Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

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Pigfarmer Jr
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Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:21 pm

Post 'em when you get 'em.
Evil Grin has an album: https://evilgrin.bandcamp.com/
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1Dcqs6LhwsoYS6EDGPhCCk

My solo Album: http://tcelliott.bandcamp.com/

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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:22 pm

Evil Grin has an album: https://evilgrin.bandcamp.com/
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1Dcqs6LhwsoYS6EDGPhCCk

My solo Album: http://tcelliott.bandcamp.com/

Ad astra per alia porci - Steinbeck
(To the stars on the wings of a pig.)
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by furrypedro » Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:21 pm

Couple of things about the Balance Lost track this week:

1) I apologise for the excessive length. I got a bit carried away when recording this. I understand that it's a pain in the ass to listen to a 6-minute song when there's a few to get through so I understand if you skim through. I tried to make it all feel necessary, but it may have been a tad self-indulgent.

2) The song features contributions from my good friend Tomski, former Balance Lost and Carpetburn guitarist. He added some of the keys and synth lines.


Really looking forward to hearing all the songs. Good luck everybody!
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by Lunkhead » Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:34 pm

Songs posted!
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jb
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by jb » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:39 am

The John Benjamin Band
This song is about how everything affects everything else, even after death or breath, because y'know, like, a tumbleweed spreads its seeds as it rolls. So in a way, it's actually only AFTER death that it can ensure the extension of itself. Uh, so that's that I guess. I like how the song turned out. I spent a lot of time getting the verses to be more than just a guy singing, and I think the glitchy effect helps there. I used a plugin from AIR called Transfuser 2. I worked hard on the vocoder bit during the bridge and couldn't get what I initially had in my mind, but the result is nice. There's probably too much reverb on that one snare, making it sound more like a train than a snare. I'll cop to that as an error and fix it for soundcloud. The chorus maybe needs to have the extra vocal tracks more audible. Anyway. There it is. ;)

The Taz Tones
Hard right, hard left-- tolerable on speakers, intolerable on headphones. Ok the violin is in the middle so this is an esthetic choice. The panning decisions made it hard for me to listen to the words even though the words are very clear. I think you achieved what you're going for, but I didn't care for it. The violin is nicely played, and the vocals are nicely performed. I think the words are pretty evocative, but the mix is so distracting in headphones I'd have to try again to figure them out. I wish you had gone through the vocal track and cut out the extraneous preparatory mouth noises.

Evil Grin
Bass sounds good. Vox are too far back. When that fuzz rhythm guitar comes in it makes things sound a little dissonant. I'd remove that. The lyrics take a loooooong time to get to some imagery or lines that are interesting. They don't draw me in-- I think you probably have a concept and point that you find compelling, but the lines themselves need to have hooks too. "Lizard skin" is a good phrase, though I might want to know more about what a tumbleweed heart is supposed to be to YOU.

Balance Lost
True, as you posted, 5:45 is a long time. But it starts out well so I might get there. I like the music box kind of background going on. The atmosphere is nicely done. It's kind of Paranoid Androidy at 1:18 isn't it? Hah, this is epic, this whole thing. I applaud this kind of ambition. All you're missing in my book is a giant harmonized choir. DM me if you ever want one of those. Do it again!

Third Cat
I like this. I like that guitar line that comes in at 1:30 or so. I like the contrast of the chorus vs the verse feel. I think the electric guitars drag the track down-- the overall mixing/arrangement fades into the background unfortunately. So I like the song and I like the performances, but I don't like the mix basically at all other than that it doesn't hurt to listen to. It's mushy. Remix!

The Lowest Bitter
Oooh starts out pretty. Familiar, but pretty. It's a Postal Service homage? If Ben Gibbard starts singing I'm going to disqualify you for bringing in a ringer. Oh, I see, instrumental time. Well, it's pretty. Nicely done interlude.

Somebody Named Seth
I complained about Evil Grin's lyrics for one reason, and I'm going to turn that around here and say the lyrics are too wordy. But they don't compel me either. I like the panned doubled vocals when they come in. I didn't like the mix when the song started, but it grew on me. It rambles a bit, and never quite catches on for me. I think you did what you wanted to do though, so no quibbles there I guess, though if I were asked I'd say you need a chorus that's totes different from those verses rather than kind of similar-- Third Cat managed that well this week. I don't think there's a bridge in this either, is there? Needs a bridge. Or something.

Berkeley Social Scene
Hah, listen to that kick. Fwack fwack fwack. Ooooh 80's synth. The chord change in the intro is epic. I like the references to kung fu and stuff. The guitar in the background seems too fuzzy and noodly, kinda mushes everything up a bit. The organ at 1:30 is fun. But boy that vocal needs to be shored up with like 12 more parts I think. Oh man I waited all this time for that chord change to come back and it does at 2:12. I wish the chorus had been just built around that change because it's soooooo saaaaatisfying. This is totally the opening theme to an indie flick that needs to be made.

CsmthngCcrtv0
I'm too old and boring for shit like this. And I won't critique it because I don't think I'm the target audience that you're gonna care about. I mean, it's fine. Somebody will probably like it.

