Cowell's Beach Bikini Alert (one beautiful summer reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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Cowell's Beach Bikini Alert (one beautiful summer reviews)

Post by jack »

the girls of UC Santa Cruz are just so beautiful.
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Post by deshead »

j$ wrote:having just listened to all three fights this week, I think the optional challenge for next week should [be] 'Rock the f**k out, already'.
I thought I was a contender for the Cashpoint Optional Challenge, then I heard Gareth Duncan's track.

There's Rock afoot!
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Post by blue »

neither of these songs rocks even the tiniest bit.
Last edited by blue on Tue May 17, 2005 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by deshead »

Oh.
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Ants (Invisible)

Post by marnargulus »

Please tell me the process that you went through to make that song. It is some of the best work I've heard ever. Ever.
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Post by baronvonsmith »

There are some terribly good songs this week. Here's my largely unqualified view of things.

<b>Ants (Invisible)</b>
<font color="navy">RANK: <b>5</b></font>
The layered vocals are lovely. The composition is also very competent. I love the entrance and exit of all the various instruments. I can't really find anything about this that I don't like. Great job.
<i>Downloaded</i>

<b>Blake Walker</b>
<font color="navy">RANK: <b>6, tie</b></font>
Crank the volume up on everything. It's very quiet. I like the melody and the synths a lot, I just want them to be louder. The lyrics are okay, for what they are. It's catchy.

<b>Deshead</b>
<font color="navy">RANK: <b>1, tie</b></font>
Have you ever written a bad song? This is good, good, good! I hate that every time I write a review of your songs I compare you to someone else, because you definitely sound like yourself, but this makes me think of Gene, except that you're vocals are decidedly more masculine. (Do you listen to a lot of brit-pop?) I always love your dynamics. Fade-ins, fade-outs, volume swelling and receding. And your guitar work, as always, is stellar. It sounds like you spend a month on every song, as opposed to the week you do. Excellente!
<i>Downloaded</i>

<b>Double Team Techno Dream</b>
<font color="navy">RANK: <b>3</b></font>
This is very, very nice. A little Postal Service-y. Very pretty. The percussion is good, and the synths are just right. Is that a guitar that opens the song? Whatever it is, I love the sound of it. The female voice is excellent, and the male backing voice is subdued and adds a nice accent to the clarity and sweetness of the lead.
<i>Downloaded</i>

<b>Gareth Duncan</b>
<font color="navy">RANK: <b>4</b></font>
Are you one guy? Are those live drums, or looped (they are good)? I like this. Like it, like it, like it. It's hooky and the guitars are excellent. I also like the tempo changes. Um, I don't know what else to say. Did I say I like it?
<i>Downloaded</i>

<b>Manhattan Glutton</b>
<font color="navy">RANK: <b>6, tie</b></font>
I have to be honest, I kept expecting drums to kick in and the guitars to break out. When they didn't, I was kind of disappointed. The guitar parts are good, crank them up. If you ever add some bass and drums, I'd love to hear a new mix of this. I think it's a good song, though. Also, you should narrarate a remake of "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

<b>Matthan Minster</b>
<font color="navy">RANK: <b>1, tie</b></font>
Well, this is pretty. I like your voice, and you've written a song perfect for that voice. The vocal melody is gorgeous. The harmony vocals are quite good, as well. Wow, I really like this song. No suggestions or criticisms here. Great job. Also, this isn't what I expected when I read the lyrics; this is much better than I expected.
<i>Downloaded</i>

<b>The Meanness</b>
<font color="navy">RANK: <b>7</b></font>
It's interesting, but I'm not sure if I liked it. Due to it's length, I listened to it about 10 times, but I can't really make sense of it. The various parts sound good, and the quick silences were probably a good idea, they make the song seem longer than it really is. All that being said, I like the synths. I guess that's not much of a review.

<b>x-tokyo-river-god</b>
<font color="navy">RANK: <b>8</b></font>
I can tell that you're going for an effect here, and you achieve it. But...I don't really like it. I know a lot of other people who probably would. I do, however, like your band name. I guess that's not much of a review, either.

