If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

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Pigfarmer Jr
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If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

If only I had friends. *sigh*
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Songs posted!
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by danielsabsay »

Some really strong entries this round!

Berkeley Social Scene: I dig the chorus. The verse: the first two lines are great melodically, but the "response" line right after feels undecided. I don't have any concrete suggestions other than trying different things to complete that melodic idea. A solid song structure and good playing. Some things in the mix stick out more than they should.

Galoshy: This is unsettling. But it's quite effective at that. Great sound design. The drone nature of it would make it a great mood-setting piece for TV/film/theater. The gritty synths before the outro make for a good climax.

Gil Sans: This recording is cluttered and obscures some nice lyrics. "all my words, they just clutter up the silence" -- that's a great line! But I don't remember hearing it. I don't think amazing mixes are the end-all and be-all, but in this case it's in the way of your songwriting. And hey, since you've got a 24-track recorder, I'd like to hear a more balanced mix :)

Lichen Throat: Heh, this gave me Tom Waits vibes. Cool acoustic guitar in the verse! Drums sounded a bit soft. Other than that, the instrumentation is good. I like the imagery in the lyrics and the way you danced around the theme. The weakest part was the melody. I felt like the instrumentation would nicely support a melody that "rang out more" (terrible description, I know). Something a bit less static.

Paco del Stinko: The lyrics are quite good. Love the use of stark juxtaposition ("overdeveloped in diminishing areas"). "Yesterday never did what it thought" also hit me; a cutting way to encourage looking forward and not dwelling too much on what's past. Hey! There's a coda. And it's good! All around solid song! One of my favorite lyrics from this round.

The Pannacotta Army: Feel-good pop vibes. Stellar production as usual. Solid song form, melodies, chords, although a bit predictable. I think you could be more creative with some of the words. For example, "Accidents occur when you're least expecting them" sounds forced and there are probably more interesting ways to say the same thing.

Pigfarmer Jr: Ya! Really love the first two lines of the verse; great melody. Might have been cool to keep developing that idea for another two lines or so. I could see this being performed with a really long solo section in the middle and then coming back to the refrain, if you wanted to make it longer than 1.5 minutes.

Ratbaffle!: Ha! This is great songwriting. I laughed out loud. The way you develop the melody and bring up the tension a bit for the chorus/pre-chorus (well we could try and lay down...) works well. The lyrics all flow and develop nicely. The arrangement is just right: simple but pretty (the background vocals are great). One of my favorites this round.

Watching Owls: Ha. I had a cold, so a little congested (mostly noticed on the lower notes). The snare fill is out of time. Arc of the piano solo probably could be improved; came down in energy too soon.

WreckdoM: Bit hard to hear the lyrics. Vocals also sound quite different around 1:30 compared to rest of song. Heh, quite a lyrical turn at the very end. Is there a message here? I got a "people might act like a pain in the butt, but you never know what they're going through and everyone has love to give" kind of thing. Or did I read too much into it?

Yaks of the Industry: Great song. Love the strong vocal delivery and lyrics. Ooh nice mood change at the bridge. I love the song. Just a nitpick, but I don't think the wordless pre-chorus (woh-woh) adds much. I felt the drums were rushing a bit (other instruments seemed to stay solid). Everything else sounded fantastic!
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by Galoshy »

Berkeley Social Scene
This is kind of like a slacker rock band playing doo-wop, like if Pavement got booked for a high school Sadie Hawkins dance, haha. Great chord progressions. The fluttery synth is a nice touch! Something in there sounds a little too thick/sludgy in the chorus, but I can't tell which element exactly is the culprit.

galoshy
I alternate between ramshackle folk and gloomy electronic and we're currently on the latter. The vibes are a mix of a paranoid neighborhood walk + a spooky Zelda temple.

