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Saturday, January 24, 2015

SpinTunes #10 Round 1 Reviews: Niveous

Niveous does a pretty good job of introducing himself.  I'd like to add 1 thing though.  Niveous & his contest Nur Ein directly inspired THIS contest, so I'm always grateful whenever he gets involved as a competitor, judge or guest judge. - Spin


Hello Spintunes.  I’m Niveous and I’ll be guest judging this round of songs. If you are wondering who is this guy, here’s a brief rundown. I’m a singer/ songwriter. I run a contest over at Songfight called the Nur Ein every spring. I also host a cover challenge called the Gift of Music every winter. I’ve been in about 80 songfights. I’ve done 7 FAWMs with the Berkeley Social Scene as their lyricist. I’m a former SpinTunes judge and participant. And I’m working on the project Songfight: The Rockening, a card game. But enough about me, let’s dig into the songs.
So, the challenge is a seductive tune to put your lover in the mood. I’ll be reviewing looking at the positives and negatives of each song and how well they handled the challenge.

Dex01 - “Get Together”
+ Good groove
- Nothing particularly interesting
! Challenge met.
This is a good song that doesn’t really break any new ground. It’s here. It’s enjoyable. Simple and nice.

Pete Murphy - “(I Wanna) Get It On With You”
+ Mix of classic rock elements with funk sounds.
- Lyrics like “Lust is thicker than blood”
! Challenge met.
I enjoy the composition of this song a lot. It’s got a well done vocal with a strong delivery and that wah-wah used throughout the song is great. This is the kind of song I would wanna see performed live. Great work.

Jurek Mika - “The Mood For You”
+ Off-kilter rhythm choice
- Threadbarren lyrics, Unnecessary intro
! Challenge met.
I like the bass heavy groove. I am always appreciative of experimental songs. This one doesn’t hit the mark (not every experimental tune does, it’s the nature of the beast). The problem is the lyrics are so weak and when they are sang off-beat, they become prominent in a bad way.

Zoe Gray - “Make The Most Of You”
+ Zombie apocalypse love
- Lyrical choices.
! Challenge met.
“They won’t hear us when we pound”. If that’s not seduction, I don’t know what is. Seriously, it’s a nicely played song with a good vocal. There’s some humor to the lyrics but they earned some groans. I think I would’ve preferred a ‘love song at the end of the world’ more than the ‘screw me now at the end of the world’ song.

Charlie McCarron - “If You Need Romance”
+ Atmospheric.
- Slow slow groove with drawn out notes.
! Challenge met.
The slow groove with the drawn out ending of the words makes the song a bit sleepy. I do enjoy the keys and the soft percussion. I really disliked the abrupt humorous ending. The joke needed a much better lead-in.

Ben & The Angel Fish - “Love’s Lost”
+ Dark
- A little too on the nose.
! Challenge met.
The negative is that the challenge was to write a song about a candlelit dinner and the lyric of the chorus sounds like a straight echo of the challenge. But that’s just a tiny nitpick. The story in the song is powerful and dark. Once you get into that lyric and realize it’s a heartbroken suicide song, it hits you hard.

Governing Dynamics - “Introvert Asks To Spend the Night”
+ Composition.
- Story.
! Challenge met.
Musically this song sounds like the Goo Goo Dolls would’ve released this in the late 90’s. It’s a solid middle of the road rock groove. The only real negative here is that the story is kinda plain and straightforward hey-i-like-you-wanna-hook-up. I don’t really get the introvert part of the whole thing. And what’s up with the broken boy lyric? Are introverts broken?

Kolton H. featuring SpknSpell - “Binary Love”
+ A different take
- Could use a slightly less distorted vocal.
! Challenge met.
Great work. The chorus has a hook to it. The music has a great groove. The speak and spell is a nice touch to add a little variety. I like this a lot.

Domingo - “Escondidas”
+ On point latin pop
- Boring lyric
! Challenge met.
It’s a love song. Nothing more, nothing less. The vocal isn’t especially strong. The lyric is fine. This is just what it is. Nothing special. Nothing terrible.

Edric Haleen - “2-14-11”
+ Math
- Long. So long.
! Challenge met.
I like that this takes the seductive story in a different direction. Different strokes for different folks and all that jazz, I’m sure there’s someone out there who would really dig the fancy math way to the heart. On the same note, the song drags. Six minutes of this is a few too many. By the time of the change-up, it was losing me and the second half wasn’t strong enough to keep me interested.

