Let's move to Canada. (Had It Up To Here reviews)

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Stubby Phillips
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Let's move to Canada. (Had It Up To Here reviews)

Post by Stubby Phillips »

Vancouver, B.C.
Just out of reach of these wacko political hacks!
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Post by Smalltown Mike »

That's what they all say, but really they just want that primo B.C. weed.
Punk rock is for children. Grab a six-pack at Half-a-Dozen Records.
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Post by Eric Y. »

personally, i just want to see if it really looks like it does in the comics.
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Post by mr_lostman »

Slow day today. So lets do some reviews...

Drift Diffusion: Sounds like in order to keep the integrity and old timey feel you didn't use a pop filter, kinda hurts sometimes. You've got a nice voice. That violin doesn't really compliment your voice. It sounds purposely out of tune and i'm really not diggin the sound. The listing part is really pretty good. Love the bluesy feel there. The bass is really low in the mix and the more i listen its the one thing in the song that really moves it. Good ending.

Micheal Maas: Another pretty piano pop/ballad. Great balance with your voice and the piano in stereo. The drums sound kinda wierd. That crash in the drum entrance seems like it was really cut short. The drums are really the only thing that stand out as something that doesnt fit well. Everything else is really really good. Love the vocal melodies. Spittin champagne in the wind... nice. The song kinda drags for a bit but then the jam out at around 3:10 really brings it back. If it wasn't for the sound of the drums I'd dig the jam out even more. Very nicely done. Vote possibility.

Me: Man why do I have to go after Micheal Maas? :oops: The production quality is about as good as i can get it with my limited experience and it sadly pales in comparison to everything else here. I dont play lead guitar too well but I was rather pleased with how this turned it out. This is the first song I've written using a capo (just thought I'd throw that out there). Made up the lyrics as i sang them kind of. I realize now that the backing vocals at the end could have been better. For my first try at songfight writing, I'm pretty proud of it. Think i may have taken it too seriously i promise my next song will be more fun. :D

Roymond: Why does roymond have to go right after me? Great guitar sound. Hell, everything sounds so good. The fuzzed out vocals work great for me and the stereo vocals in the chorus are perfect. Wierd loopy guitar solo type thing here. I really like it. Best song in the fight. Well, now I am in a predicament. If I vote for you... I'm not voting for me. Why must you rock so well? :x

Sidewalkers: This is awful. But you know that. Alright I'll give you this. Some of your bantering I find kinda funny ("oh yeah we're cool cause we have a capo"). But I'm pretty sure you guys wont be reading this. And really this was a total waste of yours and my time. But it sounds like you had more fun making this than anyone else will have listening to it. So it dont matter what I say. Why couldnt i have been after this song?

In conclusion. I wasnt the worst song in the fight (thanks sidewalkers). Now i must deliberate on who to vote for Roymond or me.
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Post by roymond »

Had it up to here reviews!

drift diffusion - I like this, although the vocals need to be as off kilter as the rest. And the lyrics might be better if I knew you were a supporter of the mariage legislation recently presented. Or a priest. Or a 14 yo kid. I do like how whacked out this blues is, though.

michael maas- I like the fragmented drums before their full entry. There's something very hessitant about the piano part. You tend to write in a songwritery genre that leaches conflict and tension from the arrangement. I'd like to hear you break out more. Clever lyrics, somewhat corny but nice.

Mr lostman - I like your delivery and the guitar part (solo lines and counter melodies). lyrics are half baked generalities...sort of lazy like mine tend to be.

me - i'll admit to some half-baked lyrics and production. I had 4 hours for recording this and an early conference call to lead. Needs to be tightened up for somesongs but I like what happened.

sidewalkers - do this a lot. Then do it some more, and repeat until you've read some books that inspire your soul. Then do it some more, and think about what art/music/poetry/communication/personal expression means. Then try it again and record that one. I know this means nothing to you. Still, do it some more. Rinse and repeat.
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Post by jb »

DriftDiffusion- Your talented violinist needs more self confidence so he shows off less. The vocals are too nice; drink some battery acid and try again. Re: insecure violinists-- the violin is too busy. It needs to blend with the background and work *with* the arrangement rather than noodling around on top/infringing on the vocals.

Michael Maas- compress the vocals, so the volume is more even. Right now the beginning of every phrase is like an accent. Also EQ the vox to sit in the mix (need more mid/treble in my headphones), because the arrangement sounds better than the vocals. Remember that the vocal tracks need as much attention as the instruments-- and that often the instruments have had that attention paid by whoever built the keyboard or made the samples. So your vox start off behind the game production-wise. Big piano solo needs a moving bass behind it for my taste. Nice playing for sure though. Think about the bass more, to help fill out the arrangement under the piano, feels a little underwritten.

