Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

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jeff robertson
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Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by jeff robertson » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:51 pm

May we have some interesting songs.
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Aardwolves » Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:47 pm

(Terry Pratchett quote here)
binary solo!
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Lyrics (as requested)

Post by Learned Hand » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:01 pm

Hand grenades and handguns
Mines and RPGs
Loads of fun in every one
I always aim to please

My name is no one
I come from no place
I’m going nowhere
I’m good for nothing
I’m glad to meet you
Whatcha lookin’ for?

Sometimes I get lulus
Sometimes I get heat
But raising Cain on Penny Lane
Bought me Easy Street

Ivan on the left
Johnny on the right
Pay to play the normal way
I’ll visit you tonight

A sleepy little village
A chief who won’t behave
Shock and awe the only law
Another village saved

Some guys sell religion
Some guys sell their souls
I sell both a steady dose
And help ‘em dig the holes

Some folks call it business
Some call it a crime
You gotta give a lot to live
In interesting times
--------------------------------
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Billy's Little Trip » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:25 pm

Nice lyrics Mr Hand. Not that I care, but we do have a "Ye Olde Lyric Archive" specifically designed for lyrics, just in case you weren't aware. :wink:
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Learned Hand » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:40 pm

Um. Thanks. Not aware. Color me clueless, once again.
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by jast » Fri Sep 05, 2008 9:41 pm

As promised, here are my reviews (right away, first impressions only, otherwise I'll probably surrender to the almighty procrastination again). There are quite a few gems in this fight. Bad for my winning chances but I can't seem to care. Most of you rock!

I'm better at reviewing music that appeals to me so some songs will get longer reviews than others. I'll try and work on this in future fights. Also I'll now establish a personal principle of only reviewing the lyrics if they've been posted to the lyrics forum. I'm lazy like that and I'm gonna plead poor foreigner that doesn't understand you folks. ;)

I think it's not too helpful if I apply the same standards to everybody's performance and mixing. Feel free to ask me for the full ugly (or beautiful) subjective truth about your song but be prepared to get held to the highest standards I can offer.

=====

Adam Dachis -- at first I didn't like the synth setting in together with the voice but it blends in better than I first thought. Vocals are really expressive (even if slightly flat at times). i dig the harmonies and overall songwriting. Short but sweet. You got my vote.

Berkeley Social Scene -- woah. That's got too much chaotic energy for my tastes (the intro in particular). The time signature changes mesh together well though. Convincing performance but absolutely not my cup of tea.

BLT featuring Paco -- punchy mix, I like it. Lyrics are a nicely twisted take on the title.

Booty Chesterfield Trio -- kind of an in-your-face mix (not that that's a bad thing, it's just different). Slightly clippy?

Chumlords -- nice fuzz. Not really my style but strangely intriguing songwriting nonetheless. Almost a cool ending.

Dante LeChunk -- a bit overdone on chorus/x-delay in my opinion. The additional guitars at 1:25 are cool. Ending cut off (or was that my player?). Good job but you need a lot more awesomeness to get a vote from me for a song that has no vocals.

Electric Needle Room -- quirky. Too much reverb on the vocals perhaps? Somehow caught me even if this is not my kind of style.

Flvxxvm Florvm -- I like the songwriting. Several people have done the "today's world sucks" take on the title but yours is not bad. Nice drive. Nitpick: little glitch at the very end.

Hand Formula -- please get your instruments in tune if possible. Some timing issues. The saxophoney thing gets a bit annoying (I'll assume that's a budget problem). Straightforward yet appealing songwriting. The lyrics resonate with me at times but I usually don't bother interpreting every last bit, so no overall verdict on them.

Hijack & The Requests -- vocals really don't convince me. Drums should be a bit more present. The end feels randomly taped on. I like nothing about this, sorry.

Jan Krüger -- hacked together in 13 hours or so, has a few mixing issues I only noticed after I submitted. The attempt at fattening the lead vocals in the 2nd/3rd iteration of the chorus sucks (and that just because I was too lazy to add another track and do real doubling like in the first run of the chorus). The time signature changes from verse to chorus don't work as well as I'd like. Usual issues with vocals but it's slowly getting better. Damn, I'd like to have real drums and experience with playing them.

j$ -- Interesting combination of instruments (have you got different strings samples?). Vocals sound as if crippled by MP3 artifacts, even if they aren't. Good performance. Not my kind of stuff but definitely good. Cool lyrics, too. "Would be" is a nice angle and you played it well.

