Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Sun Jun 23, 2019 4:46 pm

Don't be a prick and write some Porcupine Reviews... yeah, the first one was better.
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
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Sun Jun 23, 2019 4:46 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: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by Lunkhead » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:28 pm

Songs posted!
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by thelowestbitter » Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:47 am

Busy week! Just to check, there are two songs here listed to The John Benjamin Band, has he submitted two different songs or has someone else’s submission been mislabelled? And if it’s the former is there any way to subtitle the two different songs so there’s no confusion over which one of the JBB songs we’re voting for? Thanks
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by jb » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:52 am

There are 2 separate JBB songs this week. Fightmaster decided the naming scheme, which is delightfully confusing.

There's no way to tell them apart so just vote for both of them.

...

Okok, there is a slim thread of hope to preserve your precious sanity when deciding to tell the universe that you don't like sweet, pretty harmonized waltzes: hover over the link to the song to see the url (or look in your Address bar while it's playing, for the fourth time in a row I'm sure), and you will see the name of the mp3 file.
  • porcupine2 is the dance pop song
  • porcupine is the non dance-pop song
How can I ever hope to win this fight when I've introduced so much complexity into the proceedings!

JB

P.S. I realize the above sounds like a snarky response to a sincere inquiry. I am just playin'. I appreciate your attention to detail, and I hope you like my songs this week.
thelowestbitter wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:47 am
Busy week! Just to check, there are two songs here listed to The John Benjamin Band, has he submitted two different songs or has someone else’s submission been mislabelled? And if it’s the former is there any way to subtitle the two different songs so there’s no confusion over which one of the JBB songs we’re voting for? Thanks
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by vowlvom » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:57 am

Does songfight.org still have that bug where voting for either one of those two songs will count as a vote for both?
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by thelowestbitter » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:18 am

vowlvom wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:57 am
Does songfight.org still have that bug where voting for either one of those two songs will count as a vote for both?
I was going to say, if both songs are under the exact same name in the poll is the website sophisticated enough to keep them separate or will votes for both songs get mashed together?
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by Lunkhead » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:52 am

vowlvom wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:57 am
Does songfight.org still have that bug where voting for either one of those two songs will count as a vote for both?
Yep. :/ I nearly completed a fix but left off fully testing it out a bit ago. Maybe I'll get it done this year!

Anyway, I assigned both songs to the JBB for the purposes of having them both under that artist in the archive since they were both submitted with that artist name.
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by thelowestbitter » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:42 am

My third Songfight! Now I have a better idea of the reviewing style here (much more critical than the big love-in I'm used to over at FAWM) I've been a bit more critical in my reviews. Hopefully nothing too harsh here, sorry for any offence. Some really good songs!

Before reviewing everyone else, some thoughts on my song: I'm pleased with how this one turned out although I'm braced for criticism of it's length - I think you can get away with a long intro OR a long outro but probably not both in the same song, but the edits I tried which cut either off didn't sound right to me so I kept them both. Now for the traditional excuses about my vocals: I've had a stinking cold for a couple of weeks so I had to go close mic'd for the vocals on this one, and couldn't really belt the chorus out in the way it maybe should be. Lyrically it's about touch aversion and my general incompetence at relationships.

Anyway, Reviews in random order -

Somebody Named Seth

This felt like it needed some extra element in the chorus to me; maybe even just a lead guitar line? The rhythm guitar/bass/drums setup over 3 1/2 minutes gets a bit repetitive and it’s all within a very narrow dynamic range - there’s not really any peaks and troughs. I like your voice though and there’s some nice chords here, just think it’s in need of a little more variation.

Vote: No

The Elephant Choir

I’m gonna admit my genre bias from the off here - vocal-and-acoustic stuff is really not my thing. That being said, this is a good tune with some really nice finger picking and I absolutely love the duetted vocals on the chorus. I think this is a children’s song - or at least the lyrics feel like it could be? - either way the story-style lyrics aren’t really my sort of thing as well. So it’s a testament to how much I like the tune (and those chorus vocals!) that this might get a vote anyway despite all my biases.

Vote: Maybe

Lichen Throat

That midi banjo(?) doesn’t do a Iot for me, but there are bits of this I like. The string parts are great, and I like your voice a lot - shades of Lou Reed. “I’m a porcupine / Don’t drink no wine” is a bit of a Des’ree ‘what’s the first rhyme I can think of?’ lyric but I think I like it. It’s a memorable line at least!

Vote: No

Thanks for the Frisbee

I really like this one! Your vocals are great - they feel really familiar to me but I can’t think of who they remind me of - are you a FAWMer? If so there’s a chance I just remember them from hearing your stuff before. I really like the sound of the synth under the chorus, and that piano part is great. Not really anything critical to say about this.

Vote: Yes

The John Benjamin Band - Waltzy

I like the harmonies at the end of each line here, and the song itself is perfectly nice but feels a little slight. This might just be genre bias speaking though because it’s hard to come up with specific criticisms of this beyond “not really my thing”. I guess this is me deciding to tell the universe that I don't like sweet, pretty harmonized waltzes, apologies, universe.

Vote: No

Paco Del Stinko

The Tarantula/Substantuala rhyme is bizarre genius! That “get over here porcupine” hook is really catchy, and I like the shredding in the middle. Some minor quibbles with the mix - I think the cymbals are too loud at some points - but overall a good song and probably deserving of a vote.