Roymond- I wish the acoustic track was doubled and panned, as it sounds less defined (a little mono-esque) than the rest of the arrangement. The center seems too busy. Love the vibe of the song, and when that first instrumental section comes it's a great change up. I love Roymond in weird mode. Reminds me of Sunny Again, one of my favs. I wish the bass was thicker, phatter.

Mr. Lostman- Read what I said to Michael Maas. Ambitious and not terrible for a first try, although for future reference spending some more effort on crafting your lyrics will not be a waste of time. Your voice sounds like Ben Folds, unfortunately including the sketchy intonation. BTW, there's nothing wrong with taking things seriously. I'd rather you did, even if your lyrics are on the lighter side. This isn't Goofy Song Fight, after all, although that's often the path to victory if not artistic accomplishment. I rather like the doubled vocal section ("Please keep it to yourself"), you should try using that a bit more.

The Sidewalkers- Although you're obviously having fun, I must tell you that this kind of thing is funny ONLY TO YOU. The rest of us aren't enjoying your little pot party or whatever you were drinking while you recorded this. Probably Red Bull, from the sound of it. And personally, it annoys me that you're spending my time, disk space and bandwidth on three sessions of juvenile grab-assing. If you want to just fuck around, please do so on only one title per week, as the Song Fight FAQ kindly requests of you.
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Post by king_arthur »

The old guy checks in:

Drift Diffusion

Something about all the overdubbed violins makes this sound
very NPR rather than bluesy, "Prairie Home Companion" NPR rather
than "Blues Roots" NPR. The chord pattern and the points where
the vocal comes in kept confusing me - I guess I expected a more
standard 12-bar blues pattern and it doesn't seem like that's
what we're getting - and for me, instead of making it an
interesting variation on the genre, it just distracted me from
the singer's plight.

Michael Maas

This is a good example of the music supporting the lyrics, instead
of distracting from the story. I wasn't trying to count beats, I
could listen to the story. It's not a straightforward blues pattern,
but it's regular enough. Piano playing and voice are great. I didn't
care for the percussion sounds that show up here and there (right
before the drums come in, again at 3:52), but this one's a definite
keeper.

MMMC

Late arival? Didn't pick this up in the podcast. Decently done
version of what it is, not exactly my thing, and the "queers" line
seems kinda lame. Keeper, I'd listen to this again, I guess...

Mr. Lostman

Vocals could be a bit less pitchy and it would probably help. The
main rhythm guitar sounds a bit "woofy" - did you plug directly into
a mic input? If you can run through some sort of a buffer amp (i.e.,
a Pod or other FX unit), it would help the sound. Good song though,
keeper for me.

Roymond

Now there's a sweet guitar sound. Distorted vocals are a turn-off
for me, I like it better when the clean ones come in. Instrumental
break is cool. I, of course, have no business telling you how to
make your music, I can only say this was a little too "out there"
for me.

The Side Walkers

Yeah, okay. Whatever. I assume I don't need to bother listening
to your "Hit By A Train" entry either?


Michael Maas an easy vote for me, well performed and recorded.
Roymond's is probably a great song, but I tend to pick 'n' choose
based on a first listen...
"...one does not write in dactylic hexameter purely by accident..." - poetic designs
beatlebrent
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Had it up to here reviews

Post by beatlebrent »

DriftDiffusion – There’s no denying that you’re a talented violin player. I’m guessing that’s your main instrument, since it sounds like it’s the only real instrument in the mix. Perhaps that’s why it’s a busy violin song. Your vocals are very “1930’s show-tuneâ€
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Post by Crates »

Sophomoric ain't all that bad. We're doing what we can with limited experience, a $12 walmart microphone and Fruity Loops 5.

Nevertheless, next week's song is looking to be our best one yet. Lokito will be returning for the track.

-- Crates
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Post by roymond »

MMMC - Yeah, sophomoric lyrics aside, some fun dark pads in there, and textures, but it's hard to keep up, isn't it? I like the dark pads, really. the genre and lyrics turn me off but it's ambitious and almost makes it. A bunch of clipped lines here and there, otherwise the production creates some cool space. Too long and then too abrupt an ending, though that's perhaps from there never really being much to grab onto to begin with.
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Post by jeremiah_jacobs »

Sorry to be so quick with my post here today.

I thought Michael Maas' song was the standout in this fight. I thought the lyrics were....well, lyrical. The ending piano work was a nice change for Songfight. The piano beginning, however, was played by a lurching robot.... :)

As an aside, I find it interesting the number of comments about production issues in these tracks. I wonder if you're not holding yourselves to too high a standard with respect to production- i.e., being proficient in audio production and having access to facilities/tools. I know that production quirks can be distracting, however, I'd hope we can see past that to the quality of the underlying song, and judge them accordingly.

