putting in a distant radio effect at first until I realized that was the lead vocal. The change-up in the beat and instrumentation is nice and gives the song a good sense of forward motion. Cute story (once I looked at the lyrics--couldn't really make them out otherwise), it reminds me of whenever I have some kind of IT problem at work and then someone comes to look and it's gone.

Damp Old Runt: I like the intro, really pulls you in. The vocal is mixed a bit loud and thin/nasally and gives it a kind of musical theater feel that I'm not a fan of. I can hear the audible tuning in spots, and I really don't like it, it's obvious but not heavy enough to sound like a deliberate aesthetic choice. Some nice melodies here, and the chorus is pretty catchy! I didn't see the lyrics posted but I feel like there's some kind of Ozymandias megalomaniac tale here that seems incongruous with the kind of friendly nerd-sounding lead vocal and poppy musical choices. It has some 80's sitcom theme song vibes to it that don't seem to go well with the lyrical content. I guess it's supposed to be funny but I didn't feel like it went quite far enough in that direction. The instrumentation is pretty fun but I would have liked the setting better for a different song.

Duncan Martin: Excellent imagery and rhymes in the lyrics here. I really like "Muffled rolls on tympani, the heavens flash their sympathies, a golden bolt across the skies"--the combo of sound and vision in the lyric is great. I get that you're probably going for Dylan-style flurries of monotone imagery but I don't find the constant repeat of the same melodic line very musically compelling, so five and a half minutes of this tune is kind of a lot. I would consider editing it down and maybe working on a few variations for the melody or even some harmonica or lead instrument to give the listener more of a sense of motion through the tune.

FireBear: Heavy theatrical metal vibes, I really like the Spanish-sounding guitar stuff and the rhythmic accents on "is not just a dream" are great. Extra points for being a Lovecraft song. The boxer verse kept making me think of dogs. Is it a dog or is it a human? I like the screaming part towards the end (I almost never say that) but the music might be a bit too compressed to show off the dynamics when you get to that intense part, it just didn't feel like there was enough contrast between quieter and louder parts, even though I could see where you were trying to put them.

Gil Sans: Good start here with a nice sense of timing and melody, the self-referential lyrics strike me as kind of Beatlesesque (somewhere between With a Little Help from My Friends and Only a Northern Song?) I really like the minor chord in the chorus. I wish there were a few other words in the chorus, I feel like it goes on for a few more "strike me down"s than the music itself can carry. The dropout is nice, and... oh, it's over already? This was nice enough but feels like more of an sketched-out idea than a full song.

Idle Susan: I dig the jazzy feel to the music here, but the doubled vocal is distracting to me and as an American, it's hard for me to get on board with the lyrics. I think it's a nice vocal arrangement aside from the doubled lead that I wasn't a fan of, the call and response vocals and harmonies are good. I like the solo. Also the bizarre noise at the end.

King Arthur: Unusual choices on that warbly guitar tone, I honestly can't decide if I like it or not, but I think it definitely works better in the longer lead parts than in the parts where you're adding the little stabby accents where it feels like a droid jumping in with backing vocals, very distracting from the lead vox. I like your vocal phrasing on "once was strange" and going from "turn around again" into the little solo bit is a nice choice. I find the production kind of distracting overall from the song--I think it might work better as a simple G&G in this case.

Lichen Throat: I like the instrumentation in the chorus, it weirdly reminds me of the prechorus of "Video Killed the Radio Star". Vocals are pitchy and off time, I'll make the usual comment that I think you might benefit from bringing this up a step or two so you're not singing quite so low. I think it also doesn't help that the melody I think you're aiming for in the verse is maybe a bit unusual so it's harder for the listener to fill in the gaps as far as where it should be going. The names are slightly butchered and while I like the offbeat subject matter, I don't think these are your best lyrics... I am not a fan of "bad old" as the start of any line in a song intended for adults, nor of "my X did Y" in any song written after 1905. The last image/metaphor is cool, though. Very striking (ha ha).

