Look Both Ways Before You Cross (Motor Psycho Reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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Look Both Ways Before You Cross (Motor Psycho Reviews)

Post by ken » Mon Oct 04, 2004 9:04 am

Left, then right, then left again.
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Post by Rabid Garfunkel » Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:01 pm

Hands at ten & two, watching Josh Woodward come tearing up in my rearview. Where's that nitrous switch?
"Urban cartoon music." -- Paco Del Stinko
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Post by joshw » Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:04 pm

Rabid Garfunkel wrote:Hands at ten & two, watching Josh Woodward come tearing up in my rearview. Where's that nitrous switch?
Nobody escapes the fierce wrath of the Motorcycle Murder Psycho. Be fearful.
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Post by Rabid Garfunkel » Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:20 pm

joshw wrote:Nobody escapes the fierce wrath of the Motorcycle Murder Psycho. Be fearful.
Copy that. 10-4, good buddy.
"Urban cartoon music." -- Paco Del Stinko
Be my friend? --- Song of the Day
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Post by Chico » Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:59 pm

Oh, has my turn signal been on all this time? Oops.

I'm tired. Maybe I'll just ...





...
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Post by downwithgender » Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:13 pm

Down with ginger is awesome! whoever it is, I like.
sam of down with gender
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Post by blue » Mon Oct 04, 2004 11:09 pm

Astrolamb: This could border on Jello singing for Neutral Milk with a little more compression on the buss. I guess I'd bitch that you're still using very samesame kinda guitar progressions, but this does have some changeups to it. I like the Slayer part on the bass there. You definately lose some vocal emotion on the second verse, and it only take a small letup to make this a lot less enjoyable. ADD MORE DRUM LINES TO YOUR SONGS. It isn't hard.

Chinstrap: Might have been OK without the strained and trying-way-too-hard vocals. Also if it were 1984.

F Hole: More earnest vocals! Everyone's trying so hard! This is yer standard lite-rock song template 46b, with Slide Guitar preset 6. Tonetripper must be involved.

Loyalty Day: Hmmmm.. Chordus Excellente, also Chorus Excellente. Great feel, coulda done without the doubled vox on the verses - or at least without as much of the male as was in there. Erin's sounding great, the rhodes is doin' its thing. Nice mix, great little rythm ace action.

Rabid G: Ouchy drums, ouchy lots of words that suffer the same fate as the sos overwordy song. This needs more takes. And a chorus.

R Mosq: Bringin' the e-clash from heck! Ooooooh the chorus is a letdown. No one ever just brings the rock like I want em to. Love the dischordant guitar action. Vert good song, tho. I'd love this live.

Tony Hightower: Great groove to this, and great use of fuzzity guitar. BUT WAIT. It's "Everybody Wants You" by Billy Squier.

Wreckdom: wtf? IS THIS A SONG?! <s>it almost might be.</s> IT'S CLOSE ENOUGH FOR ROCKING. i'd be in this band.
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Post by tonetripper » Tue Oct 05, 2004 9:15 am

blue wrote:F Hole: More earnest vocals! Everyone's trying so hard! This is yer standard lite-rock song template 46b, with Slide Guitar preset 6. Tonetripper must be involved.
I'm not buddy, but thanks for thinking of me. I have visions of your manliness in my mind on a perpetual basis. Thexy Thavage.

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Post by Richard WreckdoM » Tue Oct 05, 2004 9:43 am

blue wrote:Wreckdom: wtf? IS THIS A SONG?! <s>it almost might be.</s> IT'S CLOSE ENOUGH FOR ROCKING. i'd be in this band.
It seems to me that I'm watching you go from confusion to enjoyment to pleasure, to Addiction. I feel that this is praise any way you slice it. Thanks!
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Post by king_arthur » Tue Oct 05, 2004 9:48 am

What the old guy thinks:

ASTROLAMB: okay, this is the totally expected approach to the
title. the one-note melody isn't doing much for me, and the
lyric doesn't seem like it's going anywhere...