Not a criticism, just a thought.

/Derail.

MCCC - I like the pentameter of some of your vocals, but it seems like you're still building your own vocabulary of words that you can use effectively and rhythmically. Not at all terrible, word-wise.

Roymond - Neat pop production. Ooooh, voice all compressed like it's in a telephone!!! lol, just kidding. Props for getting a pretty good by-the-numbers pop song. ACID Loops? Was the bass actually live?

Lostman
- listened to a Counting Crows CD lately?? j/k, you have some similar inflections. There are a few nice lines in your song, but I had a hard time hearing past the band performance/recording.

:)
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Post by roymond »

jeremiah_jacobs wrote:As an aside, I find it interesting the number of comments about production issues in these tracks. I wonder if you're not holding yourselves to too high a standard with respect to production- i.e., being proficient in audio production and having access to facilities/tools. I know that production quirks can be distracting, however, I'd hope we can see past that to the quality of the underlying song, and judge them accordingly.

Roymond - Neat pop production. Ooooh, voice all compressed like it's in a telephone!!! lol, just kidding. Props for getting a pretty good by-the-numbers pop song. ACID Loops? Was the bass actually live?

Any comments I make about production are meant to be suggestions to help folks along. I do find carelessness <> cool. Folks who can't clean up obvious glaring issues come across as simply not caring about what they're doing. I love rough-around-the-edges stuff, personally, but when someone seems to have the means but doesn't bother, that's laziness or perhaps just the crunch of the weekly challenge. Either way, I hope folks at least try to improve to better present their songs.

As for my "pop" song, thanks. The only loops are the two drum tracks in Logic. I can't even think about live percussion at 3 in the morning. Everything else is played live and mostly first takes at that.

I agree with your focus, or desire to focus, on songwriting. It stands out when it works and Michael is a classy songwriter. However, I don't expect great, polished, songwriting here, I expect as good a realization one can achieve under the conditions, and hope that I (we) can rework the better inspired pieces for later release on somesongs or elsewhere.

I like hearing what people do production wise because that's what I aim to develop lately, and my head's in that space. Since this is a weekly challenge in the age of software tools, I find it equally intriguing from a production viewpoint as a songwriting one, as both are compromised in this format.
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Post by maasman »

<b>Drift Diffusion</b>:

Song - 12-bar blues has to be pretty unusual for it to hold my attention. The violin works to that end here, for about the first minute. Then it starts to grate. Too much of a potentially good thing, in my opinion. (Separating things out production-wise would help.) As always, I'm looking for a hook, and I'm not finding one. Again, that might be because your strict adherence to 12-bar blues means there's not much variation.

Production - Everything's competing for space, some panning and EQ would help.

Performance - Your voice is good, but not my style. It sounds like show tunes or vaudeville and I can't for a second believe that you mean what you're saying. Some of the spoken quips, like "god your mother," sound like they're meant to be cute but they're not my thing. The way the vocals enter is very unsure, that first couple lines sound like you're not sure what you're going to sing. Once you get to "puppy love" you sound more sure of where you're going.

<b>Roymond</b>:

Song - Some of the lyrics turn me off, like "look like a nut / sometimes you don't." I like the variation in here, between the distorted vocals/regular vocals. After listening to the song a few times I have this nagging feeling it didn't go... far enough. Like there should have been a more hooky chorus or something to grab me. It feels like a lot of lead-up and not enough payoff. The solo section it the saving grace of the song since it distracts me from that and is something I look forward to on repeat listens.

Production - Top-notch. If anything, the mix is too bright.

Performance - Love the acoustic guitar solo (the second half of the solo section). The distorted vocals obscure the lyrics a little.

<b>MMMC</b>:

The pseudo-Jamaican trying to sound like reggae "mon" intro almost made me turn this off. The pathetic "fuckin' queers" line sealed the deal.

<b>Mr. Lostman</b>:

Song - I really appreciate the hookiness of your chorus. The accents are great, both in the chorus and the second verse "STOP me now, HEAR me out"). I like the bridge, with the addition of the extra singers' counterpoint. The second verse ("you're dancing on my last nerve") should be the first verse. It's got some emotion and action ("put your foot down"), whereas the first verse (or first half-verse depending on how you look at it) is much tamer and doesn't grab me. Something about seeing things in her eyes, etc. Nothing unusual there. Decent tune, though; you've got some good things going. Welcome to SF!

Production - Same as with Drift Diffusion, some EQ/panning would be good.

Performance - I like the lead guitar in the chorus. Some of your background vocals ("oohs" after the bridge, for example) aren't quite in tune. The drums sound a little out of time with the rest of the mix in places. That said, it sounds like real drumming, which is nice to hear. Coming out of the bridge is a bit sloppy.