<i><b>The vote goes to</b></i>: once for <i>Deshead</i> and once for <i>Matthan Minster</i>. I just can't decide which I like more.
<i><b>Coming amazingly close</b></i>: <i>Double Team Techno Dream</i> and <i>Gareth Duncan</i>.
my ambition is only exceeded by my lack of ability
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Post by deshead »

Ants Invisible
Best Part: tough call, but I love the pizzicato strings
Wow, what an amazing soundscape. There's so much mood in this piece, I'm totally blown away by it. I'd just finished listening to Pet Sounds when I cued up this fight, and yours was the first track. Great segue! And I hope it didn't bias me in saying "this sounds like good Brian Wilson." Man .. do more like this .. Please!

Baron von Smith
Best part: the falsetto note is perfect
Great singing! Your voice is haunting, and it suits the song really well. I'm glad you didn't try to over-sing because it would have killed the mood. Some thoughts on the mix: I like how I can hear all the drums clearly. The mix sounds center-weighted, though, almost mono. When all the instruments are playing, there's a lot of stuff fighting for the lower-mids, I think somewhere around 180Hz. It might need a high-pass filter on the piano and guitar, or maybe just a wider stereo spread. I also found the vox buried at the end, though this could be by design. (It doesn't sound bad. Just an observation.) All in all, a great track.

Blake Walker
Best part: The steel drums, which paradoxically sound out of place, yet fit perfectly
Great length. I can't tell how far into your cheek you've got your tongue. I mean, "super-fly" is a pretty rough lyric, but if you meant it all bubble-gummy (which has to be the case, right?) then this is the perfect 1 minute, 36 second pop song.

Double Team Techno Dream
Best part: the kick-up at 2:05
I love the arrangement. The lead voice is perfect: Delicate but present, with flawless enunciation. I also like that you left the vocal so clean. It sits dry on top of the mix rather than swimming in mud with the bass and keyboards. Really, the production and performance are spot-on. My only critical comment is that the song doesn't hook me, even after 5 listens. But that's not even a bad thing: It reminds me of Ivy. None of their songs reach out and grab me either, yet I never tire of listening to them.

Gareth Duncan
Best part: The guitar riff
So Blue shit all over the compliment I tried to pay you. Whether the song rocks or not, I enjoyed it thoroughly. The transitions into and out of that solo are great. And everything is balanced in the mix. I think your voice is a little dry, given that everything else is sitting in a "bigger" space. So maybe the vox need a hint of reverb. Otherwise, solid entry.

Manhattan Glutton
Best part: the high harmony
The harmonies are good, but the lead vocal line is ineffective. Whatever way you're forcing the air out at 0:30, you might want to re-think. Frankly, it sounds like you recorded it while someone was sleeping in the next room, and you wanted some growl but couldn't let loose. Probably not the impression you wanted to give. You almost lost me totally with the speaking part, especially with the "fuck that". It's way out of place. Last thing: does the guitar have a high-pass filter on it? There's something nasally about the tone, and it sucks the bottom end out of the mix completely.

Matthan Minster
Best part: the descending arpeggio at 2:37
Your song is well produced, with a great guitar tone, and that intro made me miss Pipefist. Sigh. The chorus harmonies are sweet, too. I'm less excited about the lyrics. They're not quite cliché, but they're very non-specific. That is, you're not telling me anything about your girl that I haven't heard in every top 40 love song from 80's. For the verses, I'm not sure the hard-panned vocals work. Your voice is too spread out and I lose the words completely a few times (especially from 0:38 to 0:48.) Maybe better to pan the vox 10 and 2 (the way Elliott Smith did. I miss him, too. Sigh.) Overall, it's a pretty song, but it never really goes anywhere.
I'm curious: how's Matthan pronounced? Is the 't' hard or soft? And does the last syllable rhyme with "man" or "mon"?

The Meanness
Best part: The length?
I think this is good for what it is. Whatever that is.