CHIN STRAP: again, no surprises... I'm all in favor of mixing
the vocals nice 'n' loud, but this one could've used more
instruments; particularly on the intro, bring 'em in strong and
then back 'em off when the vocal starts...

DOWN WITH GINGER: on the rhythm track, I wish the reverb had
carried through... it's like the reverb is gated, which makes
it very choppy, like the loop isn't quite as long enough for
this tempo.

F-HOLE MERMAN: nice full sound, I like the acoustic guitar and
electric playing off each other. The voice works for the
style. This just feels like a monster song, Neil Young could
take this and run with it, but your version ain't half bad!
Keeper. Hate to even have to ask this, but, does the title
turn up anywhere in the song? Even if they don't, I'm be willing
to believe that a band would write a song like this out of the
blue and call it "Motor Psycho," so a potential vote. Post the
lyrics!

JOSH WOODWARD: love the guitar sounds right outa the gate, great
performance and mix as always... the song itself seems a little
forced, like it was just done 'cause that was the title for this
week. Confession: I probably have a bit of bias against you,
not because of anything to do with the music itself, just 'cause
you do SO well in the voting all the time... so I'm prolly a bit
harder on you than I should be, for reasons that are real if not
valid. However, I did just make myself up a two-CD "Josh Woodward"
collection and I'm gonna drive around with it for a few days and
I suspect I'll be a big fan by the time I'm done...

LOYALTY DAY: that keyboard feels like it's out of time with the
other instruments... I mighta gone for a lower, mellower pitch
and put it centered, lower in the mix to tie the two guitars
together... from playing with you guys a couple times, I recall
that you put the music together first and then write the lyrics
and melody on top of that, and I think this one suffers a little
bit for that... umm, other lyrical issue I have is that "Motor
psycho" starts out as "he," then in verse 2 becomes "you," and
then in the last verse "you" is the boyfriend who got run down
by MP. So that makes the song a little hard to follow on first
listen... work on being consistent in terms of who's who. Also,
given that he's dead in the last verse, he probably should have
been "was" in the first verse. Nonetheless, keeper - I like
the overall sound of this one, but I think the lyric could have
been organized a little better to make for a more attention-grabbing
song.

RABID GARFUNKEL: rhythmic inconsistencies 'twixt the drums and
the guitar on the intro. Was this recorded live? The sound
reminds me of an old Spanky & Our Gang live album where there's
lots of room in the recording... I dunno, something about the
character being called "Iron Butt McGraw" makes it feel like
you were going for cheap laughs here...

R. MOSQUITO: minor nit on the posted lyric, it's "brakes," not
"breaks." I'm not sure if "they" in this one is just "other
drivers" or if it's some sort of road zombies that only the singer
can see... I think it would've worked in this one to go with
that "other drivers" approach and have the singer, in his own
crazed way, give us some clues in that direction... like the
vocal stylings, the B-52-ishness therein. Keeper.

SONOFSUPERCAR: you know... it's what you do, it's just not what
I care for...

TONY HIGHTOWER: interesting CSNY vibe going at the start. I like
the way the lyric develops, there's a story going on here. The
arrangement needs bass and bigger drums, but I get the feel of
what you're going for. Good song, keeper, love to hear one of our
resident rockers hxaro this one...

WRECKDOM: I'd have preferred overcompressed and heavily reverb'd
but not _distorted_ vocals on the announcer... this kinda gets
back to the expected approach to the title...


Well, whether the title is actually in the song or not, I'm
going with F-Hole for my vote on this one; Josh, Loyalty and
Mosquito, minor points off for the song itself, and Hightower
loses a little bit for the performance / recording. Overall,
though, there were more songs in this fight that I liked than
I expected to, what with being the old guy who doesn't like
unbridled hard rock 'n' stuff...
"...one does not write in dactylic hexameter purely by accident..." - poetic designs
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Post by Chico » Tue Oct 05, 2004 9:55 am

After the initial mix, I thought mine was way too Grand Funk (or worse, Golden Earring), especially for my delicate sensibilities. So I sped it up (the first version ran almost 8 minutes. You're welcome.), added a Doctor Who beat, and added some glammy operatic shit to the vocals. I don't have a drum kit, else I'd have certainly used it here like everyone else did. Maybe I'll slow it back down to a shuffle if I do it again.

