SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

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BoffoYux
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SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by BoffoYux » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:58 am

SpinTunes #15 Round 2 Challenge

Everyone has met someone who's done something nice for them. This Thanksgiving season, you get to return some of that love.

Your challenge:
Gratitune: Write a song that expresses or conveys genuine gratitude for someone or something. Your song may be fictional but the expression of gratitude should be sincere. Your song must include vocal harmonies.

Submitting Entries:
Your entry must be received by November 18, 2018 @ 11:59 PM EDT. Otherwise it'll be posted as a shadow. Received means that it has to appear in my e-mail inbox (spintunescontest@gmail.com) by the given deadline. I will be going by the time stamp on the e-mail. One minute late is too late.
You are allowed and encouraged to submit a draft of your song early just in case something horrible happens and you miss the deadline. Then you can add polish to your song and send in a better version closer to the deadline. The last version received prior to the deadline is your official entry.
Lyrics are mandatory. No instrumentals. Having no lyrics will get you disqualified.
Name your file the song's title, but without spaces & punctuation.
Title of the e-mail should be the title of the Challenge & your band's name. (e.g. "Gratitune - Dr Lindyke") (The title of the song is whatever you want it to be)
Include information on anyone that should be credited for collaboration. Remember, collaborations are OK, even among competitors. You must write your song, but if you want to use another vocalist or musicians, do so.
If you have a BandCamp account, you can just send me a link to your song on BandCamp if you include all the info I mentioned above. Make sure you have it set as a free download. THIS IS THE BEST FILE SHARING OPTION!
Other file sharing options if you need them: Sound Cloud (set to download a format BandCamp is ok with) & Drop Box. Please send an e-mail as I already stated, but with the download link if you need one of these services.
If you're using something other than Bandcamp, It's best if you send your file in a format that Bandcamp accepts (.aiff, .wav or .flac, at least 16-bit/44.1kHz) You can find the specific requirements for Bandcamp files HERE.
If you send me an MP3, I will attempt to convert it for you. But be warned... I will be strapped for time, and I will post whatever Audacity spits out of the conversion. So if you picked the wrong sample rate, your dulcet tones may wind up sounding like termites or chipmunks or random static. And that is what will be judged. So please... save and submit your files in the right format.

Side Notes:
You are allowed to send in a little background about your song. We encourage and appreciate "song bios". You don't have to do it, but if you want to write a couple sentences about your song I'll post it on the BandCamp page for people to see. I'll even link to longer blog posts if you want to explain your song on your blog. Some judges will read this extra info, but they aren't required to.
You can send in an entry to SpinTunes 15 without competing. Just tell me it's a "Shadow Song". It will be played at the listening party, but won't be ranked and you might not receive feedback from the judges. Check the FAQ if you don't know what that means. You can even complete past challenges from previous contests. It's a nice way of playing along if you can't commit to the schedule or you just want to get your feet wet.
The only other way to get your music played at the LP is to cover "Today's The Day" by Inverse T. Clown.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by thirdcat » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:50 pm

Gonna be cool to hear all of the vocal harmonies in this round. Great challenge.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:45 am

Sent mine in yesterday afternoon. Went out of town last night. I'm not unhappy with it, but I can still hear tweaks I could make. Such is the nature of timed songwriting challenges, eh?
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:25 pm

Sounds like the listening party preshow song list is being played right now, currently, at this moment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWwhgeYynvA
Evil Grin has an album: https://evilgrin.bandcamp.com/
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by BoffoYux » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:31 pm

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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by BoffoYux » Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:06 pm

Round 2 songs can be downloaded here on Bandcamp.

https://spintunes.bandcamp.com/album/sp ... 15-round-2

SpinTunes #15 Round 2 Deadline News and Listening Party

Round 2 is over, and the listening party will be tonight.

For now you should know:
13 bands made the deadline
2 bands failed to meet the deadline. (ShyFox and Boffo Yux Dudes)
There are 7 shadows, 3 of which are eligible for Wildcard Reinstatement
2 Shadows will be reinstated, and judged and ranked along with the 13 who made the deadline. In accordance with the rules, this will be at the discretion of the judges.
There will be 5 eliminations this round.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by BoffoYux » Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:10 pm

Update - Menage A Tune, and Jocko Homomorphism are reinstated as official entries, since 2 artists didn't submit a song
(ShyFox and Boffo Yux Dudes)

Congrats! The judges will consider these two songs as if they we're voted out in round 1.

