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Sunday, October 31, 2010

SpinTunes #2 Round 2 Review

Ok...this was actually a tougher round to review than the first round. At first you would think..."8 less songs entered means less work." That was not the case. This round involved writing a sequel, which means to properly judge the song you need to have heard the original. In most cases, I was not all that familiar with the original song...so I had to go back & look up the songs & lyrics. So 21 songs turned into 42...

I judged this round much like I do every round (see round 1 review for details), but I also had to take into consideration how much your song 'felt' like a sequel. Did the story pick up where the other left off? Musically were there similarities, without being a compete rip off or parody? The styles didn't really need to be similar in this challenge, but if I had 2 songs that I felt were pretty darn equal...something like that could have given you the edge to move up 1 spot in my rankings.

After you're done here, you should check out the reviews from the real judges. There was even a special guest judge this round, and you can find all those by clicking --> HERE.

Charlie McCarron (Over The Bridge)
Sequel Of: "Under The Bridge" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
At first listen I knew this was going high up on my list. But honestly I'm not all that familiar with The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I didn't know the song just from reading the title, and when I went back & listened to the original I knew this was probably getting my top spot. It just felt like something they would have written, and I enjoyed all of it. Vocally it's my favorite song from Charlie, but he still sounds like he's holding back a little.
Challenge: Met

Ross Durand (Folsom Breakout Blues)
Sequel Of: "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash
I think Johnny Cash would like this...that's about the best thing I could say about it I guess. I think you did a good job (like GD) in picking a song that was PERFECT for YOU to sequel. I think there were a few people who could have done better by picking a song in their wheelhouse.
Challenge: Met

Gweebol (Thank You Mr. Postman)
Sequel Of: "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes
This is another one of my all time favorite songs...er the sequel is I mean. That can be good or bad for you...definitely more for you to live up to in MY eyes at least. Fortunately I thought it sounded great. Took me back in time to a period I never really got to experience, but fantasize about. The new twist of to the song is not only lucky for the postman, but for everyone who hits the play button. Well done.
Challenge: Met

Chris Cogott (Roadward Bound)
Sequel Of: "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel
Not the type of song I expected Chris to sequel, but dang if he didn't nail it. This is one of those songs that jumped up a lot after I went back to listen to the original.
Challenge: Met

Ryan Ruff Smith (Baby, We're Through)
Sequel Of: "Baby, It's You" by The Shirelles
Definitely sounds like the original, and works as a great sequel. You go from the blind puppy love in the original to the rude awakening of reality in your sequel. Something most people have been through, and unlike irl it was a pleasant experience.
Challenge: Met

Rebecca Brickley (Elderly Dream)
Sequel Of: "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry
I'm not a Katy Perry fan...but I'm just thankful this wasn't a Lady Gaga sequel. I was happy most people picked some older tunes, but honestly I thought you nailed this lyrically. There were a few places your vocals seemed to get too soft, and a little lost in the music. If we have to write a prequel in a future round, you need to write 'Middle-Aged Dream' to complete the trilogy.
Challenge: Met

Mitchell Adam Johnson (When Donna Came Back)
Sequel Of: "Donna" by Ritchie Valens
I loved every second of this. You capture the sound & feel of the original while extending the story wonderfully. I love the fact that multiple people picked songs from the 50's & 60's.
Challenge: Met

Edric Haleen (O! Say Can You See?)
Sequel Of: "The Star Spangled Banner"
Edric is a math teacher, so I guess it's forgivable that he thinks Broadway is our nation's capital. I think he wrote a good sequel, but it's really hard to rank. I mean who listens to "The Star Spangled Banner" on their MP3 player on a regular basis? I have that same problem with this song. It's purdy, singable, and there's nothing really bad about it. But other than the 4th of July, or some other patriotic holiday I don't listen to stuff like this. I'm lucky my rankings don't account for anything this round because I could really stick this ANYWHERE on my list & make some sort of justification for it.

Oh, and I'm curious...did someone tell Edric that SpinTunes will give bonus points to whoever holds the longest note?
Challenge: Met

Inverse T. Clown (Hey, Jessie)
Sequel Of: "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield
I thought this was really funny, and not a bad sequel. Musically it didn't remind me of the original, but lyrically it passed the test. In the song "Rick/Inverse" has been jailed...for probably stalking Jessie's girl. Over time he has gone more & more insane & can hardly wait to take the girl by force when he's let out. The original didn't really make me feel like the guy was going crazy (at least no more so than a bad crush makes you crazy), but the music video maybe hints at it a bit more. Anyways, I'm willing to believe it's a possible outcome.
Challenge: Met

Governing Dynamics (Melt In The Sun 'So Many Pretty Ways')
Sequel Of: "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead
This was difficult for me to review. Travis knows I like clear stories that don't require much interpretation by the listener, but this is not one of those songs. I am very much up front about how dense I am when it comes to picking up on peoples meanings in songs like this. So from the get go, I'm thinking this is going to hurt it's final rankings. But then I listened to the original...and was equally confused by it. I could see some similarities between the songs so that left me with the question, "Should I knock it if it's a good sequel to a song with a style I'm not fond of?" In the end I decided not to knock it lyrically, and judge it mostly by the music & performance. Thankfully for Travis I really enjoyed jamming to the music. Travis had Joe "Covenant" Lamb lend a hand on the vocals, and both of them performed well.