Anyway. I was expecting no small amount of trashy garagey shit out of this fight, and I was not disappointed. The quality was very high this week.


Astrolamb - I like the swooping guitars and the Fred Schneider/Jello Biafra vocals. The lead guitar could be a little higher in the mix, and you could cut a minute off of it, and the whole thing sounds muffled, but I've happily paid good money to hear bands as good as this. (Actually, that holds true for a lot of these songs.)

F-Hole Merman - This song makes me want to go kick the shit out of someone. Not you, F-Hole. Like, someone at random. I really dig the groove of this, lyrical clichés and all.

R. Mosquito - Wall of Voodoo! I can barely hear the vocals behind the width of the mix. But I am all over how wide the guitars sound. Damn. I'm impressed.

Down With Ginger - I like the effect. This song would be perfect for driving on the shoulder of the Autobahn at 25 mph on a hot day in a car with no A/C. (You'd be surprised how often this comes up.) And at 57 seconds, it's exactly the right length.

Rabid Garfunkel - What's that effect on your voice? You should be dry and close-miked for a song like this. (Kansas and Nebraska are pretty far away, ain't they. Heh.) I wonder what Charlie Daniels is doing these days? (Aside from hanging out in F-Hole's head.)

Loyalty Day - I'm loving where you went with this. With those gorgeous harmonies and (yes!) a tambourine part that's both dynamic and in time, it's 1971 in my heart.

David Stiles/Chin Strap - Too many rhymes. It's distracting. Also, you don't sound like you're really meaning what you sing. You're affecting a voice and steering the notes without pushing them enough.

Sonofsupercar - The Oi! Oi! Oi! piece at the end of the chorus (or that is the chorus) is where groove really picks up. And I like the breakdown at the end.

Josh Woodward - Your toms sound great, but the cymbals aren't miked right to my ears. And you overenunciate. I'd slur the words a little bit and yell them more. Maybe do a couple of shots before you lay the track down. But how much do I dig this arrangement, from guitar wash to the keyboard solo, especially when it's in full-on mode?

Wreckdom - You cut that start real close. But how cool that you were the only one to shout Russ Meyer? It's a natural fit. This isn't a song, but man, is this ever a WELL EXECUTED BREASTACULAR ROCK AND ROLL KILLFEST to listen to. One question: is that "Rated R for Exciterment!" or "Excirement!"?
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Post by Richard WreckdoM » Tue Oct 05, 2004 11:06 am

Chico wrote:Wreckdom - You cut that start real close. But how cool that you were the only one to shout Russ Meyer? It's a natural fit. This isn't a song, but man, is this ever a WELL EXECUTED BREASTACULAR ROCK AND ROLL KILLFEST to listen to. One question: is that "Rated R for Exciterment!" or "Excirement!"?
That most certainly is Rated R for ExciteRrment. I'm glad you seemed to enjoy it. I'm not really sure what you mean by "This isn't a song." From what I've gathered, the concept of what constitutes a song is open to debate. I think that this entry Rocks!
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Post by Chico » Tue Oct 05, 2004 11:25 am

I didn't say it didn't rock (or rather, ROCK). Of course it's a song, but I listened to it as a movie trailer. And few trailers rock like that, even when they try.

I say this with high admiration for what you did. I would so see that movie, and not just because of the bikes and the boobs.
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Post by joshw » Tue Oct 05, 2004 12:06 pm

Scoring Key: (Production, Performance, Song)


Astrolamb (6, 7, 6)

Holy Jello. This isn't bad, but it doesn't have the energy I would hope for. You don't quite have the "I'm about to kill someone" sound that Jello gets, and the music isn't played with quite enough "gusto". There aren't quite enough changes to keep me interested. It's fun, though. Score suffers from personal genre biases probably.