Lichen Throat
I must have had some bad takeout food last night or something, because I'm liking this. I like the patchwork feel of the arrangement, it's working for me-- everything is in a nice open chord pattern that works together. I would say, though, that I'd like this a LOT more if the prosody were more natural. If the vocals just sounded more like how people normally talk, or had a less accidental, or first-take kind of feel.

WreckdoM
WreckdoooooooM. Oooh another nice kick. Somebody's got their elbow on the pitch wheel I think, and it's working for me. The crash cymbals are kind of nuts, but whatever I guess. Coulda maybe been a little more unhinged for my taste. "I'm an infant. You can never escape me." TRUER WORDS HAVE NEVER BEEN SUNG.

Glenn Case
Hi Glenn! Oh I like the guitar/bass mix, nice tones. The vocal doubling is on point, nicely done. The vocal melody makes my head nod. The whole thing is super and very comfort-foody. The half-step lick is a good hook! I love how it keeps coming back, but I don't think it wears out its welcome. The bridge is pretty damn Hall/Oates/Squeeze to my ears, and my only criticism is that its too short. Anyway, I did this. It's not gonna change my life, I mean, it's no "Atari 2600", but I'm gonna listen to it a bunch of times this week. Put it on album #6.

miscellaneous owl
The vocal is nice, but it feels a bit more delicate than the arrangement behind her. Maybe put some reverb or delay on the vocal to make it sound more epic? I like it when the full harmony comes in. DEFINITELY spend more time writing a guitar solo please, the song deserves it. I don't know if the arrangement earns those pauses in the vocal lines-- if she's going to pause, something needs to amuse me until she starts singing again, and there's not really anything there. I like the part where the arrangement thins out, and I think the thicker guitar could have worked with some different EQ maybe? They're too muddy to really evoke that wash of sound thing to finish out the song. And the cliche drum ending is... well I just don't like it. Anyway. Good song, good vox, needs arrangement and mixing work. The chorus could be more. Just more.
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by owl » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:25 am

jb wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:39 am
miscellaneous owl
The vocal is nice, but it feels a bit more delicate than the arrangement behind her. Maybe put some reverb or delay on the vocal to make it sound more epic? I like it when the full harmony comes in. DEFINITELY spend more time writing a guitar solo please, the song deserves it. I don't know if the arrangement earns those pauses in the vocal lines-- if she's going to pause, something needs to amuse me until she starts singing again, and there's not really anything there. I like the part where the arrangement thins out, and I think the thicker guitar could have worked with some different EQ maybe? They're too muddy to really evoke that wash of sound thing to finish out the song. And the cliche drum ending is... well I just don't like it. Anyway. Good song, good vox, needs arrangement and mixing work. The chorus could be more. Just more.
Dang, you're a fast reviewer, I haven't even listened through everything yet. Thanks for the feedback, I'm aware my guitar solo skills aren't amazing so I've already offloaded coming up with a better guitar solo to my band's actual lead guitarist, so depending on whether he's able to make it to SFL, folks may hear a better version there :) Likewise with real drummer vs. MIDI drummer, I don't play drums at all so I'm kinda at the mercy of what loops I can scrounge up in my plugins.

I'm also curious what, specifically, you'd suggest EQ-wise with the guitars, I played around with this a bit but ended up only basically notching out some space for vocals but I'm definitely in the process of learning how to make things sound good and less muddy, so I'm quite interested in hearing your suggestions on a practical level... like what specific frequency cuts or boosts might help here.

p.s. So tell me about all your switches mid-review between second and third person. Is this something you routinely do with your reviews of male musicians' songs too? Just curious ;)
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by jb » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:01 pm

owl wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:25 am
p.s. So tell me about all your switches mid-review between second and third person. Is this something you routinely do with your reviews of male musicians' songs too? Just curious ;)
There's definitely unconscious bias there, no doubt, thank you for calling my attention to it in such a polite manner. I made an assumption that Miscellaneous Owl's primary engineer, drummer, and guitarist was not also the singer, and I have no good reason for that.

The connection to "owl" and the pronouns listed for "owl" is basic obliviousness to people on the boards, sorry about that. I struggle to form a concrete mental model of anyone via a forum interface-- and I find it even harder to connect them to a song-producing entity. I wish I could make it to SFL this year so I could cement people I haven't met in my mind.

Anyway, sorry for making that kind of assumption, thank you for calling me on it, and although you don't require my permission, please do not hesitate to call me on any stupid shit like that that you see me do. I aspire to better.

JB
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by jb » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:10 pm

owl wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:25 am
Thanks for the feedback, I'm aware my guitar solo skills aren't amazing so I've already offloaded coming up with a better guitar solo to my band's actual lead guitarist, so depending on whether he's able to make it to SFL, folks may hear a better version there :) Likewise with real drummer vs. MIDI drummer, I don't play drums at all so I'm kinda at the mercy of what loops I can scrounge up in my plugins.
I don't think a solo needs to be fast or flashy-- in fact I don't personally care for that. But it should be thoughtful. I would suggest using the Rivers Cuomo method of writing solos. He can hear the solo better in his head when he just sings it. Then he works out on the guitar how to play what he sang.