The added criteria for judging songs this round is a bitch.
Challenge: Met

Brian Gray (One More Cloud)
Sequel Of: "3 AM" by Matchbox Twenty
Lyrically 3AM is not the type of song I usually like, but it's still one of my favorite songs...ever. Mostly because I like Rob Thomas & his performance. I enjoyed your sequel, but it just couldn't hold up to the original in terms of performance (imo). Since performance counts in this contest I knocked you a little for it. The visual picture you painted with the song was impressive, so good work overall.
Challenge: Met

Zarni De Wet (Stacy's Dad)
Sequel Of: "Stacy's Mom" by Fountains Of Wayne
There's a full minute of dead air on the end of this...I seem to remember someone else doing this in Song Fu once. *looks at Denise* I thought it was an interesting song to sequel, because I never really thought about what it must feel like to be the dad in that situation. I think you hit it right on the head, or at least that's probably how I'd feel. It was a good entry, the only thing that drops this in my rankings is I felt it lacked energy. In the chorus I thought it needed more 'pick me up' if that makes any since at all? If it doesn't...just ignore my review...I'm only an alternate after all.

(EDIT: It was brought to my attention by 2 individual in ArtiFicition that Stacy's dad walked out in the first song, and could be a problem considering he's with her in the sequel. I personally have no problem assuming he came back into the picture at some point. People get back together all the time, and you pretty much have to make assumptions in filling in the gaps between original & sequel at times. This wasn't too big of a stretch for me, and didn't affect my rankings.)
Challenge: Met

Steve Durand (Miranda)
Sequel Of: "Fernando" by ABBA
Of all the originals I had to listen to...that was my least favorite. I won't hold it against you though. :p Nothing (aside from the horns) stood out for me with this track. As far as being a sequel you did as well as most, but I'm not finding a reason to bump this up really high in what's a very competitive round. I fear you might be eliminated.
Challenge: Met

Duality (Mars Ain't The Kind Of Place)
Sequel Of: "Rocket Man" by Elton John
It's no secret I like to sing these entries...if I can. I can sing this, but it's no FUN to sing. (for me) It feels like a long long time, and the original (being about the same length) didn't feel long. As a sequel I think you did a fine job (doesn't need to be the same style), but just as something I'd like to listen to on my MP3 player...not so much. It's a pretty song, but halfway through it I'm ready for a change.
Challenge: Met

Common Lisp (Science 'In The Service Of Beauty')
Sequel Of: "She Blinded Me With Science" by Thomas Dolby
I definitely hear a lot of references to the original. My only real problem with this song is the spoken word sections. They seem to drag, and leave me just waiting for the singing to start again. (did I just say that about Paul?) Those sections just seem to put everything on hold, and it's an unwelcome interruption when someone is ENJOYING the song. Overall nice work, but I fear for you in what was a tough round.
Challenge: Met

Danny Blackwell (Like A Family)
Sequel Of: "Wannabe" by The Spice Girls
The music isn't even close to the original, but in this case it's probably a good thing. Nothing against the Spice Girls, but this story is about getting away from that Spice Girls lifestyle, so a total change in music makes perfect sense to me. I thought the dark twist at the end was funny, and overall it was a solid entry. The high quality entries this round & your production problems will probably keep it lower in the rankings.
Challenge: Met

Ben Walker (When I'm A Hundred And Two)
Sequel Of: "When I'm Sixty-Four" by The Beatles
Loved it, and I'm not the only one. A number of people where searching various charts for a cover that slipped into the top 20. Unfortunately we didn't find anything, because we didn't want to DQ this. As the requirements have been posted...we can't really do anything but DQ it though. I just wanna thank you for submitting it, and I hope you stick with the contest by posting shadow entries & following along in the future.
Challenge: Not Met


Duality (Today)
Sequel Of: "Yesterday" by The Beatles
Ok, for some reason the vocals aren't together? This distracts me...and annoys me. If there was a way for me to turn off Joe...or Denise...and listen to this with just 1 vocalist...I think I'd like it...A LOT. Nice work with meeting the challenge, and with that one change this could have been way up on my list...you know...if it wasn't a shadow.
Challenge: Met

Danny Blackwell (La Reina)
Sequel Of: "El Rey" by Jose Alfredo Jimenez
I have no idea how to review this since I didn't understand a word of the original. I like your performance, but I have no idea if you met the challenge. Oh, and the end was pretty cool.
Challenge: Met...maybe...maybe not?