The Magnetic Letters: Lovely melancholy tune--cheesy instrumentation, but the lyrics make that completely make sense. The synth solo is sweeeet, I love it. Great storytelling, you paint a wonderful picture here and I love the melody in the chorus. Nice touch where the "SK" flows into "one by one" in the lyrics. This was the last one I listened to and it was a wonderful note to end on. Ooh we get ANOTHER synth solo? Good stuff, really enjoyed it.

The Mellfire Trifecta: Do people sell drugs in vials? I feel like I've only ever seen baggies but admittedly I don't have that much experience with this. Anyway, I got kind of distracted by that, sorry. I like your harmonies and the gentle groove of the drums and guitar. I think I would have either made this just a little shorter, or changed up the instrumentation/parts more in the last chorus, as it started to drag a bit by the end for me, but overall I liked it and it has some really nice storytelling and melody.

miscellaneous owl: It me! I don't think I've ever written anything with guitar harmonics before, and certainly not anything with this alternate tuning, which I arrived at after some random experimentation on a Sunday afternoon. (E Ab Db Ab B Db, for the record.) Ghosts are fun. Ancient gods are fun.
Edit: mo is complaining that I named the notes wrong and it should be E G# C# G# B C#
I stand corrected!
Phlub: Very abrasive but well performed and weirdly compelling. I like the chanting part at the end and the angular guitars. It's kind of hard to listen to, but I love all the wordplay in the lyrics once I visit the lyrics page to actually read and process them. "I'm everywhere my gangers dopple"--ha!

Pigfarmer Jr: This mix sounds really nice at the start! The chorus guitar feels sort of weak when it comes in, maybe mixed a bit quiet for my taste so it gives the vocal sort of a karaoke feel that it didn't have in the verse. I am really not a fan of the redundancy in the line "punching him with my fists" or the fact that "my" ends up being the word emphasized in your delivery, and the fact that "fists" is only there to rhyme with "rapist" makes it worse somehow. Overall, though, I like the emotion in your performance and that one chord (must be the minor 4 Sober mentioned?) in the progression is unexpected and a really nice choice.

Rone Rivendale: The vocals are super hard to understand, the timing is off, and they vary a lot in volume, including some huge pops from "p"s too close to the mic. I would suggest carving out some space in your mix for the vocals, and looking at your EQ and compression settings. Like there's a mid-range synth that doesn't seem to be doing a lot melodically but eats up a lot of the space I would have expected the vocal to occupy. It's a cute story if I read the lyrics, but I would have no idea from listening that this was the tale you were trying to tell. I am not sure what you're going for musically, which to be fair is part of the fun of Songfight, but I think the song might benefit from taking a step back and deciding what elements you're trying to emphasize in this song and then focusing on that. Right now there is a lot going on here and I think the storytelling is the strongest part, but I can't really get a sense of it without reading your lyrics separately.

ShoehornTC: I like the instrumental stuff but hate the vocal treatment. Love the change between major verse and minor chorus. The song goes on a long time without the parts of the arrangement changing and I think it could have benefitted from some variation on that main riff. I like the kind of psychedelic visions-of-heaven lyrics, although I'm astonished you stretched these out over four and a half minutes, there doesn't seem to be enough there for that!

shrts: This song ended before I even finished coming up with my first comment. The performances are solid, but I didn't find the melody very compelling. The organ is cool.

Sober: Really nicely performed and mixed, I love the instrumental solo stuff. The gravel is a bit heavy on the vocals for my taste, I much prefer your vocals without that grit, which to me just kind of sounds like you're hurting yourself instead of sounding pleasantly raspy. I like the lyrics in the first verse in particular, mixing the imagery in there between the grand statements works better for me than the grand statements about Life that come hard and fast in the other verses.

tobyroktot: This is charming and a good sound overall. I like your voice, it has a warm, comfortable timbre. The dynamics in the guitar kind of drown out the vocal in spots, especially on those higher notes. The lyrics flow nicely if you aren't really listening to them, but feel pretty generic when you pay attention closely, they seem kind of first-drafty. I think they'd go over well at an open mic or in a bar band, live music type situation but don't offer that much on repeat listens--might like a bit more specific storytelling or a more memorable lyrical chorus hook.

