It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
Post Reply
User avatar
Pigfarmer Jr
DALL-E
Posts: 2373
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:13 am
Instruments: Guitar
Recording Method: Br-900CD and Reaper to mix
Submitting as: Pigfarmer Jr, Evil Grin, Pork Producer, Gilmore Lynette Tootle, T.C. Elliott
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Columbia, Missouri
Contact:

It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

It is he who has the courage to conquer the fear who is brave. (Mandela paraphrased.)
Evil Grin bandcamp - Evil Grin spotify
T.C. Elliott bandcamp - T.C. Elliott spotify

"PigFramer: Guy and guitar OF MY NIGHTMARES." - Blue Lang
User avatar
Pigfarmer Jr
DALL-E
Posts: 2373
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:13 am
Instruments: Guitar
Recording Method: Br-900CD and Reaper to mix
Submitting as: Pigfarmer Jr, Evil Grin, Pork Producer, Gilmore Lynette Tootle, T.C. Elliott
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Columbia, Missouri
Contact:

Re: It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Type up the words you sang and put them in the lyric thread, please: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12466
Evil Grin bandcamp - Evil Grin spotify
T.C. Elliott bandcamp - T.C. Elliott spotify

"PigFramer: Guy and guitar OF MY NIGHTMARES." - Blue Lang
User avatar
Lunkhead
Assistant
Posts: 8235
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 12:14 pm
Instruments: many
Recording Method: cubase/mac/tascam4x4
Submitting as: Berkeley Social Scene, Merisan, Tiny Robots
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Berkeley, CA
Contact:

Re: It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Songs posted!
User avatar
Adam!
Grok
Posts: 1426
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 11:10 am
Instruments: Drum 'n' Bass (but not THAT Drum 'n' Bass)
Recording Method: Reaper + Stock Plugins
Submitting as: Max Bombast
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Victoria, BC, AwesomeLand
Contact:

Re: It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Post by Adam! »

Sorry the Max Bombast entry this week was only half a song, here's the rest of it:

User avatar
jb
Stable Diffusion
Posts: 4175
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:12 am
Instruments: Guitar, Cello, Keys, Uke, Vox, Perc
Recording Method: Logic X
Submitting as: The John Benjamin Band
Pronouns: he/him
Location: WASHINGTON, DC
Contact:

Courage Is For Cowards reviews

Post by jb »

Berkeley Social Scene:
Old school panning. Need some definition in the lead vocal EQ. I think this is super catchy. I dig the pre-chorus. This needs to be the theme song for a CW show. Reminds me of a toned-down Bad Religion. That guitar solo feels like Tom Petty. Maybe 30 seconds too long. So many comments!

The Craic Pipers:
This coulda stood another editorial pass on the lyrics, or maybe the delivery of the lead vocal needs to feel less like it's just barely keeping up? The instrumentals are nice! The recorder/pennywhistle is pretty nimble! Sounds like there's one line in there that gave the player trouble, but nice job anyway. I know I know it's the style, but damn it does repeat itself eh, phew.

Future Boy:
What a lovely Rhodes sound, oooh the first time you hit a good low note... *shivers*. This is definitely Magnetic Fields territory, or Tom Waits. Your voice really sits well on the "but I feel it in my stomach" range. Oooh, the harmony kicks and it's like whoa. We started from the same base lyrics, and how much more differenter could our songs be? Crazy eh?

JB:
I know enough ukulele chords to make a song, so I took lyrics that Ken wrote and just sang through them until I found something that felt like it fit.

Johnny Cashpoint:
I like that opening synth sound. Kinda janky, but I guess that's the gig right! The reedy synth gets annoying after a while. I like the backing vocals!

Max Bombast:
Ooh I like that bass sound! We all seem to have rhymed with powers, I'm so disappointed in all of us. Oh it kicks in with a nice big sound, I dig a good like, Killers/Metric vibe and you've got it here. I saw that you posted the full song on the SFBB, and this teaser is good so later I'll go listen to the whole thing!

