Monday, May 21, 2018

SpinTunes 14 Round 4 Deadline News

Congratulations to all those who made the deadline! Those that didn't are shadows.

For now you should know:
  • There are 4 official entries.
  • There are 2 shadows.
  • There were no deadline eliminations.
  • Remember...shadows are never late.  If you got a finished or near finished can still send it in.
This round it's the SpinTunes 14 COMPETITORS who will rank the entries! Remember, if you've had a qualifying entry in SpinTunes 14, even if you were eliminated in round 1, you are now a judge! After listening, send your rankings to

Listening Party Location:
  • 9 pm Monday, 21 May 2018 

Deadline Eliminations:
  • None! Congratulations!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

SpinTunes #14 Round 4 Challenge

It's Round 4, so lets get professional!
Welcome to the Show: Write a theme song to introduce the SpinTunes Listening Party.
The winning entry will be played at the beginning of each SpinTunes #15 listening party. This round's entries must be between one and three minutes long and must include an instrumental portion of approximately 20 seconds over which Tom can talk for introductory purposes (don't worry about adjusting the volume).
Examples? There's the JoeShow theme song, or you could listen to the theme created by Jerkatorium for their judging podcasts.

Submitting Entries:

  • Your entry must be received by May 20, 2018 @ 11:59 PM EDTOtherwise it'll be posted as a shadow. Received means that it has to appear in my e-mail inbox ( by the given deadline. I will be going by the time stamp on the e-mail. One minute late is too late.
  • You are allowed and encouraged to submit a draft of your song early just in case something horrible happens and you miss the deadline. Then you can add polish to your song and send in a better version closer to the deadline. The last version received prior to the deadline is your official entry. 
  • Lyrics are mandatory. No instrumentals. Having no lyrics will get you disqualified.
  • Name your file your bandname and the song's title.
  • Title of the e-mail should be your band's name & the title of the Challenge. (e.g. "Dr Lindyke - Welcome to the Show")
  • Include information on anyone that needs credited if you collabed with someone. Remember, collaborations are OK. You must write your song, but if you want to use another vocalist or musicians, do so. 
  • If you have a BandCamp account, you can just send me a link to your song on BandCamp if you include all the info I mentioned above. Make sure you have it set as a free download. THIS IS THE BEST FILE SHARING OPTION!
  • Other file sharing options if you need them: Sound Cloud (set to download a format BandCamp is ok with) & Drop Box. Please send an e-mail as I already stated, but with the download link if you need one of these services. 
  • If you're using something other than Bandcamp, It's best if you send your file in a format that Bandcamp accepts (.aiff, .wav or .flac, at least 16-bit/44.1kHz) You can find the specific requirements for Bandcamp files HERE.
  • If you send me an MP3, I will attempt to convert it for you. But be warned... I will be strapped for time, and I will post whatever Audacity spits out of the conversion. So if you picked the wrong sample rate, your dulcet tones may wind up sounding like termites or chipmunks or random static. And that is what will be judged. So please... save and submit your files in the right format. 

  • Side Notes:
    • You are allowed to send in a little background about your song. We encourage and appreciate "song bios". You don't have to do it, but if you want to write a couple sentences about your song I'll post it on the BandCamp page for people to see. I'll even link to longer blog posts if you want to explain your song on your blog. Some judges will read this extra info, but they aren't required to.
    • If you didn't sign-up in time to compete in SpinTunes 14, you can still complete the challenge and send in a song. It will be uploaded with the other entries as a "Shadow Song" and it will be played at the listening party. Check the FAQ if you don't know what that means. You can even complete past challenges from previous contests.
    • The only other way to get your music played at the LP is to cover "Today's The Day" by Inverse T. Clown.

    Feel free to leave any questions in the comments.

    SpinTunes #14 Round 3 Results

    Surprise! It's Dave! When checking the schedule, I forgot about the magic of Time Travel. So you'll be reading this 13 hours before it was written. Or something like that. All I know is it's going to be 9:30 am all the way home... ;)

     The standings as previously posted were incorrect. Tom's reviews were in album order rather than his ranked order (which were posted with the reviews). The corrected numbers are below. and the remainder of the post has been likewise corrected.

    Thanks to Edric Haleen, who brought this to my attention very early... although (being on a plane) I couldn't do anything about it until now. Note that it is MICAH SOMMERSMITH who takes fourth place and moves on to Round 4.

    So Round 4 has been judged! We have results, and they are as follows:

    Artist Jerkatorium Paul Tom Allan Dave Total
    Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken 4 2 2 6 1 15
    Temnere 1 5 1 4 5 16
    Megalodon 5 1 7 2 2 17
    Micah Sommersmith 2 7 5 5 7 26
    Edric Haleen 3 8 6 7 3 27
    Governing Dynamics 6 6 3 8 6 29
    Glen Raphael 9 4 8 1 9 31
    Boy on the Wall 7 3 9 9 4 32
    Jordan Carroll 8 9 4 3 8 32

    The top 4 move on to the FINAL ROUND. The rest of you, please shadow, in case the front runners flake out. You still have a shot at winning this!