David Styles (6, 6, 6)

10 seconds of silence at the intro. Another 80s punk flashback. The mix is really wonky. Not doing a ton for me. On the plus side, you scored 666, which is probably pretty cool.

F-Hole Merman (8, 7, 7)

Sounds great. The snare isn't quite punchy enough, it sounds muffled. Love the harmonics in the verse. The vocal delivery might take some time to warm up to, but it's cool. I love the acoustic tone you're getting.. very ballsy. The verses aren't very exciting musically. It's a tired bluesy chord progression without any melody to speak of. Nice solo. By the 3:10 mark, some clipping going on, and I'm starting to get a little bored. Fadeout? Ick! This is nice, just a little bland.

Loyalty Day (8, 7, 8)

Some timing problems in the keyboard that pull me out of the groove. Great harmonies. I love the warm analog sound you're getting on this. What are you using for the keys, is that a real Rhodes? Great bridge, though the vocals kinda fall apart at the end. Love the solo. Maybe a bit too much reverb, though it kinda goes with the period you're after. Possible vote.

Rabid Garfunkel (5, 6, 6)

Dude, where's the low-end? Sounds like you ran the mix through a high-pass. Way too much reverb, too. This has a fun feel, but the repetitive music and monotone vocal delivery doesn't add much excitement, and the occasional timing drift kinda pulls me out of the song. It sounds like you're going for the Johnny Cash thing, but that you forgot to add a hook or anything, which is what makes Cash work so well.

R. Mosquito (7, 6, 7)

I like the music, but the vocals are a little too kitchy for me. Ok, a lot too kitchy. Some fun lyrics. The production seems like it's almost good, but it's really fatiguing for some reason.

Sonofsupercar (7, 7, 7)

I definitely knew it was you when this started. Definitely a distinctive guitar tone and the harsh hi-hat. ;) Like Rabid, the verse has a repetitive riff with too-fast monotone lyrics over it. The "oy oy oy" part is great. Nice part at 1:08. The clippy brickwalled part at the end is pretty painful. This didn't feel like it had much of an ending. Not bad, but not much of a keeper, either.

Tony Hightower (7, 7, 7)

The guitar tones are bugging me - plugged-in acoustics are never fun, and the electric sounds like it was through a distortion pedal without an amp emulator. I like the groove, but I think it could benefit from being more aggressive and looser. Love the triplets on the acoustic around 1:30! I can tell already that this is going to be too long. Nice part at 1:55. I'm really bored by the 3m mark. There are a few changeups here, but nothing that deviates from the groove or intensity. That won't fly for five minutes.

Wreckdom (6, ?, 5)

Better than usual.

Josh Woodward (Me)

Production Notes for those who care.


It's another Loyalty Week for me!
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Post by Rabid Garfunkel » Tue Oct 05, 2004 12:46 pm

Kids! Learn from others' mistakes! If you use a reverb pedal to record your guitar, don't pile on the (a different one, no less) reverb in post to get your voice's 'verb to match the axes'. Live, learn, and laugh.
"Urban cartoon music." -- Paco Del Stinko
Be my friend? --- Song of the Day
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Post by joshw » Tue Oct 05, 2004 12:48 pm

Rabid Garfunkel wrote:Kids! Learn from others' mistakes! If you use a reverb pedal to record your guitar, don't pile on the (a different one, no less) reverb in post to get your voice's 'verb to match the axes'. Live, learn, and laugh.
*grins* I was wondering how you did that. Kinda cool in retrospect. :o
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Post by ken » Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:40 pm

joshw wrote: Loyalty Day (8, 7, 8)

Some timing problems in the keyboard that pull me out of the groove. Great harmonies. I love the warm analog sound you're getting on this. What are you using for the keys, is that a real Rhodes? Great bridge, though the vocals kinda fall apart at the end. Love the solo. Maybe a bit too much reverb, though it kinda goes with the period you're after. Possible vote.

It's another Loyalty Week for me!
Thanks! Yes, that is a real Rhodes Stage 73. I'm not the best keyboardist, and the Rhodes itself has some issues. The other synth is a Roland SH101, also analog vintage goodness.

