Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by ken »

Do it anyway.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by jack »

balls to monte! a blast from the past! welcome back.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by fluffy »

Oh wow. I can't wait to listen to this fight.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by Reist »

holy crap, this is a good fight.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by Ross »

Great art, too!
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by JonPorobil »

BALLS TO effin' MONTE for the WIN!
"Warren Zevon would be proud." -Reve Mosquito

Stages, an album of about dealing with loss, anxiety, and grieving a difficult year, now available on Bandcamp and all streaming platforms! https://jonporobil.bandcamp.com/album/stages
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by Märk »

Pointless, terse reviews. Don't take anything personally, I don't hate you, just your song :)


Sockmuppet: Dude, the last thing I wanna hear someone singing about is how much they hate their job. (or life/relationship/etc) Other than that, nice harmonizing on the vocals. A good effort, I just don't like the subject matter.

fuckbumb: Holy SLOAN. Holy time changes. Since this sounds like Sloan's kid brother, of course I like it.

Ross Durabrand: Depressing :( Perfect music to hang yourself to.

Ingvee: Oh man, I think I'm gonna hate this. Spoken word over tinkly piano. And a fake(?) accent. Yup, I hate this.

Balls to Monty Python: Nice singing, except a bit country twangy. The song itself is doing nothing for me. Reminds me of Eagles or something.

Crack My Jew: Nice singing. The whole 12 bar blues thing sickens me, personally, but whatever. The middle section is nice.

The Bowling Junkies: After I dove for the volume control, I realised this is a professional sounding recording. Like it should be on a 90s TV show or something. Or maybe you should be opening for Dave Matthews. Everything sounds really good.

Moanin' Mississippi Fudgepacker: This the worst song I've ever heard. Leave the songs about rape to MC Denyer, please. kthxbai.

Bacon del Porko: You are getting adventurous with your voice there, sir :) This is just such a silly song, I can't help but like it, but I'm biased.

Doscientologists: Noisy, brash, and full of awesome! That is a bizarre groove you got going on there. This gets a vote for sure.

Crank Fabio: Oh no. No, please. No more bad white rap.

Gooey Caramel Benetar: This is pretty good. I... really have nothing else to add to that.

Hey, Pa: Guess what? You're not radiohead. This is boring and annoying and ripping off radiohead too much to take seriously.

Ujn Mustard: Okay, I apologize to Howlingmonkeys. Ours is pretty damned loud too. Sorry, ppl. I need to reel in the compression plugins, although I think the mix turned out pretty good.

Chad Krueger: Dude, you need to lay off the renaissance fairs. I keep expecting a midget in a jester suit to jump out from behind the curtain and start dancing around. Well performed, though. I guess :)

The Unclefucka Jim: What. You either sent in the wrong song, or sent in a pre-written song and forgot to change the tag. The song itself is okay except for all the jesus nonsense. But it's not a song written for this title, you should get that fixed.

Jerkley Social Scene: This sounds like Elvis Costello. Except Elvis Costello doing a song for a morning kid's show.

Rumm: Beeeyoiyoiyoyioyiyoiyoioioioioioioioiyoiyoiyoi Not loving the guitar effect at all, although it sets kind of a sinister mood. Maybe a bit more subtle use of it. This song is pure awesome. You are a prodigy, kid. Vote.

Ben Dover: This is horrible. Mumbly, terrible vocals singing retarded lyrics. There is one huge saving grace to this, though: it is making me laugh uncontrollably.

Gaymes Owens: Whatever happened to Jim of Seattle? This. Vocals are great,as always. The song is pretty good too.

(pretty hard to make a humorous change to)Wages: You sound like an off-key Raine Maida. Or something is definitely out of tune, maybe the lead guitar. Throw some drums and bass in this and it would be really good. Vote.

Spineboy+Fiends: Pfft. Canadians. :) This actually has a certain charm to it.

The Leekest Soup: You do power-pop well. Notch the tempo up about 15 BPM and I'm sold.

King Barfer: See my comment to Jan :) Is this in actual Latin? Gregorian chant is definitely not my thing, but you seem to do it well.