Gil Sans
A really nice entry: the first 30 seconds of this song are almost perfect. Love the middle section as well (from "mark my words" to "make a wish"), every new chord feels unexpected. "All my words just clutter up the silence" and then everything dropping except the tail of your sustain is wonderful: love that the drone is like a stylistic approximation of silence.

Lichen Throat
A very sweet blend of the National and Silver Jews. This hits a lot of my buttons. Absolutely love the guitar work, especially the arpeggios in the verses. The drums sound like a Casio keyboard preset rhythm: solid, unobtrusive, but well fitting and nostalgic. This has big "last song on the album" energy.

Paco del Stinko
This is a head-bobber! The background vocals are great and the lyrics are solid. Twangy rock isn't my vernacular, so I don't know what to latch on to, haha. I sort of wish the ending didn't bring all the instruments back in and just brought up that lovely acoustic guitar!

The Pannacotta Army
Feels like a Kinks song: straightforward yet whimsical! I really like the la la las and descending harpsichord. Feels like this would play over a montage of someone trying to woo someone and continuously failing. Got a nitpick on the ending: I liked how each "tomorrow it may change" adds a little more, but I think it doesn't quite reach the peak. I think one more additive repetition would do it!

Pigfarmer Jr
Somewhere between Cheap Trick and KISS. I really appreciate the joyful irreverence: the solo is extremely funny, and I love the dramatic echo on the final "life." It's in a bit of a limbo for me: I'd prefer either sharper teeth or even more flippancy. Or both cranked up to 11, haha.

Ratbaffle!
Very funny! Great concept, and sung with appropriate confidence and swagger. I really like the saloon-y piano: it really is a song that would bring a whole bar down. It sounds a bit like a rare Bob Dylan song, like there's a 1/100 chance he plays this live and everyone sings along.

Watching Owls
There's something really charming about a fragile and sincere voice on lush jazz. I love the bluesy inflections on the piano; it really helps add texture to the mood. I really only have two points: 1.) at 2:04 it sounds like you're about to pass the solo or return to the vocals: if you keep working on this that'd be a good place for another instrument solo, and 2.) I'd say extend out the ending a little. You've wooed us, now leave with a flourish!

WreckdoM
Anything that sounds like Bad Brains gets my approval, but I also really appreciate ending approaching heavy metal. This may just be ignorance on my part, but I don't think I've ever heard a hardcore song that used a sample, much less a manipulated one. Really cool! Might be a smidge too much low end, but that might also be my cheap earbuds. Also, my bad audio processing made me think for a while the last lyric was "a billion metric tons of beer-load," haha.

Yaks of the Industry
Starts a bit Van Halen, ends a bit Pink Floyd, and has Journey/Styx mixed in all throughout. A power ballad if I've ever heard one, haha. The chorus is tremendous! I also love how "give up your sense of urgency" happens as the song decreases in intensity. This would 100% play over the credits of an awesome animated movie from the 80s.

Great work all! It was nothing short of a delight to listen.
Last edited by Galoshy on Wed Aug 10, 2022 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Almost two weeks before semester starts. If I don't review now I probably won't until winter break. So here you go (for what it's worth.)

Gil Sans: I instantly take a liking to the jangly guitars and the cool drum part to start. Not a fan of the "leeeave" and the "sooooo" with the trailing downard movement. But I have to admit it works here. And it's kind of replicated in the guitar solo. One of my favorite entries of the fight.

Paco del Stinko: I like the rhythm right at the start. The bass and drums are great. I like your vocal delivery although to be fair, there are one or two spots that stick out as a bit of little like Gil Sans, with the slid into pitch like on the "knoooow" that isn't my favorite, but again, it works here and it's a very minor nit to pick (just personal preferance is all.) I'm liking this quite a bit. Honestly, on second and third listen, I think I'm just being an *ass pointing out the pitch slide as it sounds fine. That is quite some coda. Sounds more like a hidden track till it gets going. But very well done.
*More than usual.

