With a face like mine... (Radio Ready reviews)

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With a face like mine... (Radio Ready reviews)

Postby roymond » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:43 pm

Ah, the king of Payola butt kicking got his butt kicked this week. How poetic.
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Postby jeff robertson » Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:58 am

whoohoo.. they're up!

for some reason this fight is less crowded than the prefight led me to expect.
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Postby Märk » Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:43 pm

Okay, I'll break the ice.

First impressions:

Kill Me Sarah: Catchy little tune. Needs bass. This is very sparse, and ends kind of without a bang. I like it though. Great first song of the fight to listen to. Want me to add a bass line to this?

Mico Saudad and Friends: Intro was dumb, sorry. This sounds like a bootleg from a folk music club or something. I'm not going to lie and say I love this, but that's just a genre bias probably. It's not bad at all. But did this really have to go on for 5:22? At 3 minutes in, I'm impatiently waiting for it to end.

Roymond: This is well performed and well written I guess, but... it's missing that certain je ne sais quoi your songs usually have that always sucks me in. Badass bass though. Congratulatons, roymond; you finally managed to write a song I don't really care for.

FACE: This, um. Lacks dynamics. I don't judge on good looks though, so I'll judge on everything else... I love this kind of music, I love your choice of chords (beatlesque?) the singing is great. I hate the length of the song. Pop songs should be a little over 3 minutes in length. This should have had a bridge in it. Tied with KMS for 1st so far.

The Howling Monkeys: Self referencing self deprecation. Plus, it sounds like a whole bunch of pop-punk type bands. I guess, in that regard, it *is* in fact Radio Ready. That bridge is pretty good. Okay, this made me smile. Well done, I guess. I'm not voting for this though.

Soundscape Rebellion: You keep hitting a note which is resonating wrong on your mic or something. This did nothing for me, honestly.

Jeff Robertson and the Neo-Candylanders: This doesn't sound radio ready, but I like it. Guitar playing is great, as usual. Not much else to say.

Melvin: Hey, Weezer just called, they want... ah, never mind :) Good song, as usual. I guess we're at a 3-way tie now.

The Hell Yeahs: This is probably going to be the belle of the brawl. Nice. There's a weird effect on Heather's voice, not crazy about it. This should be in Rocky Horror or Grease or something. Nice, but not my favorite of the fight.

Lord of Oats: You chose almost the exact same tempo as me. Stop that! A minute and 13 seconds in, you finally start singing. More self-referencial self-deprecation. And the vox are way out of tune. I see the intent of this song perfectly, but it kind of falls flat when all is said and done.

Apathetic Wannabes: You're ripping off the Doors for fuck's sake. I keep expecting the refrain from Texas Radio and the Big Beat to come in. Stop it.

Sven Mullet: I wrote the song, played guitar and bass, and sung the verses. Andrew Reist played drums and keyboard. That beautiful angelic female voice (which I realise too late that I mixed too low) is Anti-m. I like this song, which is rare for me.

I echo Jeff Robertson's comment that it's surprising this is such a small fight, what with all the hoopla over the title. Don't know who I'll vote for yet.
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Postby Reist » Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:15 pm

Reviews!!! - By Andrew Reist

Apathetic Wannabee - I can't really hear your vocals. There's not really anything in this that intrigues me to listen on. I guess my big problem with it is the vocals in the verse - they're quite unvaried and difficult to understand. And the intrumentals are too long for the variety they provide. 4/10
FACE - I'm not so sure about that guitar tone. The effect on the vocals is pretty cool - it really fits the song. Definitely not a bad effort, but the fakeness of the drums, the nasty guitar sound and the slightly nasal vocals really turned me off it. The songwriting's intact though, so there's definitely hope for you. 5/10
The Hell Yeahs - I remembered your vocals being better than this - they're not doing anything for me in this song except convincing me to turn it down. Other than the vocals, the music is pretty good, but this isn't my style at all. I couldn't make it through the whole thing. 4/10
The Howling Monkeys - Really generic progression. My friend showed me some +44 the other day, and your vocal tone is a lot like Mark Hoppus (I think that's his name). To be honest, this song doesn't have enough variety (except in the 'singing out his heart' line/similar lines). Write more than 2 lines for half the song next time please. I wouldn't listen to this again. 4/10
Jeff Robertson and the Neo-Candylanders - What kind of mic are you using for the vocals? They always sound a little muffled and distorty. Decent songwriting, but it still feels a bit too generic for my likings. It's the best so far though. 6/10

EDIT: 2nd half of reviews!!!