SomeGayCalledRuPaul: Beautiful. Vote.
Last edited by Märk on Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by fluffy »

Märk wrote:Pointless, terse reviews. Don't take anything personally, I don't hate you, just your song :)


Sockmuppet: Dude, the last thing I wanna hear someone singing about is how much they hate their job. (or life/relationship/etc) Other than that, nice harmonizing on the vocals. A good effort, I just don't like the subject matter.
If you prefer,you can interpret it as being about how constipated I've been the past week. The lyrics work on several levels.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by Märk »

fluffy wrote:
Märk wrote:Pointless, terse reviews. Don't take anything personally, I don't hate you, just your song :)


Sockmuppet: Dude, the last thing I wanna hear someone singing about is how much they hate their job. (or life/relationship/etc) Other than that, nice harmonizing on the vocals. A good effort, I just don't like the subject matter.
If you prefer,you can interpret it as being about how constipated I've been the past week. The lyrics work on several levels.
When I get bunged up, I go get a McDonalds cheeseburger. I'm pooping like a bull minutes later. Bad for the health, but seems to work for me.

Also, I hope you didn't think I don't like your song this week.




















I don't, but I hope you didn't think that. :)
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by fluffy »

I'm getting a mixed message from you.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by Ross »

Märk wrote:Pointless, terse reviews. Don't take anything personally, I don't hate you, just your song :)
Ross Durabrand: Depressing :( Perfect music to hang yourself to.
SO I'll take this as a compliment?
Not exactly like I set out to write a HAPPY song.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by AJOwens »

Märk wrote:

Gaymes Owens: Whatever happened to Jim of Seattle? This. Vocals are great, as always. The song is pretty good too.
Thanks for the review. Just for the record, I am not Jim of Seattle. Having just checked out some of his stuff, I am flustered to be mentioned in the same breath. I would be flattered, but I just don't deserve the compliment. Not yet, anyway. :)
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by JonPorobil »

AJOwens wrote:
Märk wrote:

Gaymes Owens: Whatever happened to Jim of Seattle? This. Vocals are great, as always. The song is pretty good too.
Thanks for the review. Just for the record, I am not Jim of Seattle. Having just checked out some of his stuff, I am flustered to be mentioned in the same breath. I would be flattered, but I just don't deserve the compliment. Not yet, anyway. :)
We were speculating about that in the IRC room when you debuted, too. His name is Jim Owen. Still, funny coincidence. I sent JoS an e-mail about a week ago, and either he didn't get it or didn't care. I miss that guy.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by AJOwens »

generic wrote:

We were speculating about that in the IRC room when you debuted, too. His name is Jim Owen. Still, funny coincidence. I sent JoS an e-mail about a week ago, and either he didn't get it or didn't care. I miss that guy.
Yeah, that is weird. I'm in computer software too, although I don't work for the Borg.

You would not believe how many people can't see the 's' on my name. It's a lifetime curse.

Maybe I can get a rise out of him -- I'll let you know.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by AJOwens »

There are so many reasons why it's hard to keep yourself moving that I thought I'd try, with your help, to identify some of them in the comments below. I'm not a tough marker -- if on balance it appealed to me, I voted for it -- but I do make an effort to explain what I think does or doesn't work.

Balls To Monte -- This "down-on-your-luck" approach to the theme, drawing naturally on the great tradition of misfortune that is C&W, is made light and pleasant by the bright, crisp arrangement. The chorus reminds me of growing up in the sixties with Neil Diamond and the Monkees on the radio. The final chord is problematic: in one of those situations that's hard to resolve, it wants to go to G, but it also wants to go to D. VOTE

Ben Bradley -- Without meaning to offend by use of a coarse phrase, I would call this a "life-sucks" approach ("dirty-bore" approach is not bad either), made charming by the wry lyrics and the unstudied vocals. The ragged, Dylan-like disregard for precise notes works well with this tune. The guitar strumming is a little sloppy, which could be seen as part of the charm, I guess, but a little more control over the low strings would take out some muddiness. VOTE

Berkeley Social Scene -- The opening to this "ennui" approach to the theme sends me a vibe that is dangerously close to a popular Cyndi Lauper song. (You could probably mask it with a different bass beat.) Fortunately, that dissipates once the singing starts. The variety of parts and arrangements keeps thing interesting. The guitar work toward the end goes on a bit long for my taste.

