Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

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Pigfarmer Jr
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Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Let us know what you think.
Last edited by Lunkhead on Mon Mar 28, 2022 1:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: unstick
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Please post your lyric here if you haven't already: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12256
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Songs posted!
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by robynmackenzie »

Sly Eli - I like the song overall. I did want the intro to build up a little more, it feels like I was just thrown into the song without a space to land before the lyrics come in. But that may just be a personal thing. The harmonies on the chorus are nice, really catchy chorus.

Lichen Throat - Interesting concepts in the lyrics. I like the rhythm and rhyme of the chorus. The instrumentation is very dreamy.

Phlub - Oh yeah, that intro. And then everything gets thrown into chaos. Cool what you did with the beats and timing–it feels erratic and exciting.

All the Robots - Good energy right off the bat. I think the chorus is really what sold me with the shouty “head first” parts. This is kinetic and engaging.

Robyn Mackenzie - As soon as I read the title the chorus melody popped into my head, which I hope doesn’t mean I’m ripping off an existing melody. If that turns out to be the case I shall make sure I am appropriately punished. Maybe y’all can throw me off a cliff or something.

hoodmo - This has a laid back, almost retro vibe that I find somewhat comforting. I like the subtle fuzz that comes in around 1:19. The lyrics have a strong message too. I do want that guitar solo to be a tad meatier; otherwise this is for sure a fave of the fight.

Mandibles - Oooh, lush layered vocals. The doubled telephone vocals on “falling head first into the end” are super effective. And that spacey ending, very cool. I like this one a lot!

Prill Phuner - I like how the beat picks up before “they’re not even good breadsticks.” Not sure how I feel about the scratchy sound though–I’m listening to this in earbuds and I could feel the static on my eardrums which was uncomfortable. Maybe it’s different on speakers. The lyrics made me laugh–I love Olive Garden breadsticks but I agree they’re not phenomenal.

Gray - Not at all what I expected musically after reading the lyrics. I was thinking I was gonna hear something fast and gritty, and instead got a soft accordion and 6/8 time. It works though, as a melancholy lament.

Bootleg - Nice fiddle, very smooth. I mean the rest of the song is great, but that’s really what caught my attention as it reminded me of playing folk festivals back in college and felt nostalgic. Very well done.

WreckdoM - A CHAAAAINSAAAAW is gonna be stuck in my head all week. The theatrical delivery of the vocals is really fun, along with the sound effects. The lyrics seem so incongruent with the music and I love it. Coincidentally I was speaking with someone who is a handyman the other day and he told me some pretty crazy stories about his job. Maybe I’ll show him this.

The Magnetic Letters - The music is a bit disorienting, which seems to work with the lyrical theme of loss. I really like the last line, very impactful and adds an even darker vibe.

Gil Sans - Argh, this is so good musically but I want those vocals to stand out more. They’re a bit buried under the music for the most part, although there are some moments they come through a little more. The organ adds a cool element at the end there.

Buku Chauney - I really like that chord progression! This had me bopping my head. I like the soft, laid back vocal delivery.

Paco del Stinko - Funkaaay. This is full of all kinds of ear candy. Danceable while also exploring some darker musical territory. Awesome.
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by A Bootleg »

All the robots: Great chorus; love the backup vox. Laughed out loud at "I came out head first." The implied head trauma in the last stanza is a stroke of genius.
Mandibles: I'm a sucker for anything with rhodes. I wanted something more out of that chorus but those fuguing harmonies at the end were dreamy.
Sly Eli: May the rhodes rise up to meet you. Love the percussion. Chorus has a great texture. Good use of dynamics. Ending feels abr
Phil Phuner: Before I went back to check the lyrics I thought this was a clever song about returning to the place where you first got head, with the punchline being that it was an Olive Garden.
Buku Chuaney: Love a good V-I ending. Right up there with the ole cha-cha-cha but not so brazen as the shave-and-a-haircut.
Robyn Mackenzie: I like the texture of your orchestration and the harmonies, especially the descant toward the end. The lyrics don’t scan well but you sell ‘em in their delivery.
Hoodmo: Truly interesting/engaging melody. Thank you.
Bootleg: Rush job– 18h turnaround, but was happy to prove I could still write a song after 6 years in absentia.
Phlub: Sweet, dissonant, off-balance hook. Genius if not autobiographical, still pretty good if it was.
Gil Sans: Solid concept and execution.
Magnetic Letters: This is goblin music and I’m 100% there for it.
Lichen Throat: Strong, rich baritone. Fascinating not just how we’ve independently evolved ‘head first / heart next’ but also a similar lyrical perspective.
Wreckdom: Read the lyrics before listening and didn’t picture it sounding like this– it works well though! Chuckling throughout.
Paco Del Stinko: Love the groove. Reminds me of that Emma Goldman quote about not wanting to be part of a revolution if it doesn't involve dancing and oral sex reciprocity.
Gray: Just when the I-IV-I-IV-I-IV-I-IV-I-IV-I-IV-I-IV-I-IV starts to get repetitive you give us not just the V but also a nice pause.
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