Kill Me Sarah - Those vocals should be a bit higher in the mix, as should the drums. This sounds more like a demo and less like a fully produced tune. That said, I can hear some interesting sounds here, and I'd like to hear this with a stronger mix and more all around confidence. Keep working at it! 7/10
Lord of Oats - I'm guessing you don't have a second mic on that snare, do you? I like the electronic sounds early on there. I'm liking this so far. When the guitar's playing that little riff - great hook, by the way - I really feel this song. Awesome. I'd like to hear tighter vocals and a better drum sound from you, since this is really great. Really long though. I would have cut the instrumental, since it throws off the groove of an otherwise really chill song. Honestly man, I'm going to have to cover this someday. 9/10
Melvin - Pretty unpolished and mournful for a Melvin song. I almost feel a doom-metal vibe to this (if you just cut the drums and sang in a quiet voice). Sounds like you're getting better at the drums! Great job with that - it's tough, eh? Just remember - sometimes it's best just to hold a steady groove without a lot of snare hits (ghost notes are alright in those situations though) Not to sound like I think I know a lot about drums, but if you're ever wondering about a technique or something (nothing too crazy - I'm no studio drummer :wink: ), feel free to give me a pm. Really good song. 9/10
Mico Saudad and Friends - the tambourine really drags this from the start. Vocals are pretty badly mic'd too. This does sound like an "and friends" song. I bet you guys had some fun with this though. 6/10
roymond - personal preference here - I've never been a huge fan of songs with such little variation in the chords. That aside, I like the way the bass walks up in that break at the end of the verse. The words 'radio ready' seem a bit forced in this situation. Your voice isn't too bad once you get rolling since you've got a lot of emotion. I wish I had that gift. 8/10
Soundscape Rebellion - Sucks for you to follow roymond and melvin, especially with such lo-fi production. Your band name implies a pretty heavy rebellious sound, which isn't fulfilled in this song. You've got a killer voice, I'll give you that. Keep writing songs, and if you need tips on production, there's a lot of people around here who'll help you out in that department. With better production and more practice at songwriting, you could turn out pretty awesome, I think.
Sven Mullet - Man, your drummer sucks. :wink: I had a good time playing for this one, but for some reason my beat's a bit off. Sorry again, man. I think it's a really cool song, and Anti-M's voice is heavenly. For serious. I almost feel like voting for this one solely on personal bias, but I can't let myself do that.

Pretty decent fight, especially in the second half. My vote goes to Lord of Oats because of that killer guitar hook, even though the song was a bit too long. Great job everybody!
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Postby drë » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:16 am

if that Howling Monkeys track ever gets some air play, it would be sweet victory.
they got my vote.
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Postby Kill Me Sarah » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:45 am

Märk wrote:Want me to add a bass line to this?


For sure!

Märk wrote:Tied with KMS for 1st so far.


Märk wrote:I guess we're at a 3-way tie now.


Wow, that's definitely a first for me. I'm honored to be in such distinguished company :-)
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Postby Spud » Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:30 am

Märk wrote:This sounds like a bootleg from a folk music club or something.
Thanks. You got it.
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Postby howling monkey » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:48 pm

drë wrote:if that Howling Monkeys track ever gets some air play, it would be sweet victory.
they got my vote.


bless you're heart. Especially since this version needs so much desperate help. I like to go back and polish em up for fun afterward. Anybody else do this?
What am I doing? I think I just crapped my pants.
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Postby dogmaticmd » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:52 pm

Howling monkeys got my vote.

The bridge is absolutely fantastic. The lyrics make me smile/laugh a little.
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Postby Reist » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:10 pm

dogmaticmd wrote:Howling monkeys got my vote.

The bridge is absolutely fantastic. The lyrics make me smile/laugh a little.

Hmmm. Which artist this week do you know? ;)
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Postby roymond » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:34 pm

Märk wrote:Roymond: This is well performed and well written I guess, but... it's missing that certain je ne sais quoi your songs usually have that always sucks me in. Badass bass though. Congratulatons, roymond; you finally managed to write a song I don't really care for.

I certainly went more straightforward with this, and frankly didn't have time/energy to revisit it after the initial session, so it is sort of unfinished. But I assure you, after listening to it 1,000 times it becomes quite catchy. Glad you liked the bass though, as I was following some of the rock advice thread. However, drums remain very elusive in my world. I'd love someone to jump in when I re-do this :wink:

Reïst wrote:I've never been a huge fan of songs with such little variation in the chords. That aside, I like the way the bass walks up in that break at the end of the verse. The words 'radio ready' seem a bit forced in this situation. Your voice isn't too bad once you get rolling since you've got a lot of emotion. I wish I had that gift. 8/10

The simple chords are, as you know, not my trademark so I wanted to try and drive through a song with only two. Further, the bass line is more compelling in my head than on the recording since I have drums really driving that as well, but thanks for your feedback. It all points to a re-mix, etc. Would you lend some drums?
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Postby ssrebellion » Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:37 am

apathetic wannabee - there's a lot of hiss. i can't tell if it's on the drums or the whole recording. I like the aesthetic of this song. In a couple parts, the rhythm is a little questionable on the guitar, but that might just be the echo effect. You might like a band called Soul Coughing, particularly, their song 'Screenwriter's Blues'

Face - The guitar is too loud. This would probably sound more full if it had a bass line, or even if the drums and vocals had more presence. It seems you did some good things vocally, but I couldn't understand anything you said except 'all fall down'. I think a re-mix could really clean this one up.

