Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.

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Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby Spud » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:10 am

smoke 'em if you got 'em.
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby ujnhunter » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:12 am

Well, well, well what do we have here?
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby Generic » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:55 am

It's always hard to tell how willing the voting crowd will be to vote outside their comfort zone...

But I like Deetak's odds this week.
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby LML » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:25 pm

I retch in anticipation of my reviews. Hah!
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby GlennCase » Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:28 pm

Recorded a song for the title, but never got past the acoustic guitar/bass/rushed vocals part of the recording process.

Also didn't submit it in time. Oh well. Here's the demo if you'd like to hear it:

http://www.glenncase.com/demos/BackToTheWellDemo.mp3

ROCK!

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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby Generic » Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:00 pm

GlennCase wrote:Recorded a song for the title, but never got past the acoustic guitar/bass/rushed vocals part of the recording process.

Also didn't submit it in time. Oh well. Here's the demo if you'd like to hear it:

http://www.glenncase.com/demos/BackToTheWellDemo.mp3

ROCK!

Glenn Case


I think fightmasters should post this. It deserves to be heard.

My wife, who notoriously hates almost every Songfight song (up to and including most of mine) has given her seal of approval to two tracks this week: those of Manhattan Glutton and Deetak. Congratulations, guys. That's a tough filter to pass.

My reviews should be up the end of the day.
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby GlennCase » Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:21 pm

Generic wrote:I think fightmasters should post this. It deserves to be heard.

Appreciate the sentiment, but I shouldn't get any special treatment. There was a deadline, and I failed to meet that deadline. People will still have the opportunity to hear it. Perhaps an even better sounding version at some point, in fact. :)

ROCK!

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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby Generic » Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:58 pm

Here's some reviews for you all!

Cock - Starts slow, but once the groove kicks in (about :24), it's 80s post-punk glory. Danceable and catchy! The vocals sound a little thin in spots, but I love that grungy little synth that mirrors the vocal part. How do you pack so much into these short little songs? (Yeah, I know, I pulled off a similar task this week; still not sure how I did it.) Are you both singing on this track? I have a hard time telling if it's just a different effect on the voice, or whether it's a completely different singer. Vote!

Crack my Jaw - This song starts out sounding like The Moldy Peaches, and ends up sounding like something Elvis Costello and Lucinda Williams collaborated on. I wish the vocalist would stick to the melody a little more. The conversational tone is nice in moderation, but I think you overdo it here. Nice little story, and it wraps up quickly. That "Yay!" at the end nearly kills the song for me. It's such a sad tune; why do that?

Deetak - This is pure awesome, dipped in fantastic. Great vocals, amazing soul/a capella vibe. The call and response stuff works great, and the song goes in so many different directions, and still wraps up in two minutes! Man, you've got a great vocal range. Vote!

Doscientos - Nice kinda 70s-bar-band kind of vibe at the beginning. Nice crisp vocals. I'd have liked to hear some kind of change in the vocal delivery (extra reverb, doubled take, etc) when the chorus kicks in. I love the "Hey!"s at 1:08 and 1:13. Not often do I say this, but this track needs to be longer. One more verse and chorus, maybe?

Flvxxvm Florvm - Cute little country ditty. Nice take on the title. It's short, but I'm not sure I'd be so positive about it if it had been much longer. What instrument or instruments are providing that little mini-solo before the last verse? When you sing "Gonna get my money back," it reminds me of "Pay Me My Money Down

Fortune's Favorites - Vocals sound a little disinterested. I like the melody, how it keeps climbing when I expect it to start coming back down. The lyrics are a funny take on the title, but they're pretty wordy. So at 1:30, we've heard two verses and a bridge, but there's still two minutes left in the song? Something is amiss. I do like the blippy synth noises. You could end this about 2:30, and it wouldn't lose much.

Gawking Urethras - I'm having a hard time telling who did what, which is usually a sign that it's a good collab. Wages is obviously the one singing, and the drums are obvious Charles, but beyond that, I can't really tell. Not that it matters a whole lot. Phil, it sounds like you're a little unfamiliar with your own melody. You've improved as a vocalist since you first showed up here, but you've still got some distance to cover. In this case it sounds like there's sections where you hadn't quite decided yet what the melody should be before you hit record. And that shows. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that these vocals had been recorded before King Arthur added his part. If you go back and re-record once the rest of the parts are more sealed in, you'd be amazed how much tighter your tracks will sound. Also, the echo on your vocals is rough - I can tell you wanted it to be in rhythm with the song, but you missed. Also the delay without a stronger reverb on the vocal just sounds weird. Voices don't usually echo clean like that.