Crack My Jaw -- Given the reference to getting laid, this could be a "down-on-your-luck" approach; hence the blues, which as a great tradition of misfortune has it all over C&W. But the real complaint seems to be a general dispiritedness or ennui, and a contrasting part in the song hints at the remedy of what some sociologists have called "enchantment." There's a good back-porch effect from the simple bluesy guitars, and a not-bad sparkly-wonder effect from the displaced open-string chords of the contrasting part; but in the end I don't feel enough conviction, either of pain or joy, for this poetic attempt to work.

Crank Radio -- Let's call this a "what's your excuse" approach to the title. Mark with the umlaut didn't like your rap, but it sure works for me. What also works are the post-chord-block intricacies of melody and the completely successful indifference to traditional views of how much can be going on in the bass register. And of course the sounds themselves are exciting. I'm taking notes on how you do this. But just so you don't get a big head, the opening vocals are muffled, and the whole thing is too loud. (I think compression is for annoying TV ads, but I'm going to have to start using it just to keep up around here.) VOTE

Doscientos -- Nice use of dissonance. I can't tell what the approach to the theme is, because I can't make out most of the words. One of the things I've noticed about your sound is the tension between the overwhelming, reckless power of the band and the sweet innocence of the vocal and melody. In this case the melody is still that way, but the singing, being also dissonant, is a little harsher.

forkbomb -- This seems to take an "overwhelmed by life" approach to the title. The song has a playful bounciness, alternating with mania. The band is satisfyingly tight. VOTE

Gooey Caramel Centaur -- Ths definitely takes an "ennui" approach to the title. I think you've chosen odd timings to suggest difficulty going forward. At the end when it gets jumpy, that's fine, but the 5/4 part bites off a bit too much. The bass playing has to be crisper to carry it off (being low and inherently muddy, bass is very demanding that way). The bass and drum 5/4 syncopation are good, but when the backing vocals come in, it gets way too busy and I can't tell what's going on, so I couldn't say if the guitar syncopation is OK. Points for trying though -- I'm not taking on 5/4 anytime soon, myself. Apart from that, the song is pleasant, though during all the changes in the middle I lose a sense of its direction.

Heipa -- I'm not sure what approach this takes to the title, because most of the words are buried in the swirl of sound. This has a mellow jazz groove, for those who like that sort of thing. The brushes, the fat acoustic bass, the freeform piano, it's all there. The reverse track is a nice modernistic touch. Still, the whole thing feels more like a jam than a song. Mark with the umlaut mentioned Radiohead. I don't know Radiohead's opus very well, but surely they don't sound like this. There must be some mistake.

The Howling Monkeys -- I haven't heard funk like this in a long time -- earlier than the nineties, that's for sure. I'm thinking James Brown meets Hendrix. It's very well done, I like it. Good singing too. As for the approach to the theme, it covers all the bases -- ennui, doubt, overwhelmed, life sucks, down on your luck. I wondered how you would end the song, and what you chose to do works with a nice snap. VOTE

James Owens -- The approach to the title is -- well, that would be telling. Now about that Radiohead dig, Märk, are you sure it wasn't me? But before I say more, I'll wait to see if it bothers anyone else.

Jan Krueger -- The approach to the title is "ennui with rot." Very imaginative lyrics, and the vaguely medieval or Goth air suits them well. The bass wanders off by itself sometimes, but apart from that, this is successfuly atmospheric.

King Arthur -- The approach to the title is "Doubt" with a capital "D". When I read the lyrics, I had a feeling this would be modelled on Gregorian chant. Something about it is not quite authentic -- the elided notes and the frequency of large interval jumps, if I had to say -- but who cares really? An interesting take on the theme.