As far as the drums, just avoid a "stinger" at the end of your song unless you're working in the style of like 50's or 60's pop.
I'm also curious what, specifically, you'd suggest EQ-wise with the guitars, I played around with this a bit but ended up only basically notching out some space for vocals but I'm definitely in the process of learning how to make things sound good and less muddy, so I'm quite interested in hearing your suggestions on a practical level... like what specific frequency cuts or boosts might help here.
Hard to know what to recommend without seeing the tracks and looking at the waveforms-- though I'm sure others on the boards can offer some "standard freqs of guitars and vocals" type advice. Basically, you probably can stop your notching at a lower frequency than you did in this mix-- the guitars will be active at much higher frequencies than the vocals, so let the guitars have that range, definitely don't use a shelf or low-pass filter way up there on the guitars. That would be my recommendation. You can also help your guitars to get out of the way of the vocals by doing two rhythm guitar tracks and panning them left and right. That leaves the center for the vocals, and you have to do less notching to avoid collisions. But the guitars still shouldn't sound muddy, which might mean you have too much energy in the 200-400hz range on those tracks. And definitely make sure you apply a high pass filter to cut off the guitar tracks below like 100hz, because there's no reason the guitar should be down there if you have a bass and a kick drum in the mix.

This is all pretty amateur advice though-- Lunkhead or Ken or THC or one of several others can give you better more specific and smarter advice if they pop up here.

JB
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by lichenthroat » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:30 pm

Balance Lost—The recording and mix sound great; all the instruments are clear and distinct. I found the first part of the song a little dull, but it gradually picks up steam, even before the big change at about 2:40. There are a few moments where you place the perfect chord behind the vocal (like at “stop” at ~1:28 and “annoyed” at ~1:50). I think the long duration is okay; this song is complicated enough that it wouldn’t be fully realized if it was much shorter.

Berkeley Social Scene—It’s interesting how the Night Ranger-esque synth (not intended to be a dig—I like Night Ranger!) gives way to more of a Pink Floyd-sounding instrumentation later in the song. This is a very thought-provoking song, from a musical perspective. I think I’d like a more complex vocal melody in the verses, but I quite like the chorus. This is another song where the longer duration is completely justified.

CsmthingCctv0—I like how your voice sounds. There’s not enough other stuff going on to make this seem like a fully realized song, however.

Evil Grin—This is a good solid song with nothing major to object to. It feels a little on the safe side, though; I’d like to hear the two of you take more of a risk occasionally, perhaps with a more unorthodox song structure or more unusual vocal melody. I think you’re both good enough musicians to be able to pull off something riskier. (My apologies in advance, if you do something wild next week and I then complain about how weird it is.)

Glenn Case—The combination of guitar tone and rhythm reminds me of the Ant Farmers, who were a great but little-known 90s band that I don’t think a lot of people heard. None of the melodies really grabbed me, but the song seems very well-crafted overall. The ending is nice.

The John Benjamin Band—Yeah, this is good. Makes me want to dance. I like the piano solo. I think this song is very successful at what it sets out to do.

Lichen Throat (me)—Since I tend to have a trouble with vague, wandering vocal melodies, this song is an experiment to see if there might any way to turn that into a positive component of the composition. I like how it came out overall, but there are quite a few rough spots that call negative attention to themselves. This is the third song in a row that I’ve had to record in a hotel room on the little microphone embedded in my IEMs (thus, the background hiss); I should be back to my usual recording setup next time.

The Lowest Bitter—This is a nice instrumental. There’s plenty going on to hold my interest throughout. I like the prettiness of all the tones.

miscellaneous owl—This gave me a chill the first time I listened to it, in the first verse; I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that on my initial listen to any song before. I think the whispering at the start was very effective in drawing in the listener and creating anticipation. I love the vocal melodies in both the verse and chorus. I don’t catch the Elton John connection that you mentioned earlier, but that’s probably attributable to me not being very familiar with his music. Nevertheless, I like the lyrics, and I love the song.

Somebody Named Seth—I like the interplay between the bass and guitar. At first I though the vocal was going to be too sedate and unmelodic, but as the song progresses, it really fits well into the music and sounds good. I think maybe the bridge should have been more distinct from the rest of the song. Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable listen. The repetition and buildup at the end was a good choice.

The Taz Tones—I’m usually pretty forgiving with people’s panning decisions, but the way you have the guitar 100% in the right ear makes this genuinely unpleasant to listen to on headphones. I think this would sound a lot better with a more orthodox mix. I do quite like the violin part, and the timbre of your voice sounds good.

Third Cat—The choruses are great; the moments where verse transitions to chorus feel like a delightful outbreak. This song makes me happy.