A Bootleg wrote:
Sat Mar 19, 2022 10:37 am
Phlub: Sweet, dissonant, off-balance hook. Genius if not autobiographical, still pretty good if it was.
The only thing that isn't autobiographical is that I don't remember what color my trunks actually were. I was 12. It really hurt.

Also I'm using a 22 note octave and am alternating between 5/4 and 15/4 because why not.
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Cybronica »

robynmackenzie wrote:
Fri Mar 18, 2022 9:16 pm
Mandibles - Oooh, lush layered vocals. The doubled telephone vocals on “falling head first into the end” are super effective. And that spacey ending, very cool. I like this one a lot!
I'm very glad you caught the 'spaciness' of the end - we were going for the sonic equivalent of when something gets sucked into a black hole, where it freezes and the light seems to literally streak into it. :D
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Gray »

My general approach to writing these reviews is that I want to tell you what I liked about the song but will also try to point out something where, in my somewhat unrefined opinion, there might be some room for improvement.

Robyn Mackenzie - This one starts out kinda slow. I can see the potential in the repetition in the melody (head first head first into you), but it doesn't seem to have the impact it could (I'd maybe try putting some of the instrumentation reinforcing the melody while you sing it). I like the ending with the multiple overlapping vocal lines.

Prill Phuner - I think the scratchy audio sound works in this. Vocals are kinda hard to understand.... breadsticks....

Gil Sans - Unexpected take on head first. I like the 'can someone turn these lights off' comment. Overall this has a very chill vibe to it, which I like. The vocal seems just a little buried.

hoodmo - This song is very relaxing. For some reason the beginning of this felt like it could be the theme song of late 70's TV show. I feel like the guitar parts on this could be a little "tighter". The drums sound a little unnatural against the acoustic guitar.

Sly Eli - Good intro. I like the drums on this one, the seem just right for this track. I like the way the organ part during the chorus works. The transition at around 2:55 is a little clunky.

Bootleg - For some reason I found the intro on this to be a little disorienting (maybe it's the time signature) - however the second the vocal comes in that's all forgotten. The way the instrumental parts on this work together is fantastic. The vocal also flows well with this one. I enjoyed this song all the way through.

All The Robots - I like the build up (all out / balls out / no doubt) to the 'head first' part. The 'head first' feels like it is sung more than shouted (in my head it seems like it might be better if it was more shouted). Another reference to the birthing process (perhaps I'm the odd one in not having had that cross my mind when pondering 'head first'). I like the speed up at the end of the guitar solo (but the talking part on top of the solo feels a little forced).

Buku Chauney - In the intro (and to some extent the rest of the song), the piano 8th notes attract a lot of attention, but it's such a simple and repetitive part that I feel like it should be more like one of those things that's going on in the background that your almost not aware of. I like the vocal melody on this and the way it is performed. The harmony vocal part is effective.

Gray (me) - I had a drum track on this but it was clunky, I decided to just remove it entirely and I think it's better without it.

Lichen Throat - That 'where is fancy bread' is an interesting way to kick this one off. I also like the lyric about the giant payments on the car loan.

Mandibles - The part with the 'falling head first' with the regular vocal and vocal with the effects is an interesting idea, but for some reason just doesn't work for me as it is. I like the bass line that is going on in the second half of this. The vocal stuff in the ending has a cool sound to it.

WreckdoM - The chainsaw/flame thrower/jack hammer/etc. parts were entertaining. The 'I'm a handyman ...' part felt like kind of underwhelming (after listening to the previous part).

Paco del Stinko - That intro grabbed my attention and then the song took an unexpected hard turn. The bass and guitar parts work well together. That 'head first' chorus felt like it flew right out of the 70's (the backing vocals were very satisfying). I liked this one.