David Ritter (Cage Of Love)
Sequel Of: "Every Breath You Take" by The Police
I'm so glad you decided to shadow, because this creepy ass song is my favorite shadow of the contest so far. Music rocked, made me laugh, and it's just fun. You met the challenge well, but with shadows I don't even care as much about that. This is just awesome.
Challenge: Met

JoAnn Abbott (Georgia Morning)
Sequel Of: "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" by Vicki Lawrence
Caleb Hines & Graham Porter did a great job of helping you out. I liked your extension of the story, but it's another song that felt long to me (and it wasn't). I'm glad to hear the layered vocals, it's another baby step forward, so nice work. Keep adding to your arsenal, and maybe you won't have to shadow round 2 next time.
Challenge: Met

Friday, October 29, 2010

Today's The Day To Give The Gift Of Music

Niveous & Eddiebangs started a cover fight that has turned into a Song Fight tradition. It involves giving people the gift of...well music. There are some prizes that include donations to charitable organizations, so if you're looking to spread a little holiday joy...check it out and maybe participate.

Details of the project can be found on the Audio Shards Blog, and there's a discussion thread over on the Song Fight Forums.

Today's The Day by Paul Potts (Inverse T. Clown cover)
As you may have guessed from the title...we have a new cover of Spintown's favorite song. If you want to cover this song; you can find the original MP3, sheet music & other covers by visiting: todaysthedaycovers.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Song Fight Review: Crashing Car, Awarding Stars

The last challenge over at Song Fight was titled "You Believed It Yourself", and I predicted that King Arthur would win. I was wrong but very close, Longfellow Street got the win, and I had them ranked 2nd. There's a whole new batch of songs over at Song Fight, so I suggest you go pick your favorite songs for the current round. My picks are listed below.

Sometimes you see a prompt and think, "OOOOoooo, this should be a fun fight." Then there are others when you think, "What the hell are they thinking?" This current fight falls under that second example. Crashing cars makes you think demolition derby...tragic car wrecks...lives being suddenly altered...not all that bad really. But why throw in the second part which makes you think of getting gold stars in school or videogames? Separate neither would be terrible, but together it leaves little ways to make the prompt an integral part of the story. Honestly the only thing I thought made since was a bunch of songs about racing videogames (or drivers ED)...AND NONE OF YOU DID A MARIO KART SONG!?! WTF?!? *sigh* I expected very little after seeing the prompt...I got just that...

Voted For:
(Right Click "Save As" on the artist's name for a MP3 of their entry.)

Steve Durand - Ok...I think Steve found the perfect topic for his song. A march about the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency...didn't pop to my mind when I read the prompt, but it is the perfect fit. Topic aside, the song was just a lot of fun. It had me using my pen as a pretend baton at my desk. Very creative...best song this round. (Congrats on your 100th solo effort in Song Fight.)

Billy's Little Trip - This is the type of entry I expected. I think there's a few games that fit better than Grand Theft Auto, but honestly I don't play that game so I could be wrong. It was a fun song, vocals weren't great, but the videogame historian in me loves this kind of stuff. Well done.

(Head over to Song Fight to listen to these songs.)

MC Horse And The Handlers - It didn't make me want to turn it off after 30 seconds... I've enjoyed it a little more each time I've listened (just 3 times). I'd love it if you posted the lyrics in the "Ye Olde Lyric Archive". This almost got a vote...just missed.

DJ Superstar Satan - It's a sad day when an instrumental is my 4th favorite song in a fight. I liked the car horns...could have used some more car sound effects though & nothing made me think of 'awarding stars'. I think some different sound effects were needed toward the end, as it got dull & repetitive...but in this fight dull & repetitive gets you 4th...so yaaaaayyy?

Side Notes:
Poor prompts don't have to make poor songs, but they sure don't help make great fights.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Cartoon Medley

I'm a sucker for TV theme songs, so I saw this & had to post it. The cartoons in the medley are listed under the video.

DuckTales - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Animaniacs - Inspector Gadget - Ghostbusters - Digimon - Darkwing Duck - ThunderCats - Raggy Dolls - TaleSpin - The Addams Family - Bamse - Scooby Doo - The Smurfs - Winnie the Pooh - Denver The Last Dinosaur - Dexter's Laboratory - BraveStarr - Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers - Tiny Toon Adventures - Adventures Of The Gummi Bears - The Moomins - Sonic SatAm - My Little Pony - Flintstones - Transformers - Dr Snuggles - Donald Duck

The Office Theme Song
Rusty Cage also posted a theme today, so I figured I'd throw it in.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How Music Artist Enslaves Themselves

Droppin Knowledge: Yung Guru (Jay-Z's Top Producer) Breaks Down How Music Artist Enslaves Themselves! (The Pitfalls Of Being On A Major Label) - Original Video Description

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spintown Interviews...Kata Hay

Kata Hay is a singer/songwriter who is using YouTube to share her bubbly personality, while bringing a little country to the interwebs.

Music By: Sammy Kablam
Opening Animation By: "Buckethat" Bobby Matheson
Len Peralta Will Flip Your Face At: Flip Face

Kata's Profile:
Kata's Website: http://www.katahay.com/
Kata's YouTube Channel: kataandtheblaze
Channel Views: 194,838
Total Upload Views: 1,400,457
Joined: April 28, 2008
Subscribers: 11,612
Kata's Twitter: @katahay
Kata's Wikipedia Entry: More Info
You can find a lot of great songs from Kata on I-Tunes as well.