Vom Vorton: Really catchy chorus with nice harmonies, awesomely noisy guitars, a sweet synth lead, clever lyrics, what's not to like? That's kind of everything I look for in a song, so I really liked this one. There are a couple of pitchy moments in the vocals and I guess I might prefer them a little bit cleaner/dryer, but the slight muddiness fits with the style of the song so I have a hard time complaining about that, even.

wordlE: I like the guitar work. Nice playing and progression. The vocal seems mixed a bit loud to me and the percussion isn't as tight as I'd like it to be here, it doesn't feel cohesive. This meanders too much for me, the melody and lyrics have the feel of something improvised on the spot, or written and not edited later.

WreckdoM: I didn't think I'd say this given the subject matter, but these verses are some of the strongest lyrics I've seen in this fight so far. (I'm not reviewing in alphabetical order, before anyone gets salty!) I like the intro, but it gets pretty chaotic musically after that. The chorus holds together better than the verse from that point of view and it's pretty catchy. I would have liked to have seen this stripped back to more of a minimal approach musically, less parts with guitar noodling and more parts with just drums/bass vox.

Vom and The Magnetic Letters were my favorites this time but there are several others that will get votes as well, I just need to narrow it down.
Last edited by owl on Tue Feb 22, 2022 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by lichenthroat »

owl wrote:
Tue Feb 22, 2022 4:32 pm
]Lichen Throat[/url]The names are slightly butchered and while I like the offbeat subject matter, I don't think these are your best lyrics... I am not a fan of "bad old" as the start of any line in a song intended for adults, nor of "my X did Y" in any song written after 1905.
I was worried about all of these things, specifically. ;) So your review is right on target. I figured that I probably hadn't said the names quite right. I think I mispronounced a French word in next week's song, too.
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

I have two more of these to do. Damp and Duncan...I'll get to you.

Fire Bear - Okay this is awesome. For one, you don’t really hear a lot of breakdowns on SongFight. I’m not sure I’m totally sold on the hihat sound you went with but honestly I’m just nitpicking a production thing. I also think the chorus on the dirgy slow guitar was probably unnecessary…would have sounded better without it. The triplets into “not just a dream” are well executed. I would have liked to hear a little bit more of a reprieve in the bridge leading up to “the mark of the beast”. It’s good sounding, just seems like the music doesnt’ build up to that line which should be super epic. The upward bent on “deaaaaad” is awesome. The screaming section is held back by the low mix. It sounds like you turned the screams down? Turn em up! Compress them! Make em br0000tal!

Gil Sans - Guitars sounded pretty good. Is the “Strike Me Down” becoming progressively harder to hear as the chorus continues on purpose? It sounds like you’re turning the volume down on it leading into that guitar solo, but I’m not sure if it’s really “striking you down” cause it’s more “turning you down” which isn’t the same at all. Sonically this is nice, I liked the solo, the production was great, but I really wish there was a little more going on here.

Idle Susan - Well, as an American…it’s kind of hard to really follow a lot of references going on here. I know a bit about your politics, but that’s about it. I’m not overly huge on political songs that get too specific, and that’s 90% just personal taste. Same about COVID-inspired songs that get too specific too. But that’s also personal taste, as half of my songs are definitely both political and COVID inspired but really vague so maybe that’s just me. The lyricism here is certainly well done. The recording is great. The mixing is great. I really don’t have much to critique musically about this cause it’s really well done.

King Arthur - Is that wah or phaser on the guitar? The mix is a little bit hot at various points through the song. Especially in that instrumental break before the second verse, I can hear the clipping, especially on whatever speaker is actually over my left ear right now. The song is great, just mixed way too high. Vocal performance is well executed. My comments to Idle Susan about lyricism do not apply here at all. This seems very inspired by current events, and has that defiant vibe that I usually dig. I don’t know entirely what you’re talking about but the line about opinions changing with time was pretty poignant so yay.