There will be 5 eliminations this round to reduce the field to 10 for round 3.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by leighdf » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:12 am

What a strong round!
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by vowlvom » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:21 am

Really good stuff. I'm listening in the car again and some of these are making me a bit emotional.

I'll write some reviews once I've listened a few more times.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by vowlvom » Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:04 am

Wrote some things!

Glen Raphael - Work of the Programmers - I've been mostly listening on a burned CD-R in the car again and this is such a great opening track. I also give this high praise for having some of the most charming and impressive harmonies from the whole round AND as a programmer, this is the only song which is directly thankful for me, Tom, and it gets extra points for that too. I guess not being 100% original somewhat counts against it but within the folk genre I can't see any real problems with updating an old melody. Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed this every time and it was my girlfriend's favourite of all the songs I played for her. I guess for me it would fall in the "best of the rest" category as there definitely a few I'd rank higher, but I liked this a whole lot.

Zoe Gray - How to Sing - excellent, personal take on the gratitude challenge and the harmonies are sweet, if relatively subtle compared to some of the crazy things people did with their voices in this round. I didn't love this quite as much as "Wonder" but it's still definitely one of the strongest entries this round. I think the pre-chorus section could use some dynamic variation as it feels like all of the ingredients of this song are introduced fairly early and it kind of stays at that same level throughout - but it's a stretch to criticise this really as it's extremely good and I think we can all join in with expressing gratitude that somebody taught Zoe how to sing!

Vom Vorton - Thank You Rafa & Agnes - I don't need much of an excuse to write songs about cats. This is the first one I've written about my new kittens and I am very happy with it, it flowed out of me much more smoothly than the first round song which felt very forced. I think I've used a very similar guitar riff in another song (fairly recently) but I haven't actually gone back to check on quite how much I've ripped myself off, haha. I had fun adding more harmonies than I would usually attempt and I think they make the song, really. Hooray for challenges!

Good Guy Sôjàbé - Upward & Onward - I've been struggling to figure out what to say about this one. There's nothing objectively wrong with it, but you just happen to be working in a very specific part of a subgenre that I just... can't stand. The vocal style, the effects on the guitars, it all just sets my teeth on edge. Lyrics are solid, musicianship is good, it's just a personal thing and I'm sorry!

Pigfarmer Jr. - So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish - this is another strong song, you're on a good run of form lately! I love the mix, the way the huge crunching guitars and the jangling acoustic fit together is lovely, and the extra elements that come in later on work really well. The lyric is pretty solid, a couple of lines that struck me as slightly awkward but in a likeable sort of way that goes well with the touching tribute to an old favourite. Harmonies are effective, and I like the dynamic shifts.

Mandibles - InDependence - another one of my favourites. I think this one has my favourite use of harmonies from the whole round and the lyric and lead vocal are so sweet, sincere and emotional. The way the harmonies fit around the vocal in the middle-8 really caught me off guard the first time I heard this but on repeat listens I looked forward to that part every time - the way the weird tones of the first few words resolve into the last word of each phrase is SO satisfying. Listening on proper home speakers for the first time as I write this, the stereo panning is also absolutely gorgeous. This is a strong contender for my #1. Although it does slightly piss me off that it ends with about 20 seconds of silence, you absolute monsters!

Brian Gray - Your Name - we are so invested in the saga of Gleeble Glorp in my house right now. This is a wonderful continuation of the story and I love the dramatic musical-theatre execution. My only vague criticism is that it probably doesn't stand up as well for anyone who hasn't listened to your song for the last round ten times, but I have, so I'm only speculating. The music is so good, and the way the vocal builds in intensity is great. Another one in my top tier.

Running Green Lights - Thanks for No(thing) - not much to say about this one, unsurprisingly, but as a little snippet it's quite interesting and you did get some harmonies in there!

Temnere - Not This Time - that piano melody reminds me of the theme from The Terminator, which is a good start. When this challenge was announced I wondered how well vocal harmonies were going to work in a metal song, and here's my answer: brilliantly. This is way out of my genre comfort zone again but it's very impressive. Two things that bug me a little bit: the piano feels like every note is at the same velocity level which gives it an extremely artificial feel, which may be intentional? but I wasn't crazy about it. The way the verse vocal melody follows the piano so closely didn't hugely work for me either. The chorus is SUPERB though and I still enjoyed this a lot.