Thank You


Unstable with Robbie Helton

Angel Lisa Lavie cover

Walk With You Baby with Katie Davis


Sunday, October 17, 2010

SpinTunes #2 Round 1 Review

For those of you that haven't checked out the "SpinTunes" page of this blog...SHAME ON YOU! In short, it is the home of an online songwriting contest that I run. The 2nd SpinTunes contest started a couple weeks ago. On BandCamp, you can listen to (and download) ALL the songs from the first round for FREE. There's a permanent link to the contest right up above.

Now on to MY review of round 1:

As an alternate judge, I'll be doing reviews each round just in case a regular judge cannot complete their job. This round the judges only officially DQed 1 person for not meeting the challenge. I think everyone else met the challenge, with only a few walking a fine line of focusing too much on things other than their hometown. So in this round how well you met the challenge won't be as big a factor for me as it has in the past...but it is a factor.

If you haven't read my reviews in the past...I usually keep them simple. I'm not a musician, I know little of music, and just know what I like when I hear it. Often I can't even tell you why I like or dislike something. Yeah, I probably shouldn't be running a songwriting contest...or a music & dance blog. :P

I'll tell you what I tend to like in songs, hopefully that's helpful in some way. I don't like ambiguous lyrics, I like easy to follow stories. I don't like having to research a song just to know what it's about. I like humorous songs & songs that I can sing along with. (so it helps if I can understand your lyrics) Remember, even though it's called a songwriting contest...production & performance count.

These are ordered from favorite to least favorite, with reviews of the shadow songs at the very bottom. Please forgive me if I get repetitive with the feedback. Having no music background makes describing why I feel something for a song difficult at times.

Thank you to EVERYONE who submitted a song.

Zarni De Wet (Where I'm Gonna Go) - Well crap...I already said Rebecca had my favorite song... Ok, that's still true, but you're getting the highest ranking. You would think all the "gonna gonna go" stuff would get annoying (or at least make you need to tinkle), but I listened over & over...it never did. (for me at least) I loved the picture you painted, and the song itself was just purdy & catchy. The people on Twitter who told you that a good song is more important than top notch production...can now say, "I told you so."
Challenge: Met

Mitchell Adam Johnson (London) - I gotta say, whoever this Nicole Wilder chick is...you're lucky to have her provide vocals. I was into this song the entire time. It was light, bouncy, descriptive & fun to sing. For the first half of the song I'm sure most listeners aren't sure if it's about a place or person...but you get that across later in the song.
Challenge: Met

Edric Haleen (Lansing, Michigan) - Good thing I don't mind a little fiction in these songs. Everyone knows that any 1 city in Ohio is 10 times better than Lansing, Michigan. I think Edric decided to go acapella just so he could perform 4 times as much. Either way this work of fiction was a lot of fun. (singable x4) All the jokes hit with me, and this will end up near the top on my list I'm sure.
Challenge: Met (walked the line with the Ohio crack)

Ross Durand (From There) - Awesome harmonica. This is about what I expect from you, and I can see you being in the final round yet again. It's catchy, well produced, well performed & I can't find any faults worth mentioning.

Rebecca Brickley (Here) - This is my favorite song of the round. The ONLY reason it isn't in the top spot is because you walked the line. This song is about a relationship as much as it is about the hometown. Walking the line isn't always a bad thing, but you damn near crossed over. I can't knock it too much though (it wasn't DQ'ed so technically it met the challenge), but you fell a few spots for it.
Challenge: Met (walked a line while drunk & wearing roller skates)

Brian Gray (South Bend Aid) - Loved it...and I noticed no Ohio cities were put down...smart man this Mr. Gray. The music is only so-so, but lyrically you had me rolling.
Challenge: Met (walked a fictional line)

Austin Criswell (Mount Holly) - The joke was already made at the LP, but I just have to say you basically wrote 2 songs. The sweet song about going back to your hometown, and a dirty little bit of audio porn. :p This doesn't focus much on the town, but more on your feelings of that town...which in my book is fine. Mounting Hol...sorry...Mount Holly is still pivotal to the song. Your voice is amazing, and I wanna Mount Holly as well.
Challenge: Met

Ryan Ruff Smith (Golden Valley Sunday) - The Fred Astaire mention gets you points with me. This is going way up on my list but it's hard to say why. I just liked it...can it be that simple? I enjoy singing along even if the lyrics don't all hit with me. The mellow & relaxed feel of the song just hit the right spot with me somehow. It's well performed & produced...just...well done.
Challenge: Met

Ben Walker (Oxford) - This song had a chance at being my top pick. I've never been to Oxford, but I feel like I have been now. The one thing that I didn't like is the ending. I HATED it. I can see the similarities between the picture you painted & the fictional bar on TV. I still think taking 5 very famous lines from that theme song was a lame way to end a great song. It knocked you down my list.
Challenge: Met

Governing Dynamics (Stars Over Avalon) - I often have problems with your lyrics. In this case I loved them. I often have problems with your vocals, but recently the emotion you've expressed in your vocals have endeared me to your songs. In this case...it didn't happen. I think you mentioned you recorded the vocals early in the morning? Don't do that. :p With better vocals this could be...my favorite song I've heard from you. I can't really complain about anything else. A song this good shouldn't land you in the middle of the pack...but as I said production & performance both count with me.
Challenge: Met