Lichen Throat - For a track done entirely with soundfonts in Musescore, this instrumental sounds really great. The harp and strings are a nice touch, and the panning sounds good. Your melody alternates between being well composed and well defined to being kind of meandering…and by the second verse I’ve kind of lost where the downbeat is. I’m not sure if that’s deliberate, but like I really can’t tell where it is. “Out of sight is out of mind” is well delivered, and your voice works well in that timbre. Also you got me reading about Peng Shuai and I did not know anything about this story. This is wild!

The Magnetic Letters - It is very rare that I have any idea what you’re talking about in your songs. But I like the majority of them. And this has a great melody. It’s a bit dynamically stagnant at times, I feel like the volume is kind of flat. I am absolutely loving what you have going on here melodically and instrumentally. I don’t really have much bad to say about this song or much to critique cause it just sounds really good.

Mellfire Trifecta - I’m pretty sure this is about escaping drug addiction by just running away? Or escaping the fact that most of your friends are trying to get you into this? Or you’re stuck in a house with a bunch of users? I could be wrong, but it’s nice and open to interpretation. Those descending, echoing guitar lines sound great to me. The timing is a little sloppy at times. Are these drums live? They sound really muffled in the mix. Maybe that’s deliberate on your end, maybe not…hard to say. Something about this is giving me David Bowie vibes. It’s pretty decent, if maybe not particularly gripping.

Miscellaneous Owl - Here you are in good form. The “sorry” into “promise” me is well executed, that chord change is just delightful. This took me a couple takes to get past the fact that I really really like the instrumentation by itself and actually follow the lyrical story…and wow this is extremely poignant and poetic. Some of the best lyricism you’ve come up with…or heck, one of the best songs I think I’ve heard from you. And one of the most depressing songs you’ve ever written. I will point out that my son’s middle name is Osiris, so I’m familiar with the mythology here. Just…wow. 10/10, A+, extra credit. Forget mix nitpicks this is one of the most memorable songfight entries I’ve heard in awhile.

Phlub - Lol this is such a jarring transition after Owl. I really like the groove I came up with for this. The groove is definitely a mix of a few different influences, but mostly Skepta and Korn (maybe the guitar in the verses makes that obvious). I don’t like the first verse, it was rushed. Second verse I’m very proud of. I give myself a B-. Also everyone should try 11-edo guitar, it’s so fun https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJCSBxz__Rs&t=373s

Figparmer Jr - Ah, a classic imprisonment tale. So you’re praying to God in a jail cell cause you’re stuck in jail for a super long time for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. I can’t 100% figure out why you’re in jail. I’m not sure that really matters. I do understand the temptation to beat the crap out of the rapey braggart. Did you kill the dude in jail? I get that. I just watched the Green Mile for the first time a couple of days ago and some of the themes here kind of reminded me of that story. Musically competent, lyrically involved but ambiguous. I’ve heard better tunes from you, but this is at least in the top 70th percentile of PFJR songs.

Rone Rivendale - Well…this isn’t very impressive. But I’ll offer you some critiques. For one, your vocal volume is all over the place. It sounds like you’re not staying the same distance from the mic, or you keep turning your head or something. Keep a steady volume! Since I know you’re using FL studio, the two ideas I have to remedy this are the simpler “use compression to keep your levels more consistent” or the more complicated “slap a Fruity Balance on there and rid the levels on the volume knob with an automation clip”. I say use Fruity Balance instead of the mixer channel’s volume because it’s better to use that as a master volume controller for mixing. Another big critique: sing louder. It seems like you’re trying to not wake up your roommate. Also…follow the beat. You are all over the beat. I’m not saying slice it up and quantize it. But just…don’t rush! When you have a lot of words you speed up a lot.