Glenn Case - Starts off slow, but builds into something quite pretty. All your stuff is technically very competent and very clean-sounding. Songfighers in general have a lot to learn from Glenn - he's written a couple thousand songs, and they all have really well-defined and catchy melodies and hooks. The harmonies emphasize that melody as well. It's very nice. If Spud posts this, I'm going to vote for it.

Gooey Caramel Centaur - More lo-fi guitarry goodness! Yay! See if you can't get someone to add some drums and bass to your tracks sometime. I see you in the chat room every once in a while; the people there are rather nice. You've got a good ear for accents, though. Is that second instrument a mandolin, or is it just the same guitar played on higher frets? Just before the two minute mark, it actually feels like it's winding down (the secondary instrument stops playing and the guitar gets real quiet for a moment), and then a second verse kicks in. Not that there shouldn't be a second verse, but the fake-out here isn't doing your song any favors. It prepares the audience for an end that doesn't come, and that makes the whole rest of the song feel longer than it is. Oh well. Your melody is very pretty. Maybe try playing it a little bit faster.

Hell Yeahs - Heather, can you take just a little bit of the sneer out of your voice? It's a little too much here. Nice phrasing in the lyrics here. Man, these tempo changes are off the heezy. This song goes so many different places in just 2:36, from the rollicking verses to the anthemic "This place is dead" coda, complete with a wind down... Just astounding. Vote!

Jon Eric & Friends - Friends = Spud on the bass and Signboy on the drum machine. There are points here where I think we sound like a real band! I went with a non-standard structure with two bridges here, and I think it paid off with dividends. This is my A game, and I'm anxious to hear what everyone else thinks of it.

King Arthur - You really nailed the country vibe here, and the 10/4 time sig works surprisingly well. That main riff is insanely catchy. I took a break after listening to this song the first time, and it stayed in my head for a couple of hours. HOWEVER, I find the lyrics problematic, especially because, by your own testimony, you're singing from a point of view opposite to your own. I kept listening for the satire, or the part where your persona accidentally argues himself into a corner or something... And it never happened. I wonder, though, why do that? I can certainly understand the appeal of writing from another point of view, but to put out a song arguing a political position contrary to your own seems counterproductive. It's a riddle that my mind's been nibbling on most of the day.

Kokiri Warriors - Unlistenable.

LML - Oh god. There's probably a good song in here somewhere, but you're so off-key! Agh!!

Loose Napkins - What?

Manhattan Glutton - You know... I really feel like I did some of my best work this week. But last time I thought I had a tangible shot at the win, you went and poached it from me. So I'm really loath to admit it, but I think you trumped me again. The slow swing combines surprisingly well with your grinding guitars, and the piano accents are just wonderful. Where did you get those string samples? Drums are a little loud at points (like around 1:10), but it doesn't break the song. The low-key vocals work well in the chorus, and it's great that you resisted the temptation to scream the chorus, opting instead to layer your vocals. Makes it sound just as huge, but without making me feel like, well, like someone's screaming at me (See the review immediately following this one). The instrumental break could stand to either be shorter or have some more interesting stuff going on in it. You can vary the structure a little bit when you don't have the vocal melody tying you down, but you just looped the riff a few times. And for a song that's 5:10, I do have to wonder whether an instrumental break was even necessary. Oh well, I'm still voting for this. And if it beats me, then I'll just mope for a few days.

Orchestra of Blades - I kinda like the Mega Man music vibe. I really can't stand the screaming, though. In songs like this, I often find myself wondering what the point is. I can't understand the lyrics when you're "singing" them like that, and it's not pleasant to listen to, either. Adding insult to injury, the mic you're using doesn't do a very good job of picking up the frequencies you use when you're screaming, so the whole thing sounds dull and thin, which I'm sure was exactly the opposite of what you were going for. As I said, I can't understand a word of this (except maybe the word "Well"), but it sounds like there's points where you're struggling to fit too many syllables into your lines, which is probably a sign that something has gone wrong in the writing process. If you're finding it too awkward to sing your own words, consider revising. I made it all the way through the first time, but on second listen, I gave up around 3:00.

Paco del Stinko - You've got a great distinctive style. Three seconds into your track, I knew it was you without having to check the filename. Jack and Jill wordplay is nice. I'm a little surprised that no one else went there. Nice little turn around :40. Vocals could stand to be louder in that section, though. When the guitarmonies start off around 2:30, it feels like you're gearing up for a coda, so it's a little surprising to look at the player and realize the song is only half over (oops, nevermind, must have been a VBR issue). Good slide solo, though. I wish I could play guitar like you. Vote!