Hell Yeahs - Strong intro, has a nice surf-rock/pop-punk feel. The reverb on the vocals makes them feel a bit muddy at times. Overall it's a fun, upbeat song.

Howling Monkeys - I like your use of the word 'saddening', as well as the harmonization in the last minute. This is a great track. I don't really have much to offer by way of criticism, constructive or otherwise. Good job.

Jeff Robertson - The music is good. I particuarly like the organ and the digital piano thing. The vocals could be tightened up, the notes you hit are more or less fine, just timing is a little sloppy. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sloppy works for Randy Newman.

Kill Me Sarah - I think this song could really use a bass line. This has a cool, dark feel and I think some bass would really flesh it out. Also, the way it's mixed, the guitar seems to take the foreground rather than the vocals. I don't know if that's how you intended it.

Lord of Oats - 8 minutes, wow. I typically have trouble breaking 3. The intro is a little misleading, but I like that. My ears perk up whenever the chorus comes around. The synth solo around the five minute mark is very well executed. I think that the second (or third) guitar solo at about 7:02 isn't quite necessary, it doesn't really add anything to the song. Not to say it isn't a good solo. It's interesting until the harmonic pinging. Also, the ending is abrupt.

Melvin - This is a good entry. I really don't have any criticism for it. Good job.

Mico Saudad and Friends - Odd that I should have mentioned Randy Newman earlier in my review. The vocals sound like him. It might be the microphone, but the recording is rather muffled, at least on the vocals. The live feeling of this song is pretty cool.

Roymond - This is a very strong entry. The music is full and interesting. It's also pretty catchy. Also, when you say "hey" during the chorus is that thing an alarm? a bell? just some effect on one of the crash? It sounds cool, but I can't figure out what it is.

Soundscape Rebellion - that's me. this was a rushed entry. we recorded it in one take with a single microphone. i wish we had spent more time on it. in one of the above reviews, mark said there was something resonating on the microphone. it's actually my guitar amp. it does that only with that chord shape (i just bridge gbe on third fret), g is the offensive string. if anyone has any ideas about what causes this, i'd be glad to know.

Sven Mullet - This is another track where the guitar takes more of a foreground than the vocals. During the part with the high vocals, they're in direct competition with the guitar and hard to hear. The music is interesting, and I like the single-note guitar parts. I like this entry.
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Postby Reist » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:43 am

roymond wrote:Further, the bass line is more compelling in my head than on the recording since I have drums really driving that as well, but thanks for your feedback. It all points to a re-mix, etc. Would you lend some drums?

I like to lend drums, but lately I haven't had much time for recording at all. We'll see how it goes down. :)
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Postby Märk » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:37 pm

ssrebellion wrote:Sven Mullet - This is another track where the guitar takes more of a foreground than the vocals. During the part with the high vocals, they're in direct competition with the guitar and hard to hear. The music is interesting, and I like the single-note guitar parts. I like this entry.


My excuses: This song was *hell* to mix, because I a) was using a completely new recording computer (a laptop which had Vista on it until a few days ago) b) first song I've ever done using Audition 3 (no more. It's 1.5 or Cubase from now on. A3 SUCKS, people. It was crashing *constantly*) c) first time using my new reference monitors for mastering a song. I need to get used to them, I guess. (you should hear the mix on them- sounds great!)
Thanks for the review.
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Postby melvin » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:09 am

Reïst wrote:Sounds like you're getting better at the drums!


Thanks JR! You're definitely one of my drumming inspirations around here! I appreciate the offer of advice - I may take you up on it. It feels great to practice something for a year, and actually get better at it. There were a few times when I almost gave up. It's weird playing an instrument that involves your feet! But perseverance, right?

Okay, reviews:

Apathetic Wannabe: This isn’t very good. The music sounds canned/recycled from somewhere and the performances are weak. There are a couple of decent lyrics (public street / public traffic / public beat), but they’re difficult to understand.

Face: This is pretty cool. I like the ridiculous amount of guitar distortion, the chord progression, and the vocal melody/performance. I also like the clipped length of the song—it seems to work in this case. Pretty cool tack.