The Magnetic Letters - I like the overall feel of this one. Makes me think of 'The Wall'. I found most of the words difficult to understand.

Phlub - I like that drum roll in the intro. This song has the 'only a northern song' quality where it seems like things feel like they might be going sideways, but they're not. The start of lyrics on this make you think it's going to just be a mundane list of things you did on vacation, but as the story unfolds it is interesting and you want to keep listening to find out what happened next.
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by lichenthroat »

Gray wrote:
Mon Mar 21, 2022 8:56 pm
Lichen Throat - That 'where is fancy bread' is an interesting way to kick this one off.
It's supposed to be "where is fancy bred?" meaning "from where do ideas arise?" (and quoted from The Merchant of Venice). But yeah, it sounds like someone's looking for an expensive loaf of sourdough.

Thanks for the review!
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Gray »

lichenthroat wrote:
Mon Mar 21, 2022 9:06 pm
It's supposed to be "where is fancy bred?" meaning "from where do ideas arise?" (and quoted from The Merchant of Venice). But yeah, it sounds like someone's looking for an expensive loaf of sourdough.
Yeah... the next line makes a lot more sense in that context... it's funny.... just on hearing the first line of the song I couldn't (still can't) get the image/concept of 'fancy bread' out of my head....
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Thanks for the comments so far, peoples. I'll get some up on Friday.
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by lichenthroat »

Wow, there were some great songs this week!

All the Robots—The phrasing on this is fantastic; everything sound naturally articulated and fits perfectly with the music. It gives a feeling of good craftsmanship. The occasional exclamations make me thing this is intended to be interpreted on the humorous side of the possible range. I think, however, that it might be better a little more serious (but not particularly serious, of course), which would probably include reducing the vibrato a bit. I like your vocal delivery on the berserker part. This definitely a good song. It could be a winner most weeks, but perhaps not this week.

Bootleg—This is a genre that I like but am not very familiar with. This reminds of me of a band called Daybreak, which I really enjoyed ~15 years ago. Maybe this is a well-defined subgenre that I just don’t know about, but anyway, I liked this a lot. Your voice fits well with the style, and I like all the instrumental performances. Excellent.

Baku Chauney—I like this, but I’m having trouble identifying exactly why. Good chord progressions and melodies, I think. This doesn’t immediately grab me, but it sounds good every time and rewards repeated listening. I could probably do with fewer cymbals.

Gil Sans—Wow, your drum sounds are great. Are those real? This is exactly how I want mine to sound, and they never do. I like the surf guitar sound, too. And I like our vocal delivery. So obviously I like the whole song. Very nice.

Gray—Very 3/4-sounding. The vocal seems a little loud compared to everything else, but your performance is good. The brief stops are a nice touch. I’m not sure you’ll get as many votes as you deserve with all the strong contenders this week, but this is a good song.

hoodmo—This reminds me of the acoustic part of “2112,” of all things. (The guitar, rather than your vocals.) I kind of overlooked this song the first few times through, but the closer attention I pay, the better it sounds. It feels like you put a lot of thought into the composition.

Lichen Throat (me)—I think my voice sounds a little better this time, but wow, my timing in the verses is bad. I don’t know how I didn’t notice this during recording. This was an attempt to make a simpler song that I had hoped to execute better. I thought it would be notable that the final chorus has completely different instrumental composition than the first two, but it’s barely noticeable.

The Magnetic Letters—I feel like you are attempting to do something that I simply do not understand. As far as I can tell, your execution is good. It’s very interesting that the vocals initially seem totally incomprehensible, but they’re not if I listen carefully. It’s like you’re referencing something that I barely remember from a dream. I’m confused but intrigued.

Mandibles—I want to hear the rock opera (and yeah, I mean opera, not oratorio) that this belongs in. Good use of the ride cymbal. Harmonies are excellent, as I would expect from this group. I feel like this might need a larger context, such as a concept album (or an opera) to be perceived in its full glory.

Paco del Stinko—I like the vocal, but the funky instrumentation brings to mind an atmosphere that does not appeal to me. (That’s probably a fancy way of saying genre bias.) You’re definitely bringing the groove. That “give it to get it” part was my favorite.

Phlub—I like the chord progression at first, but then it takes a gloomy, muddy turn at the end of each repetition in the verse. I like the dreamy floaty feel the rest of the time. Lyrics are good. I like how the instrumentation follows the narrative, specifically the turn to higher pitches after “hit my head.” I like how you sing “I saw stars,” too.