The Mellfire Trifecta:
Promising synth opening! The drums come in super weak tho, boooo. The lead vocal also starts weak, but then gets a lot stronger-- wish it had the strength of like 8 bars in from the very first note. Dunno about that doubling after the first chorus yo. I think the drums on the verse are swung but everything else is straight? That's not working. Ok the bridge spaces out, that's cool, I like that. Break it down yeah, I'm in. The lyrics are hard to follow, wish they had some kind of obvious throughline for me to follow. Oh that last note of the bridge is GREAT. And the chorus that follows it is nicely done, everything is fitting together like I think you want it to. This has a lot of stuff to listen to, I like it.

Northwest Static:
The Song Fight community is pleased to welcome Owl City to their first fight. Good luck! I kid. This is nicely produced. Too earnest for me, I think. Might be the lead melodies relying on that single note so much-- takes foreeeever to get to the hook. Still, well done!

Robyn Mackenzie:
Robyn continues the synth opening trend of this fight. And it's very satisfying, and I like a good marimba patch in ANY situation. Oh the vocals are nicely done, and well recorded. They might not sit in the mix super great, but whatever. The alternating vocal lines have different volume levels, and that was a tiny bit of a flaw there... maybe they could have been panned L/R like 10% or something to make them more obviously switching out? I think the harmony vocals are GREAT. This is really nice, though I think it would really have benefitted from something in the arrangement that gave it more atmosphere, and brought me into some kind of alternate universe with you.
blippity blop ya don’t stop heyyyyyyyyy
User avatar
robynmackenzie
Alpaca
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:24 pm
Submitting as: Robyn Mackenzie
Pronouns: she/her

Re: It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Post by robynmackenzie »

Johnny Cashpoint: Digging that chiptuney synth line. You kept this interesting with those little background “ahs” and the instrumentation. Fun stuff.

The Mellfire Trifecta: Love the synths right off the bat. There’s a compelling dissonance that adds to a sense of uneasiness in a way that isn’t disorienting which is nice. Nice vocals–this has a bit of an R.E.M. feel. That bridge is super neat.

Berkeley Social Scene: Excellent as always. Smooth vocals and compelling lyrics. Very cool solo. I’m getting Weezer vibes.

Robyn Mackenzie: I don’t…love this? I did enjoy singing the fast triplet rhyming though. Might play with the production on this one more, might not. Eh.

Northwest Static: Oh my god this is fantastic. I’m in love with the synthwave sound. I can’t think of anything else to say except that this is really, really good.

JB: Sweetly melancholy and well delivered. I really like the unison singing on the chorus. Really lovely.

The Craic Pipers: I had to put on my Riverdance shoes for this (metaphorically of course). Very dancey and bouncy. I kind of want to hear this with a more Dropkick Murphy’s growly vocal, but it works very well as is too. Also very cool twist on the title concept, lyrically.

Max Bombast: Damn! So edgy, those synths are just filthy and I love it. ….Wait that’s it? (Ah I see you posted the full song in the forum, will listen to that)

Future Boy: What a vastly different approach to these lyrics. Almost hymnal. Very sweet vocals.
User avatar
Future Boy
DeepMind
Posts: 414
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 7:55 am
Instruments: Keyboard, Vocals
Recording Method: Apollo Twin, Reaper, Rhodes, Casios
Submitting as: Future Boy
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Seattle, WA
Contact:

Re: It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Post by Future Boy »

BSS
Like the panning of the instruments. I think the reverb/eq on the vocals is impacting my ability to understand them. It's like they are blurred with too much low frequency content?? I want them as jangly and crisp as the guitars. Harmony on "new beginner" is great.

The Craic Pipers
Not my thing, but I really love how you've really gone for it. Diction/delivery needs to be really tight on the vocals for this to work, this is a challenging part! Courage For Cowards would make a great microbrew name. Surely someone has already done that?

Future Boy
I started with the same lyrics from Ken that JB did and pulled out a bunch and changed a few things and here we are. It is hard to sing this slowly and stay in tune. Probably I could pull back the reverb a bit.

JB
Ukelele is lovely and crisp. Ooo vocals on the chorus really hit, nicely done. Great whistling as usual. :)

Johnny Cashpoint
Oh hey more ukelele? How nice! Solo synth is definitely stepping on the vocals, might be nicer over to the right a bit. Overall really like the vibe of this song, I listened to it a second time!

Max Bombast
Ooo that punch on the drums and bass when they kick in is great. Good oomph. I see what you're doing there in the lyrics with that opposites list, clever. I'm not sure what the "this" in "make this right" is referring to so ultimately I'm not sure what point is trying to be made here. But the song slaps.