Vote: Maybe

Jim Tyrrell

I like the bossa nova style beat on this one, and the guitar playing is really nice - I’m less keen on the midi clarinet(?) but otherwise I don’t have any major criticisms to make of this. However it’s a strong week and for me there were other songs that stuck more.

Vote: No

The John Benjamin Band - Synthy

This is a really interesting mix of sounds. Love the vocal production throughout, and that main synth sound is great. I’ve got to admit, when I read the lyrics thread before hearing the songs I didn’t like these lyrics at all but you just about make them work. I think what I like about this one is all the little touches, to name a few; the “stick together” response vocal in the chorus, that post-chorus with the extra synth sound that comes in around 1:54, the vocal doubling on “King of the forest well some things have changed” sounds fantastic, the amazing loud instrumental section and final chorus pile up after the “I am a porcupine, all your bark is mine” section, and the vocal overlapping at the end (I love overlapping vocals they are my musical crutch).

All in all, I really liked this one but I don't feel like I'm able to vote for it. As you entered twice, and apparently there’s a bug in the system which counts votes for both your songs together, it feels unfair on everyone else in the fight for you to have the votes from two separate songs combined. Sorry.

Vote: No

The Pannacotta Army

Really love the guitar playing in this, and you’ve got a really nice voice. This is another of several from this weeks fight where I can’t really point to much especially wrong with it other than the fact that I liked others more. It’s really well done, but there’s a good 5 or 6 I like more and I want to be sparing with my votes.

Vote: No

Berkeley Social Scene

This has a real band in the room feel, which is a nice change from all the songs made by loners hunched over laptops (no offence intended to solo types here, this most definitely includes me!), and I really like the relaxed, jam band groove of this one. The gang vocals are probably my least favourite part of the song - they seem a bit out of place with the rest of it - but I really like the chorus, especially the keys underneath, and this is great overall.

Vote: Yes

Third Cat

I really like that sub kick in the beat, and the live (or at least live sounding) drums coming in for the second half of the song works really well. The extra guitar part that comes in halfway through is great too. The solo vocal in the verses sounds a bit thin, especially in comparison to the layered chorus vocals (which sound great!), but overall I liked this one a fair bit.

Vote: Maybe

Tim Hinkle

That heavily phased guitar is a bit much for an entire song - I think it would sound good used more sparingly but over four minutes it begins to grate. I like the keyboard tone, but panning the keys so heavily to the right side is a strange mixing decision. There’s a lot to like here - some good lyrics, the glock is a nice addition, and I like the extra vocal harmony in the chorus - but let down a bit by some of the production choices.

Vote: No

Balance Lost

I’ve talked about negative biases in other songs so it’s only fair to do it for a positive bias here - I have been a fan of Balance Lost’s music for ages and own several of his CDs, so I’m primed to like this whatever. Even so, this is a particularly good Balance Lost song. Fantastic lyrics as I’ve come to expect, and it’s a pretty great mashup of guitary-Balance Lost and synthwavey-Balance Lost. The breakdown around the 2 minute mark is especially good, and I always appreciate a key change(s). Probably my favourite.

Vote: Yes

JP Nickolas

The noodle-y guitar stuff in this sounds really good but the levels of everything else are a bit haphazard. The big distorted guitar is buried so deep in the mix it’s barely audible, and the drums are too quiet too. The parts feel like they’re sitting on top of each other, instead of being a cohesive whole, if that makes sense? Some good ideas here let down by mixing.

Vote: No
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by neutronflow » Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:02 pm

This is pretty solid set of songs.

Balance Lost: The first 30 seconds don't work for me, I think because of the vocal timing. Then the song kicks in properly. 1:13 - 1:25 doesn't sound quite as off as the beginning, either. I like the lyrics. There are some catchy melodic bits. Good ending. Vote.

Berkeley Social Scene: I feel like I'm missing something here. While I enjoy the gang vocal sections, I'm not sure how and why they connect with anything else. Is "Devine" somebody's last name? It's all quite obscure, to me. The music sounds great, as yours usually does. Not one of your catchier things, though.

The Elephant Choir: The choruses sound gorgeous with the backing vocals. The story has a making-it-up-as-you-go quality rather than really making sense, so it's not super satisfying as narrative. Still pretty fun.

The John Benjamin Band ("Porcupine Waltz"): "Tennessee Waltz" repurposed as a child's lullaby. The recording is actually quite pretty. It's just still basically "Tennessee Waltz," though.

The John Benjamin Band ("I am a Porcupine"): The music in the chorus sections is really beautiful. I love the counterpoint section. The Just So Story lyrics about How the Porcupine got his Quills are not compelling enough to me over the length of the song.

Lichen Throat: I absolutely love this. One of my favorites of yours. Vote.

The Lowest Bitter: I like the fade-in intro (the first time I played this, though, I kept turning my volume up at the start and then when everything had come in I had to turn it back down quickly as the track is pretty loud). I think I'd like the song to fade out as well (ending around the four minute mark). It's catchy. I like the melody and the lyrics. Vote.

JP Nickolas: This is a solid song presented in a potentially great arrangement. The recording is sloppier than I'd like in places. There are some vocal timing issues.

Paco del Stinko: After I worked out what the song was about, "Call me Larry and I'll feel fine" stood out as a fun, clever line. There's a sense of removal to the whole thing, though, as it's about other people being funny more than it's funny itself. The music is solid, as per your usual standard.