Jonathan Mann & Not-So-Flats -- Spot-on mix, nice songwriting. So that I can say at least one negative thing: minor vocal issues (I think the timing is off once or twice, and occasionally lacking a bit of power). Not too catchy.

Madgin & Party Bears -- ooh, I like! Some small timing issues. I didn't expect the crunch kicking in in the chorus but it's really cool (I'd probably tone it down a little) . I find the vocal crescendo bit in the verses a bit overdone. All in all, convincing performance and flows well. Voting for you.

Mailbox -- deliberate detuning in the synth at the beginning? Great vocals, especially in the beginning! Everything just fits and the upbeatness rocks. Good structural development. Take a vote.

MC Eric B -- The harmonies rock, as does the accompaniment. I think you could treat the vocals better in the mix. The overall melody sounds a bit monotone. The energy structure suggests that the bit before the actual chorus (as denoted in your lyrics post) is the chorus, that's a bit confusing. Standard "the world could be so great" lyrics don't appeal much to me but these are not a particularly preachy specimen so I don't mind.

Melvin -- I love the beginning (the instruments; I feel opening speech samples are overused). Great performance and mixing. Awesome chorus thing. I don't really like this kind of music but you've convinced me. Here, have a vote.

Narcaloungers -- ahh. something calmer. Thanks, I needed a break. Great vocals. Interesting harmonies. Great performance and good mixing. Not quite outstanding but of high quality.

Paco Del Stinko -- some slight clipping in there. Fast-paced in a good way. Good performance. I don't like "the world sucks" style lyrics as a general rule but yours are... I can't really put my finger on it. Perhaps you just have a way with words.

PiGPEN -- the accompaniment sounds pretty boring (the synths panned hard left/right somewhat make up for this). Overall song is okay, I guess, but it doesn't grab my attention much.

ShotPounder -- pretty good, I guess, but not something I'd listen to voluntarily. Great mix, anyway.

Sven Mullet -- sounds good (and everything fits together well) but it's not particularly exciting (both lyrics and composition). I like the instrumental part in the middle.

Todd McHatton -- cute beginning. Turn down the lead vocals in the mix! Also eliminate popping and tone down sibilance/presence. I really dig the song though. Great performance and lovely songwriting. The vocals themselves are pretty enjoyable. Playing around with EQing would do this a world of good. Still, this deserves a vote for everything else.

Weakest Suit -- I really don't think a chorus effect works all that well for fattening vocals (if that's what you intended). The asymmetric mix is a bit hard on the right ear (especially on headphones). Solid songwriting, cool accompaniment. Various bits of reverb stick out a bit too much. Your bass is slightly out of tune. Straightforward lyrics but I find the chorus a bit awkward (and its rhythm feels a bit weird).

Yardboy -- off to a good start, even if I can't help but think I've heard this bef... oh, never mind, that was on IA. ;) Good, clean fun. I like it.

=====
Damn, am I the first one to review this fight? Too much exposure, head asplode!
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Billy's Little Trip » Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:03 pm

Melvin?

Some great songs by all.
....cumlords sounds like someone I know. :)
Jast: BLT featuring Paco -- punchy mix, I like it. Lyrics are a nicely twisted take on the title.
For the record. Niveous wrote the lyrics and Paco played guitar on this one.
Thanks, Jan. :wink:
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Mike Lamb » Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:03 am

Mailbox

Nice staccato groove, I like how it layers over the course of the song. The chorus does a great job breaking up the monotony of the quarter note hits without taking away from the overall feel of the song. This is nice and tight, which really emphasizes the rhythm. I wish I could understand the lyrics a little better. They seem obscure and interesting, could you post them in the lyric archive?


MC Eric B

Your music has really improved since the last time I listened to your stuff. I'm glad you've gotten away from the rap stuff. This sounds samply, are you playing any of it or is it all sequenced samples? The vocals are fairly out of tune, but this is a marked improvement from where you were 6 months ago.


Chumlords

This is great, I get a real Dead Kennedys vibe from this. The lyrics fit the song well, er.. wait. The lyrics.. that's odd, where have I heard this before? Oh! It's MC Eric B! Was this pre-arranged? If not, it's an excellent adaptation, but maybe uncool to poach his lyrics.


