What Was That Number Again? (Fax Machine Reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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What Was That Number Again? (Fax Machine Reviews)

Post by ken »

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Post by WeaselSlayer »

Jesus Barbedwire Suicide is really something special. I mean that a lot.
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Post by Denyer »

MENBAH!

I made a song for this one and I thought it was okay but I am usually wrong about those things so I didn't send it in.
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Post by mkilly »

I guess I'm an asshole or just too picky. Oh, well.

Captain Synth: I don't like this. It doesn't do anything for me.
Dark Liberty (uh, Flying Brick?): I hear a lot of Cure until the second guitar comes in. This is going a little slow, vocals could use some more punch. Lyrics kind of bother me. You're channeling Cure and Tool and all that but this is just mediocre.
Jesus Barbedwire Suicide: You need to get a windscreen for your mic. This is kind of silly, like something I might turn in. I might say the "beepbeepbeep" bit goes on too long but it's kind of funny and I guess that's the joke, anyway. This is cute.
Cashpoint: Ah, here's an entry I can get behind. From a man I can get behind. (wink.) I don't know what the instrumental break at :35 is for, it sounds dissonant and atypical for the song. There's a bit too much weird shit in here for me to like it. I say that now. I reserve the right to have the song grow on me. Funny, anyway.
Menbah!: You kind of shamelessly stole the melody and chords and format from "Secret Agent Man." I hope you're aware. Solo too. It's all right, but it is a poor man's "Secret Agent Man" about a particular office tool.
Octothorpe: Judging from the other songs I guess # will probably get my vote. (Isn't that funny? Octothorpe being the safe vote, instead of what they were for the longest time--that is, a band you wouldn't think to vote for?) This is some weird shit. No, maybe I can't vote for it.
Steven Durand: This is all right. I am sorry but I think the songs this week are kind of mediocre, and this one I guess will get my vote just by virtue of being less mediocre than the rest. This one's charming.

vote: durand
Last edited by mkilly on Mon Sep 19, 2005 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by j$ »

Captain Synth - this needs mastering / limiting. Also is done, for me, at 1.00. That synth would sound creepy, if it had mastering. At the moment is just sounds weedy. Not a bad song, mind. Although an instrumental with just the fax machine sample on it might make it better. Not that the rapping's bad, just it would be better.

Dark Liberty - no review until you stop entering both fights. In fact I am not even going to listen to it. So there.

Jesus Barbed Wire Suicide - Well that's not what I expected it would sound like, from the name. Nah, not for me. Not bad though. The extended beep beep beep is too Sesame Street for me. takes the edge away from the verses. Sounds like you had fun doing it though, and that comes across in the listening.

Me - I had real trouble mastering this. Too many hats, or somesuch.

Menbah - Hey, Menbah! I like this. Mainly for the 'why-eh-eh-eh's and the solo. Fun. A good pastiche. Not sure if I would listen to it a hundred times over or anything, but it entertained me while I was listening to it.

# - Nice fat bass and drums combo - isn't this just a slowed down 'On My Block'? In fact, I'd go as far as saying it is, on the verses at least. Still great though. the lyric is especially good.

Steve Durand - great tone on the trumpets. The lyric is a bit un-fulfilling - or do I just mean vanilla? Anyway everything else is lovely.
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Post by jack »

johnny cashpoint
yeah, it's not as clean as some of your mixes have been lately. it's almost as if the vocal tracks in particular seem to have a layer of reverb that isn't present on say the guitars. the bridge part is great. the chorus is catchy too. so is the fa-fa-fa fax machine. yeah, this is your usual strong cashpoint fairing. nice job J.

jesus barbed wire suicide
maybe if you played this at an open mic you'd get mild, bemused applause. otherwise, it's probably funnier for you than it was for me.

octothorpe
seriously, i cannot listen to an octothorpe song without smiling. i cannot say this about any other musician or band i have ever listened to. the vocals could come up just a bit in the mix. but the rest of the production is pretty rock solid.

MENBAH!
secret agent man!

flying brick
the intro starts out with a lot of promise but that nasty guitar isn't doing anything for me. maybe doubling the vocals would give them more depth, as right now they aren't doing anything for me. if you'd black crowed it up, it might have worked better. and the way you enunciate "fax machine" really grates on me like the second time you do it.

steve durand
ok, what i said about octothorpe making me smile. it kind of holds true for you too. :) this is really solidly produced, arranged, and those horns are awesome. man, if you and jim of seattle ever hook up.....twin sons of different mothers....

captain synth
it's really pretty awful.

i gotta vote for durand. his tune really stands above the others, although the # tune and j$'s tune were very solid contenders.
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Post by Spud »

j$ wrote:# - isn't this just a slowed down 'On My Block'? In fact, I'd go as far as saying it is, on the verses at least.
Caught me a little off guard with that one, Johnny. While I can see a certain family resemblance, allow me to point out that:

On My Block featured a four-chord rotation on the verse, all in a minor key, Fax Machine uses the same two, repeating back in forth, the first major and second minor.