Yaks of the Industry: This feels well constructed. Maybe a bit too bright of a mix for my taste, but it is well done. This has a bit of a power ballad feel to it with maybe a bit more sincere vocal. It catches me firmly between fond nostalgia and a bit of a worn out welcome. But that's on me. The like the bass line, especially in the coda. And I can't help but like the guitars.

Ratbaffle!: Classic structure and melody. I like the vocal delivery and the clean guitar. The bass seems a hair muddled (but I'm listening on different speakers than normal) but I like the drive. The half time coda makes for a nice outro.

Berkeley Social Scene: I love everything about this except the verse melody/vocal. Either a lack of confidence or a bit of pitch/note selection problem. The intro reminds me of a Ray Lynch song (he had that delayed sound on a couple of albums that were mainly just that sound.) Regardless, I don't mean to be erm, mean. It's a very well written and produce song.

The Pannacotta Army: This has an oldies rock bass line and vocal feel to it. I like the classic feel combined with a more modern sensibility but it's not one of my favorites of yours. A co-worker says it sound a bit like "The Archies or something."

WreckdoM: There is something about the way the word "mother fucker" is repeated that seems more earnest than angry. I like the guitars, the driving rhythm and I like the tone of the vocals. It's an interesting one on repeated listens as I still don't know how much I like it despite enjoying many of the elements within.

Watching Owls: Sounds good. I realize that this ballad feel is dependent on a slow, emotive pace but this thing plods along too slowly for me to enjoy. I like the brushes and the bass. I want to like this more than I do and it's not poorly done. But I would play with a bit faster tempo to see if it captures the same emotion while not being too slow sounding, if it were me.

Lichen Throat: I like the rhythm and your arrangement is solid. I like the space you leave between the vocal sections. The vocal is a bit frustrating for me. While, imo, you've improved quite a bit, you're still *this* far off. I think a mid or low mid heavy pad with some grit might improve the weight of this song. It seems just a bit too light sounding to me.

Galoshy: This sounds more like an audio capture of a creepy movie than a song, but I like the sound art and the images it conjures. I can pretty much guarantee my wife would *NOT* like this (which probably means you've hit what you were aiming for.) But I do.

Pigfarmer Jr: I'm super pleased with this one. I hear one or two minor things I'll want to tweak, but I'm really rather proud that this hit the mark I was going for.
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by lichenthroat »

This was an unusually good group of songs.

Berkeley Social Scene—I like the delayed synth notes. There’s a hint of 50s dance music in the chorus, so I can imagine couples dancing to this in a high school gym. The mix sounds like it’s distorting in a way that’s not intentional. The band sounds practiced and comfortable.

Galoshy—This seems like a genre I’m unfamiliar with, so I’m not sure how helpful my comments will be. It reminds me of an album called “The Creeping Unknown” by Robert Scott (of The Bats and The Clean fame), which I was confused by at first but eventually liked. I’ve liked this a little bit more each listen, so I think you’re doing something right, even if I don’t know what it is or how to describe it.

Gil Sans—I had the urge to listen to mid-90s music after I heard this. I think you hit exactly where you were aiming. I like the feedback squeals and the surf(ish) guitar. Thumbs up. That line about words cluttering up the silence is great.

Lichen Throat—I liked this a lot after I recorded it, but it’s subsequently dropped in my estimation. And yeah, PFJ, I’m frustrated with my vocals too. Imagine if it was you who had this problem, rather than somebody else!

Paco del Stinko—This has a nice movie soundtrack feel. Your performing style suits the songwriting. Nice solo, nice job. And you really went for it with the coda challenge, which I appreciate.

The Pannacotta Army—Smooth, impeccable vocal. This is a bit too lightweight for my taste, and I think the la-las contribute to that perception. It’s still pretty good, despite being nowhere near my alley.

Pigfarmer Jr—I like the chord progression. One of your better vocal performances, too. Put this on your greatest hits album, I think. An enjoyable listen.