Booty Chesterfield

This has got a nice down-home dirty blues-inspired rock feel to it. I totally picked up my harmonica and jammed on it for a bit. My only complaint was that I couldn't understand the lyrics at all.


Todd McHatton

Beatley. Lots of songs in this fight seem to have generated this sort of staccato Beatles-esque sound.. including the unusual chord changes. I love your break in the middle with the horn bass. That was great. All hail the tuba! Or the tuba patch. Whichever.


Adam Dachis

For some reason I really like whatever that bouncy FM synth patch is. Vocal harmonies are great at the start, but I don't like them as much in the middle. Overall, a nice song. I'll be interested to hear more of your stuff.


Berkeley Social Scene

I like the guitar riff in this a lot. Got a cool progressive feel to it. Feels like there could have been some EQ that could have tightened this up a bit. The solo is awesome. I had a lot of trouble understanding the lyrics again. They're buried in the mix.


Flvxxvm Florvm

I dig the lyrics in this.. "Paranoid as hell, but they really were out to get ya." I love it. Nice job. Overall, the music didn't grab me too much, but this is a solid example of some good old fashioned rock and roll.


Sven Mullet

The vocals sit really well in the stereo spread, but I wish they were a little louder. I like the guitar stereo action a lot. The bass in the middle/bridge part rules. This song, however, needs more COWBELL. ;-) Did you think the title was "angels falling from the sky" ? I'm not too sure how this relates to "interesting times" ... did I miss it?


Hijack & the Requests

I guess there's a song or two in every fight that I just can't really get into, and sorry to say this was one of them. The lyrical idea was clever, I suppose, I liked the 866 telemarketing number bit.


Dante LeChunk

This is the week of awesome band names. Between you and Booty Chesterfield we have the beginnings of an epic porno cast. This is great music. I think you're gonna get a lot of negative reviews for doing an instrumental, but you've got a nice piece here. Not sure what it has to do with interesting times, as it's in 4/4, the most uninteresting of times, but it's nice nonetheless.


Jonathan Mann and the Not-So-Flats

Cool group singing there. Nice folky vibe. Interesting sound on the guitar - good rhythm and riff, engaging. Unusual for songfight, so it's nice to see a strong folk entry. Good lyrics. Well done.


ShotPounder

Nice "Rooster".. I'm not terribly fond of this particular genre, but you do it really well. This is really well recorded and produced. Great drums. The vocals make me want a really heavy guitar line. I sort of feel like this song is missing an epic heavy rhythm guitar riff. I suppose that's not what you were going for, but that's what I felt like. I also feel like drinking some whiskey now. Great job on the production.


Jan Krueger

Interesting time signature. Hard time understanding the lyrics. I think this is the first song that I've heard that went out of the way to advertise the interesting time. Well played.


Melvin

Awesome. I love the lyrics after listening all the way through. This is an exceptional effort, I'm very impressed. What tools did you use to build this? The only complaint I have is that you made the horrible know/flow/door rhyme. Ugh.


Madgin and the Party Bears

Great syncopated groove. Nice clean guitar, nice drums, well proportioned vocals in the intro. You kicked into a distorted riff, but the vocals didn't really change, and the distortion itself could have been more massive, or at least more prominent in the mix. It sounds a bit thin. I think if the distortion sound itself had been heavier, louder, and had more bass, this could have rocked epically.


Johnny Cashpoint

Well produced music, but I don't find it terribly engaging. I cannot understand your lyrics at all under the flanger or whatever you are using to completely obscure the vocal. I heard a few lines, and I liked what I heard. I think this may be a case of hiding a light under a bushel - if I can't understand or hear the lyrics, it's hard to give a viable review. Bass is a little overwhelming in parts.


Billy's Little Trip (featuring Paco del Stinko)

Kind of like Madgin, I was waiting for this enormous distorted part to come in, but I was left wanting. The solo is awesome. I like how I can understand the lyrics even though they are distorted and effected. Some of the harmonies are a little dissonant to me, but for some reason this fight has produced a lot of dissonant or unusual chord changes that I don't normally hear in a fight. Nice job.


PiGPEN

I love the intro part - great melody noise, great stereo separation, and an excellent rhythmic kick into the verse. The vocals/verse part doesn't thrill me too much. It's got kind of a Sonic Youth vibe, which is good, but not really my thing. The end part is a little monotonous. Could have used some synth solo action.