Pathetic Wannabes - Hmm, there's something about this track that I find oddly compelling. I like it a lot. Maybe it's that Hammond. Mad Dog's voice, for some reason, compliments the somewhat somber mood when the lyrics go "Why, why, why?" I wish he weren't popping into the mic so much, though. Need to think about whether to vote for it. There's a lot of good, and a lot of not so good, so the question is, does the former outweigh the latter or not?

Ross Durand - Yee-haw! This song makes me wanna sit on someone's back porch with a cooler full of PBR and just go to town on that bad boy! Slick guitar playing. Pretty standard take on the lyrics, but I don't mind it so much. Love the organ in the bridge. And those 1-2-3-4 snare hits. Keep on truckin'... Nice guitar solo. I wouldn't want a whole album of this stuff, but it's a nice break from the standard (or, this week, not-so-standard, as it turns out) Songfight fare. Vote.

Swilington - The verse melody drives the song in some interesting ways. When it builds to climax, it feels oversaturated. I think it's the cymbals that make it too hot, but I actually start to get a headache by the end of this song. Next time, maybe work a little harder on the melody? Don't just settle for the first thing that comes to mind; try playing around with it 'til you've got something more unusual, and hopefully more memorable!

Tuner's Union - Nice clean acoustic vibe. I like how the melody follows the guitar part here, and how it bounces to a halt at the end of each line. Nice harp playing, but it's mixed a little too loud. This reminds me a little of Dispatch. Pleasant enough, low-key vibe. I don't think I like the faster part. It doesn't suit the vocal style. I'd also recommend dropping the harmonica during that section.

Weakest Suit - Someone's angry about something! As a big dumb punk song, this is okay I guess, but definitely not my cup of tea. I like interplay you created between "Penny for your thoughts" and "Back to the well." That's about the only thing I can find that stands out about this. I'm tempted to say this song just doesn't stand out because you rushed it due to 50/90, but most of your stuff is pretty rushed anyway. I've liked tracks of yours, but the ones I've liked usually feel like they've had more thought put into them ("Walking the Border," "Elegy for Industry," "False Positive," &c). I just don't think there's much to take away from this one. I don't think it's pleasant-sounding enough for me to want to keep the mp3 after this fight is over, and the lyrics don't say anything to bear repeated listenings, so what were you going for?

Votes go to Cock, Deetak, Glenn (if Spud posts it), Hell Yeahs, myself, Manhattan, Paco, and Ross. 8 out of 23. Not a bad ratio at all. And a lot of people missed my vote by just one or two mistakes/problems, which means that even the ones I didn't vote for were a pretty strong batch. Good fight, everyone!
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby Fortunato » Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:29 pm

Hey, thanks, Jon Eric! It's my first submission and I wasn't sure how mean people would be. When I heard the overall professionalism of many of the entries, I immediately discounted my chances of winning this week. I'll be delighted even to be in the top ten.

I'll come up with some reviews of my own tomorrow, but for now, thanks for listening and I hope others enjoy it too.
Notes for reviews: "Stronger vocal" means several things at once. Tighter timing, more confident pitch, arranging in your range.

If I'm not commenting on your drums it means they were pretty good.

Underlined artists are votes.
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby Generic » Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:54 pm

We can be a pretty forthright bunch, so even the mean things aren't meant personally. This place has taught me literally everything I know about home recording (took me from this to this!), so just keep an open mind and you can learn a lot. 8)
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby king_arthur » Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:56 pm

Jon, thanks for the reviews.

On the GU song, I learned the song from Wages' demo, recorded all the instrumental parts, sent him an mp3, re-did the rhythm guitar and sent him another mp3. So all he got from me was the premixed stereo instrumental track. He took that mp3 and sang over it and mixed that. I'm sure I "straightened out" the rhythm and meter a bit from his original demo, which is a plus and a minus, I guess :-)

On the KA song... yeah, I guess I don't have my Colbert working yet - being able to take on a personna that's not you and communicating "see how dumb this is?" without actually painting the character into a corner. Basically, I was looking for a little bit of an oddball angle on the title "back to the well" and this was how it worked out. But, yeah, ain't that a catchy little tune???