The On My Block syncopation featured beats 2 and 4, while Fax Machine lands it squarely on 4, skipping over 2 entirely.

On My Block used the same chords in the chorus as in the verse, just changing up the instrumentation. In Fax Machine, it modulates up a fifth.

The two songs do not share a chord. On My Block used C, D, F, and G minor, while Fax Machine uses E major and A minor (sometimes major).

I think that the odd prosity accompanying the fourth beat is what fooled you. That is where the similarity lies, in my opinion.

Otherwise, case dismissed.
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Post by j$ »

OK I take it back then :) I think I thought it was the vocal phrasing against the bass phrasing but I am clearly wrong!
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Post by Spud »

j$ wrote:OK I take it back then :) I think I thought it was the vocal phrasing against the bass phrasing but I am clearly wrong!
Yeah, that's the similarity. Glad to be subjected to such an analysis. In fact, there are certain phrasings and structures that inevitably recur in our songs. Hell, blue claims I use the same bass line every time.
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Post by fluffy »

Well, you do.
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Post by fodroy »

any song that says "photocopy my ass. photocopy my balls." gets my vote.
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Post by Spud »

fluffy wrote:Well, you do.
Damnit. Did I forget to get you to sign the "no disparaging comments" agreement when you joined Octothorpe?
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Post by fluffy »

Yes.
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Post by EightLeggedOedipus »

Oh boy, prepare for the SuckFight...

<b>Captain Synth</b>
--- Change your name to Captain Suckage or you will have sorrow. ---

<b>Flying Brick</b>
--- Timing is fairly weak. And it's um pretty bad. ---
/// Reminds me of Jason Irvin's Vehicle ///

<b>Jesus Barbedwire Suicide</b>
+++ Ok, it's cute and short. +++
--- But still not worth a second listen ---
+++ I take that back, this second verse is very IRC Allstars. Nice +++

<b>Johnny Cashpoint</b>
+++ It's a nice song. Good gay love pop anthem, if a little perverse. +++
--- This one's a little too sloppy though ---

<b>MENBAH!</b>
/// eh ///

<b>Octothorpe</b>
--- Ouch, the worst #! in recent memory ---
+++ I do like the little pauses in the verse delivery though +++

<b>Steve Durand</b>
+++ Sounds like a vote. A simple cute song that exemplifies the nature of the title. Great horns, of course, Mr. Durand +++
--- Oh those telephone sounds could be mixed at about 6DB lower and save my eardrums. I want you to sing from the stomach. Your brother does. Your intonation is actually pretty good though. ---
/// Your mixes are always so light. I guess that's partly your style ///
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Post by jb »

<h2>JB'S JACKASS REVIEWS</h2>
Yes, I basically hated all of your songs, and these reviews are <b>very very mean don't read them if you are feeling fragile and your song is in the "Fax Machine" fight</b>. But Spud was whining about there not being any reviews. So here. I did listen to them all the whole way through, and I did try to make honest, if cruel, comments. Feel free to get me back next time I enter.

<b>Steve Durand</b>
Nice horns, like something out of Sesame Street. Then the singing comes in and it's so dorky, and I want it to be more clever and less just a mechanical construction of words that aren't really trying to say anything. You could just go totally Sigur Ros on us and it would make no diff really, because it's the arrangement that you really care about innit? This would be more entertaining if it went totally Sesame Street and was just an explanation of how a fax machine works, or how it was invented or something. As it is it's too much like listening to a song made out of a conversation you had at work with some guy trying to send you a fax. I'm not gonna listen to this more than once, because nothing in there is grabbing me-- I'm sure you've got lots of deep meaning, but if the lyrics don't entice me to listen again how will I ever listen deeper? God, I wish there was just one like, really clever line in there, because the horns are fun. Verdict: Big Bird is falling asleep!

<b>Jesus Barbedwire Suicide</b>
The swearing is catching my ear, so I don't hate you right off the bat at least. The chorus lyrics are about 100x weaker than that first verse man. You were on fire, and then all of a sudden you got tired of being any good. Fax machines don't go beep like that either. Beep? wtf. Ok, so this is a song with a chorus split into two parts, which repeats. So it's the first part of the chorus that's good, and then the "All that's right for me" part that's terrible. And the beep beep bullcrap. Moldy Peaches you are not. Try harder. Or rather, continue trying as hard as you tried with the beginning of the song, only keep that level of effort up for the whole thing. Or if it was a matter of inspiration, just wait a day until you come up with something for the rest of the song that is as interesting as swearing about fax machines. At least, interesting to me. I like swearing. Verdict: This song is bullshit, just like email.