Electric Needle Room

We used to be DEVO. I'm not sure we still are, but you are! From the vocals to the FM synth lead to the bouncy synth bass, you've got a cool American new wave retro thing going on here. I'll have to go back and see if you've submitted anything else, I'm interested to see if you're an 80s retro band or if this is just how you felt about this song. I liked it. Well done.


The Weakest Suit

As I mentioned to Hijack, there's a song or two in every fight that I just can't really get into, and sorry to say this was the other one of them. I think this song might have been served better without the distorted guitar. I think there's potential here, but I think you need to decide if you're gonna be a slow, clean project or a slow heavy goth-metal jam.


Yardboy

I love your vocals. Nice guitar sound on the recording, I'd love to collaborate with you sometime! This is a great progressive folk/rock piece and while I'd love to hear it with a full band, I think you pull it off solo with excellent skill. Very very nice.


The Hand Formula

I think I may have read about this on the forums? Is this the toy instrument band? Whatever that .. thing..(kazoo?) is that is doing the drone is much too loud in the mix. Also, I don't think playing toy instruments should excuse you from tuning... any of those kiddy instruments can be tuned to pitch with a little ingenuity. I think you have a good idea, but please please tune. I was able to tune up and play a full set for a bunch of friends using a plastic kiddy guitar with 4 strings. It was like perpetually playing capo VII, but it worked.


Paco del Stinko

I'm not sure what it was about this title that generated this same staccato beat, but it's surprisingly apparent in a number of songs. This is a typically high del Stinko quality song. It's a straight up rocker, no doubt. The genre isn't really my style, but I appreciate rock when I hear it. Nice job.


The Narcaloungers.

Us.. we wrote and recorded this in a haze of cabernet, Tecate and mosquitos between 9pm and 1am. Guitar recorded with a couple SM57s, Vocals with a 58, bass direct, slide guitar probably a 57 miced off an amp. I'm pretty sure the slide was either a Tecate or a Corona bottle. Some reverb and EQ added in post-processing, and some signal cleanup, but overall live.


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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Smalltown Mike » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:52 am

That Chumlords track is really cool. Great voice (although gets a little too close to Jello Biafra at times). More variety in the verse guitar would help this a lot, esp. in the second verse, and a bridge or something, but really cool track.
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Märk » Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:35 am

Mike Lamb wrote:Did you think the title was "angels falling from the sky" ? I'm not too sure how this relates to "interesting times" ... did I miss it? -Mike Lamb
I think it would be pretty interesting times if angels were falling from the sky. (not that I believe in angels, but if they started falling from the sky, I'd either change my beliefs or check myself into a nuthouse).
Seriously, though, I try to never include the actual title in the lyric.
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:22 am

Pretty good fight, peoples. I should be able to write up some reviews tomorrow.

Fightmasters: It appears as though the Todd McHatton track is missing from the stream, but available as a download.
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Billy's Little Trip » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:41 am

Märk wrote:
Mike Lamb wrote:Did you think the title was "angels falling from the sky" ? I'm not too sure how this relates to "interesting times" ... did I miss it? -Mike Lamb
I think it would be pretty interesting times if angels were falling from the sky. (not that I believe in angels, but if they started falling from the sky, I'd either change my beliefs or check myself into a nuthouse).
Seriously, though, I try to never include the actual title in the lyric.
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Spud » Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:16 am

Paco Del Stinko wrote: Fightmasters: It appears as though the Todd McHatton track is missing from the stream, but available as a download.
FISKED. Numbskull put a space in his file name. Didn't catch it. More concerned about the three idiots participants who named their files "Interesting Times.mp3". Usually, I can tell them apart from the tags. Of course that's only if they aren't EXACTLY the same name and already overwrote each other. Not this time.
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Märk » Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:07 am

Billy's Little Trip wrote: Did it come to you in a dream, Mark.
FAIL.
like a shark riding on an elephant's back, trampling and devouring everything in its path
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Billy's Little Trip » Sat Sep 06, 2008 11:00 am

Märk wrote:
Billy's Little Trip wrote: Did it come to you in a dream, Mark.
FAIL.
:lol: Yes, ...fail indeed.
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by mailbox » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:34 am

Mailbox's lyrics are now in the Archive.

And here are the first of my reviews (the rest will come tomorrow)

Adam Dachis
Harmony vocal arrangement really complements/propels the lead's emotion.