Thanks!
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby roakazac » Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:32 pm

much appreciate the feedback on my first fight... impressed and actually somewhat overwhelmed by some of the entries this week, can't wait to get through all of them
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby ujnhunter » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:39 pm

Generic wrote:Cock - Starts slow, but once the groove kicks in (about :24), it's 80s post-punk glory. Danceable and catchy! The vocals sound a little thin in spots, but I love that grungy little synth that mirrors the vocal part. How do you pack so much into these short little songs? (Yeah, I know, I pulled off a similar task this week; still not sure how I did it.) Are you both singing on this track? I have a hard time telling if it's just a different effect on the voice, or whether it's a completely different singer. Vote!


Thanks Jon! As far as I know it's just me singing... I recorded a Normal Vocal, a Low Vocal and a Harmony on the chorus. Don't know what effects were used...
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby jeff robertson » Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:20 pm

My song is in fact partly inspired Springsteen's version of "Pay me my money down".

The "solo" is accordian, organ, and piano all playing together. All three are of course fake.
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby Adam! » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:53 pm

Reviewing random fights for no reason at all!

------------------------------------

Cock: Genero-pad intro is a put-off. The tuned vocals reside deep in the Uncanny Valley. Dance beat and wiggly synths makes me smile. The chorus hook rules. 5/10

Crack My Jaw: Take away the cloying accent and affected lo-fi vibe and I could probably appreciate this, in a Satan-Gave-Me-A-Taco sorta way. That screech at the end kills any goodwill I had towards this. 2/10

Deetak: More uncanny vocal processing sabotages the authenticity required for this type of music. That said, the vocals and melody are quite nice. The basso can't quite hit those notes, can he? 4/10

Doscientos: Cool that you guys are still around! Very "band practicing next door" tone to this mix, not a lot of definition. Well composed, but it feels like it needs more of a hook. Love the background "heyyy!"s. Pitch is pretty good, but the vocals need more gusto or something. 5/10

Flvxxvm: Metal (well, as "metal" as the default GM soundset gets) drum intro tricked me into throwing up the horns. The lyrics are offensively redundant. I liked when, in 1998, people stopped embedding music like this in their Geocities pages. At least it's short? 1/10

Fortune: "Collie" sounds like "Calling". Lyrics start retarded, then get awesome. The wall of cheese might blind some to the fact that the vocals are on pitch and the song is pretty well written. Those synth toms really make this song for me. 5/10

Gawkers: The vocals have plenty of "soul", but could really use a few more takes. Still, A for effort. Those drums sound beyond fake... am I hearing a crash, a ride, a hi-hat AND a tambourine at the same time? I dig the muff-y rhythm guitar tone. What does "tappin' back to the well" even mean? I wish those vocal echoes were in synch with the song. Pretty cool, but I don't really like Pearl Jam. 5/10

GCC: Bored. Oh god, there are 3 more minutes of this? Skip. 2/10

Hell Yeah: Love the guitar tones: the world needs more fuzz. Vocal delivery is a bit too Riot Grrl for my tastes. Either Phil became a drum sequencing GOD, or you guys got a real kit since I last listened; either way, it sounds good. Pretty catchy. 6/10

Jon Eric & co: Really nice piano playing. Singing is good but this vocal style often irritates me. The bridge progression and melody don't really go anywhere, do they? To me the hook at 0:45-1:07 is the catchiest part of any song in this fight, but it only shows up once. All the elements are there, and with a little (ok, a lot of) arrangement work this would probably be my favorite song in the fight. As is, 6/10

King Art: Oh man, that is an insistent ride/hi-hat pattern... sounds at least 50% too busy, and doesn't fit the groove of the song at all. Why is this song so distorted? Ugh, American politics, no thanks. Clever use of the title, though. Guitar sounds exquisite as always. 4/10

Bombyx What?: My radio-alarmclock is stuck halfway between a station that plays just microhouse and the 24-hour traffic report: it sounds exactly like this. Skip. 0/10

Lynette: I bet that sloppy vocal doubling lasts for the whole song, doesn't it? I can't tell what your saying. The hook is pretty good, but it needs... more. Like, a verse. Gets kind of pitch-agnostic at the end. 3/10

Loose Napkins: No you did NOT just submit a Soul II Soul cover featuring the worst beatboxing in recorded history. Skip. 0/10

Manhattan Glutton: Nice toms. That heavy guitar tone is silly. Best chorus in the whole fight, it rocks. That subbass is a bit too deep for my speakers, so I'm loosing half of the bass notes. Vocals are a little too obscured/wet and the drums are a little too dry for my liking. I dig this song, bit it's easily two, maybe three minutes longer than it needs to be. 5/10