ShoehornTC - I don’t know if I like that chorus/flanger effect on your vocals. I do often like that effect. I’ve abused it a lot (as you know). But I don’t like it in this style. Like if you were doing something way more psychedelicized, it would work. But then again, the lyrics here ARE very psychedelic. But we’re in a folksy…ohhhhhhhhhhh, got it, pretend this is a Grateful Dead cut without the extended jamming. Dark star crashes, pouring its light into ashes….Okay, now I’ve figured out how to listen to this and I like it a lot more lol. Okay maybe I still don’t really like all the flanging on the vocals but by and large this is a pretty enjoyable ditty.

Shrts - This is as short and sweet as they usually come from you. I don’t really find this particularly compelling though. I don’t know why. It kind of sounds like all of the other songs you’ve done under this moniker. But it’s decent for what it is. I’m sorry, I just find this song really hard to criticize because you know what you’re doing and nailed what you’re aiming for…it’s just what you’re aiming for is something I’ve heard you do before similarly many times just as well. Switch it up more with your Shrts songs?

Sober - You’ve had quite a few songs in the past where your always great range and voice seems like you’ve gone too gravelly on some of your words for emphasis. This is not one of them. Vocal performance is great. And the backing vocals in the chorus (ahhhhh) sound great, though they’re so perfect it trips my pitch correction sensor. Dude I have to find something to nitpick with you because you’re always quality. The mixing and panning decisions on the little instrumental interludes are so super tight. Tight, tight tight! And that little muted string chunk before that chorus is great. Muted chugs in americana/bluegrass (what genre is this again?) are cool cause I’m used to hearing them in other genres that are way harder. Good work, this is one of your more accomplished recordings.

Toby Roktot - You nail that mumbly, kind of low, fry-filled vocal pretty well. I don’t know if I like how hard panned the guitar track is here. I would have put it a little bit more in the center, since there isn’t really much going on on the other side. The end result is that the mix feels very asymmetrical, and my left ear is enjoying all of the guitar work. The chord progression here is a bit “safe” for my tastes…but we’ve songfought enough for you to surely know that I’m allergic to I-IV-V and so that’s clearly not a knock on you. Lyrically this is a good sad song. Not the *most* distinctive I’ve ever heard but it’s well done. Also one of the better Toby songs.

Vovm Vovortvon - Alright, I don’t know if I’m onto anything with this statement. My initial thoughts when it comes in were “this is such an awesome shoegaze tinged 90s rock style, this kind of reminds me of Souvlaki, and that album is wonderful…but the guitar needs just a *tinge* of reverb to really sound right to me”. And then your vocals come in and there’s extra reverb on them that doesn’t feel like it belongs at all, or at the very least it’s too wet and too mushy to me. Take the reverb on the vocals, maybe even the same setting, and stick it on that big overdriven guitar instead. Okay, that instrumental synth or whatever it is during the post-chorus rock out section sounds great. And this is a good, solid song. That lyric with the exercise/exorcise wordplay leapt out as being exceptionally clever. Something about it just sounds so Slowdive to me but less dreamy. And I like that. I don’t know why this isn’t my favorite song of the fight but it’s missing something I can’t put my finger on.

Wordle - The rhythm here is wayyyyyy too loose. Like there’s that…snare drum…or something that’s periodically tapping away in the background. But it’s not holding a beat at all. It’s just kind of hitting over and over. My inner drummer is getting driven insane by that. The vocal performance is pretty decent. The finger-picking on the guitar sounds fairly good, and I wouldn’t have noticed that it was drifting all over the beat as badly if it weren’t for that snare drum that doesn’t follow any rhythm at all. There’s potential here, but a metronome or something would be your friend.

Wreckdom - This is silly. Lyrics are classic WreckdoM. Short and sweet. This is violent and catchy! I honestly don’t have any critiques for this that are remotely productive at all other than saying “yeah I liked it”. Maybe not my favorite WreckdoM track, but a nice bit of humor and weirdness that added a nice spice to this listening session.