Berkeley Social Scene
The playing is impressive but the various sections of the song don't flow, seem pasted together. I really like the Drum sound/playing - crunchy and intense.

Billy's Little trip
Solid musicianship. The guitar seems a bit too far off to the side in the mix at times. Delightfully twisted lyrics. :)

Booty Chesterfield
You do the Butthole Surfers proud.

Chumlords
Old school punk (with Napoleon XIV) nice! Tight band and singer really sells the lyrics.

Dante Le Chunk
Two things I would've tried. Don't use same chorusing effect on all the guitar tracks -- give each its own settings. Mix in some more mic (less of internal pick-up) to give the guitars a more natural feel.

Electric Needle Room
Retro stylings I dig. Seems like a little too much effort was put into making all the lines rhyme and all the syllables fit into the music. But I do love me some layers synths.

Flvxxvmflornm
Roadhouse rock goes geek. No strong feelings either way but an enjoyable listen.

Hand Formula
I like the use of toy/lo-fi instruments but I wouldn't have every instrument play all the way through -- bring some in and out at different times to create some dynamic/ups and downs. Love the vocals; sincere and melancholy.

HiJack & The Requests
Don't know what to make of this. Sounds like the singing was restrained unneccesarily.

Jan Krüger
I really like the odd-time and how it shows its purpose in the chorus - song comes alive when extra vocals come in. Thumbs up. The odd time in verse create tension that gets released in chorus. I would mic the guitar instead of just using the internal pick-up.
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by j$ » Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:23 am

Mike Lamb wrote:Johnny Cashpoint
I think this may be a case of hiding a light under a bushel
Oh no, I can never be accused of that :) The flanger is a deliberate attempt to create an aural equivalent to the lyric ... could be interesting, drowned in blandness ...

The words are in the lyric archive should you want to read them.

I'll put up a 'no flange' version if people really can't stand the effect.
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko » Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:09 am

Adam Dachis- Short and sweet, this is worth extending if you wanted to, although it's complete as is. I like the clavi and synth mix leading the instrumentation, with drums and guitar in a more supportive role. Nice vocal work as well, a bit bittersweet. Nice work.

Berkeley Social Scene- Right out of the gate and galloping away, yikes! It almost sounds like Steve Howe in country mode or something. While Erin's voice is probably more tender to the ear, I am liking Martyr's here and am glad that he finally contributed! The guitar trade off is most excellent, anti-wankers be damned, and nice to hear the Lunkster cutting loose a bit. Great atmospherics on top of the almost secret rythm section, very strong and hopefully not going unnoticed by all. Maybe not catchy enough for the masses, and the arrangement almost wanders off course, this is an enjoyable display of solid musicianship and mood/feel. And of course, interesting time sigs, although likely to have been there anyway. :)

Billy's Little Trip featuring Paco Del Stinko- I like this team, and yes, because I'm part of it. The guitar parts I contributed were not as interesting until BLT worked his magic on them, making the much stronger than if he'd left them alone. The vocals may wander a bit, pitch-wise, but are delivered strongly and with feel, so I can't complain. Nice twisted lyrics as well, this song would fit well as video soundtrack with snappy edits of horror on top. Simple and effective builds in the mix ease and push the tension nicely. Sweet? No. Dark fun? Yes.

The Booty Chesterfield Trio- I'm OD'ing on Booty this week with the CD and all, but this is like pleasantly choking on sizzling bacon: that guitar is frying-in-grease delicious. Sleazy groove and skankarific vocals sell this very well. I can see some people being turned off by the boozy feel, but this makes me want to jam until we all end up on our backs trying not to be the first one to quit. I have no idea what you're singing about, and I suppose that as long as it's not about glorifying the KKK or raping babies or something, I don't know that I care. Maybe a purely evil bridge would've been neat, but this one gets a little scary. Chewy goodness.

Chumlords- Straight up no bullshit, well, maybe a little bullshit, interpretation of MC Eric B's vocals. They fit the style well the sped up voice gets a little ear piercing, but sits well on top of the grungy bass and guitar. As noted elsewhere, a more developed guitar line would've been cool, but the ratty sounding chords are pretty good. Drums are sloppy as well, but as a whole, the song works. Next time, faster!

