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Saturday, July 9, 2011

SpinTunes #3 Round 2 Review: David Santucci

Edric Haleen – What About Love
Very creative lyrics! Jammed full of content and abundantly clear what this song is about. Good use of syncopation and off-meter rhymes. Perhaps a little monotonous from a musical standpoint but that’s par for the course with most rap song so I don’t know that I would penalize you for it. My only major criticism is that it became difficult to hear the lyrics during the chorus when full instrumentation kicked in. Otherwise, a good clean recording; excellent job. By the way—this has no bearing on my judging of the song, but—I happen to agree with you 100% on this topic. Great job! I think you need to publish this song under a pseudonym on YouTube or somewhere where it can get the exposure it deserves. I understand your need for privacy given your profession, but I hope you will consider putting this out there as a contribution toward helping to reduce ignorance in the world.

The Offhand Band – Program Aids Food Stamp Users
Nice piano work, and you achieved a good, full sound with the instrumentation. I like your lively bass lines too. I liked the transition from the intro into the rest of the song. Clean recording, good clear vocals, no trouble hearing anything. Very optimistic feel, nice chord progressions. And no doubt what the story was about. Good job!

Gold Lion – Message for Vivian
I absolutely love your sound! It’s dank smoky goodness like a cup of hot cocoa, a blanket, and a cozy warm fire on a rainy day. You chose a pretty obscure news story, so unlike some other entries, I wasn’t able to pick out what this was about without looking at the link to the story. However, seeing what it was, your interpretation is awesome. Very mystical. I liked the use of the occasional discordant guitar twang, as if to emphasize the bittersweet aspect of this. Constructive criticisms: Occasionally (actually I think it was twice) the rhythm guitar lagged momentarily, could’ve been tighter. And during the chorus with the harmonies, the lyrics weren’t quite as clear; in the future you might consider turning the ambiance down just a notch on your vocal tracks when you stack them in harmony, just to aid in the clarity. You know what your lyrics are, but the listener doesn’t always, and I’m from the school of “people should never have to strain to understand what you’re singing.” Overall, excellent job! One of my favorites.

Jutze – Re: Your Oil
Hilarious and rockin! I like this a lot. Love the guitar sounds, especially the obnoxious distortion on the solo, went great with the insulting flavor of the song. Great use of stereo to give depth. Great balance on the mix, very clear and easy to understand the lyrics at all times. Creative and funny! Excellent job.

Dr. Lindyke – Prayer for Peace
Beautiful song, but the quality of the recording could’ve been better; undesirable amp/audio buzz was painfully noticeable at the beginning and at every pause thereafter. I found this distracting and had to make an effort to ignore it, and still wasn’t always able to. The song itself is haunting, sad, and forlorn, very appropriate for the subject at hand. Good job stacking your harmonies on the chorus; the lead vocal maintained prominence leading the other harmonies. Would score you much higher if the recording wasn’t smothered with the buzz.

Governing Dynamics – Cameras, Streetlights, and Things Worth Fighting For
I like the sound a lot, very catchy, relaxed and rockin at the same time. Lots of texture! Lead vocal a little too low in the mix when singing solo, and even occasionally when singing in unison; not easy to hear. Your lyrics are obscure, yet poetic. This is one of those songs that people could interpret a thousand different ways, and would then Google the song to try to find out what it was actually written about. The words are filled with so many potential meanings. Overall I liked it a lot, but would’ve liked it a lot more if I could’ve heard the lyrics more clearly.

Pat and Gweebol – The Story is Mine: Confession
Such a crisp, cheery sound! Very clean and clear, good job on the mix/engineering. The confidence projected in this song projects does justice to the courage of the author of the story you chose. Almost so happy it’s cheesy, but I think you found the right balance there. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Nice touch having the female vocals cover Lady Liberty. Can’t think of anything else to say except great job!