<b>Flying Brick</b>
Oh god echoey metal guitar opening. Now a muddy metal guitar embellishment to the opening, and there's a wee bit of clipping on the left. The kick is nice and thumpy, but if I don't get a fucking melody here soon I'm going to turn the god damn song off. Oh, and then you start singing. Do you really think that vocal sounds good enough? It's terrible! You could put reverb on it or something at least. Something to distract from the half-assed lyrics you hardly bothered to write. Make an effort, kid, Jesus Christ. You owe Deep Throat $50 for writing half your lyrics. And use the pod or whatever it is that is on the guitar in the opening-- use that for the whole song, because recording your amp or whatever just doesn't match up. Or don't use the pod or whatever-- the point is that the instruments should sound like they were recorded using the same stuff. You've got like, one pro-ish sounding instrument and an OK kick drum and the rest sounds like crap. Do better. Try harder. I bet you could. Verdict: Somebody has explosive diarrhea, 'cause this flying brick is made of shit.

<b>Captain Synth</b>
More unprocessed vocals. Hey, now somebody's shouting unintelligibly. And some Octothorpesque talking, but without what charm they manage to scrape up. At least there's a little story. "And you will have sorrow" isn't bad. WTF, did everybody use the same stupid phone ringing sound? But nerds don't use fax machines, dude. Real-estate agents do. I like the loopy thing, but the shouting and the words you're shouting are just boring. Is this really as clever as you could come up with for this title? Verdict: DEMOTED TO PRIVATE SYNTH.

<b>Johnny Cashpoint</b>
More mismatched vocals vs. instrumentation. Too many words! There's at least a decent melody on the chorus here, although "send our filth to everyone we know" doesn't make sense, 'cause it's not a copier or scanner yo, it's a fax machine. Unless your office has some kind of massive fax/copier deal. But still, I'm having to ask this question, so that doesn't quite work. Although two dudes making it on a fax machine is at least a compelling image-- but I think of a fax as a smallish thing that looks more like an inkjet printer than a copy machine. Maybe they're different across the pond, but my mind is picturing some poor schmo with the paper-holder-upper thing poking him in the lower back. And still, the lyrics aren't clever enough by half. I want more time and effort focused on lyrics, people! Do yourselves justice! Verdict: Anal sex on office furniture should be more interesting.

<b>Octothorpe</b>
Can't understand the damned words! "And the stores are sloppy", that's at least a catchy line. Weird baby-talk or something is a'ight, perks my ears up a bit. See here you go, if you want to be quirky and don't really have the lyrics to keep people's interest, Octothorpe knows (subconsciously I'm sure) that you need to bury them so they're too low for the singer or just otherwise fucked up so you can't hear them. Then you put the unintelligible lyrics over some interesting noises and you have something that's not completely terrible to listen to. Only partially terrible. Should've ended at 2:00 though, because all the interesting noises seem to go away and it gets a little monotonous. I like "I owe it all to Alexander Bain" or whatever last name that is. And why wait so long before flipping stuff over to the left channel? You guys like to do that thing where you shout the title, like here and in "Skyline". It's a little too similar. "The best... part... of all" is funny, because it sounds like Mad Dog was surprised about that line and couldn't fit it into the rhythm. I like the baby noise or whatever that is. Verdict: *garble* *mumble* *babytalk* *poor prosody* SKY.... LINE.

<b>MENBAH!</b>
Yeah, Secret Agent Man. Is your name a play on whoever did that song or something? If so, I sure can't be bothered to try and figure it out. Ok, so this is just about how fax machines are obsolete? Oh god, out of tune harmony that's way too high in the mix. And one of those long sentences that are pretty much over by now. Man, it would have been so much better if this were a song about how much the fax machine aggravates you because it never works right and the fax has crappy resolution and the signal fails and shit like that. Fairly ok execution of a standard chord progression and style, but really, you don't get credit for being ok, and you sure don't get credit for not putting any effort into these lyrics. Did you really think that this was gonna make people go nuts? I mean, ok, I'm being a jackass I realize. You probably just did this song as an exercise. But I listened to it, and I think that if you did it as an exercise that that's all it's worth. Like a recording etude. I've done that. But I don't think we should make other people listen to our practice recordings (although I'm certainly arrogant enough to do so myself). Verdict: There's a song who lives a life of... zzzzzzz.....*snkxk*.... zzzzzzz
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Post by Steve Durand »

Jeez jb, don't sugarcoat everything!