Dante LeChunk- Pleasant pace, moody and introspective feeling. I guess this could work well to imply interesting time somehow. Maybe underneath a public service message or something. The layers are nice and the E major chord is almost out of place but works. I relate to the lack of lyric criticisms, and border on feeling too wet from all that chorus, but enjoy this as a mood piece. Nicely played and arranged, although there is something about the baseline guitar tone I'm not sure I like: direct acoustic, maybe?

Electric Needle Room- This sounds like it could be a solo or not full ensemble of the Emergency Pizza Party. It sounds so similar to that style, delivery, and approach I'd be surprised, shocked!, if it weren't some of that crew. Anyhoo, I like the near geeky, slightly futuristic vision of this. Futuristic as imagined the future would be by someone from, uh, the past. A few too many times with the interesting times line, I like the basic message and theme. It'd be nice if more people could think that way, let's hope that they do both this fall, and in the future as well. Fun song that neither fails nor reaches great heights.

Flvxxvm Florvm- Boy, the vocals are just hanging on rhythmically, but I totally dig the old school rock and roll feel. Almost Rocky Horror at times, but less showy. (a good thing) Guitar solo and tone are totally fab and distinctive. A more raw, aggressive approach to the song as whole would've packed a bigger punch. Turn up the Iggy knob, I suppose. But the no pretenses delivery gives it legitimacy. Fun one to jam live too, I would think.

The Hand Formula- Here comes Penny! While we all have our own styles and slide into them regularly, this song starts off very similar to your other entries. However, it does spread its wings a bit arrangement and melody-wise. I like the instrumentation, but do start to tire of it a bit for the length of the song. I just don't think the melodies and all that are strong enough to travel this far. The lyrics are mostly good, if a little self pitying at times. Holds itself steadier than maybe it should, not unpleasant, just needing a trim here and there.

Hijack & the Requests- This makes me think of the song Dirk Diggler sings in Boogie Nights. If the bass played the same song as the guitars it might help, but probably not much. I imagine that this is deliberately constructed this way and not done by a complete moron who can't help it. Oh, please, I hope so. I think.

Jan Krueger- I like the rhythm to start, and the chord progression into riffs are very interesting. The main melody is fine, if wobbly, while the wonderful backing vocals are tight and full. I start thinking there's some studio trickery involved in the back vocals, but then they sound live. Hmmm. Anyway, nice tune that would punch some serious face with bashing drums and a bit more rockitude, but the delivery here is enjoyable. It all could afford to be a bit looser, and remain slop-free, but understood that the time frame was short to write and produce. Nice work, hope you stick around. (I enjoyed your AAD as well)

Johnny Cashpoint- Well, I like all the flangey, swirly stuff here. I don't think the song would be boring without it, but the colorization adds to the character of the song. I hate to bring up Psychedelic Furs, but there you go! The chorus is hooky enough, and I get a little happy when I hear it, enjoying the pleasure it brings for the couple of seconds that it lasts. I like the transition into the bridge, out of, less so. If I had to pick out something that bugged me, which I guess I am, it's the snare. While appropriately dry and crisp, a little too stiff, perhaps. Still, nice easy going song. More, please!

Jonathan Mann and the Not-So-Flats
- The chorus voices are so nice here, settling into themselves as the song progresses after a slightly hesitant feeling start. This sounds like something that's always been around. I don't mean like a tired old copy of something but as something more ingrained. I get almost goose bumpy midway, but not so much in the last minute. SF! critiques often cite "too long" as a complaint, and I feel this one does go on too long. It doesn't drag, but loses some of it's power, perhaps as you get too comfortable with it while listening. Regardless, this is a mature, well done piece of music that with time and many performances, should be familiar to as many people as possible. Excellent work, sir.

Madgin and the Party Bears- The voice here is very nice, and fits well in the quieter parts, especially. A bit more oomph in the rocking parts would sell this better. Speaking of which, while the separation of instruments is nice on the rocking part, I think a huge blended wall of bass n' guitars would been much more powerful. Nicely played and arranged, the one pattern drums get a little wimpy, and although the vocals were maybe intended to rise up, I think you could have done so throughout and still elevated at the end. Understood if time and equipment limit you to keeping it simple, and hell, what's wrong with simple? But power would've sold this in a big way. At least it wasn't a moody 'poor me' piece. Please keep at it.

