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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Spintunes #4 Round 1 Review: Peter Coffin

Governing Dynamics - Fear Nothing
Intro feels a bit long, but the song itself is really good. Has a Damon Albarn feel in the voice and writing style, definitely enjoyed that. Chorus is a bit more pop-oriented, which was actually a pleasant surprise. Guitar solo area of song was great, but the song ends up running just a bit long. Still great, though.

FauX - Sleep
Song itself is interesting, but the vocals feel a bit weak. It’s not the vocal style, which is actually interesting to me. I feel like the singer could have benefited from doing a few more takes, because it sounds like he could have pulled it off. His voice isn’t weak or anything, just not quite there. Song starts out one way and goes another, which I enjoyed, was very interesting.

Dex01 - Let Me Out
Dex01 suffers from the same vocal problem as FauX, albeit a bit worse; I’m pretty sure the singer is capable of better. Composition is a bit The Who and a bit The Offspring, I enjoyed the writing and the music and the complete change in the middle.

Hazen Nester - An Indelible Mark
This song is a wonderful example of a modern folk song. Great storytelling and the sound effects and news readings really work. Very much enjoyed. If the storytelling wasn’t great, I’d say the song needed to evolve more during the course of it, but it absolutely doesn’t need to. Hazen’s lyrics make this a well-rounded, great song.

Rebecca Angel - Monster's Lullaby
Smooth voice, and a good example modern lyric writing in a more traditional-style song. Piano is pretty. Voice put on around 1:40 kind of weirded me out a bit, but the singing/writing is still good. Harmonies oddly enough made me think of Tenacious D sometimes, which I know is an inappropriate comparison but it did pop up in my head.

David LeDuc - Nightmare
Definitely a favorite, has a sort of medival minstrel feel to it. David understands that a song doesn’t need to keep going and going. If you’ve made your point, you stop. I really liked it.

Noah McLaughlin - Always Someone's Monster
Voice needs training, honestly. Its not a bad voice, and the song is interesting but sometimes it just distracted me. The lyrics are not bad, but honestly this one disappoints me. The ideas are good but I just don’t feel it came together. Feels rushed, perhaps it was. Perhaps more time would have made this a good song but as it stands, I probably won’t give it a second listen.

Felix Frost - Rust People
This song is gloriously strange, and I mean that in an entirely endearing manner. I love it, the voice is well done, layered and sang with conviction. Honestly I loved this. I will listen to more Felix Frost because of this song.

Jacob Haller - The Maze
Singing is out of tune, but it comes off in a Lou Reed “it’s supposed to be this way, now fuck off” way. Which I like. The music is awesome, blues that sounds electronic without really being that electronic. The midi accordion solo detracted a lot, though, it was too loud and didn’t really start making sense until about half though.

Common Lisp - Falling: A Nightmare In Three Acts
Not intending to be mean, but this sounds like a weirdo singing a church song. Just couldn’t get into it.

Brian Gray - Just A Dream
This song is fantastic in concept and melody, but it sounds awful. I enjoyed the hell out of it, I laughed at it, I feel like it could be a hit even. That is the first time I thought that on this list. It is really just not well-executed though, I mean it could be a lot worse but this song needs a producer and badly. Still, this is SO far beyond catchy and fun. Honestly almost made me tear up a bit. I completely love the sentiment.

Edric Haleen - Sweet Dreams
This sounds like an interlude in a musical meant to evoke something that pretty much fails. The singing and production are both good, but honestly I was actually upset by the end of it. What the hell is the point of this? Congratulations on completely re-using lyrics from 1765. Do something original next time.

Rosalind - Where's The Buzzing?
Maybe I just have no patience left after Sweet Dreams, but I didn’t like this one either. I don’t dislike jazz or anything, but I really just didn’t like the vocal performance that was pretty obviously done in one take just before the deadline. If it wasn’t done in that fashion, I don’t want to know, because I don’t want to think someone submitted that vocal performance looking away from the mic, getting close, randomly, just having no control over the volume. Just too artsy fartsy without the chops to back it up, really.