Tell us what you really think.

Steve
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Post by erik »

Yeah, Spud whined in my presence too, so here's some reviews:

Captain Synth: This is really awful. There is no way in hell this is only 1:57. It feels like it's 10 minutes long. It is so repetitive. If it's supposed to be funny, then it needs to be shorter. The backing music sounds way too quiet, and the yelling is too loud (and sounds like Barney from the Simpsons). I don't see the point of spending time to make something like this. I do not like this song.

Flying Brick: This mix is really unflattering to this song. The drums are too distant, the electric guitar has too much distortion, and the lead guitar into thing is too loud. The voice is very un emotive and you're saying fax machine like way too much. This sounds like Andy Milonakis without any jokes, which is the whole point of his songs. I do not like this song.

Jesus Barbed Wire: You know how some people say spanish words with a spanish accent? Like how they say nee-kah-RAH-gwah instead of nick-er-OGG-wuh? Your female singer sings all the dirty words in a different accent, and it's unnecessary. It's the same kind of overlyexpressive accent that I associate with teenage slam poets and people who read their New Yorker articles on NPR. Dirty words don't need to be called attention to, they're awesome just by themselves. Regardless, the song starts off fine enough, and then the whole boopbeepeeporkahhahh part. What the? That middle part is bad. If that middle section wasn't in the song, I would think this song was okay. As it is, I do not like this song.

Johnny Cashpoint: Another wierd mix. Vox are too loud, and everything else is too quiet. It sounds like karaoke. The vocals sound rushed against the music, I think it would sound better if it was slowed down and sung against a less full arrangement. This song is okay, but I probably listen to it again.

Menbah: Yeah, very Secret Asian Man. The singing seems uninspired, the arrangement sounds very average. This all makes for an uncompelling listen. This song is well-put together, and it isn't really bad-bad, but there's not much to make me want to listen to it again.

Octothorpe: Okay, the first part is strolling along well enough. But then you get to the chorus part of the song, and that part goes on way too long, especially compared to the length of the verse part of the song. The verse parts and the chorus parts sound too much alike, and that makes the song sound even longer than it really is. The guitarish sound coming in for the verse section helps to differentiate the sections, but it apes the bassline so much in structure that it doesn't sound like that much of an addition. Hmmmm, this is the second song that I've heard on a couple weeks or so that's reminding me of "Things Start Moving" by the Adolescents. When I think of Octothorpe's catalogue, this song will not readily spring to mind.

Steve Durand: Okay, the horns are cool. I'm on a dating show from the 70s. The melody is too pedestrian, it's so on the beat and neatly kept within the lines. The first line needs to be stronger, and not cut up over two lines. You need to not stick to the melody so aggressively: get a little Amateur Night at the Apollo on it, and just sing all around the melody, once you've established it, because by the last verse, it's starting to wear thin. If you redid the melody and the lyrics, this could be kind of cool, because the music and arrangement are pretty cool. This song is okay.

TA-DA
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Post by jack »

yay for the tough love dispensary team!

i'm glad i'm not in this fight. reviews are fun. c'mon kids....get defensive!
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Post by Spud »

Consider the source...

Captain Synth
This will inevitably get compared to us, so I might as well address it head on. We eschew the loop (except for drums) and write our own music. The yelling is a bit repetitive and not very rhythmic. On the other hand, if the Suzies did this, they might be able to make it into an art piece, and it would be bearable.

Flying Brick
I kind of liked the guitar thing at the beginning, and wondered where it was gonna go. As it turned out, nowhere, really. I found the vocals too wimpy to hold up to the promise of the music which unfortunately had to get out of the way to let the lyrics come through. Well it wasn't worth it. Take out the vocals and sell it to Windham Hill.

Jesus Barbedwire Suicide
All right, I liked this better than the last two reviewers. I particulary liked the way the last words in the verses got replaced the second time around. But then I'm a sucker for that kind of game. That "...and Telegrams" thing has been done, but I forget by whom. There is a disconnect between the fact that you don't fuck around with this that and the other thing, and then end up fucking around with those beeps in the middle. How else could you describe it?

Johnny Cashpoint
I had no trouble visualizing the process. When I had an office on the street, a girl came in to borrow our copier so she could copy her breasts and fax them to a guy she met over the weekend. Obviously, she wasn't going to run the actual items through the fax (from what I saw, they wouldn't fit in the slot, anyway). Clever song, Johnny. Contender.