Mailbox- Nice and catchy, you avoid the stiff feeling that could come with the main rhythm well by letting it breathe when it needs to. Nice chord structures that vary more than they initially appear to. While catchy, it may fail to deliver a knockout hook. Also, some supporting vocals, whether simple ooh-ahhs or fancy schnoodle-doodles, would've been real sweet here. Time, yes, time. But perhaps something to think of if you examine this song further. I like the even keeled instrumentation with nothing taking to center of stage approach. And while others mentioned Beatles, I just heard New Pornographers as I was typing. A good thing, that, as long it still sounds like you. Looking forward to your next tune. Wheee!

MC Eric B- Fighting that vocal delivery that feels natural to you, and just winning. I'm sure that your music comes pre-fabbed somehow, but nice job changing it up from many of your others. Funny how the delivery here is more bittersweet than the other song that used your lyrics in a punk manner. Nice social commentary, though, without getting preachy and offering up all the answers. When I hear the rimshot during the verses, it sounds like a 'toc', making me want to hear another on going 'tic' to counter it and in relation to the clock counting down. Oooo-what a deep concept, eh? Pleasant song, points for trying to move ahead.

Melvin- Hmmm. Who could be coming from Chi-town? Bill Bennett? I was all happy when during the intro speech, I thought I heard tinklings of "Dream Weaver" and then it became a very important element of the song. Even if in a different context tha originally written. Certainly very well constructed and delivered, I think a slight increase in BPM wouldn't have hurt, although the groove here is pleasant. It might've provided a better backdrop for the vocal cadence however, which almosts pauses too long on some of the lines. I know that you're saying something different, but unfortunately, we're dropping bombs that aren't paid for yet. I'll always love you as a human being and a musician, Melvin, despite some of your 'mis-alignments'. :wink:

The Narcaloungers- Hah! I almost expected Ian Anderson to start singing. This is much better, in my book. Serious in tone, and with some seriously good tone, this moves along at a nice pace. I like the little dissonant chords, along with the entire progression, and sorry to name drop again, but the very Dave Gilmour-ish slide is a perfect fit. I think this is very well balanced and doesn't tip too far into any area that either goes on too long or doesn't sit well. I almost want to say that the melody could vary a little, but that probably helps maintain the even pace of the song. The recording is nice and for live, it feels it more than sounds it. Does that make sense? Very nice, and your liquid inspirations don't show.

Paco del Stinko- Well, I didn't mean for this to sound all "the world sucks" as people have stated. But sometimes I slip from skeptic into cynic, I suppose. I liked playing the bass line best, it varies just a bit throughout the song and was fun to do.

PiGPEN- Contrary to others, I though the music was pretty compelling here. While still maintaining the trademark PiGPEN major/minor shiftaroos, it's not as random feeling as others have been. There is an airy quality to this that I like a lot. While very programmed feeling and all, it's still able to put my head in the clouds for much of the song. Kind of digital Sonic Youth, or something. And yes, PiG, your vocals are pretty much spot-on pitch-wise. There's no strong melody to grab you here, but again, I'm really digging the music tracks. I don't understand all of the lyrics but hear some interesting lines going by. Still, one of your best, sir, and keep'em coming.

ShotPounder- Sounds like Smalltown, who isn't around here enough. And doing a somewhat trademark rabble rousing in the club chant alonger. I don't know who the other fella(s) is/are, and I can't make up my mind if the drums are real or not. I'm sure Leaf could do that stuff both playing and production-wise, even that crazy high-hat, probably. I like the rhythm, feeling like it's just holding back from really tearing it up. Great urban feel, driving at night under lit up skyscrapers on the way to the club to rouse the rabble. The sea of interesting times repeated works well here, not overdone although there's a million of them. The bridge feels a little weird to me, but I like how it breaks down very much. Good tune, making me want it to deliver a big face punch that doesn't come.

Sven Mullet- Still in cahoots with Bob Mould, it appears. Who'da thunk it? Serious and gripping, I like the airy vocals over the driving guitars though the voices could maybe come up just a smidge. The bridge is excellent, I keep hearing it as coming in in a higher key or voicing, for some reason. Or maybe coming in high and falling down. It does that to a degree, and I wonder if you left something out of the mix there, as some vocal work would be sweet. This is a strong tune that feels like it's not telling everything it has to tell. Hidden vocal track? Missing lead? I dig it anyhow.