XTRG
Best part: the creepy-assed whispering in my left ear
Man that whispering freaks me out. There's not a lot of "song" here, but still I listened all the way to the end. Interesting.


When I cast my vote, I will be told either "your vote for Ants (Invisible)" has been recorded, or "your vote for Baron Von Smith has been recorded". I can't see the future, though, so I'm not sure which it'll be.
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Post by blue »

deshead wrote: Gareth Duncan
Best part: The guitar riff
So Blue shit all over the compliment I tried to pay you. Whether the song rocks or not, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
it really is ok to have your own opinion. ;) (even if you're from Canada)
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Post by boltoph »

Rock? Soft rock? Hard rock? Nerdcore rock? Heavy rock? Psychadelic rock? Adult Contemporary rock? Pop/rock? Alt/Country rock? Prog rock?
"Rock" is in the ear of the beholder...everybody rocks.
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Post by erik »

boltoph wrote:Rock? Soft rock? Hard rock? Nerdcore rock? Heavy rock? Psychadelic rock? Adult Contemporary rock? Pop/rock? Alt/Country rock? Prog rock?
"Rock" is in the ear of the beholder...everybody rocks.
Do you really listen to like, "Christian rock" and think "Man, this really rocks!" Or like adult contemporary rock and think the same thing? If someone was all "Rock the fuck out, already", do you think that they meant "Make me some alt-country-rock" or even "Do whatever you want, because everyone rocks".

When everyone is special, then no one is. There's nothing wrong with liking music that does not "rock the fuck out", but when you say that everyone rocks, then the word starts to lose its meaning.
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Post by boltoph »

erikb wrote:when you say that everyone rocks, then the word starts to lose its meaning.
True, true. What can I say? I have friends who think that christian rock really rocks-the-fuck-out (and what about that 80's band "Stryper" :lol: ). My own personal tastes aside...these days everything loses its meaning. The more that genres split and divide the harder it is to define such a term as "rock". And I've heard more than one alt-country rock song that rocks so fucking hard it blows my mind!
Here's one: the Old 97's-Doreen
and here's another: Time & Whiskey-Another Day, Another Bottle
Last edited by boltoph on Wed May 18, 2005 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by erik »

Right, but just because you can point to a Christian-rock song that rocks, or an alt-country song that rocks, doesn't mean that every song, regardless of genre, rocks. While it may be hard to define what "rock music" is, it's much easier to understand what someone means when they say "Rock the fuck out already." They don't just mean "Make a song which could be classified under the increasingly broad umbrella of rock according to at least one other person".
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Post by boltoph »

I hear ya I hear ya. I still think it's really a subjective issue.
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Post by blue »

i hope we can keep this friendly so it doesn't get moderated. :D it's an interesting discussion (altho maybe not appropriate to this thread)

Doreen is an awesome example, and one of my fave songs.

compare and contrast every song in every fight to Doreen, which is certainly a fine example of the rock. here are some things you might notice:

doreen is filled with angst and energy. the two allegedly rocking songfight songs have at least 1 part with a distortion pedal engaged.

doreen is clever, clear, and concise. the lyrics lead you immediately into a recognizable but still engaging narrative. our songfight examples do not.

doreen is uptempo and well laid-out musically. i put less stock in this when compared to the SF songs, since doreen was probably also rocked out live for months before it was recorded.

doreen was almost certainly recorded under the influence of whiskey. (just the right amount)

Bolt, would you agree that Des and Gareth's songs "rock" compared to Doreen?
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Re: Ants (Invisible)

Post by Jim of Seattle »

marnargulus wrote:Please tell me the process that you went through to make that song. It is some of the best work I've heard ever. Ever.
Galdarnit, that's a nice thing to say! Thanks!