The Pannacotta Army: This is a really pretty song. I love the guitar work here. Vote.

Somebody Named Seth: This is really catchy and I'm totally into it, musically. The lyrics are pretty close to the inverse of mine, conceptually, though, and I'm not sure I can get on board with the narrative. They work well technically—I like the rhythm and flow and rhymes.

Thanks for the Frisbee: The file starts and end abruptly, which I found jarring. Seems a bit meandering, but pretty.

Third Cat: There's a cartoon sproingy sound at about 53 seconds, that makes me think quills suddenly standing to attention or possibly even shooting out through the air to impale something long distance. A longer version of probably the same effect starts at 2:08, but there sounds mostly like general guitar noise. I don't think I'm quite following the lyrics. The second and third verses seem to suggest the porcupine has developed a genuine attachment and wants to find a way to make this relationship work, despite his fundamental nature. The first verse, though, suggests that either he does this all the time, stringing along all the naive woodland creatures, or maybe that his notion that he's in love despite his nature can't be too sincere as he hasn't even bothered to find out his beloved's species. I like the chorus melody.

Jim Tyrrell: This puts me in mind of XTC (the song itself, both melodically and lyrically, rather than the performance/arrangement). I particularly love the phrase "spearful symmetry." Vote.
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by jb » Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:39 pm

Balance Lost
  • Digging the atmospheric synths
  • Lyrics are a little on the nose for my taste
  • I like the rhythm when the guitar comes in. Very XTC.
  • Porcupines do stink more than usual when they're stressed, but that's not a super well-known feature of the creature-- I spent the week reading about porcupines and I still had to look that up to make sure it was correct. So I'd wager some listeners may be confused by that line, and think you're mistaking porcupines for skunks. I mean, unless that's just common knowledge in the UK...
  • The mix loses its strength when you get a lot of instruments going, so the arrangement gets more complex but lower fidelity and that's kinda weird to listen to
Berkeley Social Scene
  • Def Leppard reference, have to see how this fits into the song... does it?
  • Nice chorus melody, I like it when there's a little grit in your voice
  • Might like a bit more bass in the bass, EQ wise
  • Verse are a little noodly, wish they were more focused like the chorus seems to be
  • Yeah I don't see how the rock references fit. I'm sure they do somehow tho.
  • The Rhodes is delicious
Jim Tyrrell
  • Ooh a fade-in
  • Second week in a row somebody made me think of Roymond with their song
  • Love the chord progression
  • Hah, that rhythm is the same as Ballroom Blitz
  • I like the drum sounds, they're right in there, tres apropos
  • Solo instrument is a little buried, but I like the kind of exotic scale you're using
  • Dunno about that mountains holding back the dawn line, for me dog
Third Cat
  • I want some reverb on that guitar
  • I like the little chorus
  • "Touch your sweet pain", dunno about that line for me dog
  • The vocal performance is nice, I like how laid back it is, and it's got a lot of character
  • Gonna listen to this a bunch I think. I dig it.
Lichen Throat
  • Feels like your recording techniques have improved a bunch
  • This one pokes me in the genre bias, I'm afraid
Somebody Named Seth
  • Feels like the bass part is too improvised, gets messy
  • I like the groove
  • Lyrics aren't lyricky enough for my taste
  • Yeah I don't like "child lost in the dark". I think I just don't like lyrics that use the word "child" or "children".
  • Chorus progression works pretty nice. Not sure you take full advantage of it, vocally. At 2:57 or so you start to put some more oomph in the vocal performance and that gives it a little life.
  • I don't think this song earns the "Aah aah aah" section at the end.
The Pannacotta Army
  • I know I like your work in general, so I've been anticipating this song all this time. Was kind of saving it. It's very nice.
  • This has a Simon and Garfunkel flair to it. Maybe the Dangling Conversation? Or Old Friends?
Tim Hinkle
  • This first verse, feels like you're telling a story about somebody, to that person, but I dunno if it's compelling to me.
  • I like the lead vocal performance, the tone of your voice is nicely rich and has a good edge to it
  • I'm really tired of that swirly guitar by 2:19
  • The backing vocal is way too buried in the mix and I dunno why it's off to the side like that. That part doesn't work.
  • The chorus is reminding me of some 80's song I can't place right now.
Paco del Stinko
  • Maybe a little more brightness in the mix?
  • I like the backing vocal harmonies
  • I don't like the snare sound
  • Love the bass work
  • The guitar solo is well done. Though I could personally do without ever hearing that kind of perfunctory solo... it's well done though!
Thanks for the Frisbee
  • Oh, a nice piano with some echoey stuff in the back. A pleasant change from the field this week.
  • I think the doubled vocal is working, not sure they should be panned so hard, but it's nicely performed.
  • The melodies are working for me, though like several other songs this week they feel familiar to me.
  • I like this, but I start to wish for a contrasting section to come in. Gets a little samey samey, and it's not even that long.
JP Nickolas
  • There are a lot of decisions in this production that I would question, personally. YMMV of course.
The Lowest Bitter
  • Wow, starts out so faint I wasn't sure it had started. Quite the fade-in.
  • Oh, nice drop. That's really pleasant.
  • "After you fuck me I'll just push you to the far side of the bed."
  • This is great.
  • I love the plucks.
  • Really pleasantly mixed.
  • Vocal performance is super caszh and sweet, but purposeful.
  • "I wish I felt safe in your arms". The lyrics in this song are on point.
  • It is maaaaaybe too long.
  • The last 40 seconds or so start this long filter-fade on the lead vocal and I don't know why that's in there, doesn't work for me. Small quibble!
The Elephant Choir
  • It's like finger-pickin' week here at Song Fight I think
  • For this style I think you could be further away from the mic so we don't get a buncha mouth noise when the vocals are compressed.
  • Niiiiiice harmonies, pretty
  • Not a super fan of the verses, need to work on fitting the lines together more. Lots of lines and you're not sure how to get them all said in time. Really doesn't hold up against the nicely built chorus.
  • Lyrically slight to my sensibility, and I wish there was more there there, because the harmonies in that chorus are lovely.
The John Benjamin Band - waltz
  • This is intentionally evocative of the Tennessee Waltz, specifically the version by Patty Page.
  • We play the TW every night as my son Hugo is going to sleep, a tradition started by my wife, who was born and raised in Memphis, went to school at Tennessee (Knoxville), and lived in Chattanooga for several years. So this Porcupine is a literal true story, except for the name of the song we listen to.
  • Though inspired by that song, it has its own chord progression, melody, and lyrics, so it is its own animal, no pun intended.
  • The structure is aligned with the Tennessee Waltz, as well as the tempo, which is probably just a bit faster than the TW actually.
  • I've been fascinated by how meta the Tennessee Waltz is. The song tells a story about what happened while they were dancing to the Tennessee Waltz, so theoretically the song called "The Tennessee Waltz" isn't actually "The Tennessee Waltz" itself. So I wanted to write a song like that.
  • I also am sick of The Tennessee Waltz and wrote this to replace it at bedtime.
  • And furthermore, the subject matter of The Tennessee Waltz is fucking depressing, and this Porcupine entry is sweet, so I'm looking forward to playing it instead.
The John Benjamin Band - dancepop
  • This is basically a Wikipedia song, right? The verses tell the Lakota version of "How Porcupine Got His Quills" and the Chorus/Bridge are basically Porcupine 101.
  • I worked really hard to get Erethizontidae and Hystricidae to fit into this god damned chorus, and that probably fueled some of my anger at lyrics that didn't fit well into their melodies this week in other entries.
  • I think the bridge is beautiful and I'm a little sad that I used it on a somewhat trivial song.
  • The whole song is the same chord progression. Chorus, Verse, Bridge, all use the same chord progression.
  • I think this is my first experimentation with a big ol' "drop". I think it works, though maybe the build-up should be a measure longer?
  • I love the idea that Porcupine would have high self-esteem
  • There are SO MANY PARTS in this mix
  • I am especially proud of coming up with the lines "Porcupines stick together through thick and thin, linen cotton silk and leather." So proud.
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by furrypedro » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:18 am