Ominous Ride - Dodging Bullets - big change of style! I think, purely from a songwriting point of view, this is one of the best entries this round; I particularly love the slightly Beatlesy middle-8. The mix is really weird though and kinda affected my enjoyment - the bass is way too prominent and the drums and (especially) guitar get lost in the mix a bit. Strong work with the harmonies though, and I did still enjoy this a lot, but with the definite disclaimer that I think there's a better version of it waiting to get out, if that makes any sense.

Faster Jackalope - Selfless Heart - this is amazing and another definite contender for my favourite. If I have a criticism, and again it's a bit of a stretch, it's that the mix is kinda in-your-face and feels like it could use a bit more air and space in it. Maybe a bit too much reverb going on, and a lot of things occupying similar frequency ranges? The strings and brass are absolutely gorgeous though and I'm glad they each get a spotlight, and I love the groove that the drums and banjo get into.

Third Cat - Looking for Light - another really excellent one, I love the shift between the morose verses and the uplift of the chorus, and I think these might be my second favourite harmonies of the round - the "pull me out" parts in particular have a Beach Boys quality to them and that's the pinnacle of vocal-harmony achievement to me. Love the wobbles in the lead guitar too.

Governing Dynamics - Guiding Star - there are elements of this I really like, most notably your voice which I am becoming a big fan of! It does sound like a last-minute mix though, the drums don't really have much bite to them (the toms are way louder than the kick and snare?) and as a result everything else feels kinda out of step with itself. Another one where I think there's a really great song here in theory but this version doesn't quite get there.

Menage a Tune - I Wish (Jennifer's Song) - like Mandibles, this one really connected to me on an emotional level. The way you tell the story is so matter-of-fact and that makes it extremely effective to me. The music is good too, I like the chiming electric piano sound, and the harmonies are again quite subtle but very effective.

Jocko Homomorphism - A New Ideal - the harmonies on this one are... wild. I honestly can't figure out if I like them or not - they kind of make me wince and grin at the same time? The synthy music appeals to me a lot, and the lyrics are enjoyably detailed and specific. The melody never quite feels comfortable to me, which I suspect is a deliberate choice but ends up being one I can admire more than I can really enjoy I think.

Shadows:

Marlon - I Am Not Your Princess - fun concept, good lyrics, entertaining performance. No vocal harmonies, though! I know this is a shadow but as a lover of harmonies, I'm still disappointed that you didn't get any in there. I like this though, and the little instrumental Mario tribute at the end is cool.

Red Watcher - I Wasn't the One - this is super-impressive. I'm not always a fan of this kind of soaring, operatic lead vocal to be honest but it works for me here, and the piano playing is gorgeous. I love the reversey synth (?) sound that comes in later on too. Are there harmonies? Maybe subtly on the "what comes around goes around" section?

Dr. Lindyke - Match - I can't quite believe I get to type this but this is the second-best song about organ donation in this round. Excellent performance, mostly strong lyric although the perfect match / rejection plays on words in the chorus feel a little out of step with the sincere tone to me - my brain can't quite figure out how seriously to take it.

Red Watcher - Kindness Reigns Power - I think your other song is probably a little better but this one is more in tune with my synth-pop loving brain and I hugely enjoyed it, especially the parts where the vocal rhythm changes up before the choruses. Harmonies are quite subtle again but well done. I feel like the vocals aren't integrated with the mix quite as well as they could be but basically both of your songs would be in my favourites bracket if they weren't shadows.

Matchy Matchy - Thanks - this feels like a song-length exploration of the Song Fight vocal tuning thread. The lyrics are darkly hilarious and the vocals are ridiculous and entertaining, although I feel like this maybe outstays its welcome just a little. It's a killer ending to this batch of songs though and consistently made me smile.

Much harder to choose a favourite this time, but I think it'd be between Mandibles and Faster Jackalope, with strong support from Third Cat and Zoe & Brian Gray and most of the others close behind.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by Cybronica » Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:47 pm

I have to say, this was a VERY strong round! Good job, everyone!