Hmmm... I don't know that I can really explain the process. Like many of my songs, I sort of go into a weird zone when I'm writing and then come out of it hours later, not having known exaclty how I did what I just did. That was especially true with this one. I honestly don't remember writing any of it, though it was only days ago. OK, well that's really only true for the pizzicato strings, the vocal parts and the lyrics. The rest of it I added later. Thanks again.
Here's my record label page thingie with stuff about me if you are so interested: https://greenmonkeyrecords.com/jim-of-seattle/
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Post by erik »

Reviews, for people:

Ants Invisible: Oh, I still don't like these songs, and I don't think I ever will. It's too non-pop-music for my tastes, and all the patches sound too fake and reverby for me. Hmmmm. While other entries have felt too short, this one could have shaved a good 30-45 seconds off of it and not felt worse for wear. Get in get out, get on with it. I do not like this song.

Baron Von Smith: Your guitar tone makes me cry myself to sleep. Hmmmm. Nothing really jumps out at me about this song, and I'm not really digging it. It's just kind of okay, and not really doing much for me.

Blakewalker: awwwwwwwman, wtf. The intro was awesome, and then it just segues into generic casiocore. You kill the bass as soon as the intro ends, but that's the best part. The chorus is pretty good, but the verses are just so lame. The verses could do with WAY less words, and have them be WAY less expository. Like tell me why this girl is so awesome, instead of what you're feeling and what happened on the beach. And if you have the verse have less words, then you really differentiate between the verse and the chorus, and this gives the chorus more ooomph when it shows up. Hmmmmm. This song is okay by me, but it could really be alot better.

Deshead: Man, this sounds like a mashup of "Say it Aint So" by Weezer and that "Wanna put my tender/Heart in a blender" song by Eve 6, right up until the chorus. This song, it's nice enough.

Double Team Techno Dream: Hmmmm, beginning sounds like the beginning of "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers. I like the sounds, and the female voice (and the male one too) and this is good as background music. This song is alright by me.

Gareth Duncan: Hmmmmm, this is like some 311 riff from like 10 years ago. This is nicely recorded, but I'm not getting into it. It might help it if it had a really awesome chorus, but this chorus just kind of bleeds in from the verses. This song is okay.

Manhattan Glutton: These lyrics are dong, I hope they were made dongworthy on purpose. They (and the harmonies) are so reminiscent of that "I said what about Breakfast at Tiffany's" song, which everyone hates. EVERYONE. Hmmmmm. The spoken word part. Okay, I can't tell if you are joking or not. It's neither over the top enough to make me laugh with you, or horrible enough to make me laugh at you. Man, wtf. Be more clear. hahahahahahah I don't like this song much.

Matthan Minster: This is nice background music, too. I would put this on if I was cooking for a cute girl. This is good cooking music. This song is okay by me.

Meanness: egads, the worst mix of all time. The vocals are all buried, and the marimba is all up in my face, and that bass is all farty. Hmmm, I don't care for this song.

X-Tokyo River God: The music is pretty cool here. Very atmospheric and open. Lots of room to add in extra elements and build up some real tension and release; I could have stood for some more elements here as the piece progresses. The vocals have too much of a "poetry slam cadence" to them and you always put an extra push of air on the last word of every line, and they are too evenly spaced, and they never change much in terms of emotive content. It really detracts from listening to the lyrics, because it feels too rhythmic, in that I know that the next line will come about 3 seconds after the last one ends, so it becomes easier to patternize, and easier to tune out. I don't care for this song like it is.
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Post by boltoph »