jb wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:39 pm
[*]Porcupines do stink more than usual when they're stressed, but that's not a super well-known feature of the creature--
I missed the obligatory "only common knowledge in the lyrics" challenge.
jb wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:39 pm
[*]...and think you're mistaking porcupines for skunks.
No, I'm not, because I'm older than 5.

I do think "feature of the creature" should be a future title.
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by jb » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:03 am

And here I thought I had successfully drafted that criticism to describe what a listener might think about that line when they hear it rather than what you yourself were thinking when you wrote it. Guess I failed there.
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by furrypedro » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:39 am

jb wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:03 am
And here I thought I had successfully drafted that criticism to describe what a listener might think about that line when they hear it rather than what you yourself were thinking when you wrote it. Guess I failed there.
Don't be so hard on yourself. It's completely likely that a listener might think exactly that. Being an optimist I imagine reactions more like "I didn't know porcupines also give of stinky odours when threatened. Thank you Balance Lost, for all that I have learned today."
Inform, Educate, Entertain. That's my motto that I've appropriated for the purpose of this fight (thanks BBC*), and I've nailed at least one of them.

*British Broadcasting Corporation
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by furrypedro » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:43 am

Also, I apologise if/that I came of as snarky. It's all in good humour and I do appreciate the review. Especially the XTC part, but also the constructive criticism.
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by thirdcatmusic » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:13 am

Lots of songs this week! I'm gonna try a new approach to my reviews with + for things I like, - for things I don't, and = for just things I noticed that are neither positive or negative I guess.

Each of these reviews is based on two listens.

At the end I put either VOTE, PROBABLY VOTE, MAYBE VOTE, or NO VOTE. I like to listen at least one more time later on before deciding on my final votes (sometimes stuff wears thin on multiple listens, sometimes it grows on me.)

Balance Lost

+ Contrasts. The contrast between the synthy bits and the guitar rockin' is pretty sweet and something I'm into.

+ Cool Sounds. You got some very cool sounds in here. I'm into that.

+ Breakdown. You won me over with the instrumental breakdown, so unexpected. I love that mix of weird and beautiful.

+ Insane outro with ... I think pitch shifted up key changes? Such a cool idea and really well done.

= I think I like the ideas/arrangement stuff a little bit more than the song itself although it's good too and does seem to be a grower as I liked it a lot more on the 2nd listen than the 1st. The chorus is pretty catchy actually.

VOTE.