WreckoM—The “hee, hee, hee” part is pretty funny. The extreme reverb works well to create atmosphere and doesn’t detract from any other aspect of the song. I’m not particularly keen on the keyboard or the experimental-sounding vocal melody.
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by Toby Roktot » Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:35 pm

BBS
Nice intro, kind of a David Bowie feel to the song in the verses, that’s good !!
The chorus is stronger due to the guitar accents...
By the second chorus, I’m warmed up to the song and everything works well.
I really don’t know how you guys do this week in and week out.....do you even have lives beyond SF.... vote

Evil Grin
Another nice intro,
Vocals are ok but, maybe a little more reverb, in my humble opinion.
Guitar accents really fill song,
I like the lyrics...”tumbleweed heart” is a great visual
All in all, a nice song. Maybe a little more bottom end to boost the overall effect.

Somebody Named Seth
Listening to this reminds me of Frank Zappa in that the instruments pop in and out during the verse. I always liked that. Nice vocals, lyrics and overall a swell song....

Miscellaneous Owl
Ahhh, Sheryl Crowe quickly followed by Jewel !!!
This is the best, so far... everything flows and seems to fit just right. Could be radio ready with a tweek here and there.....
Lyrics like” I wanna taste your chapstick when you go” now, that’s pure Katy.
VOTE

The Lowest Bidder
Interesting intro, but, not that interesting to be that long.....Oh !! That’s not an intro, that’s the whole song.......
I kinda like lyrics, but, that’s just me. Sweet music none the less.

Lichen Throat
I like your lyrics...this song is one that kinda grows on you. You’ll find yourself humming the tune and tapping your foot for no reason at all, except, this song is just there, in your brain.... something will trigger it and off you go.....with Nellie !!!!
Just like BB Kokomo..... every time

Balance Lost
The song has some very interesting segments. Sometimes, seems a bit random, chaotic, but, it’s not bad. Kinda like ‘Flock Of Seagulls’ meets Dave Brubeck.
Very interesting!! Long, but, not in a bad way....

Third Cat
Another interesting song. I really like the drums

The Taz Tones
I’ve always had a sweet spot for the violin... (love Harpeth Rising)

Glenn Case
Bass part is nice and drives the song... the vocals could use something, just a boost maybe. Oh yeah, I like the drums here, too.

The John Benjamin Band
Reminds me of some band back in the day, using the synth like that. Actually, a pretty good song that will make you remember where you were when you first heard it.....

Me? Sugar Land , Texas....USA
Really glad I didn’t submit.... the bar has definitely popped up a notch or two....
Good job everyone...
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by owl » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:39 pm

lichenthroat wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:30 pm
miscellaneous owl—This gave me a chill the first time I listened to it, in the first verse; I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that on my initial listen to any song before. I think the whispering at the start was very effective in drawing in the listener and creating anticipation. I love the vocal melodies in both the verse and chorus. I don’t catch the Elton John connection that you mentioned earlier, but that’s probably attributable to me not being very familiar with his music. Nevertheless, I like the lyrics, and I love the song.
Haha oops, it has nothing to do with Elton John and the vocals aren't experimental, I was just screwing around when I posted that.
Anyway thank you for the kind words, I'm really happy you liked it :)
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by furrypedro » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:27 pm

Opinions!

Evil Grin: It's competent enough but there's nothing here that grabs me much. The most significant dynamic change in the song is the outro. Unfortunately neither the lyrics nor melody makes me feel much of anything. I guess I have genre bias against this, but some kind of hook would be enough to win me over. In spite of your obvious ability the hook is lacking.

Wreckdom: Once the mix of wobbly organ and plain weird vocals kicked in I realised there has been a dirty, dark hole in my life that only Wreckdom can fill. The beats are cool. Everything else is freaky. I'd never pay money for it but it's still entertaining. I choose to take the "I shit in my pants" line out of context. I like it more that way.

The Taz Tones: I can only assume you listened to some early Doors recordings and thought "Let's have the whole band panned hard right, and the vocals hard left, that's a great idea!" I'm here to tell you it's not. It's a shit idea, and your meandering dirge gains nothing from the non-conventional mix. Your commitment to avoid any kind of rhyme is mildly amusing. I'm certain you can do a better guitar line than a single strum at the start of each bar. The rhythm section doesn't link up in any way. The vocals are probably the strongest part. I think this is my least favourite of the fight. Sorry.

Glenn Case: Thank fuck, something actually listenable at last. So, I am listening as I write, but I did give this a few spins earlier and I quite like it. The mini rhythmic break in the verses half works as a sort of hook and is something to make the song a bit different, but I feel like it's executed a tad guilelessly. Still, I like the idea. The chorus is a nice step up, and while I've heard better choruses from you it's still pretty strong, with a good sing-a-longability factor. My kitchen-sink production sensibilities wants something more in the arrangement though. Just an extra synth or guitar hook to develop the arrangement as the song progresses. Also the tempo starts to drag about halfway, but whatever, it's a good song, and well in front so far.