Gold Lion - Lady In Blue
I wouldn’t really change much about this, except maybe add some instrumentation, I think that is kind of a taste difference, though. I know a lot of people prefer just the guitar, I don’t. It’s a good song though.

Jess Scherer - Taken
Very pretty sound in the instrumentation, very full. The voice is good as well. I like the dark theme, the sound reminds me of “Return to Oz” by Scissor Sisters, one of my all time favorites. Has a bit of a dark, mystical feel. Would be at home in The Neverending Story. That kind of thing, and its done well. I’d have personally added a band at the second verse, but was never bored.

Jim Holmquist - Old Dan Next Door
Needs more. I think this is a running theme in these songs, and I understand people have schedules but I feel like some things are good and they just don’t cut it due to sounding rushed. This is one.

Drei Viertel Drei - Lollipop Lady
Playful, but after 15 songs it is painfully obvious that everyone thinks they are unique making songs exactly like this. It just seems like a lot of people are going for the same thing, and I’m just kind of unimpressed with the lack of diversity in the songset. People are just like “night terrors? I’ll do something quirky!”

Emperor Gum - Posted
VERY boring. This is a rough draft of a song at best. If you want to enter a song contest, don’t enter something like this.

The Orion Sound - Nazi Nightmare
I laughed at this very hard. Brilliant lyrically and great musically, not the best production or soundwise, but its forgivable as its laughing.

Trader Jack - Big Brown Bear
This could benefit SO much from being made by a band. His vocals are oddly intriguing and the melody is cool. Sounds like it should be Led Zeppelin rather than a guy with an acoustic guitar, but very cool. I like it.

Kevin Savino-Riker - Thunder
This is a pretty song, like if 90s dudes with acoustic guitars weren’t douche bags. That is the best way I can describe it. I like his voice, I like the song, it actually is musically good rather than just a riff with someone singing something they think over it. There is a great flow.

Robert Borden - Funny Guy
Robert is good but his voice is off putting, when I realized it was a Robert and not a Roberta I was like “WHAT” - no offense as the song is good. I enjoyed it. Just took a minute grasping that is wasn’t a girl singing.

Menage A Tune - Haunting House
I’m sorry, it’s a good sounding song but I am seriously at this point sick of hearing quirky, “oh I bet this will haunt the Spintunes listeners!” songs. How do so many people submit so many songs that are almost the same thing? Haunting House is OKAY, but does it stand out in ANY way? No. 75% of these songs are similar and boring. Its to the point where I hear the intro then the voice come in and I’m just thinking “okay, another then.”

Marlon Barnes - Teeth
Marlon, do not submit stuff like this. Put some time into it. If you are going to wait until the last minute, just don’t submit. Take some time to develop the song beyond a few things, your lyrics are funny but you can’t just expect people to be like “well this sounds dull, maybe the lyrics are good!” It’s not going to happen.

Caleb Hines - Footprints
Just write poetry, you can’t write a unique sounding song. Your lyrics are nice, but the song is dull.

Chris Cogott - Alone
YES, other instruments. This song PROGRESSES and the guy has a fantastic voice - also isn’t trying to sound like a massive tool. The guitar solo is awesome, too. Drums coming in, things HAPPEN. This is an automatic standout just for that, but the song is actually great, to. This would be a standout in a group of unique songs. At times I get a David Gilmour - “On an Island” feel from it, which makes me happy.

Chris Tallman - Fear The Reaper
I know Chris via the Internet, I want to disclose that to anyone reading. I think the vocals are the strength of this song, because the guitar is honestly rather boring. Chris has a good voice and we get some changes throughout the song, which I appreciate. I feel like this would massively benefit from a band, it’s good but not great.

Steve Durand - It Isn't Cool
I really liked this one, thus far the only one with any brass instruments. Ragtime is not something I expected after a TON of bland, wannabe-quirky tunes, but it works and I really enjoy it.