Orchestra of Blades: I wish you success in songfight's burgeoning crabcore scene. 2/10

Paco: I envy your mastering chain. As a man who appreciates a loud snare, I feel safe saying that this snare is WAAY too loud. Or maybe just too bucket-y: my snare sounds like that too, and I always have to notch out the BucketTone™ which lives down around 180hz. Aside from the snare, everything sounds awesome. Hook is a touch too Jello Biafra for me. 7/10

Wannabees: A cheap pop filter (you can get one that fits unobtrusively right on the mic grill, you don't even notice it) would improve this song by about a million percent. Love the live feel. Instruments sound less out-of-tune than usual. Nice ending, pretty catchy stuff. 5/10

Ross: In contrast to Paco, I do NOT envy your mastering chain. Those crashes are painful. That acoustic sounds so damn nice, how are you micing it? Hook doesn't hook me. Nice solos. 6/10

Swilington: Ah, laptopcore. Let me guess: everything is getting adapted down to 1/8" and recorded using the built-in soundcard? Do yourself a huge favour and acquire an interface with a usable preamp... you can find usb-powered one-channel interfaces these days for essentially no money. Hardware aside, I dig this a lot. Soundscapes feel sort of like The Eraser during the verse, then go tech-rock for the chorus; all stuff I like. Vocals need a few more takes, but you rock it pretty hard on the chorus. 6/10

Tuners: Pretty nice, if a little bland. Refreshingly dry mix. I think the vocal melody follows the chord progression a little too closely, and the vocals have a kind of creepy tone to them. Harmonicas always feel too loud to me, in every song that has them; this is no exception. I like the bridge where things go all Moon And Antarctica a lot more than the rest of the song. 4/10

Weakest Suit: More imposs-o-drums. Ballsy bass tone. Props for commitment. 3/10

------------------------------------

Hmm... it's down to Paco, Swilington or Jon Eric for me.


EDIT: Woah woah woah, I go away for a while and SF changes to some kind of range voting system! This means I'll have to rethink my vote. Actually, it makes it easier: Cock, Fortune, Hell Yeahs, Jon Eric, Glutton, Paco, Ross and Swilington all get votes.
Last edited by Adam! on Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby HeadShot » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:14 pm

Adam! wrote:crabcore


Dude, I'm not that flexible

Edit: I kind of want to kill myself for having been compared to Attack Attack... WTF. At least my music makes fucking sense, and doesn't go randomly from crappy "breakdowns" to shitty techno breaks. the entirety of all of my songs are Techno...

and I never use fucking Autotune. I feel sick to my stomach.
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby Lord of Oats » Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:45 pm

If the song I contributed to this week gets posted, then I will do reviews.
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby Spud » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:13 pm

If you do reviews, I will post the song.
"I only listen to good music. And Octothorpe." - Marcus Kellis
Song Fight! The Rockening
scolio
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby scolio » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:44 pm

I am really digging Ross Durand's song.

Gooey Caramel Centaur needs some better recording equipment because they sound like they are good.

King Arthur has talent, I just don't like his song.

Cock's song is really awesome.


I can't make my mind up if I am going to vote for Cock or for Ross Durand. I will have to mull this over the next few days.
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furrypedro
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby furrypedro » Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:06 am

Back to the Well by Balance Lost

Just wasn't happenening before the deadline but I'm done now. I think it was worth the wait, I'm a bit sad it won't be in the archive.
supremeedible
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby supremeedible » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:29 am

scolio wrote:Gooey Caramel Centaur needs some better recording equipment because they sound like they are good.


Aw, thanks, man. It means a lot. I'm actually quite content with my setup at the moment, except that I have no good way of recording drums, and I have no bass amp. Incidentally, neither of these instruments showed up in the "Back to the Well" :D.

scolio wrote:I can't make my mind up if I am going to vote for Cock or for Ross Durand. I will have to mull this over the next few days.


You'll be happy to learn that the voting system "recently" changed to allow you to vote for multiple songs! So feel free to vote for both Cock and Ross!
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king_arthur
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Re: Back to the drawing board (Well, reviews)

Postby king_arthur » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:45 am

scolio wrote:King Arthur has talent, I just don't like his song.

I can't make my mind up if I am going to vote for Cock or for Ross Durand. I will have to mull this over the next few days.


re: my song - Fair enough. Thank you!

As far as voting, see the front page, you get to vote for multiple songs (unless they changed it again since yesterday...)

Charles (KA)
"...one does not write in dactylic hexameter purely by accident..." - poetic designs

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