BBS: I like the intro most in this, the mix of that 80s synth patch and the shuffly drums. The Floyd breakdown is interesting, especially (again) the epic keys, but I am uninterested in Floyd so after one beard stroke I get bored. The "capture the grasshopper" line is so clunky it almost hurts. Like Chumpy (? I think) said in the Porcupine podcast it's hard getting tight after only a few run throughs of the song before recording, but the looseness does detract from the song a bit. I wondered if it would be hypocritical of me to slag off the guitar solo after I did one of my longest guitar "guitar instrumental" sections probably ever, but in the spirit of the running joke between me and Glennny, quit yer fuckin widdling.

Lichen Throat: Although the overpowering MIDI-ness of the sound set makes this sound a bit cheap I prefer a lot of these instrument lines over the other entries so far. I like how you have a few things going on in the track. Some of the lyrics are good, I also feel like you could cut probably about 30% of the lyrics and really improve the flow and meter, without losing any of the meaning. That's the main thing I hope you take from this, learn to be frugal with your lyrics, sometimes less is more. It's not easy, sure, but I think you know which lines don't scan so well. Cut the syllables which are surplus to the melody line while keeping the words that are the most important. Other than that, an interesting entry.

Misc Owl: I get a real Slumberland Records vibe from this. There's a load of lines I really like, probably my favourite of which is "set our GPS to the vanishing point". I like all the little concrete details, like sitting at Denny's, helps to create effective imagery. I like how the chorus kicks in, but then it seems to gain more energy as it progresses. Also the hi-hat action in the second verse is cool. Downsides? Well, the bass was a bit inconsistent in the intro, and when I see the song is over 4 minutes I'm thinking that might be a bit long, but honestly I wasn't bored, so scratch that. I like it. Probable vote.

CsmthngCcrtv0: Like Nico practising Swedish while, I dunno, plucking her eyebrow hairs.

The Lowest Bitter: I remember when I used to submit instrumentals and people were A LOT less understanding than the reviews I've read of this so far. I thought that was because they were instrumentals, but it could have been because they were shit. This on the other hand is a very pleasant wash of pads and bells, reminiscent of a starry sky. My Song Fight head wants to know what the connection to the title is, but really I don't care cos this is just a nice piece of music.

JBB: This has none of the cheese that your Porcupine entry had (the electronic one, obviously) and I think it's so much better for it. I really like the synthwave stylings, the arpy bass, but also the more modern shuffle of the drums. The vocals sit really nicely and I like the little effects and bits of flair that you add to them. Whatever anyone else says I will always be a fan of the vocoder. To quote one John Benjamin "make that chorus longer!" I won't bite your head off for hitting 4 minutes. Especially not this week, and especially when the song is cool. Another probable vote.

Thurd Cat: When I first heard this it made me think of Talk Talk. I love Talk Talk. This is now the third song by you I've heard, and if I'm being brutal there are some areas for improvement, probably mainly in the vocals. I know that sucks cos we can't change our voices and mine isn't great either. But that aside I like the way you make music, you always keep me interested and your sensibilities are up my street, so count me as a fan. I find this one interesting in that it's much more rock-oriented than the last couple, but it still feels like a pop song in spite of the crunchy guitars. Maybe that's why I thought of Talk Talk (or even Mansun in this case) because I feel like it doesn't fit into a box just based on the instruments it uses. It has elements of rock, elements of pop, but it exists outside of those genres. I like that you've still got a healthy selection of synths in there, the effects on the guitars are cool, and the transition between the atmospheric verse and hooky chorus is well written. Lots of small details here that I enjoy, and I'm glad you took the time to concentrate on them. Another of my faves this week. Oh yeah, good drums too.

Somebody named Seth: That bassline is quite arresting, possibly a little bit overbearing. When the song drops into the pre-chorus and chorus I actually really like this. I like the tension in the chugging guitars, and the fact that you've got the jangly guitar giving the counterpoint over that part as the tension builds. There are two moments around 1 minute and about 2:15 when the drums fills fuck up the rhythm slightly. That is distracting, apart from that it's mostly tight. Concentrating on that chorus though, I like that part a lot, I'm a bit disappointed when the song does end cos I wanted that to explode at the end. I do like the taught restraint of it but also I want a pay-off. If you were to go back to this I think the verses should be edited down, and give us some visceral rocking out at the end.

jb wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:39 am
It's kind of Paranoid Androidy at 1:18 isn't it?
I wondered how long it would take for someone to spot what I'd probably spent too much time listening to last week. The answer is, no time at all! Ha.
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by thirdcatmusic » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:35 pm

Balance Lost: this is pretty great, ambitious and interesting. instrumentally I love it. and I think your vocals fit this style pretty well. maybe the mix is lacking something in the middle (lots of highs & lows but there doesn't seem to be much in the middle) but that kind of makes it interesting to listen to too. helps give it a unique character. doesn't feel as long as its running time.

BSS: not loving the verses but the pre-chorus & chorus are pretty sweet. I'm liking the psychedelic rock spaced out vibe this song has, definitely up my alley there. some cool instrumental breaks. I like the choir a lot.

CsmthingCcrtv0: I like the backing vocal thing, that's a neat little idea. the execution is sloppy but I did kind of enjoy listening to this as it was ... interesting.