Chris Cogott (Fairfield) - Musically this was rockin', and well produced. The performance was alright, but you've done much better. Lyrically it's hit & miss. It's very descriptive, but seems very random. I can't see you being in danger of elimination, but this is middle of the pack for me.
Challenge: Met

Steve Durand (In Paradise With You) - I dug the lyrics, and you sure know how to stand out in a crowd. It's not a favorite of the round, but definitely nowhere near the bottom. I wanna see you team up with Molly Lewis for a uke duet just so I can watch Joe's head explode. :p
Challenge: Met

Common Lisp (Leaving Ann Arbor) - This is 2 different songs smashed into each other. Neither is bad (2nd is better), but I'd rather you pick 1 and run with it. Overall it's middle of the pack...but upper middle of the pack...it does stand out a bit. :p
Challenge: Met

wait WHAT (LBC) - I laughed at about 50% of the places I think I was supposed to. The gay bar with the upside down stools...old joke. I really liked the relaxing music & even the vocal performance. I'll admit I've been singing "LBC" a lot lately, but since the jokes didn't all hit with me the song felt empty. I think Godz Poodlz would be envious of you fitting your name into the song that many times.
Challenge: Met

Gweebol (Darktown) - Wow, another great singer, I love your pipes. Music is interesting & the production is good. Lyrics weren't in my breadbasket, but you should be safe (hoping you're safe) from elimination this round.
Challenge: Met

Danny Blackwell (A Song About Woodsetts) - The production, well it's purdy low. Bands are supposed to turn in files that meet BandCamp specs, but if for some reason they can't I'll work with them best I can. Danny turned in a YouTube video (same one embedded in the blog)...and we all know how great the audio is on YouTube. So I had to rip the video, and well that probably didn't help things. Even with the low production value I can hear a good song in there. He gave me a pretty good picture of his town & his childhood. The vocals were solid, but I'd love to hear them under better conditions. They almost lull me to sleep during the slow parts (relaxing, not boring), but the song always picks up in time to keep me engaged.
Challenge: Met

Duality (To The End Of The World) - This is my favorite collab from Denise & Joe so far. The reason it's not higher on my list is because that's not a big achievement since I've pretty much panned their collabs in the past (while liking A LOT of their individual songs). This is the first song of theirs that will have a life on my MP3 player after the contest. Some of the lyrics, especially toward the end don't really hit with me. The piano & vocals were great, but nothing really stuck with me. (needs hook) Probably middle of the pack material...from my pov at least.
Challenge: Met

Heather Miller (Fairfield) - There's what seems to be an occasional glitch in the mix. Like right at 1:16 there's some little beep? Not bad it just needs polish. I think you did a better job than most in describing your town, and the song overall pretty good. I think it's my favorite song that I've heard from you so far. I hope it earns you a spot in round 2.
Challenge: Met

Ominous Ride (San Francisco) - Some of your lines really worked for me, while others seemed pretty random. I'm unsure of how I feel about the vocals & guitar...even though I've listened to this song 6-7 times now. The environmental backgrounds at the beginning & end was a nice touch. This makes me want to hear more from you, but it's not enough to put you real high in my rankings.
Challenge: Met
(judges mix is different from bandcamp version)

Charlie McCarron (Stillwater MN Air) - To me this was a lot like Duality's entry. It didn't give me anything to hold on to, and I had to really focus to follow along. Might be my favorite vocals from Charlie so far, and it wasn't a bad song. Unfortunately it didn't stand out from the pack.
Challenge: Met

The Boffo Yux Dudes (It's My Hometown, Syracuse, Baby!) - The overlapping vocals killed this for me. Other than that I had no major issues with the song. It didn't really stick out though either. You sure listed a shit load of things about Syracuse, I'm sure everyone from the area could connect with numerous lines.
Challenge: Met

Inverse T. Clown (The Pinpoint Accurate Telling Of The Origin Of Salem, OH) - I was talking to a close friend of Inverse awhile back (very close), and he pretty much described the song for me. Imagine Johnny Cash is half asleep in history class...this is the type of thing he might be dreaming of. The challenge doesn't say you can't use fiction as long as it's still about your hometown. This was definitely a risky move...love it or hate it type move. I personally didn't mind the fiction since it's blended with actual history of the town. The reason this song dropped down on my list is that I can't really connect with the crazy ass characters in any way. It's just flat out too weird for me. Performance, and everything else is alright...but next time I strongly suggest sending notes along with your song if it's going to be that far out in left field.
Challenge: Met (walked a fictional line)

Charlie Wolf (I Love LA) - I think I mentioned I like clear stories...this isn't one. Performance wise it's fine, but lyrically it does nothing for me.
Challenge: Met (walked a 2 minute line)

Russ Rogers (Song For St. Michael) - Production is really bad, but I know Russ about ran out of time. It's a get it done NOW or miss the deadline type of deal...and something is better than nothing if you want a chance to compete in round 2. I think you could have a REALLY rough draft of a solid song. Needs something to mix it up a bit, it's really repetitive. But I have a feeling I'm not going to tell you anything you don't know since it's a rush job.
Challenge: Met