Berkeley Social Scene

+ Vocals. Some of the better BSS vocals I've heard. I know you guys use a lot of different vocalists so I'm not sure which one this is, but I like this performance quite a bit and good production too.

+ Production. Which leads me to production, the overall mix/production on this song is really polished. Good stuff.

+ Guitars. Love the interplay of your guitars, lots of tasty little licks. Bass guitar sounds good too.

+ Keys. Some really pretty keys and they sit in the mix really nicely.

+ Verse. I like your chorus but I think the verse is my favorite part of this song.

- Intro/Break. I didn't like that bit, doesn't fit with the rest of it very well and it takes me out of the song. Sounds like a cheesy 80s song reference. Is it Motley Crue? Sounds familiar.

PROBABLY VOTE.


The Elephant Choir

+ Chorus. Nice mix of vocals there, having the female vocal come in there really makes this song pop.

- Verse. I don't not like the verse but it gives me a bit too much of a "I've heard this before" vibe. Like it's a pastiche of '60s folk stuff. Comes across as a bit of a kid's song too there, which isn't necessarily a bad thing and I think it's what you're going for. But it kinda doesn't work for me, at least not at the moment.

+ Acoustic Guitar. Sounds good & natural (warm) and fits in the mix well. Nicely played, fits the style well.

- Arrangement. I think the chorus is the strongest part of the song and it would have been better to finish on it rather than the verse.
- Ending. ~10 seconds of silence at the end seems a bit excessive. Maybe 5 or 6 would've been enough to let it breathe.

NO VOTE.

Jim Tyrell

+ Flute? There's an instrument that sounds a bit like a flute that I really like as far as adding a nice bit of interest.

+ Piano. Very tastefully mixed in.

= This is good, well played, mixed, produced etc but it's not really pulling me in the way some of the others have done and I'm not sure why. It's almost too tastefully done for my taste if that makes sense.

+ Instrumental Outro. I like this bit quite a lot. Has a cool dreamy vibe.

NO VOTE.

John Benjamin Band (Waltz)

+ Vocals. I was hooked immediately by the vocals which I think are excellently performed, recorded, mixed, etc. I love the harmonies.

= Nice. My overall feeling of this song is "nice." I think I appreciate it more than like it. But in the right context (as a soundtrack to a certain scene in a movie/TV show for example) it could be perfect.

+ Length. I love songs that don't overstay their welcome.

= Instrumental Break. I like it, but it feels like it could be more interesting in some way. But maybe trying to do too much there would kill the vibe. I get this is an understated sort of thing.

MAYBE VOTE.

John Benjamin Band (Synth Pop)

+ With your song from last time (my favorite of "Freak Flag" fight) and these two you definitely have a huge variety of styles you can do which is pretty awesome. Neither of these are quite as much my thing as your "Freak Flag" but they are both really good too.

+ Lyrics.

+ Cool Vocal Harmonies. Much like your waltz song there are some great harmony vocals here. They really make the song pop.

+ Layers. I love how you've got all of these layers going on towards the end. Sounds pretty amazing.

+ Favorite? In contention to be my favorite of this fight.

VOTE.

JP NICKOLAS

- Mix / Production is a bit wonky. The parts don't fit together very well. Levels are off.

- I don't mind cheap drum machine sounds - they can sound really cool if mixed in an interesting way, but these are just sort of off in the background and don't hold the song together at all.

+ Clean Jazzy Guitar. That part sounds pretty good.

+ Outro. I like the riff there on the outro.

- Lead Guitar Soloing. This sounds really out of place, possibly on purpose out of place? I'm not sure what you're going for with that really.

NO VOTE.


LICHEN THROAT

+ Possibly my favorite LICHEN THROAT song I've heard.

+ Charming. Just a very charming song. I like the lyrics.

+ Vocals. Your vocals work much better here than they usually do.

+ Length. I love short songs. A song like this could easily go on too long, I think this is plenty fo time to get the feel for this one.

+ Some very interesting musical / instrument choices.

+ I like the rhythm. It's strange but it works.

MAYBE VOTE.

THE LOWEST BITTER

+ Intro. Crazy cool intro, pulls me right into the song.

+ Vocals. Good vocals here. Not always perfect but they sound good and fit this style really well.

+ Length. Doesn't *feel* like 4+ minutes because it's so engaging. Usually I'd say 4+ minutes is too long for a songfight song, but because this works. Nice arrangement.

+ Catchy. So many catchy bits in the instrumental and in the vocal delivery.

+ I love this. Poppy but in a smart interesting way. Definitely in the running to be my favorite of the fight and a no-brainer vote.

- There's a bit of clipping type distortion around 2:20 that takes me out of the song slightly.

VOTE.

PACO DEL STINKO

+ Killer musicianship as always.

+ Guitar solo is tasty. Could have gone on longer but I like the tease of a short solo, works well with the punkish attitude/feel here.

+ Great backing vocals.

+ Great mix/production.

+ Some fun lyrics.

- I don't love the jokey Scatman intro.

MAYBE VOTE.


THE PANNACOTTA ARMY

+ Such a clean/open/pro sounding mix.

+ Pretty acoustic guitar. Well played and recorded.

+ Very good vocals.

- Maybe a bit too minimalistic for my tastes at least at the moment. Could be a thing that helps it wear better in the long run. Definitely very tasteful.

MAYBE VOTE.