Evil Grin: I like the idea of the acoustic guitars and the heavy electric but I find something about the mix here to be a bit off putting. my favorite bits of this song are probably the lead guitar lines which I think are pretty tasty. nice tone there.

Glenn Case: nice thick sound. cool rhythms. good vocals. I like this one quite a bit. maybe it's slightly straight ahead rock in a way that I don't find super interesting but it is really well done and I'm gonna give it a vote.

JBB; I love this. I hope you like the Flaming Lips because I'm going to compare you to them again; your Freak Flag reminded me of something from Clouds Taste Metallic and this one reminds me of something from Yoshimi (or maybe their most recent album, which I don't remember the name of at the moment.) I'm a fan of theirs so I mean it as a compliment. This is probably my favorite of the fight (with Balance Lost.)

Lichen Throat: Instrumentally/mixwise I'm finding this a step up from what I'm used to from Lichen Throat, some interesting stuff with the percussion and the strings. Yes it's still very midi-tastic but you've mixed it all together in a way that is pretty pleasant. Vocals are pretty decent in places.

The Lowest Bitter: probably not a great songfight entry as it seems pretty random that this is called "Tumbleweed" but I like it. Pretty instrumental. It's kind of nice to have an instrumental in the Tumbleweed album actually, sweet mid-album sorta break. yeah that's the ticket. I like this.

misc owl: I like how the percussion slowly enters. nice drums. I like the keys. the instrumental as a whole has a bit of a garage band loose feel which can be just right, but I'm not totally bought in on this one for some reason or another. still your vocals are nice as always. I particularly like when the electric guitar is cut out (around 3 minutes) that bit is the highlight of the song for me, it's a nice arrangement trick there too as it allows that last chorus to hit harder.

Somebody Named Seth: This sounds really good, really well performed, and a very good mix. But for me this bass line based verse just isn't working, could be something that grows on me with multiple listens, already done so a little bit. Excellent vocals. Your chorus would make a great pre-chorus or bridge I think but I don't think it works great as a chorus because it feels like its building and building but never really releases. but that is interesting... again maybe something that grows on me. Overall very interesting song very well performed and mixed. But I don't love it. Yet, anyway.

The Taz Tones: Some cool strings. They sound like they're real? I don't really love the song overall although I'm probably more open to the crazy mix than most people ... but I'm not listening on headphones, I listen to these on my monitors and these kind of mixes sound much better on speakers than on headphones.

Wreckdom: some fun FX but as much as I like weird stuff I'm having a hard time getting into this one.

Balance Lost & JBB are standouts for me. I also like Glenn Case's track a lot and The Lowest Bitter's too although I feel a bit conflicted on whether I should vote for an instrumental, I enjoyed listening to it, so what the hell.
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by glennny » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:47 am

Lots of tasty songs this fight!

However, by far my favorite is The Lowest Bitter! Excellent instrumental! Bravo!
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by vowlvom » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:54 am

Balance Lost - I was honestly pretty excited to hear an extended-length Balance Lost song, but the Radioheaddy stuff... eh, I dunno. I guess I just prefer your songs that are influenced by any other band in the world, they've never been my thing. There's plenty of non-Radioheaddy stuff in here too though, and I like pretty much everything else about it. The chorus slowly crept up on me over several listens (your voice sounds great there), and the hazy ambient stuff later on is very cool, the last two minutes is possibly my favourite section of the track.

Berkeley Social Scene - the intro has a great vibe to it makes me think of training montages in 80s movies (this is good, I enjoy thinking about training montages) but the rest of the song, while interesting, never quite delivers on that promise for me. I like the lyrics, I'm not crazy about the lead guitar but I probably sound like a stuck record on that point. I think I want to hear the vocals either punchier with more of a departure from the melodies in the music or just really tight and part of the rhythmical soup, but they fall in the middle somehow.

CsmthngCcrtv0 - I continue to be slightly baffled by exactly what it is you're aiming for, but this is weirdly compelling and I didn't feel like I needed to skip it on each rotation like I have with some of your stuff. I think I can hear another layer really quiet behind the main vocal but I'm not sure if it's another vocal or an instrument? Some of the lyrics are in Swedish I guess (ah I’ve just spotted that you listed them in the mp3 tags - thanks for that).

Evil Grin - this is the most frustrating song of the fight for me, it feels like the chorus is crying out for some killer backing vocals / harmonies, I can almost hear how it would sound! But without them the chorus doesn't have the lift it needs to make the song succeed, IMO. It's pleasant but feels unfinished.

Glenn Case - this is one of my favourites, I really like the crunchy / jangly guitar tone and that recurring descending riff (and the way the drums drop out for it). Lyrics are solid rather than great, but the melody is strong with a nicely melancholy vibe, harmonies are great, and I enjoyed hearing this one every time.

The John Benjamin Band - I can't quite figure this one out, everything about it feels like it should be right up my street - glitchy electronics, big chorus, the living dead - but I feel like I only like it, it never quite fully wins me over. Production is really strong, chorus is catchy, there just happen to be a bunch of other songs in this fight that I like more for whatever reason. That said I do really like this lyric, and the way you deliver it:
"The only way to leave no trace
Is to never be born in the first place"

Lichen Throat - I think this is one of your best musical arrangements, the guitars chime in an appealing manner. Vocals are mostly solid too, I agree with furrypedro above that you could get them to work better rhythmically with a few small edits, but they still sound good overall and I like your experiment with the unusually structured lyrics. The background hiss does bother me a little, pleased to hear that’s a temporary thing!