Todd McHatton- I love the melody and am glad that I can't recall the one that it reminds me of. Just getting some of those vocal lines in, eh? The arrangement and its dynamics are wonderful, as is the best instrumentation. While I enjoy the nice vocal work and horn sounds, that has to be one of my most favorite guitar solos in a long time. Loopy, jammy, and memorable at the same time, that's top notch stuff right there and I am somewhat envious at its construction and execution. Great upbeat tune that stands out in a pretty diverse fight. Mix is a little hot in spots, but secondary to tunesmithing.

The Weakest Suit- I like the main progression the further into itself that it goes. A whiff of Radiohead into Weakest Suit trademark territory works fine. The little extended bits here and there, along with simple variations of themes make the song feel more than just ABABC etc. Kind of a last dance feel mixed with a personal love song vibe here that works well, if not long lasting. Nice to hear it filled out more with drums and bass and all, even though I just realized the drums come and go! A backing voice, high and behind the main one on the chorus, might be cool.

Yardboy- Energetic and upbeat, I'm sold by the voice. You obviously are an experienced singer and it shows well here. While the guitar playing is spot-on, it's both the character and delivery of the voice that sells this. The little arpeggio, I can't tell if it's on guitar or keys, just behind the main guitar, is a nice subtle hook that secretly pulls you in as well. The bridge works but is probably the weakest part of the song. It works OK, just isn't as strong or as memorable as the body of the song. Nice work though, and genuine feel is captured in the recording and performance.
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by MC Eric B » Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:49 am

Mike Lamb - No, it was not pre-arranged with Chumlords, but I like it when other Songfighters use my lyrics. That is one reason I always post them in the lyrics thread so early. I feel I am a very good songwriter, I just don't sing well, so I like hearing better sung versions of my songs.

- Eric
Mike Lamb wrote:Mailbox

Chumlords

This is great, I get a real Dead Kennedys vibe from this. The lyrics fit the song well, er.. wait. The lyrics.. that's odd, where have I heard this before? Oh! It's MC Eric B! Was this pre-arranged? If not, it's an excellent adaptation, but maybe uncool to poach his lyrics.
Last edited by MC Eric B on Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jast
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by jast » Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:22 pm

Thanks to the people who reviewed so far.
mailbox wrote:I really like the odd-time and how it shows its purpose in the chorus - song comes alive when extra vocals come in. Thumbs up. The odd time in verse create tension that gets released in chorus. I would mic the guitar instead of just using the internal pick-up.
You're making it sound like I put a lot more thought into the song's structure than I actually did. In fact, the structure just appeared in my head a few seconds after I had an idea for the 5/8 rhythm in the verses. I actually like the pickup sound for the mini solos but in hindsight I agree that I should have mic'd the other takes. Of course, since my mic stand is currently rather broken I don't really have a choice.
Paco del Stinko wrote:I start thinking there's some studio trickery involved in the back vocals, but then they sound live. Hmmm. Anyway, nice tune that would punch some serious face with bashing drums and a bit more rockitude, but the delivery here is enjoyable. It all could afford to be a bit looser, and remain slop-free, but understood that the time frame was short to write and produce. Nice work, hope you stick around. (I enjoyed your AAD as well)
The backing vocals are not processed apart from a bit of compression, EQ and reverb (but the bass is since I don't actually own a bass guitar). I wanted to use real drums but I don't have any and I'm not really a drummer either. As for rockitude, I'm still testing the waters; I'm sort of a beginner in both using and mixing electric guitars. I actually like the song this way but I guess punchier drums would have needed more rock to keep things together. For now I'm gonna work on making the fake drums sound better and get more practice in lead singing. Of course, I'll do that right here so you get to witness all the awfulness on the way. ;)
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:29 pm

Jast wrote:The backing vocals are not processed
Nice work there. Smooth and very well done. There were times I started to think they were samples played through a keyboard or whatever, but am more impressed that they are 'real'. I like the song as well, please don't think I was ranking on it. :)
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Re: Ancient Chinese Curse (Interesting Times reviews)

Post by Märk » Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:13 pm

Paco Del Stinko wrote:Sven Mullet- Still in cahoots with Bob Mould, it appears.
This kind of bewilders me. You mentioned a Husker Du similarity on a few other submissions, and TBH, although I like Husker Du just fine, I've only ever listened to Zen Arcade, and I don't think they really ever influenced me. Or do you mean the crappy vocals? :)
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