Sp15 w reviews

Glen Raphael - the work of the programmers
Love love love beautifully sung, so well thought out, especially the lyrics- the are covert cleverly put together. The singing is sublime, and this just confirms my hypothesis that the best vices to blend are layering the same voice over and over. T sounded like at one point in the beginning you didn’t all come in at the same time, but otherwise the song was as clean as my mother in law’s kitchen floor. Now, I love me a reimagined folk song, but I’m not sure how spintunes considers this, as this is a very clever rewrite of “the work of the weavers,” a song I know from the Clancy brothers.

Zoe Gray - how to sing
I love the hummed harmonies in this! Beautifully sung, and very heartfelt. This song made me feel like I was going to cry... I do hope your parents are alive- your comments on the LP made it seem like they are, but this such a mournful song. I just want to give you a hug. Sounds like modern MT, like I imagine this coming as a song break in a big climactic moment of dialogue. As i said, it is expertly sung; it is missing a sense of line, though, which is to say the way you sing words feels very choppy. This is completely stylistic of modern music, so I can’t count it against the song. Not my preference, but are moments where you have that sense of legato in the line, and sounds so good when you do.

Vom Vorton - Thank you Rafa and Agnes
This song really got to me- in the last couple months, we lost a cat that I had had for 15 years, and then just recently got a pair of brother kittens to keep the remaining old cat company. Everything you sang is 100% accurate (especially the shoe inspector...). Anyway, music review: I love how you used a synth that sounds like a cat- very evocative. As I said before the lyrics are great, and speaking as a yank, I love your accent, and how it opens up more rhyme options for you (felt a/shelter). The music was peppy and fun, and I liked the descending guitar lick.

Good Guy Sojabe - Upward and onward
Your voice is so reminiscent of someone very famous but I can’t put my finger on it. You sound good! Your voice has a beautiful timbre, always in tune. I like the mix, too. The voice is surrounded by the rest of the instrument rather than being too pronounced. Great balance. I had a Bowie Starman impression of this song before I realized it was Stan Lee. Great song! I’m sure there were vocal harmonies, but I did not notice them in particular.

Pig Farmer Junior - so long and thanks for all the fish.
One of my favorite book series!! Love the music, love the instrumentals, like the vocal harmonies. Good lyrics, pretty well sung, always in tune, so good job! At first I was sung to Douglas Adams, but upon subsequent listens, I take it it was for the person who gave it to you? The melody I half expected to go into “dream on,” and the harms reminded a bit of Pachelbels cannon at times, but then again, what doesn’t? Good song. I much enjoyed it.

Mandibles - In Dependence
I love this song; it’s one of my favorites that Mandibles has made so far. When we first conceptualized it, I had been imagining kind of an avant guards treatment, were there would be an extra track of white noise that would come in and out as the counter voice came out and in. Truth convinced me not to, and I think the song is better for it. Thanks!

Brian Gray - Your Name
Holy orchestration, Gleeble Glorp! This is amazing. What is this, an opera? It’s great. I hope you keep the story going for the subsequent rounds. Great voice, and the midi instruments are great (reminds me of Majoras mask...). It ends so abruptly- I want to know what happens next in the action! When does the script come out?

Running green lights - Thanks for No(thing)
Hahahahaha. Haha. Ha ha ha. Ha
Haaaaaaaa.

Tenmere - Not this Time
Excellent vocals. Well sung, in tune, and pleasing as well as stylistically appropriate choice in vocal harmonies. Lovely arrangement. This is one of my favs. It really stands out from the rest of the entries and has a level of drama rivaled only by Brian Grey, imo. I love the ominous piano line. As far as the challenge goes, this feels more line an elegy of apology than a gratitude. In general I find the lyrics hard to follow into continuity. I still really love it, though. Great guitar solo.

Ominous ride - dodging bullets
I’m obsessed with this bass line. It might be my fav thing about this song. The song is well put together, and well sung. The vocal harmonies were good, but they didn’t particularly stick out to me. The stanzas of the lyrics didn’t seem to have much to do with how you set the text to the music. There were some really good lines in the lyrics, though. “And the daggers she thrust into my heart
I mistook for Cupid’s arrows” - I love the imagery in this line. In general, however, the subject matter of the song is a little off putting. I realize that this was a way to subvert the prompt, so woohoo! I’m all about subversion, but the lyrics had the vibe of a guy insisting he be praised for realizing he used to be a jerk. It seems a bit of a 180 from your son last week.