The Lowest Bitter - this is gorgeous, and the beat really cuts through the mix in a really satisfying way. It sounds Tumbleweed-y enough for me that I'm happy that it fits the title, it's quite an evocative title and you've captured that sort of drifting, spacey mood.

miscellaneous owl - I love this song. Obviously there's room for improvement in the guitar solo and there are a few other areas that could probably be tweaked to take this to another level, but in terms of composition and catchiness and emotion this is firing on all cylinders for me. I love the way the vocal melody goes up before the chorus, and the big chords that kick in partway into the chorus have a perfect empty, dusty street Tumbleweed vibe for me. I had to look up what “Moons over My Hammy” was, that might be the stupidest name for anything that has ever existed.

Somebody Named Seth - the bass riff is cool, on first listen I thought you were doing some crazy time-signature stuff but I think it's just 6/8? The fast bass / sparse guitar combo makes it sound really unusual. I quite like the lyrics, vocals are good as ever, with an unusual, sort of paranoid vibe to them. I am envious of your ability to do a lot with fairly sparse arrangements; that said, this isn’t quite among my favourites from the fight. But I think that’s just a personal preference thing, you’re doing good work.

The Taz Tones - as everyone has already pointed out, the panning sinks this one. I heard it for the first time in my car and it was like the vocals were coming from the passenger seat, which was weird. There's a lot of cool stuff though, I love the violin and the general dark, folky, reverby-guitar vibe reminds me of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The vocal melody is a little dirgey but I think if this was mixed in a less distracting way it'd be among my favourites.

Third Cat - you've done a few songs recently that feel like they start in really tentative fashion. I tend to get into them later on but every time this one rolled around I found the first verse (and the backwards reverb in particular) kinda offputting, I'd love to hear you come out of the gate with all guns blazing. This has a lot of good stuff in it though, I like the chorus quite a bit, it just feels to me like it only finds its way a minute or so into the song.

WreckdoM - I found the progression from tumbleweed to sewer rat to infant pretty amusing, largely because there didn't seem to be any logic to it and I enjoyed that kind of non-sequitur vibe. I like the echoey vocals too. There were songs in this fight that grew on me over multiple listens, I think I got the most out of this one the first time I heard it, but it’s pretty fun.
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by furrypedro » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:36 am

vowlvom wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:54 am
Balance Lost - I was honestly pretty excited to hear an extended-length Balance Lost song, but the Radioheady stuff... eh, I dunno. I guess I just prefer your songs that are influenced by any other band in the world, they've never been my thing.
I totally understand. I have a complicated relationship with Radiohead (that they don't know about). Sure, I like a bunch of their stuff* but they're just a band with some songs that I like and I don't get their uberlord status. This time, I guess I was trying to prove that the "genius" of 5 guys working on a track for a year or whatever isn't actually that difficult. Of course, my song is full of flaws, but the title influenced me to go down this route and I'm glad it stretched me to do something other than the usual BL fare. I do genuinely like Paranoid Android a little bit, but I'd rather listen to Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes and I think despite its musical simplicity it's a harder song to write well.


*Also, I know oldies love The Bends but since chatting with Glennny about them I appreciate the existence of a grungy band in the mid-90s with a singer who could actually sing. I could actually go on forever - they push themselves to new things, but why not write the odd tune now and then, etc. I'd love for anyone to chip in to this conversation cos I miss the heated debate around here. You all suck, I rock, I'm gonna win, tell me otherwise, etc...
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:07 am

vowlvom wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:54 am
Evil Grin - this is the most frustrating song of the fight for me, it feels like the chorus is crying out for some killer backing vocals / harmonies, I can almost hear how it would sound! But without them the chorus doesn't have the lift it needs to make the song succeed, IMO. It's pleasant but feels unfinished.
We actually meant to get the rough mix done and then add some harmonies but we kept working and sent it in before we remembered and couldn't be arsed.
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by thirdcatmusic » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:31 pm

furrypedro wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:36 am
I'd love for anyone to chip in to this conversation cos I miss the heated debate around here.

I absolutely love Radiohead. Everything from The Bends through A Moon Shaped Pool (and I even like some of Pablo Honey.) I loved your song but not so much for the Paranoid Android references, but more for the bits that didn't remind me of it so directly. Paranoid Android itself was inspired by Happiness is a Warm Gun and I think it was so successful because it doesn't sound like that song at all, I think that's best, when the inspiration sort of slides into the background and you wouldn't really know about it unless told.
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by mc3p0 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:48 am

It four in the morning, I'm taking a bath a little high. Obviously perfect place and time for a SongFight review:

WreckdoM - Aaand we're off the rails instantly. First song, and I'm thinking to myself "What in hell is this?!" Adorable and deplorable. It reminds me of Sasha with live drums instead of an organ foxtrot. I dig your vocal strangeness. It's nice to know some songs come pre-drugged.