Brown Word - I like this instrumental. It feels upside down in the mix though, like there’s a lot of low mids that are excessively dominating, and most of the drums are sitting too far off to one side and the vocals are too low for me to really follow the story. But those chiming bells and stuff are really cool and I like the soundscape you have going on. Ugh, running out of time tonight!
"There's a lot to be said about a full-on frontal assault on the ear drums" - Pigfarmer Jr.
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lichenthroat
Mean Street
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by lichenthroat »

Brown Word and the Big Whine—Mix your voice a little higher. This has a cool poetry slam vibe, and your concept is aesthetically consistent. I can’t get really get into it as a song, but all the sounds are cool.

Damp Old Runt—Have you submitted here before under a different name? Your voice sounds familiar. “They’re pretty sweet” is a good line, in context. I like the Ozymandias reference, too. I’m not sure you can burn ashes, though. This sounds pretty good overall. It’s a little on the light side for me, but it comes together well.

Duncan Martin—I like how there’s a clear, vibrant image right from the beginning. This is top-tier Duncan Martin. It puts all your strengths to good use; it’s like the museum specimen of your work. It’s Laffer, not Laffler. I did have to look up Ginger Goodwin, so thanks for turning me on to that. I’m not sure which Sawat and Swanson you’re referring to, but you succeeded in making me curious.

FireBear—Nice metal ballad. This outside my wheelhouse, but I liked it. I don’t have lot of insightful comments, though. Nice job, anyway.

Gil Sans—The song is too short, but your timing is good. I like your chord progression in the chorus. This sounds good. I want more.

Idle Susan—I didn’t know there was a market for Boris Johnson lounge dance songs. I have to applaud your ingenuity. The overall sound of this is almost exactly contrary to my taste, but the quality of your execution is so high that I can’t help but enjoy myself when I listen to this. Very well crafted.

King Arthur—Your vocal delivery is perfect for this song. I think there’s too much phaser (or whatever that is) on the guitar. Overall, I enjoyed this.

Lichen Throat—I’m dissatisfied with this. Everything was hard about it, and it never came together. All the criticisms thus far seem correct to me. (Phleb: I’m glad you were inspired to look up Peng Shuai.)

The Magnetic Letters—I wouldn’t expect to like this, but I do. It sounds better every time through. The melodies are fantastic, and the rhythm is strong. I’d like to hear this with less electronic instrumentation, but I really like it as it is, too. Very, very nice. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite Magnetic Letters song.

The Mellfire Trifecta—I’m conflicted about this song. Each individual part sounds good. I like your vocal performance, and the guitar playing is great. I like the melodies, too, but it feels like it’s going to burst out at some point and it never quite does…....okay, I listened more, and it grows on me. Tentative, but definite, thumbs up.

miscellaneous owl—The clear, delicate vocal works well with the instruments and the atmosphere. You’re good at sad afterlife songs (e.g., The Supper Club, which this reminds me of). Well executed, as usual.

Phulb—Wow, this is a harsh awakening after owl’s quiet song. Your voice sounds great in this, however. That reverby instrument sounds cool. I’m not sure how much I’m supposed to actually enjoy this, but I think you did what you set out to do.

Pigfarmer Jr—The good mixes from you continue. I think some reverb or delay on the vocal would fit well in this song. This would be at home in the soundtrack of a prison drama, and you evoke the atmosphere successfully. Since you’re becoming poetry guy, allow me to nitpick the lyrics: I’m not sure to whom the lyrics are addressed. To God? To me? To someone who may not even be there?

Rone Rivendale—I’m not keen on the instrument sounds. I have no inherent objection to midi (obviously), but I think this would sound better if you could get more depth out of the instrument sounds. The changes in vocal volume are distracting. However, compared to your recent songs, this one has more variation in vocal pitch, which is an improvement.

Shoehorn TC—I like the effect you have on your vocal. This kind of sounds like R.E.M. goofing around. It feels like an album closer. This doesn’t grab me and hold on, but it holds its own. There’s more sophistication here than I thought at first.

shrts—I feel like this needs something higher pitched to be a counterpoint. As usual, I wish a shrts song was longer, which perhaps shows that I have missed the point.

Sober—The left side of the mix sounds louder to me than the right side, but that’s my only complaint. This is obviously good, and you don’t need to do anything different. Virtuoso performance.

tobyroktot—Soulful vocal. I think I’d like another instrument in here somewhere, but what you have is good. Good job on the guitar dynamics.