The Mellfire Trifecta
I do not agree with your choice of kick and snare. They are sort of insubstantial sounds compared to the wide, plump synths and the space of the vocals. There is also something odd about the groove difference between the synth rhythms and drum parts. It is not gelling for me. Lots of great synth work in this thooooo

Northwest Static
Yes, hello, your kick sits quite well with the wide bass, well done. This is very smooth, you seem to know what you're doing. This feels at times like a pastiche of several popular synth-rock songs of recent years. But, you know, I am also guilty of pastiche sometimes. Did not like the end, it felt like it was a fake out and I wanted the beat to drop with like a sweet synth solo and shit and to end the song strong. Or like with a final "courage is for cowards" vocal that hangs over the end of all the instruments suddenly dropping out, you know what I mean?

Robyn Mackenzie
Was surprised by the synths and then immediately remembered the challenge. The bass synth can absolutely come way more forward in the mix, the vocals sound stranded. Really great vocal delivery. Overall I'd say the mix is lacking punch, dynamic range, and energy to match the vocals. You want this: https://youtu.be/EIbYBMoIdfk
New Album: Comes Apart | Missed Connections | With Johnny Cashpoint: A Maze of Death | modular synths on Youtube
User avatar
NorthwestStatic
A New Player
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2023 9:24 pm
Submitting as: Northwest Static
Pronouns: he/him
Contact:

Re: It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Post by NorthwestStatic »

Berkeley Social Scene:
Musicianship is top-tier. Production is excellent. Parts of this give me a She’s Not There feeling. Classic class. Love this.

The Craic Pipers:
Was pleasantly surprised to hear a sea shanty. Pass the rum. Is that you playing the recorder or is that a sample/extremely convincing synth? If that’s a real recorder, I’m blown away.

Future Boy:
Simultaneously psalmody and reserved while also managing to remind me of a Freddie Mercury excursion. You could have easily made this the introduction of a full glam rock opus. This works for you.

JB:
This is actually a great ukulele ballad. Your whistling is next level. The lyrics are sincere and adorable. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Johnny Cashpoint:
Lyrical content makes me think I’m playing Zelda on NES. The synth made me audibly laugh. Was initially afraid to admit that in this review but the whimsicalness is clearly part of the goal here. Mission accomplished.

Max Bombast:
I’m a sucker for layered octave vocals. Mix is great. Performances are great. Obviously feels incomplete. (Finished song deserves a much better review, but limiting this to the submission itself.)

The Mellfire Trifecta:
Nice synth choices. Timing feels a bit bouncy in places, but understandable because you clearly actually played all of this and didn’t quantize which is super rare to hear within this type of music. I do wish there was a deeper bass instrument at times helping to gel it together. Your singing voice reminds me of Paul Banks. I like this.

Northwest Static:
Put the song together while streaming on Twitch. Published the stream highlights on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9lYs3nmdXg

Robyn Mackenzie:
Lyrically strong. The minimalist composition of the synth does a great job of letting the vocals cut through the mix, which is great because you’re an excellent vocalist.
JeffTheSwede
A New Player
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 21, 2023 6:36 pm
Submitting as: Craic Pipers
Pronouns: he/him

Re: It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Post by JeffTheSwede »

NorthwestStatic wrote:
Thu May 18, 2023 4:21 pm
The Craic Pipers:
Was pleasantly surprised to hear a sea shanty. Pass the rum. Is that you playing the recorder or is that a sample/extremely convincing synth? If that’s a real recorder, I’m blown away.
Close. It's actually a tin whistle (penny whistle -same thing), but it is real. The Craic Pipers have two members: one who can only play tin whistle, and one who can do everything else. As the far less-skilled member, and whistle player, I take this as a huge compliment - thank you so much, this comment made me blush. This was our first go as a "band" and my first experience with Song Fight! (my partner-in-crime is more of a veteran here). I hope you don't get sick of the whistle, as it's likely to be part of the band signature since it's the only thing I can play. :)
User avatar
Lunkhead
Assistant
Posts: 8235
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 12:14 pm
Instruments: many
Recording Method: cubase/mac/tascam4x4
Submitting as: Berkeley Social Scene, Merisan, Tiny Robots
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Berkeley, CA
Contact:

Courage Is For Cowards reviews

Post by Lunkhead »

Berkeley Social Scene: It's been a few months since I managed to pitch in to a BSS song. On this one I sang and played bass. I liked the music they wrote and recorded. Kudos to Glennny for the production quality too. I really enjoy the textures he added with the Mellotron and other keys and the added grit to the guitars in some sections. I'm a sucker for builds so I dig the pre-chorus a lot. I'm also into the tom rolls in the bridge, and the solo. Fun stuff!