Emperor Gum (Cheltenham) - It felt like someone reading me a grocery list over the intercom at McDonald's. It's not your singing, but your recording. I've knocked you for your production value in the past, and I've seen a couple steps forward, but you seem to have stayed in place here. You've put a lot of your town in this song, but work more of a story into it as well.
Challenge: Met

JoAnn Abbott (Not In Copiague) - JoAnn got a lot of praise in SpinTunes #1. She doesn't really play any instruments, and was new to the whole competition thing. (not to mention her tech issues) So she over came a lot, and earned some respect. The respect isn't going anywhere, but the praise taking a leave of absence. Vocals alone just ain't gonna cut it, and you really need to be branching out to learn how to make your own music. I know you had plans that fell through, someone else was going to provide music for you. But that's what happens when you have to rely on others in a contest with tight time constraints. Not trying to be harsh, but you earned the praise in SpinTunes #1, now you need to bring it up a level if you want more...from me at least. I don't know if it'll be in time to save you in round 2 (if you get there), but I have faith you can take it to another level.

As is without music this song feels 5 minutes long...and it's not. Lyrically it's not bad, but you've got 2 major challenges ahead of you. Making your own music & learning how to produce a song. I really do wish you luck.
Challenge: Met
(judges mix is different from bandcamp version)

Swatshots (Level) - Couldn't understand your vocals. That fact alone will put you at the bottom of my list every single time. If you remove the vocals...the music was dark & menacing. I wanted to play "Twisted Metal Black" on my PS3 with this music playing.
Challenge: Met

David Ritter (Fired) - This quote is your description of your own song off your website:
"This song is about a guy who gets fired from his IT job and get’s kind of excited to get to play with his ‘toys’.
Even more excited is he to wipe his computer so not to let management gain knowledge off of him to do his work once he is gone."
I wanted to share that because apparently even you know this isn't a song about your hometown. The challenge does say that you have to use the name of your hometown in the song. You did that, but it's still not ABOUT your hometown. This isn't a bad entry, but it is the only one the judges decided to DQ as a group. So it has to go at the bottom of all the rankings. Sorry.
Challenge: Not Met


Duality (I Just Can't Find A Virgin) - This doesn't hit the challenge square between the eyes as much as your regular entry, but honestly I like it more. You know how I said your other song was the best you've done together (IMHP)....well now I'm saying this one is. And THIS one would have been higher on the list...in the top 10 somewhere. It does get a little repetitive, so I'd cut out a few lines at the end, but I'm probably nitpicking.
Challenge: Met

via Satellite (From Home) - I think I've complained about vocal effects in a couple of Kylie's previous songs. In this one she sound great...when you can hear her. The music over powers Kylie in this mix. The music ain't bad, and honestly I bet it's an easy fix for them. My biggest gripe is the lyrics. (read the start of the review) Not a bad effort, and if they had made the deadline they might have moved on to round 2.
Challenge: Met

Bram Tant (Living In The Countryside) - I liked the guitar, and the fact that you took risks (lyrics). One of your better efforts thus far, and next time you need to stop making excuses and sign up by the deadline. I can see some disliking it for a few of the lines...but that's what happens when you take risks...some will love it, others hate it. Overall it would have been a middle of the pack song.
Challenge: Met

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Fresh Prince Project

I recently heard about "The Fresh Prince Project" and thought it was a great idea. In short this guy wrote a song about every episode from season 1 of "The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air". I listened to 6-7 of the songs on his BandCamp album, and the music wasn't really for me. Cool idea...just not my type of music. Now if only someone would do the same for "MacGyver"....

Friday, October 15, 2010

Triple Rainbow Awesome Experience

Many of you probably know I'm a fan of Mike Lombardo's music. I first heard of him when he competed in "Masters Of Song Fu", and I later joined an online community called "Too Much Awesome" that he co-founded with Jeff MacDougal. Well Mike is currently on tour, and one of the stops was in my neck of the woods. The tour is called "Triple Rainbow Awesome", and Mike is performing with a number of other musicians. The performance I was able to go to was in Lebanon, Ohio. On this leg of the tour ALL CAPS, Jason Munday & Alex Carpenter were also performing. So I figured I'd give my thoughts on the experience.

Before I start there is a couple things you should know about me. I DON'T like concerts...for the most part. I don't like going to a movie theater because of people talking & moving about...I don't like concerts for the same reason. I'm also not good in new environments...I'm a person of routine who likes the familiar. I'm not really scared, but just uncomfortable most of the time.

This performance was a house party, which was much better than a larger venue with more people making more noise. I was still fairly uncomfortable since I didn't know ANYONE there, and I was probably the only one to NEVER read a Harry Potter book. Matter of fact I've only seen 2 of the movies...and I didn't like them. Despite the difference between myself & the audience, (I think I was the oldest one there not escorting a kid) from what I could tell everyone there was pretty dang cool. They were mostly young high school kids, but they were very nice & respectful. They seemed to be very bright kids as well, who were THRILLED to be there.