Somebody Named Seth

+ Vocals. I really like the tone of your vocals, they're strong but not overpowering, there's a nice vulnerability that I think fits this song nicely. Really clean & clear. There are times when they could probably be a bit tighter (like on some of the wordless parts.)

+ Guitar Tone. I'm a sucker for clean electric guitar and I like the sound of your rhythm guitar here, has a nice groove there too.

+ Chorus. I like the rhtyhm of your chorus melody and the way it builds.

- Instrumentation. I like what's here, but there's not enough stuff going on overall for me. It comes across as a bit of a demo (and I get it, we don't have a whole lot of time to do these things.)

= Verse. It's not bad, but it doesn't draw me in like your chorus does.

MAYBE VOTE.


THANKS FOR THE FRISBEE


+ Vocals. I like the layered/doubled vocals, cool indie rock tone here.

- Instrumental. I like the vocals a lot more than the instrumental on this song, the instrumention all seems a bit canned in comparison. I think maybe the piano is a bit high in the mix. I'm not anti synth pop (see my love of The Lowest Bitter's track) and I use a lot of synths in my music so it's not that.

+ Melody. Even though I'm not a big fan of the instrumental vibe here I like the vocals & your vocal melody so much that it's still among my favorites of the fight.

MAYBE VOTE.


THIRD CAT

= Maybe I need to join the Loudness War. I'm trying to master my songs so they wouldn't need to be lowered if I uploaded them to Spotify or whatever not that I plan on doing that with any of these songs anyway (check out the loudness penalty plugin if you're interested.) but most of you guys are slamming your mixes and mine sounds quiet in comparison.

+ Chorus. I like my chorus a lot on this one and kind of thought I should have repeated it again at the end, but in general I like to keep it to no more than three times through on a chorus like this.

- Vocals. On the verse I could have done a better job, not only with the performance (that's always true) but I think I could have thickened them up a bit with some more production tricks. Did all of my vocals on that last morning so kinda ran out of time. On the positive side I did some fun stuff with harmonies on the chorus and in the backing for the solo and last chorus, I'd like to keep pushing that farther.


TIM HINKLE

= Strange mix of phased guitars and the sort of robotic drum machine. I'm not anti-strange (I hope that's clear from my songs) but this doesn't quite work for me. But I don't hate it either so I'm not sure. Maybe it's a grow.

+ Vocals. I think your voice works nicely on this track. Fits the style well.

+ In general I'm a pretty big fan of '60s psychedelia and that's what this reminds me of.

+ Melodies. I hear some catchy bits in here.

+ Reminds me of The Velvet Underground.

MAYBE VOTE.

---

Balance Lost, JBB2, & The Lowest Bitter are my favorites and all definitely getting votes. Lots of other really strong songs too though. This seems like one of the better fights we've had here in a good long while.
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by vowlvom » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:24 am

Don't get mad. They're just my porcupinions.

Balance Lost - I had one vague criticism for this one about your voice sounding slightly tentative on the first verse or so, but listening back a few more times I'm not sure there's any problem with it at all. That's all I've got, everything else is great. I particularly like the spacy instrumental section, I'd totally listen to an extended remix of this that has a bunch more whirring synths and whatever before crashing back in with the lo-fi guitars like, I dunno, seven minutes later. Vvvvvvote.

Berkeley Social Scene - this has a nicely melancholy, low-key vibe about it, and somehow the chanty opening section doesn't detract from that. The chanty bit later on really does though, possibly because it feels like you're having to stretch the lines out too much to fit the slower tempo of the main song. Other than that, the only thing that bothered me was one part where there are a few notes of the (otherwise gorgeous) electric piano that feel like they stray off key. Really like the vocal and general vibe though, and this would probably earn a vote if this fight wasn't insanely stacked.

The Elephant Choir - this is cute. Perhaps TOO cute in places - I'm not crazy about the "hullo there boys and girls!" sections. But if you were aiming to write a children's song then that's fine. I love the chorus with the beautiful layered vocals, a little more mixed on the verses, but on the whole this is another really good song that doesn't quite make it into my favourites this round. I particularly like the use of the word "outstanding" in the lyrics, and the idea of it going through a porcupine's head, for some reason.

Jim Tyrrell - each time this rolled around on the playlist I found myself not really liking it to begin with but then getting really into it later on when the extra instruments join the party. I liked the "spearful symmetry" line and the one about the quill being mightier than the pen - this kind of wordplay is extremely appealing to me. Another one that'd be strong enough for a vote if there weren't a few songs that really bowled me over in this fight.

The John Benjamin Band (dance-pop) - I feel like this is the song from this fight that most gets under the skin of the humble porcupine, and while some of the lyrics grate on me (I will never be able to hear the word "tush" in any context without feeling mildly horrified, maybe this is a symptom of being British), other bits are very clever and fun. I like the "porcupines stick together" line (I'm sure they do!) but I don't get the "linen, silk and leather" part. The music is inventive and enjoyable too, great vocal layering and the a cappella bit at the end is especially good. I would normally have voted for this one, but...
The John Benjamin Band (waltz) - ...I don't really like this one, and the quirks of songfight's archaic code won't let me sensibly deal with that. This is perfectly pleasant, if a little forgettable, but replace with word Porcupine with any other three-syllable word and it has no impact whatsoever. I am here for the prickly metaphors and spine-based wordplay, not the pleasantly forgettable waltzes.