Ratbaffle!—That “serve and protect” line makes me chuckle every time. I like the Randy Newmanesque vibe. Conceptual bullseye. This isn’t quite my cup of tea, but I’ll happily drink it anyway.

Watching Owls—I have a strong genre bias against this, but I’ll try to overcome it. I like the forlornness of your vocal in this context. This kind of music demands very on-key vocal performances, and I’m not sure you’ve quite got that here. Very nice piano playing, though; it suits the song’s concept well.

WreckdoM—The near but not quite hardcore punk is interesting. This is more cacophonous than I prefer. I do, however, like the unexpectedly positive note on which the lyrics conclude.

Yaks of the Industry—The instrumental melodies are excellent. I think the effect on the vocal is a little excessive, but the performances are good. It’s impossible not to like this. Sounds like it was fun to make, too. Kind of a late Yes thing going on (and I think late Yes is the best Yes).
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by Aciniform Artifice »

Hi, I'm new here. I listened to all your songs and voted for some of them. [[EDIT: and now I've marked those in the list below]]

It's past the deadline so I don't know if my vote counted. But here are some random thoughts I had while listening.

Berkeley Social Scene: Many times I tried to tell you / Many times I cried alone / Always I'm surprised how well you cut my feelings to the bone / I liked the echoey, slide-y guitar part during the second verse, and was glad when it came back for the final chorus.

Galoshy: I liked the way it faded in on crickets and wilderness sounds, would’ve liked to have that continue throughout – turned down in the background behind everything else, instead of fading out completely when the other instruments come in. I also liked the staticky noise that comes in at the end, so maybe the cricket part could eventually have like cross-faded into that ending part? That might have been neat.

Gil Sans: And if the ground's not cold, everything is gonna burn / We'll all take turns / I'll get mine too / I liked pretty much everything about this one, nice and sloppy and fuzzy and warm. (vote)

Lichen Throat: The talk-singing over the quick march-tempo beat makes me think of 88 Lines About 44 Women. And just like in that song, it feels like this vocal style might thrive better in a somewhat mellower environment? Like you’re trying too hard to keep up with that beat? But it still kind of works.

Paco del Stinko: after that much of a pause I’m sort of expecting something a bit grander when the song comes back, instead of just more of the same. Overall this feels kind of Jackson Browney, or somebody like that. I liked it. (vote)

The Pannacotta Army: makes me think of like, one of the throwaway tracks near the end of a Barenaked Ladies album, well-done and I’m not going to skip over it, but also not especially memorable.

Pigfarmer Jr: John Linnell singing over the Pixies’ cover of “Head On”... nice. (vote)

Ratbaffle!: in today’s climate, “the lawman, to serve and protect” certainly has a much more ominous feel than it would have when this musical style would have been considered contemporary. Which is funny I guess, since the implication is that any of these options would be undesirable.

Watching Owls: I enjoy this arrangement; ever since watching Mr Rogers Neighborhood as a kid I’ve had a soft spot for the piano-bass-drums jazz combo. Although not quite so much if the drum part sounds like it was sampled by using an old broken cassette recorder to tape an AM radio broadcast of a song played on an ancient scratched-up record.

WreckdoM: You can’t just hit a drum, you have to beat the shit out of it! That’s how you rock, dude. (vote)

Yaks of the Industry: Well-written and well-sung, and I liked the guitar solos. But the other guitar part seems especially bright and sticks out a lot in comparison. Also I wish if the drums were going to sound that fake, that there would be less of them or that they wouldn’t be trying quite so hard?

Thanks.
Last edited by Aciniform Artifice on Sat Aug 20, 2022 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Aciniform Artifice wrote:
Wed Aug 17, 2022 1:50 pm
Hi, I'm new here. I listened to all your songs and voted for some of them. It's past the deadline so I don't know if my vote counted. But here are some random thoughts I had while listening.
Welcome and thanks for listening and voting and especially for reviewing! Voting is open until the results are posted, which is at a deliberately unpredictable time some time after the deadline.
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Super quick comments. Some good stuff here, not all the same type of song, by any means.