Alexa Polasky – Infidelity
The lyrics were good. But while I appreciate the simplicity of the instrumentation—or lack thereof—you chose, and the fact that this emphasized the “bare honest core of me” feeling you were going for here, I think I would’ve enjoyed this a little more if you had used a six string guitar and/or something else to get a slightly fuller sound. The sound of the ukulele in this song (and I hope I’m correct here; I’m not a string instrument connoisseur so that’s my best guess) just sounds a little inadequate to me. I can’t tell if it’s my imagination but at times I felt like one of your strings is just a hair out of tune. More than that though, just the quality of the sound of it seemed… cheap, for lack of a better word. Don’t get me wrong—I like the song itself very much, just wish it had a fuller sound.

Matt Walton – Take Your Placards Down to London
The droning buzz organ sound in the beginning was a big turn-off for me. Even when you added a second note, it didn’t help the monotony much. I was hoping that would be supplanted by something else later, and was disappointed when it wasn’t. It seems this song was intended to have the feel of a bagpipe-based Scottish military march from days of olde, which fits the theme of the teachers protesting well but seemed to make the song just go on too long. I liked your lyrics and the sound of the vocals, but having said that, it just didn’t quite have enough charm to outweigh the monotony of the droning, which made it, for me, not the most enjoyable entry. I would’ve enjoyed this much more if the droning sound would’ve been just for one verse and/or as an intro, and then more varied instrumentation introduced so that the overall sound was less monotonous while still preserving the stark, determined feel of a military march. I know that sounds tricky, and it certainly would be tricky to pull it off, but that’s the best feedback I can give you.

Godz Poodlz – Independence and Freedom for All
Nice sound! I like the use of the 80’s synth violin. Good mix, clean vocal tracks, crisp harmonies, good job. At first that minor third chord in your verses struck me kind of funny, but it grew on my by the end of the song. The only criticism I have is that I felt that maybe the sound was a little too light all the way through, and I would’ve liked maybe a more powerful low bass-filled drum fill here and there sprinkled in for contrast, or maybe even an instrumental section somewhere with more bass end. This is a very minor criticism, however. Overall this is a very well executed tune and a very enjoyable sound. Great lyrics too, and fascinating story you found there. The happy sound of your song only adds to the irony of the story. Good job!!

Chris Cogott – Welcome to Kabul
Wow. Dude. Just Wow. You produce such an amazingly full sound. Great balance between the various instruments, and great job keeping the vocal tracks clean. Your harmonies on the vocals are impeccable and your work with this song is unimpeachable. This gave me the same feeling of wonder that I got when I listened to the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album in headphones for the first time. You have so much creativity, inspiration, and talent as a songwriter and musician, and so much skill in execution as a recording artist, I really think you should be famous.

Inverse T. Clown – Something in the Air
I’m not a big fan of electronica in general—you could even say I’m an anti-fan of most of it—but this song is one of the exceptions. I can hear the work that went into this and I enjoyed it very much! The comical tone of your vocals worked really well with your lyrics and your tongue-in-cheek approach to the subject matter (and I’m a believer in UFOs, so don’t give me flack here people—it’s still fun to poke fun at UFO hysteria and this song does it very well). Good rhythms and variety. One of the reasons I don’t like most electronica is that it’s too dang monotonous and redundant. Your song had enough changes and/or unique events in it to keep me interested and entertained the entire way through. Very easy to understand all the lyrics too. Good job!

Caleb Hines – Too Soon To Say Goodbye
Loved it. I wanted to be an astronaut as a kid—who didn’t?—and this song captured that young dream and the sadness of the end of the shuttle program beautifully. Good job on the harmonies on the vocals! Clean, clear recording, very full sound, good job. I liked the use of the radio filter on the voice to take us back to 1969 as if in distant memory, and nice how you brought it full circle at the end. Good catchy sentimental tune!

Matt and Donna – A Tight Spot
Odd combination of the country-like beat & feel with the synth flute/recorder sound, kind of gave the song a little bit of a cheesy and “cheap” feel for me. Would’ve preferred a different instrument for that lead melody part. Cute take on the story though, and otherwise all of your instrumentation and sound were really enjoyable. Creative way to tell the story too.

Wait What – Bunny Please Don’t Go
Very funny choice for the story. I laughed at some of your lyrics! Good driving feel; it expressed the brooding feel of the story from Hugh’s point of view very nicely. There were a couple times where the male & female vocals combined clashed just for a moment when singing in unison – be careful of that in the future. That’s about the only criticism I can think of though, enjoyed it a lot!