Moanin' Mississippi Fudge -- If the Songfight title had been "Sometimes it's hard, so I keep myself moving," I might be more sympathetic to this entry, although maybe not. The guitar playing is crude, but it sounds heartfelt. I hope I can't say exactly the same about the lyrics. I like the name "Moanin' Mississippi Fudge".

Paco del Stinko -- This takes a "life sucks" approach to the title, but while you're listening, life definitely does not suck. The infectious bop and the carefree vocals, backup, and tremolo guitar have a direct physical effect on the nervous system that makes me bob along with an idiotic grin. Thanks. VOTE

Ross Durand -- Thoughtful and elegant lyrics. as ever, although the punch line (if we can call it that) didn't catch me by surprise. The arrangement builds a haunting mood, oddly with the same tremolo effect that sounds so happy in Paco's song (plus some reverb). The approach to the title has gone beyond doubt into despair. VOTE

Signboy+Friends -- I can't quite make out the lyrics (my fault, probably, I was never good at that), so I'm not sure what approach this takes to the title. The song seems to pull in two directions, with the kick drumbeat and (later) the rock guitar working against the wistful chords and meditative singing. I could see it coming together with a different production, maybe with more reverb, some kind of synth pad, and a subtler, more complex, and less obtrusive percussion (or none at all). That's if you wanted to take it in the direction suggested by the vocal line. Reverb would help brighten the singing too --it's a little flat at times, both in pitch and delivery. The choppy fuzz guitar sounds like speakers being shredded, but the lead work is nice.

Sockpuppet -- I think this is an "overwhelmed-by-life-sucks" approach to the title. A good song with a clear melodic line, notable for its pretty vocal harmonies. The arrangement and production are good too. VOTE

SomeGuyCalledNoel -- This is a lovely and tender piece, well-played on guitar and with a moving vocal line. The approach to the title has something ineffable to do with doubt. Admirably subtle in its effect. VOTE

Ujn Mullet -- Driving beat, good textures, effective singing, interesting arrangements, solid recording, and a very cool guitar lick around 1:10. The approach to the theme seems to be "ennui." VOTE

umm -- The words are too difficult for me; maybe the meaning will dawn on me later. From the music, I'd venture the approach is "despair." If it is, then obviously the music communicates that effectively, through the descending semitones, the agonized guitars, and the running-in-a-dream beat.

The Unfamous Jim -- Sorry, unfamous Jim, but this song doesn't address the theme.

Wages -- The approach to the theme is perhaps "exhaustion". The rhythmic insistence conveys a marching determination, which is certainly to the point. I like the riff, but it does start to wear thin after a while.

The Weakest Suit -- This takes a "what's-your-excuse" approach to the theme. Hints of Elvis Costello, The Ramones, and The Who. The bass and guitar together have a satisfyingly thick headbanging sound. Fine drumming at the end. VOTE

Yngvi -- The approach to the theme is "existential doubt." It sounds like Jacques Brel having a bad day. I enjoyed it. VOTE
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by howling monkey »

The Howling Monkeys -- I haven't heard funk like this in a long time -- earlier than the nineties, that's for sure. I'm thinking James Brown meets Hendrix. It's very well done, I like it. Good singing too. As for the approach to the theme, it covers all the bases -- ennui, doubt, overwhelmed, life sucks, down on your luck. I wondered how you would end the song, and what you chose to do works with a nice snap. VOTE
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by genecawley »

jack wrote:balls to monte! a blast from the past! welcome back.
Generic wrote:BALLS TO effin' MONTE for the WIN!
Thank you both very much.
Märk wrote:Balls to Monty Python: Nice singing, except a bit country twangy. The song itself is doing nothing for me. Reminds me of Eagles or something.
The Eagles!? Wow, that's hittin' below the belt, that is. ; )
AJOwens wrote: Balls To Monte -- This "down-on-your-luck" approach to the theme, drawing naturally on the great tradition of misfortune that is C&W, is made light and pleasant by the bright, crisp arrangement. The chorus reminds me of growing up in the sixties with Neil Diamond and the Monkees on the radio. The final chord is problematic: in one of those situations that's hard to resolve, it wants to go to G, but it also wants to go to D. VOTE
I almost ended on D, too. I just never know about these things. Thank you very much for the kind words.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by genecawley »

Here are my reviews. Really good overall this week:

Balls To Monte - I listened to Gene Clark's first album WAY too much while writing this, hence the country-ish tinge.