Jutze - “This Could Be The Night”
+ Inoffensive.
- Not the best vocal.
! Challenge met.
This doesn’t break any new ground. I feel like the vocal is better suited for a punk song than this pop tune, maybe the tune needs to be a bit punchier. This is a cookie cutter love song. I can’t hate on it. I won’t fall in love with it either.

Taylor Rundell - “Make A Move”
+ Hook driven.
- Weak high vocal range
! Challenge met.
I like that this song has some energy to it and it’s driven by trying to get the line “Make a Move” over. It’s strong. I wish the vocal on the chorus was better. It’s just a limitation of the vocal as it lacks the range to get those higher notes solidly. All in all, this is solid and one of the better tunes so far.

Melissa Leona - “Rocking In The Waves”
+ A very strong vocal.
- Boring drum machine.
! Challenge met.
A pretty by the books love song. The story here is I’ll give myself, you’ll love me and all is right in the world. What carries this is a very strong performance. The vocal is well done and the piano is as well. I wish there was real drummer driving this along. Well done.

Ross Durand – “I Wish”
+ Nice lyric.
- What the heck was up with the windchime.
! Challenge met.
This could’ve easily fallen in the cookie cutter love song range but the lyrics are very well written. The delivery is also very good. This is strong work overall.

Pigfarmer Jr. – “Hold You Tonight”
+ The occasional nice guitar bit
- Generic
! Challenge met.
This has nothing special going on. It is what it is. Guy. Guitar. Serenade. No real terrible things. No stand outs.

Brian Gray - “Just You And Me”
+ See below
- See below
! Challenge met.
I’m heavily on the fence on this one. There are little things that I like and ones that I dislike about this song. This is the first song in the whole round that I’ve had just such a visceral reaction to. It’s an apocalypse tune which I dig. Tears in the eyeballs is not a great lyric. Making love while giving zero fucks… ugh. “Why do they keep with the showing this stuff”? What does that mean??? And there’s a chord in the chorus that just sticks out like a sore thumb. All those jagged edges and I still feel like this is going to stick with me more than most of the other tunes in this round. The composition is working for me as is the vocal. I’m still on the fence….

David J - “The Language Of Love”
+ Cute.
- The vocal lacks luster
! Challenge failed.
Why the challenge failure? The challenge clearly states that this is supposed to be the song on your lucky night to get your lover in the mood. This song is about a failed attempt at love due to a language barrier. The timing of the story is off. This is afterwards not before, so that’s a fail on a technicality. Otherwise, it’s an okay song with a lackluster song and a joke I’ve heard before and done better.

James Young - “In The Dark Of The Night”
+ Bringing the rock.
- Huh?
! Challenge met.
I like the sound of this. The vocal is okay. At the same time, I have no bloody clue what this is about. Ever hear of the band AFI? The thing about their songs is that the lyrics paint a picture but don’t necessarily make sense as a story, just an abstract. That’s what I feel like here. I feel like I can enjoy this in the abstract but can’t get it if I dig deeper.

Dreiviertel Drei - “Gag Reflex”
+ Some enjoyable musical bits.
- Haggis.
! Challenge failed.
So, this is supposed to be a song about lucky night seduction and not “hey babe, try out my haggis”. I know that there are a lot of plays on words happening here but it misses the mark on what the challenge is because it’s really just a song about getting someone to eat haggis. I like the assorted jumble of musical choices that play through the song but sorry, this isn’t what the challenge asked for.

Ominous Ride - “Open Your Fire”
+ Bow-chicka-bow-wow guitars
- After Xmas shagging
! Challenge met.
I chuckled at the Brut by Faberge lyric. The humor worked on occasion. I liked the guitar. All in all, this was okay. I wouldn’t listen to this ever again. But in the case of this competition, I dig it enough to give it a good score.

Jailhouse Payback - “Another Line”
+ Strong bridge
- Struggled to understand the lyric
! Challenge met.
I didn’t get the lyric. I have my own interpretations but I’m not sure if they are right. Musically, there is a lot I dig here, especially the bridge. The bridge is very strong and very catchy, so much so that I wish that it was the chorus of the song. All in all, a pretty decent song with nice work all around.

Atom & EV - “Tarzan & Jane”
+ Fitting music
- Monkey noises.
! Challenge met.
It’s just what it said on the tin. Tarzan & Jane. I feel like the humor of this is lost on me, like the monkey noises just grated on me. I get that this is a novelty record but I didn’t really enjoy it other than the fact that the music really fit the subject matter well.

Gorbzilla And The Gorbzookies - “First Kiss”
+ Full band sound.
- Could do with a better mix.
! Challenge met.
Oh yeah. It’s prom night and it’s going down. A good groove, well played. I love the vocals in this. This is what you wanna hear when it’s time for a slow dance with your sweetie. And that fake ending. So good. My favorite of the round.