The show was scheduled to start at 6PM, but because of traffic problems it got started much later. I don't think I heard 1 complaint, so props again to the fans. When the musicians finally pulled in, I stayed out of the way while they said hello to the home owner & set up their equipment. I had wanted to make a name tag with "Spintown" on it, so I could see how long it would take Mike to notice me (we had not met in person up to this point). I forgot to make one, but noticed my goof when I saw @philosoraptor_ wearing some. Thankfully I then remembered I had a couple Spintown business cards in my wallet (WIN). So after the performances I planned to hand one to Mike as I said hello.

The first performer was Jason Munday. I'm not all that familiar with his work, but I did know who he was & I've seen a couple of his videos. Since I know little of the Potterverse, some of his songs didn't make much sense to me lyrically. Besides that I did think his songs were catchy & he performed VERY well live. He impressed me for sure. "California Dorks" was my favorite Munday performance.

Next up was Mike Lombardo (he also performed with Jason a little). Mike was what I expected...great. I enjoyed all the originals he played. I think my favorite song was "I Found You"...which he wrote for Song Fu. "Abby Never" & "Hey Molly" were also stellar. He did a good job with an NSync cover...but I'm not really an NSync guy. Judging from the discussions I had with people...and my ease dropping...I think most of the people came for the wizard rock. Hopefully they left wanting more piano rock.

Third up was Alex Carpenter. I honestly didn't know who he was until a week or so before the concert. He seems like a nice guy (they all seemed nice), and he had more energy than everyone else. He rmade the most effort to get the crowd involved. He had 99% of people singing along to "Reaping Day" (I don't sing :p ), and it was a lot of fun even if I hadn't read "The Hunger Games"...which is what the song is about.

The last to take the stage...err...living room...was ALL CAPS. I knew who Kristina & Luke were beforehand, and have watched & featured some of their videos in the past. They started off doing some acoustic numbers & they seemed a bit uncomfortable. When they started the electronic music they seemed to gain a lot of confidence. They finished strong with "Don't Unplug Me".

Right after ALL CAPS, it was time for the merch table rush. As I waited for the first group of fans to get their must have items I passed Mike who was talking with a couple people. When there was a break I said hello & handed him the card. He knew who I was after that. We talked very briefly & he was nice enough to have someone take a picture of us with his i-Phone. I then hit the merch table, and got a "Songs For A New Day" CD & a poster (they all signed it - thanks everyone). I figured they would stay & chat for awhile, and they probably did, but I left after I hit the merch table. Did I mention I don't like new environments? I'd have liked to have stayed & chatted, but I figured the kids would probably get a bigger thrill from that anyways.

Overall it was a good experience, and the musicians all gave the audience a fun night to remember. I'll include a few pictures below.

Special thanks to Monica for letting them use her house. She was a very gracious host who probably could have used a babysitter since it was such a busy night for her. But she managed to handle things very well.

Sorry about the picture quality. I hoped to get a video camera...but that didn't happen. Then I hoped to borrow a regular camera, but there was no memory card for the one I managed to get. So I planned on using the terrible camera on my phone...but my charger broke. Last resort was my Nintendo DSiXL. I almost turned on Mario Kart so I could wave it in the air during one of Jason's songs that had a lot of gamer references.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011

I really enjoyed following this project last year, hopefully it turns out just as well this time.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Young Man With A Horn (1950)

Nothing about this film really grabbed me. The story was based on a true story, but that didn't make it all that new or entertaining. Young musician falls in love with music & has an great mentor. Falls in love with wrong girl & mentor dies after an some unkind things are said. Musician goes into a horrible tailspin. Musician is saved by a friend & another girl, then regains form...the end. I'm sure it was more 'fresh' back in 1950, but it still didn't really work for me.

It stars Kirk Douglas, Doris Day & Lauren Bacall. Doris plays the sweet & caring role she normally gets, and does a fine job. Lauren's character is so annoying that it puts me off any time she is on screen. Kirk does a pretty good job, but his character is even more annoying than Lauren's whenever they share screen time. He's totally blinded & whipped...nothing worse than a pussy whipped man.

The only supporting actors worth mentioning would be Juano Hernandez (plays the mentor) & Hoagy Carmichael (plays Kirk's friend & acts as the narrator). Both give really good performances...probably better than the leads. I'll embed a few of the musical number I liked below, but the most entertaining part of the movie was reading the IMDb trivia....which I'll include below the videos.

I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Wonderful) by Doris Day

The Very Thought Of You Sung by Doris Day with Harry James on trumpet

Get Happy Played by Hoagy Carmichael & Harry James

Fun Facts:
Doris Day wrote that she was unhappy making this film, which brought back stressful memories of her early career as a band singer, and also because Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall seemed to intentionally shut her out, making her feel unwelcome.

Kirk Douglas's trumpet licks were performed by Harry James.

Even while married to pinup-girl Betty Grable, Harry James was notorious for his womanizing. Peter Levinson, in his biography of James ("Trumpet Blues") notes that during the filming of this movie, James contacted Doris Day's manager to ask what he thought were James' chances of "nailing" Doris. - IMDb
Lauren Bacall & Kirk Douglas did have a relationship prior to the making of this movie. Lauren is in large part responsible for Kirk's break into Hollywood.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I've seen a few projects use this site to get funding, and it seems like a really cool idea. Saw this episode of Rocketboom awhile back, and thought I'd share it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

TMA Podcast Episode 24

Mike Lombardo & Jeff MacDougall talk with Mike "Jonesy" Jones in the new TMA podcast. You can download the episode by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

SuperNote 2010

I thought the first SuperNote was pretty entertaining, so I look forward to seeing who wins this year. If you are not familiar with SuperNote, you can find out more on the "Rules & Standings" page. You should also watch the video below.