Ben Bradley - The lyrics to this were really good. There were a couple of sour notes, but it didn't detract from the overall quality.

Berkeley Social Scene - Love the extreme dual guitar work on this. The arrangement in general is fantastic. If you're not a real band, you certainly sound like it. As good as it is, it goes on a little too long, but that's the only bad thing about it.

Crack My Jaw - I like the loose quality of this. Great singing. The first part and the middle bit don't really seem to fit together, as much as I like them, especially the middle part.

Doscientos - Had a lot of trouble making out the words for this one. I love your sound, though.

forkbomb - This is really good and has everything going for it. The singing, the lyrics, the arrangement and tune are all excellent. I'll see you in hell. I hate you.

James Owens - This is really Zappa-esque (at least to my ears), in terms of musical ambition. It's a little too busy all around to be catchy, but it's really good.

SomeGuyCalledNoel - This sounds somewhere between Elliot Smith and Dan Fogelberg. This is really beautiful. The playing and singing are excellent.

The Howling Monkeys - Wow, another really good one. Everything sounds tight as hell, the guitar tones impeccable.

Heipa - Again, really great work and great playing. I really had trouble deciphering the lyrics, though. The overall sound is incredible.

Signboy+Friends - This one has a great chord progression and tune but it got a little dull by the end.

Gooey Caramel Centaur - I like the backing vocals and the multiple time signatures. That said, the playing was a bit sloppy and it distracted from what is otherwise a really good effort.

Yngvi - This is great, but it isn't really a song.

umm - This was great overall, but it just isn't my thing, I guess.

Ross Durand - Good, solid song. I like how this builds lyrically as well. I also like the Spaghetti Western kinda feel that this has.

Ujn Mullet - Good performance and arrangement, but I really had trouble making out the words.

Sockpuppet - Really liked this. Why would I? I guess the Velvet Underground guitars juxtaposed with the drum machine and the overall catchiness.

Wages - This sounds effortless and catchy (in a good way). I would lose the guitar solo (though the rest of the lead guitar work is great) and the last verse.

Crank Radio - Really good, polished and tight. This isn't something I'd normally like at all, but you really sold it.

King Arthur - Is that Latin? Gotta give massive points for originality (and overall goodness) here. I can't tell whether or not the words actually pertain to the title, since it's in a language I don't understand. And it needs more cowbell.

Jan Krueger - Really good story. Great chord progression and guitar work, too.

The Unfamous Jim - Points for getting the word "dysentery" into a song. I like the Alan Lomax field recording vibe as well.

Moanin' Mississippi Fudge - Didn't really like this. It sounds like an attempt at a talking blues, but with too many effects on the vocals.

Paco del Stinko - Another great one. Really original and poppy (in a good way). You really know how to write a good pop song.

The Weakest Suit - I liked the song, but I think the drum machine is throwing you off rhythmically, rather than helping. Really good overall, though.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by AJOwens »

I wrote:

The Unfamous Jim -- Sorry, unfamous Jim, but this song doesn't address the theme.
But I was wrong. Sorry, unfamous Jim, I guess your title threw me off. You set up a song that sounded like it could be about moving down that Oregon trail, but it's not the Oregon trail we're moving down here, is it? But it could be, so that worked. The song doesn't have a lot of meat, but it does have plenty of fibre.
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by AJOwens »

gramparsons wrote:

James Owens - This is really Zappa-esque (at least to my ears), in terms of musical ambition. It's a little too busy all around to be catchy, but it's really good.
Interesting. I hadn't been thinking of Zappa at all, but I see how some parts might suggest his style. Thanks for commenting!
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ken
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by ken »

I feel like it is fairly common for fluffy to rhyme work and jerk in his songs. Anyone else notice this?
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Re: Sometimes It's Hard to Keep Yourself Writing Reviews

Post by fluffy »

When else have I done that?
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