The Hell Yeahs: Love the lead guitar tone off the top. Heather sounds awesome in this. I like the old-school-high-school pop vibe, but I’m not sure the melody is quite catchy enough to make me want to carry your books all the way home. I think both the vocal and the short guitar solo could go somewhere a little more dynamic melodically. Still a really good track… just a little shy of its true potential in my opinion.

Howling Monkeys: Okay, I get the irony of this song, but I wish it was a little less bland. I realize that could be considered part of the irony, but I think maximizing the catchiness of the song would actually deepen the irony and also make it more fun to listen to. Still, I appreciate the joke, and don’t get me wrong—it’s a well-executed gag.

Jeff Robertson: Great guitars and keys here. Love the little guitar lead. Songwriting-wise, this is okay. My main gripe is the lead vocal seems to fall distractingly out of time with the backing track. Is that a performance issue or a recording glitch?

KMS: This is okay. The rhythm guitar seems to suffer some timing problems. I like the minimalist arrangement and the lyrics. Pretty cool, laid-back vocal performance too. The drums stand out as sounding excellent—good production job, JR.

Lord of Oats: Haha! Funny stuff, LoO. Love the fuzzy bass line. This song really pulls me along nicely for a whole 8+ minutes, which is no mean feat. Highlights include the solos around 5:40 and in the outro. Cool. I’m pretty sure this is my favourite track of yours. It just hits a nice groove and trucks along without ever getting boring. Plus there’s a sincerity in the lyrics/vocals that I find touching.

Melvin: I love this track, frankly. It’s the true story of my band getting signed by an ‘entertainment lawyer’ in NYC several years ago, then getting unceremoniously dropped a few days after our ‘label showcase’ gig at The Mercury Lounge.

Mico Saudad + Friends: This is making me smile. Is this recorded in a club? Or are you singing through a P.A. in a studio? Well, whatever, this has a pretty fun vibe. Doesn’t sound like there was a whole lot of practice involved in this, but the vibe is so fun, it doesn’t really matter. I’m still smiling.

Roymond: I find the bass line in this track particularly interesting. Hmm, interesting! Very cool note choices happening there. I like this track a lot. It’s hard for me to articulate exactly what I like so much—there’s just something in the melodic/harmonic structure that gives me a pleasing feeling of tension. Really well done.

Soundscape Rebellion: I like the singer’s voice, but the song doesn’t do a lot for me. With such minimalist production, there’s not much else to comment on.

Sven Mullet: This song frustrates me. I keep waiting for the chords and melody to come to some sort of resolution, but it never quite gets there. The result is I feel on edge for the whole three and a half minutes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—I actually love the sound of this track. Those little guitar licks that first float in around 1:20 and again at 2:30 kick total and complete ass. The girl/boy vocals are also great. As is the brutal tension of the track, as mentioned before. I guess part of me just wishes it would all come around to a catchy, major-key chorus or finale of some kind, but that’s just my proclivity. Really great job.
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Postby melvin » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:16 am

Märk wrote:My excuses:


I don't think excuses are necessary - I love a filthy guitar dirge.
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Postby Kill Me Sarah » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:59 am

melvin wrote:good production job, JR.


JR?
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Postby jeff robertson » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:03 am

melvin wrote:Jeff Robertson: Great guitars and keys here. Love the little guitar lead. Songwriting-wise, this is okay. My main gripe is the lead vocal seems to fall distractingly out of time with the backing track. Is that a performance issue or a recording glitch?


It's a didn't do enough takes kind of thing.
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Postby melvin » Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:56 am

Kill Me Sarah wrote:
melvin wrote:good production job, JR.


JR?


Oh, weird. For some reason I thought Jolly Roger was responsible for playing/recording the drums on this track. My mistake. Good production job, KMS!
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Postby Kill Me Sarah » Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:08 am

melvin wrote:Good production job, KMS!


Wow, another first! :D
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Postby roymond » Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:47 pm

ssrebellion wrote:Roymond - This is a very strong entry. The music is full and interesting. It's also pretty catchy. Also, when you say "hey" during the chorus is that thing an alarm? a bell? just some effect on one of the crash? It sounds cool, but I can't figure out what it is.

Thanks. The sample on the chorus is a backwards cymbal or some such thing I have in my library. I was reluctant to leave it in an otherwise trio arrangement, since I didn't have a chance to develop things after the first session, but it seemed sort of essential to make the chorus more distinctive.

I'll try to get reviews done on the return flight today.
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Postby Spud » Fri Mar 21, 2008 1:16 pm

melvin wrote:Is this recorded in a club? Or are you singing through a P.A. in a studio?

Heh, it was recorded (live) through a P.A. at Octothorpe Studios, because he wanted it to sound like it was recorded in a club.

Lyrics, music, guitar, vocals: mico saudad
"Call" vocals: mad dog
Drums, add'l vocals: marcus kellis
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