The Craic Pipers: I'm having fun with this one. Some of the verse lines maybe needed just a tiny tweak to trim out just one syllable once in a while, or, make things smoother when there is a tricky bit of a word ending with a consonant and the next word starting with a consonant that's hard to say rapidly after the previous word's ending consonant. That vocal flows impressively well nearly all the time, so the couple of moments of almost stumbling stick out. Music is great, mix is good and sounds totally genre appropriate, if a little MIDI-ish. Very enjoyable for a genre exercise.

Future Boy: I don't think I'll ever get tired of hearing your Rhodes and playing. This is giving me an after-hours-in-a-smokey-bar vibe. Just the die hard regulars left, somebody coughing occasionally, ice tinkling in glasses, the bartender starting to cut the stragglers off, the piano player finishing his last whiskey and last song. Actually the progressions and melodies are reminding me of Tom Waits too. The vocals go a teeny bit off pitch once in a while but it kinda just adds to the atmosphere for me. The bridge change-up came right when it was needed and mixed things up well.

JB: A good lil uke and vocals song. Intro's a bit long. I like that you have one vocal track in the verse and prechorus and then a bunch of voices in the chorus. Top notch whistling per usual. Is there a noise gate on the uke? If so it seems to be releasing the gate a bit too eagerly, it sounds like the uke chords' sustain is getting cut off unnaturally. I like the turn in direction after the solo. Nice contrast to Future Boy's spin.

Johnny Cashpoint: More uke and vocals! Your vocals sound really bad though, like you recorded in a bathroom into an analog telephone. Oh my, that synth is way way too loud and is super piercing. Timing issues in the instrument parts (or is that bass a keyboard bass?). I like that you're using some more syncopation in the vocals than usual.

Max Bombast: I'm getting Muse vibes. The orchestra hit sample is a little cheesy. Oh, and it's over. Good start?

The Mellfire Trifecta: I like the synth sounds, particularly in the verse. I don't think the ambience on the vocal fits the genre, or with the instruments, or something. I like the lyrics. I like the bridge breakdown but there really needs to be something more going on with the drums there than just the kick and snare, like some hihat or more percussion, there's just too much empty space in that part. Piano coming sounds really good. This is getting epic!

Northwest Static: More synth! This sounds great right off. This works great although I do feel like it could stand to have a more develop vocal arrangement. There is so much room for cool vocal parts, or at least just layer some harmonies more often, more counterpoint vocal parts, etc.

Robyn Mackenzie: Even more synth! Yay. Your main vocal could stand to have a lot more ambience on it. Maybe that triplet synth too. Everything sounds really dry and that doesn't seem like it's serving the song as well as some reverb might. This is really good, I would just love to hear a treatment with more ambience and also filling out the instrumentation too. To me there feels like there's space that's more just something missing vs breathing room.
User avatar
Lunkhead
Assistant
Posts: 8235
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 12:14 pm
Instruments: many
Recording Method: cubase/mac/tascam4x4
Submitting as: Berkeley Social Scene, Merisan, Tiny Robots
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Berkeley, CA
Contact:

Re: It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

JB is the winner of the fight!
User avatar
jb
Stable Diffusion
Posts: 4175
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:12 am
Instruments: Guitar, Cello, Keys, Uke, Vox, Perc
Recording Method: Logic X
Submitting as: The John Benjamin Band
Pronouns: he/him
Location: WASHINGTON, DC
Contact:

Re: It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Post by jb »

Say what?!
blippity blop ya don’t stop heyyyyyyyyy
JeffTheSwede
A New Player
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 21, 2023 6:36 pm
Submitting as: Craic Pipers
Pronouns: he/him

Re: It's not bravery if you aren't afraid (Courage Is For Cowards reviews)

Post by JeffTheSwede »

Congratulations, JB!
Post Reply