Thanks for the vote.

Be well,
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Post by Lunkhead » Tue Oct 05, 2004 4:08 pm

king_arthur wrote:What the old guy thinks:

LOYALTY DAY: ... from playing with you guys a couple times, I recall
that you put the music together first and then write the lyrics
and melody on top of that, and I think this one suffers a little
bit for that... umm, other lyrical issue I have is that "Motor
psycho" starts out as "he," then in verse 2 becomes "you," and
then in the last verse "you" is the boyfriend who got run down
by MP. So that makes the song a little hard to follow on first
listen... work on being consistent in terms of who's who. Also,
given that he's dead in the last verse, he probably should have
been "was" in the first verse.

...
Actually this time the first bunch of lyrics were written before anything else, then we put them to chords and melody, then wrote the rest of the lyrics. With the lyrics, we wanted to first introduce Motor Psycho and describe him to the audience (which is why he's "he" there), then introduce the personal revenge aspect. Then we describe the narrator's motivation for wanting revenge, and during the bridge the narrator actually gets his revenge. The last set of lyrics is about what happens after that. It's like the song is being sung during the story, so in the exposition part Motor Psycho is alive, but in the conclusion part he's dead. I swear it makes sense! ;)
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Post by Rabid Garfunkel » Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:48 am

Lunkhead wrote:lyrics and stuff... I swear it makes sense! ;)
This song gets better every time I listen to it. But... in the end ("I can't live my life without you", particularly), can the singer not live without her dead love, or is it the Motor Psycho she's talking about there?

Yeah, I read too many vigilante-type things where the revenge becomes the only thing that's giving the protagonist a purpose in life, heh.
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Post by Rabid Garfunkel » Wed Oct 06, 2004 11:31 am

So my rating system this time around will be ramps & trash cans... you know, like the Fonz jumped in Happy Days, back when they were trying to establish him as a sort of daredevil alter-Richie. So a score of / ooo \ is average in my book.

---

Astrolamb / oooo \
Dunno, the voice is kinda Jello, but the intonation and lyricism seems more Rotten. Extra trash can for the vocal sound, though the music isn't much more than a couple of cool grooves repeated.

Chin Strap / oo \
Who the hell is Chin Strap? Is it David Stiles? Let's pretend it is. ID tracks man, if you're gonna use 'em... then use 'em. Squeally voice is grating to me. Have preexisting biases against this style of music. Not saying any more.

Down With Ginger ___
This is existence as seen by a life support machine.

F-Hole Merman / ooo \
Not getting the Motor Psycho feel, even with the automotive allusions sprinkled throughout. Maybe Motor Passive-Aggressive, but not Psycho. Seems rather predictable in its structure, not necessarily a bad thing.

Josh Woodward / oooo \
Not one of my more liked JWs, but that's more from the not-quite-meshing sounds of the guitar-voice-drums and the keyboard. Good words.

Loyalty Day / ooooo \
If this were lyric fight you'd have my vote in a flash. Only kvetches in the music are where the female singer's voice goes higher, highest, it feels shaky (yeah, I'm one to talk there) and I'm somewhere between rooting for her to nail it and cringing at the same time.

And I hate tamborines. Man, do I hate them. Like dogs & cats and vacuum cleaners, that sort of hate. Still, possible vote here.

Rabid Garfunkel
Chill on the reverb, yo. And tighten up some of your lyrics, it was a total car crash in places.

R. Mosquito / ooo ooo \
Fun. This is the sort of thing I listen to IRL (see also: The Aquabats). Francois Mitterand, did you leave the heater on? Possible vote.

sonofsupercar / ooo \
That is a lot of words there. This is relentless like a landslide. Main vocals seem hotter than they should(?), even on top of the distortion (or whatever) that's applied/implied on them. And strangely, the "oi x3" is subdued and restrained.

Tony Hightower / oo \
Was grooving heavy and hard on the Simon & Garfunkelesque guitar/buzzy low thing intro, but unfortunately the vocals pulled me back out, far out. Good lungs/breath control on you, I'll give you that.