<b>Michael Maas (me)</b>:

Wow, there have been some fantastic, useful comments in this thread. (I think it pays to be in a small fight when it comes to review time.) My piano is a digital one; I have access to better (real) pianos but lack the right mics and time to record them. This song suffered a lot from the one week timeline. I had to hack out the vocals the night before the deadline and the piano stuff is mostly first takes, hence why it sounds "lurchy." There are some messed up vocal edits in there, too, which I'm surprised noone caught. :) Beatlebrent, your suggestion of dirtying up the drums is a good one. I've been working on the drum samples and shall try that. I had actually tried distortion on the bass to add some oomph but didn't like it that much. There are a number of added arrangement things I'd like to sprinkle in, too, and just didn't have time.
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Post by mr_lostman »

it seems a new player has come into the fight,

MMMC: The beat is pretty sparse in places and i like that. Some of the vocal rhythms are really cool in the first verse. THe second verse kinda lets down what the first half set up. Oh, the chorus is the sparse beat part. The beat is cool but the lyrics there are pretty.... heh yea sophomoric. Oh man at about 3 minutes I'm gettin tired of the song... shoulda ended a little earlier and i think it would've have been more memorable.

In response to everyone reviewing:

Yes everything is recorded live, cause i dont know how to use MIDI or program instruments. So a lot of what your gonna be hearing from me will all be done with the actual instruments usually all one takes for the entire song so i may get off in places here and there but i try and keep it as clean as possible.
The second verse ("you're dancing on my last nerve") should be the first verse.
I agree maas. I was trying to vary up my song structure by going verse, verse, chorus at the beginning but i realize now it probably would ahve been stronger to just go without the first verse. Thanks everybody.
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Crates
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Post by Crates »

mr_lostman wrote:Oh man at about 3 minutes I'm gettin tired of the song... shoulda ended a little earlier and i think it would've have been more memorable.
Yeah, roymond said the same thing. If you think this one was a little too long, you're probably not going to be happy to hear that our upcoming track for next week clocks in at scarcely over five minutes... our longest yet.

Nevertheless, it's a bit deeper than our previous stuff, and I actually got Lokito to bust out with a true story from his past where he faced a crazy dude weilding a loaded gun in the lobby of a church.

Seriously, if you actually make it to where he comes in (around 3' 30"), his little anecdote is damn touching.

-- Crates
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Re: reviews

Post by roymond »

maasman wrote:Wow, there have been some fantastic, useful comments in this thread. (I think it pays to be in a small fight when it comes to review time.)
Indeed! And thanks for your feedback. I generally let the song take me where it goes, and occassionally it's fine and sometimes it needs to go farther. The later applies here and I'll try to do so with your's and others' suggestions in mind. This is perhaps the most hooky commercial song I've done and I want to go with that so the comment about the chorus stands out. Also some more detailed drum programming (I don't play so perhaps I can convince someone to contribute real drums).
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Post by blue »

Roy: love this one, great job. gotta ask tho, is the miss at 2:07 intentional, or are you jusy a lazy bitch? :D

ps: this would be a great one to post and have ppl remix.
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Post by roymond »

blue wrote:Roy: love this one, great job. gotta ask tho, is the miss at 2:07 intentional, or are you jusy a lazy bitch? :D
Thanks, I'm a lazy bitch with no time for re-takes. These are mostly first takes, and the acoustic track was the first to go down, with the intention to clean things up, but...

...at least you missed the wrong notes in the bass (perhaps because of the next comment)
ps: this would be a great one to post and have ppl remix.
Yeah, that would be fun! I'll see about staging the tracks. Cool.
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Post by Ikari »

Micheal Maas is really good...
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Post by Stubby Phillips »

Sorry for the late reviews.

Mr. Lostman:
+ kudos for enough parts, good transitions, and a few tight breaks to mix things up.
- kinda long
- needs a bottom end -- some kind of noise below 200 Hz.
+ fairly-well-crafted song. If I had done something like this, I would have left out a few verses and kept the best ones.
= Maybe work out the timing and get a little weirder.

Michael Maas:
+ tight
+ sound
+ writing
= I was hoping for something more upbeat

Roymond:
+ nice layed - back groove
+ cool refrain
+ good comp./ changes
+ interesting all the way through

Drift Diffusion:
+ cool way to replace the piano/guitar
+ mellow Ellington
- too busy

MMMC:
+ pretty good production
+ you use your voice well
+ clever lyric
= almost keeps my interest till the end

The Sidewalkers:
+ as a work of art, this has its place -- maybe a wall-sized lithographic print of the waveform in blue and red on a dark green background.

Roymond gets my vote. Good fight.
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