Prill Phuner—Sorry, I’m not feeling this one. I think it’s too much falsetto. Since it’s so short, I’m not sure how seriously to take it; it potentially works as a novelty song.

Robyn Mackenzie—I love this! This is my favorite of the last several fights. I’ve listened to it 20+ times already. The instrumentation is super interesting. Your vocal is well delivered, as usual. Lyrically, I think your straightforward approach works well. A clear, earnest song is often a good way to go. (That's a lesson I have definitely not learned for my "Letter to the Editor" entry.) This makes me want to dance in rhythmic waves. More, more, more of this!

Sly Eli—Excellent vocal melody and delivery. This would be my favorite if I wasn’t so enamored with Robyn’s song. Listening now…yeah, that melody is great. Blue ribbon for sure. Nice elegiac atmosphere. This will still sound great in 10 or 20 or 60 years.

WreckdoM—This is among my favorites of your lyrics. I want to get into the groove, but the song sort of feels like it’s continuously slowing down (figuratively, I mean; I don’t think you’re actually playing it slower and slower), which makes it seems less accessible.
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Gil Sans »

Lichenthroat.

My drums are real.
It's a cheapo kit. 150 bucks on craigslist. Tama swingstar with cracked/crummy cymbals.

I put a shure beta 52a in front of the bass drum.
I have a shure 55sh hanging about a foot over my head (yeah, I bang into it often)
I record both of those mics through a two channel valve compressor. Lots of compression. I keep those dry in the mix.
I have a third mic. My vocal condensor mic (Blue "spark") about 10 feet away from the set facing away from the kit.
I keep the fader on this mic low or off and only mix that mic in saturated with a very quick decay room reverb for that faux Albini sound. So, it's all return signal, no send on that track.
I used to try to just record the third mic at the other far end of the basement, but the room isn't large enough to create the effect I'm after, hence the digital reverb.

All recorded on my Tascam DP-24 and I use the built in reverb.
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by lichenthroat »

@Gil Sans Thank you for the explanation. They sound great!
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Gil Sans: Thanks for those drum comments. They sound great and love the playing!
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Very quick comments. Decent fight with a couple of real gems in there. Good work, peoples!

All The Robots - Great bubble-gummy pop right from some rare artists compilation. Hooky and sweet, well balanced energy and arrangement-wise. Doesn't lean too far into Saturday morning Land, but is aware of how to get there. Warm and fun!

Bootleg - Expected garage rock. Heh. More like barn folk, very nice. Very tasty progressions, organic sounding all around, voice and melody sit well. It all sounds so together, great job there. Quite impressed if this was done for this fight, it feels like it's already settled into itself.

Buku Chauney - Some fresh air coming into the pub via an open window. Almost tossed off feeling at times, it means no harm. Vocals sound ok, could be tightened and cleaned up a bit, but the delivery is just right, by feel. The drums threaten to make it too stiff, but it's pulled off here. Fits somewhere a couple of tracks deep on the second side.

Gil Sans
- This comes from the best garage in the world. It's got everything in there, you know what it is, but you've never heard it before. Living and breathing, feels great as it says sticks around long enough and leaving you glad we met and chatted for a bit. Great.

Gray - Patient swaying, seated at the barn more than on the porch. Good mood for the lyrics and content. I was kinda wanting a fiddle solo, but after the spot came and went, was glad it didn't. The length remained better that way. Good song a bit into the set.

hoodmo - A little more familiarity with itself would make this song soar. Still, a very nice structure here, good melodies and progressions, instrumentation although a future version might consider a guitar and keys, versus guitar and guitar. Good tune to take for another ride around the block.

Lichen Throat - I really like the progression here, very early 80s structure, with non-period instruments. The chorus has a nice feel to it, there's a bittersweet feel there underneath the vocal limitations. I like where this goes, could be streamlined to make it swim easier in the stream.

The Magnetic Letters - This is great. Little wobble helps it actually, liquid colors and dripping windowpanes. (!) This is right off of Pipers, or could be, deep in and far out. Superb experience all around, dig the intricate guitars in there, too.

Mandibles - From a land long ago, but not too long, arrives this winged white horse and its golden maned rider. Big and solid and grand all around, the bridge/end part opens it all up after a dense ride. Love that. I wouldn't complain hearing a herder mix, a bit more aggressive, but this is right on.