blue wrote:i hope we can keep this friendly
oh man, definitely, in the grand scheme of things...I just thought the phrase "rock out" can differ greatly based on opinion and musical taste...so...yes yes, interesting indeed...I didn't mean to be unfriendly.
blue wrote:doreen is filled with angst and energy. the two allegedly rocking songfight songs have at least 1 part with a distortion pedal engaged.
:!: 1 point for rock.
blue wrote:doreen is clever, clear, and concise. the lyrics lead you immediately into a recognizable but still engaging narrative. our songfight examples do not.
Gareth's chord progression during the verses does rock me out, which is what I was thinking (although the lyrics are sort of "questionable", I think). I think it would still rock regardless of the distortion, but more in a classic rock out way. Desheads song does rock me out during the chorus. the "SAAAAAVE Me". That gets it going for me. However, a song need not be clever or concise to rock out, in my opinion.
blue wrote:doreen is uptempo and well laid-out musically.
I guess I don't think tempo and structure necessarily dictate if something "rocks out". Maybe for alt-country it does though.
blue wrote:Bolt, would you agree that Des and Gareth's songs "rock" compared to Doreen?
In their own, different ways, I think they do. And even if I could mention other examples that rock harder (to me), they might not rock as hard to someone else. I think they rock the fuck out at points, but i admit, Doreen and Time & Whiskey do rock harder than the two tunes in question, especially as a whole. Did you mean the entire song has to rock out, or that the song must rock out at some point? Maybe that was my misunderstanding and I'm totally out of line...
on a separate, but related, note, I just rocked on down to Marshalls and rocked out some new boxers, socks, and two new hats. :P
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Post by deshead »

blue wrote:i hope we can keep this friendly so it doesn't get moderated. :D
Ya, could be a hornet's nest. At the risk of stepping in it:
blue wrote:doreen is filled with angst and energy. the ... songfight songs have ... a distortion pedal engaged.
Are the two mutually exclusive? (And not to pick nits, but Ken's guitar is distorted the whole time in Doreen.)
blue wrote:doreen is clever, clear, and concise.
That's a valid observation, but what does it have to do with bringing the rock?
blue wrote: ...engaging narrative. our songfight examples do not.
OUCH!!

(Ah, clever integration of a review, though. :wink: )
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Post by blue »

boltoph wrote:[Did you mean the entire song has to rock out, or that the song must rock out at some point?
to really get my interest, a song either needs to bring it whole time, or at least have some part where it loses its shit. my beef with both Gareth's song is that it's all middle-of-the-road aping a rock song, while Des' sounds entirely note-by-note calculated.

but really, no one should listen to my opinion of what is good or acceptable unless they also want to make music that no one but drummers and psycho teenagers love.
boltoph wrote: Maybe that was my misunderstanding and I'm totally out of line...
on a separate, but related, note, I just rocked on down to Marshalls and rocked out some new boxers, socks, and two new hats. :P
... ROCK HATS?
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Post by blue »

deshead wrote:
blue wrote:doreen is clever, clear, and concise.
That's a valid observation, but what does it have to do with bringing the rock?
part of what makes doreen (and everything on the first 3 o97's albums) rock is its straight-arrow approach. there's no bullshit, no filler, and nothing that can't be played by 4 drunk guys on a tiny stage. sooooo many songfight songs are just totally ruined from fluff and crap hanging off all over. (including many of my own)

uh, i erased the part where you asked about the distortion. i was trying to be clever and imply that just putting some distorted guitar in a song doesn't make it bring the rock. (especially when you insert it just-so in your cold, calculating, evil-genius manner)

if i were playing guitar on your chorus, about 20 seconds before it started you'd hear my guitar smashing the fuck into something, just to go ahead and wake people up. because they were napping.
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Post by boltoph »

blue wrote:
boltoph wrote: Maybe that was my misunderstanding and I'm totally out of line...
on a separate, but related, note, I just rocked on down to Marshalls and rocked out some new boxers, socks, and two new hats. :P
... ROCK HATS?
I rocked on down there and got it done. Happens like once every five years. The thought of putting on those new socks and boxers makes me feel like rocking out :lol:
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Post by gduncan »

I wasn't very happy with the way my song turned out so I'm happy that someone enjoyed it, whether it rocks or not. Thanks Deshead for saying you liked it. Personally I think of it as somewhere in the middle of funky and rocking, doing neither well. I wanted the main riff to be in the vein of The Seeker by The Who. When I realised it fell far short of that, I tried to take it in a different direction. I agree that the lyrics suck.

Whether something rocks or not is entirely up to the person listening. It's just like arguing over whether a song is good or not. You'll never be able to prove it one way or the other, as it is subjective, but if it gets people talking about my song then I just might learn something. In my eyes that would be a good thing :lol:.

This thread made me laugh. Thanks,

Gareth.
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