Ross Durand – The American Way
As always, your witty, insightful look at things came through brilliantly. Good flow, nice chord changes. Good full sound with minimal instrumentation; this is not easy to do, but you did it very well. (Which means your recording/mixing/engineering is good, in addition to your guitar playing.) It’s hard to do a minimalist and/or folk style without sounding cheap or too “light” in overall texture, and you do a great job at avoiding that common pitfall in this style. Like the sound very much, like the somewhat raw/loose vocal style, and I love the creativity of your lyrics. Good job!

Steve Durand – When Frankie and Johnnie Get Married
Your use of brass is very impressive! (And I’m a brass player myself.) The overall circus/march/oom-pa-pa feel didn’t really thrill me. It was fun, and funny, and as a comic commentary piece it was fine, but the overall style and feel was maybe a bit too silly sounding, for lack of a better description. Your musicianship and songwriting are very skilled though, so I don’t want you to think I didn’t like it. Just maybe a little out of place in contemporary times? I don’t want to sound like a snob and say the sound isn’t “cool” enough, but I guess that’s one way you could look at how this song rubbed me. I liked it overall though.

Happi – Double the Fetish
Very 80’s feel – I like that! During the choruses though, when you had the dual vocals in unison, I found it to be a little discordant; either a harmony, or more on the same pitch, might’ve been a little easier on the ears. However, in the 80’s style this isn’t really a major flaw, maybe I’m being a little nitpicky. Overall, this was a funny choice of stories and your song was pretty funny, but didn’t grab me the way some other entries did. Crude, but funny.

Charlie McCarron – The Mountain Will Not Yield
Great subtle use of backup vocals and brass for lots of texture. I liked this a lot! Your sound went very well with the tragic story. Good clear vocals, great job achieving a balanced mix. Interesting, different chord changes, really well crafted piece all the way around. Good dynamics, very effective use of peaks and valleys in intensity.

Jon Eric – North Dakota
Good mixing/engineering. I like the sound, but not enough for a song this long. Sorry, I just have to be honest. Your voice in this song at times has a somewhat whiny quality, which is fine, and I’m not saying I don’t like your voice, it’s just a little much for a tugging-at-heartstrings song like this to go on for over nine minutes. I loved the fact that you threw some whistling in, and your whistling is better than the average, but to be honest when you did the whistling harmony it wasn’t spot-on. I would avoid doing that in the future. As an avid whistler, I can tell you from experience, being a little off key occasionally is usually not too noticeable, EXCEPT when you do whistling harmonies, and then it sticks out like a sore thumb and it can quickly detract from a song more than it adds. (Your main whistle was good, the harmony part, not so much.) While I enjoy your piano playing, choice of chords, and overall feel, in the future if you’re going to do a multi-part song this long (or over 5 minutes, let’s say) you might want to throw in more variation than you did, and by this I don’t mean so much chord, tempo, and rhythm changes, I mean instrumentation and feel. A song this long has to keep the listener interested the entire way through, and this was a little too much of the same overall sound throughout for a song this long. Big risk going this long, and I give you points for bravery, but in my opinion it didn’t quite pay off. Overall, it’s not a bad song; it’s good but with the important exceptions noted.

Alex Carpenter – The Last Launch
Good head-boppin’ tune! Good full sound with minimal instrumentation. I liked your catchy, memorable lyrics. Not overly cerebral or complicated, just really to the point and catchy. The overall sound of the song did a good job of capturing the angst of saying goodbye to the space program. Good job! Good recording too, very crisp and clear.


  1. I've witnessed UFO activity, myself; this wasn't merely mockery of the claims. I just find it completely silly when people call the police about them. I also think invasion theories are completely stupid, so it seemed a good route for a topic I was certain no one else would tackle.

    Glad I could thwart your dislike of 8-bit.

  2. Very cool... I have always envied those who have witnessed a UFO first hand. (Although I don't want them to get TOO close... If you know what I mean.) I agree too, what the heck are the police going to do about it? I would report it to MUFON or something, but not the po' po'.