MENBAH!
Sorry, your secret (agent man) is out. Next time try writing the music, too.

Octothorpe
First it's On My Block, and then it's Skyline. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I think what you are trying to say is that it sounds like Octothorpe.

Steve Durand
You are sucking me in with those horns. That's cuz I want them in my songs. A thicker mix on the vocal sections would have put it over the top. Some doubling maybe? The bridge had promise, but failed to deliver. Something more interesting in the instrumentation would have helped there. Still, probable vote.
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Post by j$ »

jack wrote:i'm glad i'm not in this fight. reviews are fun. c'mon kids....get defensive!
Hehehe I can't really get defensive when I don't really disagree with anything that has been said so far (except JB's over-literal deconstruction of my lyric - the fax machine where I work is a fax/copier so ya boo sucks &c)

But I do find slightly patronising the High and Mighty of Songfght deigning to descend from their lofty, cloud-tinged IRC tower and despense their wisdom because Spud asked them to. Not because they wanted to hear some songs or anything ... sheesh ...


:)

J$
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Post by thehipcola »

<b>Captain Synth</b>
Is that Grover singing? This is kind of dumb. The loop in the background is kind of neat. It's tense. Sounds like a great intro that went nowhere. The yelling is just dumb. Oh c'mon people...fax machine noises? Just heard Durand's entry, so we're two in a row. This song doesn't do much for me.

<b>Jesus Barbedwire Suicide</b>
Wow...the best part of this song is the I don't fuckaround with...., the first time you do it. Everything else is kind of throwaway nonsense.


<b>Johnny Cashpoint</b>
Best lyrics of the fight, pants down. :) I find the cadence of the singing off the top is off somehow..awkward. The drums are mixed way too far back. The vocals in the chorus could be much better pitch wise. I like the music, though I find it muddy. Most of the vocal delivery is great. What a sick mind you have! :)

<b>MENBAH!</b>
I'm so hoping for a song that doesn't use a fax machine as it's literal focus. This is isn't that song. :) This song moves along well, sounds way too much like something I've heard before, mix is ok...drum programming is pretty good. But irreverent and goofy, and it's about a fax machine. Not grabbing me. Granted this is a tough title, but I was hoping those who undertook to croon about it would dig deep... (I know, how deep can you go with "Fax Machine", but I can hope, can't I?) :)

<b>Octothorpe</b>
This is too goofy for me to really enjoy. The meandering vocals and loose backing vocals that come in and out of range of the mic drive me crazy....sounds like a children's song melody. I'm back to not getting #. But I'll keep trying...

<b>Steve Durand</b>
Awesome horns. Their arrangement is awesome. The lead vocal sounds and performs quite blandly, not bad, just not that noticeable. The vocoder comes way out of nowhere...is it necessary? The backing vox are great. Fax machine noise...again, necessary? I hope I don't hear a fight of bleeps and fax screeching. Not a bad, if silly, song.

<b>Dark Liberty</b>
Is that arpeggiated electric guitar actually a loop? It's sounds so much better than the distorted guitars, that'd be my guess. This seems like a throwaway song...no energy in the vocals, can't hear them half of the time. Some good use of stops, some structure sense is obvious, just don't feel this song. I have a difficult time with unaffected vocals.


Well, I think it's between J$ and Mr. Durand for this weeks vote, though the field just wasn't that strong. I think Johnny gets it, as really all I enjoyed about Steve's were the horns, and Johnny had great lyrics and some great musical ideas.
j$
Ozzy
Posts: 5132
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 11:33 am
Instruments: Bass, keyboards, singin', guitar
Submitting as: Johnny Cashpoint
Location: London, Engerllaaannnddd
Contact:

Post by j$ »

TheHipCola wrote:<b>Johnny Cashpoint</b>
I find the cadence of the singing off the top is off somehow..awkward. The drums are mixed way to far back.
I totally agree with the drums comment - had a nightmare mixing them in - too loud, and the hats/cymbals crushed the guitars and vocals, too low and it was like mice scratching at the back of the song. I ended up running a mid-range cut-off through the song, which brought them up a little, but nowhere near enough. Any tips here, mixmeisters? Short of not using cymbals/hats that is.

When you say 'off the top' do you mean 'from the start' (which is fine) or is this some specific term I don't get. I appreciate my cadences are hard for the untrained ear (!) but it's what I've got and I can't really change them enough to make any real difference to the aural pleasure. Or do you mean the high notes - if so, careful what you wish for, because only a few weeks ago you were saying I never push my octave comfort zone!!!

Anyway, thanks for the kind words (( and (*fingers crossed?*) vote))!

j$
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