Dr. Lindyke Featuring Cherry Pi - “Date Night”
+ Duet
- The mix
! Challenge met
This is a fun tune. I wish the mix was a little tighter. There were times were Dr. Lindyke and Cherry Pi didn’t sound like they were in the room and that’s a big deal with making this work. Other than that, this is a fun song that’s well put together. Nice job.

Army Defense - “Sexiest Sex”
+ Well played.
- Lyrical choices.
! Challenge failed?
So, the song starts “When I come home”, so that would mean that they failed the setting of the challenge right off the bat, right? But does the setting come into place later? I can’t tell because it starts talking about escape pods and taking the boat to the general store. I’m not a fan of this one.

The Boffo Yux Dudes - "I Can't Get Enough"
+ “Porn for Women”
- Vocals
! Challenge met…
It’s amusing. The idea that to seduce their partner, they opted for doing all the housework. I question how the song works within the candlelit dinner setting but it’s close enough for a pass. Musically, I hate the attempt at a Barry White-esque deep vocal, it just didn’t work. Other wise, it’s decent.

Megalodon - “Can’t Weight”
+ Interstellar
- That title.
! Challenge met
Musically, this is top notch. C’mon, there’s sax and a guitar solo. That’s straight up baby making music, right there. I also enjoy the vocals. Sure, I can be a nitpicker about a candlelit dinner in zero gravity but I think that’s unnecessary, this is a well put together song. I enjoy the different take, even if I found it a bit goofy.

Emperor Gum - “Tianjin”
+ Tone.
- Hmmm. I don’t really have anything here…
! Challenge met.
I like the feel of this. There’s something sweet and old fashioned in the sound. It’s pretty nicely put together. The strings are a very good touch. This is a great song that I foresee listening to this after the round is done. Nice job.

Ben Taggart - “The Story of Us”
+ Delivery in the vocals
- “The Freshmen” by the Verve Pipe
! Challenge met.
I hear this and I can’t get “The Freshmen” by the Verve Pipe out of my head. This is a decent cookie cutter love song. There isn’t anything special in the lyrics. In fact, by the end of the song, I felt it was getting a bit threadbarren and just started circling the drain. Maybe cutting this a bit shorter would have helped.

Adam Sakellarides - “Al I Wanna Do”
+ Not what I expected…
- Is that all on Netflix?
! Challenge met.
Can you watch My So Called Life on Netflix. That surely would’ve landed in my recommendations. Great ending. I came into the song thinking that this was going to be bland and then it became about Netflix and I chuckled. Good work. This was a fun song.

Ken Kesey Fan Club - “How To Seduce Women”
+ Humor
- Way too loud a mix
I’ll admit that humorous songs don’t always work with me but for some reason, this did. Who knew screaming vagina would work out well. This would be better if there was more than guy & guitar and the mix needs to much better, the loud bits are way too loud to be enjoyable. The end of this was just discordant and barely listenable and the last joke was really weak. There is a lot of potential here though.

Buckethat Bobby - “Glad You Came”
+ Basswork
- Vocals
The idea is there but not the execution. The vocals aren’t strong for this. The guitar misses the mark. The background vocal is really not good. I can totally see what BHB was going for but it just wasn’t accomplished. At least the bass was on point.

Mariah Mercedes - “As Charming As You”
+ Vocals
- Short
I enjoy the jazzy feel of this and the vocals are very well done especially when it comes to note choices. There’s a nice little chorus, it’s not as catchy as it could be but it’s still very good. But the song is so short at 2 minutes. I feel like this could’ve used more to really hook the listener. Still this is very very nice.

And now to the shadow

Red Watcher - “Hopeless Dreamer”
+ Touches of darkwave/ 80’s new wave.
- Short
! Challenge met
This is a decent tune. Definitely a short song. And I don’t exactly get the whole “And I never knew why” lyric. If it’s your wedding night, you should already know why. The lyrics miss a bit of storytelling. I feel like this has potential for a very good darkwave song in the vein of the Spahn Ranch, it just needs more work.


  1. To answer your question, I committed the cardinal sin of referencing one of my own songs (to which this round's song was a sequel of sorts) in the lyrics.


  2. Thanks for the detailed review, Niveous. We didn't think that the challenge specified WHAT the person was getting in the mood for, so we latched onto that and went with it. Plus, haggis!

    1. Hmm. You have a point there. It didn't specify what the mood is for. Wish I had realized that yesterday, I wouldn't have dinged the song so hard.