Berkeley Social Scene - Nice mood shifts from this era spanning prom tune. Hints of Floyd as well, different production sounds very nice, raw sounds a treat. A bit more Costello in the vocals would throw it over the top. I like that you are loose this week. Not a weakness though loses a bit at the end.

characters - Summer night minor trip with characters familiar with each other. Enjoyable mood soundtrack, patient. Probably scary later at night. Mushrooms or something. This is great for when I want to go there. It's patient, not plodding.

Gil Sans - Indie underground college club at its finest, live and with passion. Almost casual vocal hooks take the car around the corners, most of the wheel surface making contact with the pavement. Sexy restraint, dangerous later. Loves me some feedback.

Lichen Throat - Some hooky key riffs, while not toasty warm, not cold atmosphere. I think fewer lyrics, more sung out, would not compete with the rhythms of the music. Vocal mix sounds good.

Paco del Stinko - Some late-night lyrics over my laid-back guy attempt. My old Martin 00-16C, SM-81.

The Pannacotta Army - Whiffs of Beatles and TV show theme songs are not insults for this easy pop tune. Montage of beach and summer scenes. Sounds great, vocals right on. Not the hit of the summer, but a more pleasant addition to its soundtrack.

Pigfarmer Jr - Anthemic fist pumper, missing only a manly "yeah!" guys response. Lead is great, snakey. Joan Jett's cousin breaking out a quick basher.

Ratbaffle! - Classic Newman type song, really like the vocals, backing and front, nice instrumental work, love the guitar. I little more backing vocal aah wouldn't go wrong.

Watching Owls - I really enjoy this type of song, whatever that type is. Bit werbley at times, but totally love where it goes and wants to say. Watercolors that mostly blend just right, proper lounge/dinner setting. Some horn elements in the vocal. Tried, indeed.

WreckdoM - Saturday morning cartoon rock into the afternoon garage jam. Beer in the can, drunk in the sun. Concert drums under the slab carrens towards destruction near the end, best part.

Yaks of the Industry - Very bright mash of styles. rocking a professional club with a good light show, crowd swaying and feeling it. Super layeers of both guitars and vocals, smooth, stacks with feel. Love the open up and break down, great to take a breath, settle a bit. With a nutso guitar solo to end it. Very nice not get too densed up again.
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Gil Sans and the Yaks tie!
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by Aciniform Artifice »

Aciniform Artifice wrote:
Wed Aug 17, 2022 1:50 pm
I listened to all your songs and voted for some of them.
...and one of those was one of the winners. Neat.
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Congrats to Gil and the Yaks!
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Re: If you rally your friends and family then (You Never Know reviews)

Post by mo »

How odd. Well I'm sorry I didn't get around to reviewing, but some liner notes: I wrote most of the Yaks song this time using my new electric 12, which I'm still figuring out how to get the best sounds out of and mix properly---I have done a new mix of this song and I'm sort of getting there, thanks for all the reviews/input. The drums actually have the wrong compressor on them, I was messing around with different compressors and basically I like the dbx only for rock drums at this point, but the one on here is the 1176--which, you know, maybe would be better with a different drum sound. The goal was to try to do an 80s power ballad that was sort of in between Van Hagar and Kansas, maybe? And obvs inspired by "Layla" for the type of outro/coda. I was a little surprised that we got votes, just because I usually don't think of Songfight as a place where this kind of song really does well, but I guess I was just wrong, as usual. As per Yaks, JB vocals, Ken lyrics/drums, Sam bass, Future Boy Rhodes (what a great part too), and we haven't done guitar solos in a minute so I soloed for like, a full minute hahahaha.

Congrats Gil! I always appreciate and enjoy your raw energy, the best part of music for me really.
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