Faster Jackelope - Selfless Heart
LOVE the banjo vln FrHn tambourine combo. The French horn in the bridge is inspired. The harmonies are lovely, and the violin solo is gorgeous. It feels like a cross between all the best parts of Beach Boys and Mumford and Sons. It definitely meets the challenge, but I find the lyrics just a little too vague. Again, excellent singing all around. Tuneful, pleasant, perfect for the song. Really like this one.

Third cat - looking for light
Good vocals. I like how they bend and swerve the pitch like the car in the opening lines. Nice touch. I like the counter vocal on the chorus. I like it.

Governing dynamics - guiding star
Nice build up. This is an interesting take on ‘vocal harmonies’ - it certainly has a lot of layered vocals, but until later on in the song, they aren’t exactly what I’d call harmonies. When they do come in, they have a really cool effect. The dissonance is pretty. This song has that “urban night driving” feel I mentioned in the last round. Overall it is reminiscent of late Bowie in general aesthetic.

Menace a Tune - I wish (Jennifer’s song)
I l o v e the backstory to this song- thank you for sharing! Like last round, this song is really well written. The composition of the melody and orchestration are well written, and the lyrics are set honorably. I would have chosen a different setting for the piano, but that just personal preference. The tuning of the main vocal is better than last round, too, though sometimes it still dips flat. Do you wear headphones when you record? It might help to leave one off while you sing for the next one. I love this song. Thank you for writing it!

Jocko Homorphism - a new ideal
This song reminds me of “Funky town”- it gives me the same synesthetic shapes and colors. The melody is great, and goes well with the arppegiator. The counter vocal is great- it gives the melody an unsettling quality that is a nice contrast to the exceeding peppiness of the song. Tuning is not great, especially on the high notes. You have them in your range, so I think it might be your approach that throws you off. Try think about approaching those notes from the top as opposed to the bottom, even when you are approaching them from a lower note. That might help. The lyrics are very clever. I love these songs that are specific to one obscure figure of historical note, especially when it means I learn something new! Great song!

Shadow - Marlon - I am not your princess
MARIO!!! This song is so cute! I love the lyrics - very clever - “I mean all these things with every spore in my heart” - it’s the attention to detail that I really appreciate. (“Last disheveled string” *dingalingle diding*). The one take track singing and playing has a really sweet aesthetic, though the balance could have been a little better. Well sung, and with such passion! Love it.

Shadow - Red watcher - I wasn’t the one
This reminds me of Steven Schwarz’s solo Albums from the 2000’s, Both the instrumentals and the vocals, and then in the chorus it veers into Rufus wainwright vocals a la the Songs for Lulu album. very pleasant to listen to.

Shadow - Dr. Lyndyke - Match
As with ménage, I am so thankful you wrote on this topic; it’s so very important that people be organ donors. This song is soulful and heartfelt (no pun intended). It is reminiscent of billy Joel, and your vocal technique reminds me of Andy Dwyer from Parks and Rec, so I guess that means you sound like Pearl Jam? It is well sung, a good, supported sound with a pleasing tone that you don’t hear every day. I love the true emotion you put into it. The vocal harmonies took a while to get into it, and I would have liked more of them.

Shadow- Red Watcher - kindness Reigns Power
Ooh 80s! This is a fun song to listen to. I like the inspiring helpful tutor story, though I have to say the “the nice person is about to die” twist at the end seemed to come out of left field. The harmonies were not the best- I think you just need to workshop them a little more.

Shadow - Matchy Matchy - Thanks
This is my favorite shadow. I love how far you take the challenge to go full a capella; glen r was the only other one that got close to doing that, but he still used a guitar. I love it. And they sound good! The balance is great, the composition is done really well, and, funny enough, you blend super well with yourself! It feels sincere, but then towards the ends, I get a note of bitterness from the lyrics. Are you happy this person gave you disillusionment, or are you sad to have lost your preconceptions?
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by Cybronica » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:06 pm

Also really sorry about the 20 seconds of dead air- that was probs left over from when I took out the white noise. All around that was a bad idea... my bad for not checking so closely!
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 2 Challenge

Post by vowlvom » Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:29 pm

Cybronica wrote:Also really sorry about the 20 seconds of dead air- that was probs left over from when I took out the white noise. All around that was a bad idea... my bad for not checking so closely!
In a way I'm glad it was there so at least I had SOMETHING to critique about your song! The more I think about it, the more I feel like it was my favourite from this round, excellent work.
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