I watch a number of the people competing this year: David Choi, iJustine, DeStorm, Michael Buckley & Shay Carl. But I think I'll be cheering for Rhett & Link or the Vlogbrothers to win.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Song Fight Review: You Believed It Yourself

The last challenge over at Song Fight was titled "We Do All The Style", and I predicted that Ross Durand would win. I was wrong, Ross took second, and Guitarotica got the win. There's a whole new batch of songs over at Song Fight, so I suggest you go pick your favorite songs for the current round. My picks are listed below:

Voted For:
(Right Click "Save As" on the artist's name for a MP3 of their entry.)

King Arthur - I grew up baptist, and been around the church most of my life. One thing I've always disliked were TV ministers...I'm sure there are good ones out there, but most of them are so over the top & fake I can't stand them. The song was well written & performed, and told an interesting story while using the prompt better than most.

Longfellow Street - Loved the performance, and it's something over half of Americans can relate to. :p Just a fun song that painted a picture I could see clear as day.

Cock - This is not really my style of music...so you deserve extra props for this song. I enjoyed every second of it...music, lyrics, performance...you name it. Well done.

Steve Durand - I think this song could have pulled the heart strings a bit more. The end definately felt sad, but I didn't get that feeling all the way through. Still, I enjoyed the story & use of the prompt a lot. Well done.

(Head over to Song Fight to listen to these songs.)

Bad Boys at Bat Mitzvahs - Musically it was a lot of fun, but lyrically it didn't grab me. I thought the vocals were...alright...just at times they needed to be more clear. There were times when it seemed like you didn't finish words. I know some of it is just really quick, so it's probably difficult to make it all perfectly clear.

Berkelyn Social Scene - I might like this with another mix. As is, I struggle to make out the lyrics because the music drowns them out.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Songwriting Cycle 1

Awhile back I told you about a project that Edric Haleen was putting together called "A Songwriting Cycle". Well the project is finished, and it's time for my review. I can't really compare the songs to each other since they all had different challenges to meet, but I'll mention my favorite songs from the project below.

Jenny Katz (The Beautiful Break)

The Challenge: A song about one of the seven deadly sins.

This isn't a contest, but if it was...Jenny would have just laid the smackdown on everyone. Everyone dabbles in the 7 deadly sins from time to time, and this was a moving story told by a girl with a beautiful voice. Stop reading & start listing.

<a href="http://spintown.bandcamp.com/track/the-beautiful-break">The Beautiful Break by Spintown Tunes</a>

Ross Durand (You Chose Me)

The Challenge: A song from the perspective of your pet.

You made me get all misty eyed...damn you Mr. Durand.

<a href="http://spintown.bandcamp.com/track/you-chose-me">You Chose Me by Spintown Tunes</a>

Edric Haleen (The Ballad Of Procrustes)

The Challenge: A song from the point of view of a character from Greek Mythology.

As I mentioned, this was Edric's baby. He started the project, so I was expecting good things from his song. It would have looked bad for him to enter a stinker, but he stepped up. It was a fun song, and it was definitely "singable" (something I harp on Edric about sometimes).

I did like the song, but I did have a couple problems with it. The first issue I had wasn't really Edric's fault. I don't like having to look up background info on songs to fully understand them. Since I know nothing about Greek mythology, I had to wiki a couple things to fully understand the song. Not really hard, but still annoying. The second issue I had is his "big reveal'. Now let me just say that Edric brought this part on himself, because he kinda prides himself on the big reveal...or so it seems. Maybe it's just me, but I saw the ending coming a mile away. With anyone else I probably wouldn't have mentioned it, or cared...but like I said...this is Edric.

It may not seem like I liked the song, but it was in fact one of my favorites. I'm just nit-picking...because I can...

<a href="http://spintown.bandcamp.com/track/the-ballad-of-procrustes">The Ballad Of Procrustes by Spintown Tunes</a>

The Offhand Band (Do It 'Duet')

The Challenge: A duet that's not a love song.

Cute song about a 'worker' & 'player' having a conflict, but finding a middle ground that works for everyone. Sometimes whatever effect that was used for the vocals distracted me, but it was very enjoyable. I wouldn't mind adding this to one of my work CD's for when I do daycare jobs.

<a href="http://spintown.bandcamp.com/track/do-it-duet">Do It (duet) by Spintown Tunes</a>

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Monster Rap

Just for fun I went over to Jib Jab, and made a video featuring some of my favorite YouTubers. You should watch, and then go make your own video. (The video features: Kevin Nalty, Zack Scott, Michelle Vargas, Grace Helbig & Brent Black)

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Music In A New Landscape

I really enjoyed this episode of Rocketboom, so I thought I'd feature it today.