Luke Brekke, Esquire - Alone
DUDE. NO. He doesn’t try to be proud by playing too loud, he doesn’t even try to sing in a fashion anyone will hear him in. This is so underdone. Take Esquire out of your name, it makes me even more angry at this song. It’s SO half-assed and you need to NOT create some kind of regal expectation with your name. It does the opposite, I was basically thinking “well, this is going to be some douche” from the name. The song made me not think you were a douche, but there is nothing backing up Esquire. Or anything. This is not a competitive song, and this is a competitive song CONTEST. Don’t enter stuff like this, period.

Wait What (The Band) - Toilet Demons
This is a great sounding song with a singer that needs a little bit of confidence. If Wait, What gets through to the next round, what the singer needs to do is project. Song is cool, lyrics are funny, sing like you don’t have a mic and someone a football field away needs to at least kind of hear you.

The Boffo Yux Dudes - Dancin' To The Nightlight
Come on. Seriously? I don’t even know what to write. This is the wannabe-quirky kind of crap I’m talking about. I’m guessing you like Adventure Time (I do too), but you need to do more than think you’ve got it. You need to have it.

Jon Eric - Images Without Light
You know why guitars are less and less present in popular music? Someone sees someone like this in a local open mic night playing a song like this and goes “I fucking hate guitar music. I will listen to Kesha now.”

David Ritter - Beaster Bunny
I will flat out not listen to 7 minutes of a guy singing “quirky” poetry over a guitar. I will not do it. David, do something else. Do not enter 7 minute examples of you playing the guitar and singing. This is another example of why the guitar is gradually gathering a “massively self-involved douche” stigma.

Ross Durand - Why Can't I?
Immediately stood out, then terrible voice. He’s trying to be Neil Diamond? I don’t get it. It sounds good, thick sound. I like the lyrics but I can’t get over his voice. He’s trying to hard, he needs to try less. If he could reel it in a bit, I think the song could be awesome. His lighter lines where he isn’t trying to sound like Neil, I like. Good work, like the shaker (which has been oddly absent from this entire set), he even shows evidence of having a good voice but is just trying too hard. I would like to hear more though.


  1. Hey, thanks for the reviews. i was just singing, although I am occasioanlly accused of sounding like Neil Diamond inthis range. trust me, this is not my intention - sorry it came off as if I was "trying" - I was just trying to deliver the song. hopefully I'll see you again next round.

  2. This doesn't really affect your review, but for the record, that's a real accordion, not a MIDI one (on 'the maze). ;-)

  3. If you feel you are getting bored before you have listened to even half of the songs because they are all about variants of one subject, stop listening for a couple hours and then come back to it with a fresh point of view. I can't help but wonder, if my song was the second you heard, would you still have marked it low because you were bored with that style or would latter, similar entries have borne the brunt of your "I am seriously at this point sick of hearing quirky, “oh I bet this will haunt the Spintunes listeners!” songs.
    To answer your question "How do so many people submit so many songs that are almost the same thing? The answer is that it is a COMPETITION with RULES and GUIDLEINES and we had to try to keep within the childhood/nightmare/rubato fence in order to qualify. Honestly, if you were a judge for a chocolate cake competition I can see you tasting 5 cakes out of 25 and then stating that they are all the same, you are bored with chocolate and want a steak.

    "75% of these songs are similar and boring. Its to the point where I hear the intro then the voice come in and I’m just thinking “okay, another then.”
    So you go for instantly rejecting things as soon as you hear them when you are bored then. Gotcha.

  4. If you get bored hearing similar songs during a song contest that has THREE requirements to hit the requires components.. then you should not have agreed to be a judge.
    FAR too many songs up there have no actual review other than "I just heard a song just like this!"
    EACH SONG is meant to be taken as a separate entity. Can that be dull or difficult for a judge? Of course it can.. but it should not reflect on the way you score it. If 10 people had done Beatles pastiches that could have been dull.. but it could also have meant maybe half of them had actually made a GREAT song.
    So, can it be repetitive? Of course it can - But that should not be reflected in your judging.
    Remember the ARTISTS do not know that 'everyone' is thinking of similar things... the judging is meant to be about the song itself, not how people may have done similar ones.
    Bad Form.