Paco del Stinko - Sexy, Paco ain't. Someone with better talent might've made this idea work better but had to try it. Late night vocal: boo!

Phlub - It twists and turns in a delightfully warped way, occasionally giving a nudge of punishment. Imagine this at skull crushing volume. One might not return sane, but would certainly be wearing a perma-grin afterwards.

Prill Phuner - The length puts this into gimmick territory, but really, isn't this enough? Yes. Yes it is. Very well done and atmospheric, a nice little say hello and go bit.

Robyn Mackenzie - This concept has to be done right to work, or it could be too gushy lame. Pulled of great here. Patient all around, doesn't drag at all. Love the opening in the bridge and sonics that rise up as the song goes. Wonderful vocals that are warm and just intimate enough. Grown up but not stuffy.

Sly Eli - This moves along near briskly despite a bit of aw shucks kicking the dirt vibe at times. Private feeling too. The melodies are pleasant and easy going, nice vocal timbre and delivery done with feel. Slightly furrowed brow at moments, but nowhere near mopey.

WreckdoM - Sludgy and fudgy, the lyrics and vocals are the liveliest parts. Like to hear this a little more manicy, but still digging the rhythmic changes and (slight) mood changes. Loses its way after taking a bit to find itself, still a good and unsettling experience.
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by robynmackenzie »

@lichenthroat: Wowza, 20+! That’s quite the honor, thank you so much!

@Paco del Stinko: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it, I really liked yours as well!
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by slyeli »

Gray - a very familiar sounding waltz. It's pleasant to listen to but you need to take a few more risks to make it stand out. The only thing I didn't like was the double bass sound, it sounds too fake.

Buku Chauney - I didn't like this at first. The midi programmed sound of the instruments put me off, but it gets a lot better when the vocal comes in. I think your voice would better suit a more sleazy organic sounding band, like Marcy Playground.

Gil Sans - the vocal could do with a bit of dynamic mixing, to stop it getting lost, and the snare's sounding very boxy. Ignoring the mix issues, I liked the song, particularly the chorus melody.

hoodmo - listening on headphones the instruments sound very close and in your face, but the vocal sounds a bit distant and separated from the band. I started to get bored during the solo.

Phlub - there are bits of this that work for me and bits that really don't. The intro's great and the bit where the vocal comes in too, but other than that it was too chaotic for me.

Prill Phuner - I'm not keen on the crackling noise or the wobbly effect on the vocal. I was ready for it to end before it did.

Lichen Throat - I think your word spacing on this sounds good. Apart from a couple of little wobbles you're not trying to fit too many words into the bars. I also heard 'fancy bread'. I think it's because of the pause you put after saying it, it feels like the end of a statement.

Mandibles - the falling head first melody sounds a little unnatural to me and the distorted backing grates a bit. The "na na" section sounds more natural and I like that better than the first half of the song.

WreckdoM - I liked this. The strange stretched out delivery fits in nicely with the deranged lyrics.

Paco del Stinko - nice bass line and space noises. I don't think the vocal melody is as strong as the rest of the song, but I enjoyed listening to it.

Bootleg - this is the second familiar sounding waltz in this fight. It's nicely performed and sung and was pleasant to listen to but not particularly memorable.

The Magnetic Letters - very spooky sounding. I think as a small section within a larger song this would work well, but as it is this effect quickly loses it's impact and starts to get annoying.

All The Robots - I started off not liking this. The faux crooner vocal was a bit cringey, but by the end I was singing along to the Head First chorus, so you won me over. I also liked the 'stupid robot helicopter' line.

Robyn Mackenzie - the echoey pan pipe sounds put me in mind of Enya. There's some really nice touches in this, like the slides down in the melody and the hi-hats coming in mid-way. The gradual adding of layers makes it feels like it's building to something but it never really takes off. I enjoyed listening to it but it felt like something was missing.
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Lunkhead
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Robyn Mackenzie wins!
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Pigfarmer Jr
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

CONGRATZ!!!!
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T.C. Elliott bandcamp - T.C. Elliott spotify

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sleepysilverdoor
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

Yay Robyn!
"There's a lot to be said about a full-on frontal assault on the ear drums" - Pigfarmer Jr.
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robynmackenzie
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Re: Why rock the boat when you can dive in (Head First reviews)

Post by robynmackenzie »

Thanks y’all! I was honestly expecting Paco to get the win again.
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