WreckdoM / ooooo \
See Ronnie Howard drive, drive, drive in the new Corman calamity-fest, Mother, Juggs, and Speed! Man, I miss my trashy fuckin' dvds with their trailers and all those other shoveled in schlocky extra features. Even with the one-take, low budget, improvised on the fly feel of the words, I'm definitely exciteRed by this. Possible vote.

---

So it's between Loyalty Day, R. Mosquito, and wReckdom... damn, that's a weird lineup.
"Urban cartoon music." -- Paco Del Stinko
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One-liner reviews

Post by tonetripper » Thu Oct 07, 2004 8:51 am

Rabid Garfunkel - The tune is so minimalistic in the vein of Johnny Cash, but not as good, and the cymbal crashes are very sampled.

R. Mosquito - Great groove, good sounds and cool. 8)

sonofsupercar - Very Sonic Youth meets skater punk rock and the offset of the guitars chordally is suhweet but I wish there was more meat in the low end.

Tony Hightower - Did you hit the too far away button for mic and instrument presence?

Wreckdom - Russ would be proud to have this as trailer music. 8)

Astrolamb - Wanna be DK with rediculous lo-fi fidelity and not in a good way.

David Stiles - Lo-fi badness.

DWG - Vocoder is too easy and lame.

F-Hole Merman - There is something surprisingly reminiscent of Gomez in the energy of it and well recorded. 8)

Josh W. - Candy coated for the title don't you think?

Loyalty Day - Excellently recorded goodness with the offset of happy colour that makes the title work, specially with the odd chord that brings the darkness plus a well-written song. 8)

Loyalty Day wins by a finger. Followed by SoS with Wreckdom comin' up the rear.
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Brief Reviews . . .

Post by astrolamb » Thu Oct 07, 2004 2:34 pm

David Stiles - Too much 80's hair-metal for my taste. I'm not a fan of this whole genre so I'll leave it at that.

Down With Ginger - I like the backbeat. I like the first verse. After that, I lose touch with this . . . what I'd like would be slower, less upfront vocal lines to build on the sparse slowness of that beat.

F-Hole Merman - Really like the guitar at the end. Don't like the vocal style too much . . . like a whispered yell over a regular singing voice. I do like this song though - great song. Very nicely done.

Josh Woodward - Bike-O? Nice fun song - especially that synth sound . . . nice.

Loyalty Day - Nice feel. I don't like the "bad man" lyric . . . but that's just my taste, no reflection whatsoever on this song. I like the keys, and the tension built mid-song. I think this is where my vote will go . . .

Rabid Garfunkel - Great idea that needs more energy . . . I want echo and reverb, full harmonies, a bouncy bass line, etc . . . given the full treatment this song could be a real mother trucker.

R. Mosquito - I like the feedback noises from the guitar. I like the up-tempo intro bit with the synth noises. The vocals don't sound like you took them seriously . . . of course any vocal critique from me needs to be taken for what it is. This is a cool song.

Son Of Supercar - In my opinion you must be at least 3.75 times this punk before you can rightly declare: 'Oi! Oi! Oi!'. Just my opinion.

Tony Hightower - I like that nasty guitar sound in the background. It's a good song for sure, but nothing really happenned to grab my attention here.

Wreckdom - Exciterment. Hahaha. This is actually really entertaining. I only point that out because from the get-go I didn't want to like this what with the 'announcer' vocals and all. It turns into this cool thing I'd have expected Green Jello to pull off. In the end you convinced me - nice work here.

Astrolamb - This was my first attempt at a few of the suggestions given to me on the board. First off I tried to switch it up more often. It is still pretty repetitive, but well . . . I also tried to EQ things a bit. I'm not sure how well that worked but it is a bit less murky than some past attempts. Also gave on my ol' Kramer Focus 2000 and purchased a Strat . . . it sounds better overall. Drums are still Casio stock junk - will work on those later. I hate the "Hey Hey" sound, and I really hate the stupid echo thing in the second verse . . .
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