JP Nickolas - amazing guitar playing, it makes me feel like I'm in a 60s spy movie or something. Unfortunately the other elements can't quite match up to it, it sounds like you've got a decent voice, but the melody and timing feels really unsure and first-drafty and the drums clatter around in a way that never seems to really build up any momentum. The fuzz guitar is way too quiet, the energy feels like it drops when that comes in which obviously isn't the intention.

Lichen Throat - more solid vocal work, I kinda like the unexpected detour into Banjo Country, but these lyrics don't feel particularly inspired compared to the usual high Lichen Throat standard - they're fun but a bit rhyming-dictionary.

The Lowest Bitter - so good. My favourite lyrical take on the title, and there are great production touches throughout this, from the filter sweeps early on to the Trademark Vocal Layering. I feel like the volume tweaks to the outro that you made between the Early Preview that I heard and this version maybe go a little too far in the opposite direction? But that's the only bit I can criticise, this is one of my favourite Lowest Bitter songs for sure. The bit where you go up to the high note and the drums get filtered in the background is so sweet. Voooooooote.

Paco del Stinko - I said I was going to vottttte for this one purely based on the tarantula / substantuala line and I'm standing by that. It helps that the song is also really good. Killer classic punk energy, great backing vocals. Internet Research informs me that it's a Three Stooges song, are you combining that with a Stooges-esque guitar sound? Because if so: Excellent.

The Pannacotta Army - love the harmonised lead lines (I was going to say they were mandolin, but they sound like nylon strings so probably just classical guitar?), and on the whole this is superbly performed and produced, but I think I have a little genre bias against this sort of smooth jazzy pop - I find myself craving some rough edges, or something. Lovely guitar playing though, reminds me of Nick Drake a bit.

Somebody Named Seth - I like the sparse arrangement, and I'm not generally a fan of sparse arrangements so you're definitely doing something right here. For some reason the general vibe / melody reminds me of Transformer-era Lou Reed in ways I can't quite explain (mostly the pre-chorus). This is held back by the lyrics for me though, it feels like a fairly clichéd "you are broken and I can fix you" narrative that left me rolling my eyes a bit. Apologies if it's actually about the dangers of romancing an actual porcupine and I've grabbed the wrong end of the... porcupine.

Thanks for the Frisbee - absolutely love this one, catchy, poignant and sounds great. I find myself struggling for constructive criticism on this one, I did wonder whether the piano sound could be improved upon as it feels a little... I'm not even sure what the word is. Digital? But I found another, equally unsure part of my brain arguing that the piano sound is part of the appeal. Something about the instrumentation reminds me of Destroyer, either way. Voteeeeee.

Third Cat - some great use of delay and self-oscillating echoes and stuff going on here. The song, like Jim Tyrell's, is one that I really enjoy when it gets going - not sure exactly what it is about the first verse or so but the magic isn't quite clicking together for me until slightly later on. This is probably not particularly useful feedback, sorry - what I'm generally trying to say is that this is a mid-tier Third Cat song for me, I've definitely heard ones that I like better but it's always a pleasure getting lost in your production for a few minutes. I don't think you need to worry about volume, this sounds fine to me and I didn't find myself having to turn it up compared to the rest of the pack.

Tim Hinkle - I agree with the above comments about the guitar, the phasey FX are a bit overwhelming and I feel like they add a bunch of harmonic content that crowds everything else out of the mix. It's a good song though, the vocal melody (particularly on the chorus) is strong, and I like that sparsely-used but oddly effective glockenspiel. I also really like the needles / needless wordplay. I'd definitely be interested in hearing another mix with a big less guitar swooshing.

Really excellent fight. I'm only voting for my favourite four but I enjoyed at least something about every one of these.
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by jb » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:40 am

I don't get the "linen, silk and leather" part.
eh, it’s a contortion of “sticking through” to move from Porcupine Solidarity to their to spines piercing various materials.
blippity blop ya don’t stop heyyyyyyyyy
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by furrypedro » Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:04 pm

My stupid thoughts.

JBB (electro): Some nice production touches here. There's a very fine line between electropop that's cool and electropop that's cheesy and to my taste this falls just the wrong side of cheesy. That's not to say it's not good too, but the combination of electro squelching and super upbeat melody puts it very close to the Vengaboys. The melodies are catchy, perhaps the chorus is a bit to wordy for it to be an earworm. I can imagine trying to sing a long and just going "I'm a porcupine ner ner ner ner ner".

Pannacotta Army: The intro is my favourite part of this. Really lovely sounds there, and although the rest of the song is very pleasant it's a bit of a letdown by comparison. It's all nice in it's kind of jazzy acoustic way, but the melodies are far from pulling my heartstrings and I don't really connect with any of the lyrics, which sound a bit like a love song to a porcupine or some other vague sentiment I can't quite get a grip on.

JP Nickolas: There's a few problems with this. Just my taste but I'm not a fan of the drum rhythm. The rest of the instruments seem to drift in and out of time. The clean guitar is too muddy, or are you playing bass chords? The distorted guitar sounds like a different song. The vocals are relatively clear, but I feel like another couple of practices to really nail the melody and meter would've made them sound more confident.