Glenn Case - Nice traditional arrangement. Beautiful song, really. Needs more drugs. Well-written. I like the chorus harmony. Super-short feel with no screaming guitar solo gets extra point.

miscellaneous owl - Sweet voice among the many words. This has a strong lyrical point of view. You've got a great tone, the drums and organ are fairly quiet compared with the pretty vocals. Feels naturally melodic, very organic.

Evil Grin - My only suggestion would be add some delicate effects to your voice, but not the telephone-like filter. Otherwise, this is a great song. Great vibrato matching the lyric imagery appropriately - I like the slightly unexpected key change after the chorus.

The John Benjamin Band - I can't believe this is you, dude! Really great mixing. Love the vocal processing, harmony, lyrics and special drum swips. The key change is great too. The first win! I might wait to add that extra snare thing until just the chorus. It's great.

CsmthngCcrtv0 - You sound like the guy who invited to me to Midsommer festival, but I feel you would be the guy who leaves me covered in glitter left for dead on the freeway.

Somebody Named Seth - That bass is really cool. I like the guitar coupling the vocal lines. The drums are somewhat quiet, and that crash needs to hit harder or sizzle more, imo. It's a great song, the build is really short.

The Taz Tones - I like the bass and violin. You've got a deep voice, the fragility is somber. I can't remember ever hearing a violin solo before. This feels very antiquated West, really great vibe and original.

The Lowest Bitter - I feel like I'm watching flocks on their winter migration. Gorgeous.

Balance Lost - Wow! What a voice! Interesting percussion. Complexity is refreshing. The second win. This isn't Glenny? What a rich piece. Thanks.

Third Cat - You always surprise with such ease. The vocals maintain a nostalgic flavor. Excellent entry as always.

Berkeley Social Scene - Nice, the drums are well-placed and compliment the singing. The organ thing is spooky wonderful. Chorus dropping off to that bass is great. I like the guitar coupling the chorus vocal. Too short. Third winner.

Lichen Throat - Your bizarre magic voice and strange arrangement are so original, I always look forward to your entries, possibly more than Third Cat. These might be the most "accessible" lyrics I've heard from you. I also like how it starts and ends on "dear Natalie".

This is an extremely interesting fight, every piece is well-recorded. Great job folks!
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by Lunkhead » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:23 pm

Berkeley Social Scene wins!
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Re: Drifting along with the tumblin' (Tumbleweed Reviews)

Post by Tazmodius » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:32 am

Congrats Berkeley Social Scene!

I listened to every song twice, once on my shitty headphones I use at work, and once on speakers. My main musical qualification isn’t one that’s huge here, so for this initial voyage I’ll keep my reviews pretty short.

Lichen Throat:
There are definitely some good things. Some of it sounds a bit tinny to my ear and I thought the vocals could be a little clearer/less pitchy. Otherwise really solid.

WreckdoM
I started the song kind of digging the beats and general psychedelic-ness.
It was interesting, and you’ve obviously got some skills, but you did lose me around the ‘infant’ part.

Glenn Case
It’s a solid song with a catchy chorus. If I have any complaint it’s that the bass is repetitive in the verse. This is only one of the comments I’m making today that make me a hypocrite.

Berkley Social Scene
I dug the 80s (?) synth sound. The sounds all fit well together, I thought. I did feel like the vocal could have been more exact (pitch and timing).

CsmthngCcrtv0
I think there’s an instrument in the background? Definitely could have been brought out more. I wasn’t super into this, but I can see it appealing to someone else.

Third Cat
Great chorus. I think I liked the vocal effects more when I listened on headphones than I did on speakers. I really like how the guitar sounds.

The John Benjamin Band
That’s a pretty solid sound you’ve got going on. Another tribute to previous eras- been kind of nice to hear the old school sounds. I find myself having a hard time picking specific things out to comment on. Not necessarily a bad thing….

Evil Grin
Overall I like it. One of my favorite melodies of the group, actually. Some of the instruments are super clear while others sound a little muddy to me.

Balance Lost
I really liked the instrumental stuff starting around minute 3, actually, from the 3rd minute to the end was all really enjoyable. It was all pretty good, but it took a minute for me to get into.

The Lowest Bitter
Very pleasant. I don’t have a lot else to say… but it was nice.

Somebody Named Seth
This was one of my favorites from this round. I like the running bassline in the verse and then the chorus is very strong.

miscellaneous owl
This is also one of my favorites. Kind of reminded me of The Cranberries- in a good way. It’s always compelling to hear a sweet sounding voice say “burn it down.” The melody is also compelling and memorable.

The Taz Tones…
I’ve done a lot of performing and have a degree in violin performance. I’ve done almost no mixing/editing. I recognize that it shows… I actually thought that I’d get more comments about the cut and paste job I did with the guitar- since even though I played all the instruments, I don’t really play the guitar…
I think I’ve learned some things here. I at least have a few ideas to try next time.
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