Vom Vorton—Ah, how I’ve missed the Vorton sound around here. The mix doesn’t sound quite right: it seems lacking on the low end, and I think the effects cover up your vocal too much. Otherwise, thumbs up all around. Good songwriting. Definitely among my favorites this week.

wordlE—Welcome! I like the timbre of your voice. The drum sounds out of place in the mix, and I’m not sure its timing works well with the guitar and vocal. I’d like to hear more from you in the future.

WreckdoM—By the way, the previous two WreckdoM songs were probably my favorites of yours. I don’t like this one quite as much, but the bassline is very good.
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Duncan
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
Posts: 175
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by Duncan »

I'm away on an island for work, and reading these on a tiny screen in a bed that has silverfish in it. If I don't get to reviewing, I'll just say thanks for the detailed and constructive feedback in this round. Sober, I appreciate you refraining for clobbering me too much about my "loose" instrumentation, and instead just suggesting the bass player was drunk (it me, sober--not drunk, just struggling on a casio).
Owl, great points -- I like the repetition sometimes, for kicks, but I think your suggestion to add an instrumental melody line could really work -I try to use harmonica only sometimes, but maybe this warrants it.
Mr. Throat, thank you for your patronage and support of my lyrical adventures. Sawant and Swanson are a couple of badass city councilors in Seattle and Vancouver. As for Laffer, I suppose I tend to misspell things that bother me. Like Wes Anderton or Edwin Sharp and the Magenta Zeros. Sometimes it's out of love, though. In this case I just plain didn't know the spelling. I heard a very satisfying podcast once that ripped that curve to shreds.

I think Owl and Sober called it with the fairly undeniable Townes and Bob stylistic borrows, but in retrospect I think I nearly jacked Kurt Cobain's "In Bloom" as well. Sober, I had that Townes tape in my truck on repeat about 15 years ago. I love that song.

Some random notes as I listen back:
Magnetic Letters has some wild psychedelic rethinking of the Sultans of Swing story going on here, I just love it so much

Sober's instrumentation really shows some serious skill. I use a metronome and still struggle. Only time I can really play in time is when I can see a drummer.

Owl's song gets progressively more wacky in a good way - the customs form asks her the last time she hurt someone!

Shoehorn's vocal effect is a bit too much but it's still such a fun arrangement. I never get tired of the jangle.

Lichen Throat's South China Sea caper warrants some more research.

Damp Old Runt - is this Here, Atticus? I have very mixed feelings and thoughts about this. In a way it irks me with the autotune and Malcolm-in the-Middle-y era vibe, but I can't quit it. If you were famous, I feel like I'd probably be the guy at the bar that says, "Say what you will about Damp Old Runt, but one thing's for sure:. There's no denying the guy can ___________ a ___________, not to mention __________.". I'd feel a need to defend or criticize depending on the company I was in.

I wish I had time to write something up for each one. Great job everyone. Enjoyed the listens.
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Lunkhead
You're No Good
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

miscellaneous owl wins!
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Pigfarmer Jr
Ice Cream Man
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

lichenthroat wrote:
Tue Feb 22, 2022 9:24 pm
Pigfarmer Jr—Since you’re becoming poetry guy, allow me to nitpick the lyrics: I’m not sure to whom the lyrics are addressed. To God? To me? To someone who may not even be there?
Intended to be to God, but it's poetry. You're supposed to fill in that part, I think.
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Pigfarmer Jr
Ice Cream Man
Posts: 1925
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Congratz, Owl!!
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"PigFramer: Guy and guitar OF MY NIGHTMARES." - Blue Lang
owl
Panama
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by owl »

Ah, awesome! Thanks!
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rone rivendale
Odie
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Re: Or you could lift me up (Strike Me Down reviews)

Post by rone rivendale »

Congrats to Owl.

My opinion doesn't mean much but I think Phlub was slept on, I found his entry to easily be the best of the fight. :)
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