Seth: This ain't a bad little tune. The singing and playing is all pretty on point and there's enough nuance and hook to keep me interested. I'd kinda like another guitar or some keys to come in on the chorus to lift it up and give a little extra sparkle (just my studio rat tendency kicking in). I guess my main actual criticism is a personal taste thing. I like indie rock well enough but I want a little invention and this sticks to the meat and potatoes. As I said, that's just my taste but as for what's actually present in this song I can't fault it. You've done a good job.

Third Cat: Initially this was sounding a lot more conventional than your Freak Flag, but it develops in cool ways. The arrangement in the first chorus made me sit up and the song continues to introduce instrumentation and dynamics throughout that I like. I dig the slightly creepy echoey drone note in the background of the verse, feels like a bit of a Grandaddy-style touch. Nice mix of catchiness and wibbles, although the ending is a bit abrupt.

Jimmy T: I don't quite know what to make of this song. There's a bunch of elements that I like, for example all the little guitar and piano licks, and the cool percussion. But for all that I find myself feeling like it's not my thing. I've had a think about it and I've decided it's that fucking oom-pah bassline. The one cool part of the bass was a little run you do just as it fades out. So my request is for you to chuck that bassline in the bin and do a new one more like something you'd hear on Graceland or something. It's weird that (to my ears) it should undermine what would otherwise be a good song, but there you go. For everything else you did, well done.

Scatto Del Pinko: Ha! Substantiala. Yes, that was a good one. Vocals are a bit muddy but fuck it, it's punk innit. Dumb fun. Made me smile. I'll consider a vote.

Lichen Throat: Curious song this. Like a Dueling Banjos remix. I can imagine this with a Cyriak video of mutating rednecks (if you've never seen a Cyriak video, don't. You can't unsee that freakery. Or do, they're kind of fun). Back to the song, it's strangely compelling. It feels like it straddles a few very different genres. There's elements of country (obviously), a bit of techno and the beat goes a bit punky occasionally. I mean, it needs a bit of work, but you may have invented a new genre, so fair play.

The Elephant Choir: I definitely think you could write a better rhyme than "yessir" and "regretful". Everything else in this is pleasant. Nice playing, nice singing, cute little story. Definitely indie movie soundtrack territory in the new-Dylan/Guthrie mould.

BSS: Is that Sam singing the verses? I can't figure it out. Makes me think, since you're a band full of people who sing you should have more harmonies. This is pretty nice, and I like the keys, although they go a touch out of time after the breakdown in the middle. The choral bits are weird but then I imagined you doing them together in the studio and it must've been fun to record. Nice Pet Shop Boys reference too. I like this well enough, and I suppose it only suffers from the same condition as Seth's tune, but there's a bit more going on so I put you a notch above him on the ladder.

JBB (granny song): I have absolutely no idea what the Porcupine Waltz is, so I did a search and found some dodgy song on Youtube. This is much better than that. It's a sweet song and obviously well recorded. My only gripe is it slightly loses me around the solo. That feels like the most amateurish part of the song, the guitar is average, and the snare hits stick out a bit. It's not really my style but I am strongly considering a vote for this.

Fisbeenio: This marks a further development in your production abilities, but it still demonstrates you haven't lost any of that classic Frisbee songwriting charm. Although I do slightly miss the guitar, the programmed drums and (what appears to be) synthesized piano don't feel as "real" as your guitar stuff, I do appreciate the effort to branch into new arrangements. Voice still sounds great and the melodies are lovely. A fight with the Friz is always the better for it.

Tim Hinkle: This isn't shit. I'm very much on the fence about it. It probably could do with an edit seeing as the arrangement doesn't really go anywhere, just kind of plods along for 4 minutes. Parts of it are okay, parts of it bore me. I had this weird experience where the very first bar made me think "I quite like this", and then every subsequent bar until the verse made me feel more "meh". This is as a result of digging the flange effect and the glock, but they don't change and the chord progression didn't do much for me. The "needles"-"needless" bit is cool. Also, although I like how you periodically play a single glock hit (I don't know why, I just think it's funny that you go "I'm gonna play one note and no more!") but the note is a bit too loud and aggressive, needs dialling back a touch. A change in the drum pattern, for example between the verse and the chorus would help switch up the song a bit, and similar to Seth's track something else in the chorus, an extra guitar line or something to give it a bit of a gear change would really help the pacing of the track. So, no vote, but solid enough.

The Lowest Shitter: I hate to be a nepotist but this is by far my favourite of the fight. I think being a fan already makes me more forgiving of any slightly shaky vocals, and there's a touch of clipping in the middle. Aside from that everything else about this is boss. I love how you write a nice simple loop, one that my over-complicating brain may discard were I to play/write it, and you make it sound so cool. And although this is pretty much the same chord pattern repeated for the whole song there so much variation in the sound set that it's always interesting and goes in unexpected and delightful directions. TLB FTW!


Balance Lost liner notes: This is a bit of a throwaway. I reused a synth set I used in a different song cos I was too lazy to look for new patches. Also I was thinking about Grandaddy's Broken Household Appliance National Forest but as you can hear this sounds nothing like that. It does account for the tempo changes though.
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by Lunkhead » Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:19 pm

The Lower Bitter wins!
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by owl » Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:38 pm

Nice! Congrats!
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Re: Don't get pricked on all of the (Porcupine Reviews)

Post by furrypedro » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:00 pm

furrypedro wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:04 pm
TLB FTW!
Called it :D

Congrats on your first win! Great tune.
And also damn you for beating me by one vote :P
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