    The tie for last place is resolved resolved in submission order. So Boy on the Wall gets 8th place. (which could be significant if there needs to be a reinstatement)

    Awesome job, everyone! Can't wait to see what you do with the next challenge!

    ST14R3 Reviews - Jerkatorium

    As before, Jerkatoriums reviews will appear in PODCAST form at, but to tide you over until they appear, they dropped of this note:

    Judging suuuuucked again this round.  Again we don't think anyone should be eliminated, but our reluctant rankings are below in order of preference (1 = favorite, 9 = least favorite):
    1. Temnere 
    2. Micah Sommersmith
    3. Edric Haleen
    4. Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken
    5. Megladon
    6. Governing Dynamics
    7. Boy On The Wall
    8. Jordan Carroll
    9. Glen Raphael

    ST14R3 Reviews - Paul Rosenbluth

    I was really hoping we would do this challenge and I really like what you all did with it.  With every challenge I am always hoping for a song that meets the challenge but also transcends it and becomes a song I would want in my favorites playlist regardless of the challenge.  Several songs met that mark for me.  Quality work for all and my thanks for all or your creativity and effort!

    Megalodon - Magpie
    I found this work quite intriguing.  A respectable homage to the very recognizable classical inspiration with an almost “Hotel California” flavor with the intro guitar and then we get the very catchy chorus which makes it completely Megalodon.  Really intelligent lyrics.  Incredibly creative and excellent performance value instrumentally.  A very well delivered piece. 

    Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - Revolutionary Love
    Another fine example true to the challenge.  Song stands on its own without knowing it had a classical inspiration.  I really like the way the song starts musical with a very catchy “bouncy” melody and rhythm.  The “this is bizarre” stanza seems a little disjointed from the rest of the track but I think that of a lot of great songs I end up loving, so never mind, forget I said that, personal quirk.  Great work! 

    Boy on the Wall - Yesterday
    Man, this really works on all levels.  The classical motifs are so incredibly relevant.  Thoughtful yet simple lyrically but it’s the music that drives this one for me.  I could listen to that supporting bass line with the active melody work in a song twice as long.  Musically this could be a ten plus minute jazz improv piece I could get lost in.  Such a tease.  Most excellent!

    Glen Raphael - Yippee Ki-Yay
    Okay, this was certainly a giggle.  Very creative and well-constructed to be sure.  Props for working in “defenestrate.”  I want to believe this was a call to the line “Karl, Schieß dem Fenster” (which of course is grammatically incorrect and mistranslated as “shoot the glass” in the movie).  This song was definitely all about the lyrics and quite entertaining on that note alone.  Lots of smiles indeed.  Well done.

    Temnere – Revolution
    I like the way this song starts with an ominous tone befitting Beethoven and then launches into the rapid percussion, driving, hard-rock style I would expect from a Temnere track.  Loved the lyrics and rhythm especially in the couplet lines before the chorus which has a nice hard rock anthem style.  Excellent lyrics and executed musically very well.  A solid, quality song.  Very nicely done!

    Governing Dynamics - Forty-Five
    This is a really fine example of what I was hoping for in this challenge.  If you didn’t know this was inspired by a classical piece it would stand alone as is.  Gee, I wonder who this song could be about?  No points off for that though.  Veiled political polemic certainly has its place.  A very well crafted and executed song.  Great work!

    Micah Sommersmith - I Sing for Clara
    I really liked your take on this, telling the story inspired by the music as an homage to the subject.  For me you did justice to the lament of the story (lost opportunities, etc) but gave it a feeling of hope for the future if we will study the shortcomings of the past and commit to do and be better.  A very nice treating of the musical idea with thoughtful, reflective lyrics.  Very well done.

    Edric Haleen - With You
    Really enjoyed this one.  Loved the foundation of the classical melody overlaid with the listful, longing vocal.  This could easily be an aria in a Broadway musical.  Beautiful lyrics and emotion.  Really excellent work.

    Menage a Tune - Springtime Promenade (SHADOW)
    A nice contemporary spin on a classical melody.  Nice uplifting lyrics and well-delivered.

    Dr. Lindyke - Far Away ft. Heather Zink (SHADOW)
    So this begs the question, was “Mack the Knife” based on “The Beautiful Blue Danube?”  An entertaining little number but definitely can’t get past hearing “Mack the Knife” to give this propers.  As always, excellent craftsmanship and performance. 

    Jerkatorium - Today's the Day (cover)
    A quality cover. 

    Jordan Carroll - Work It (ft. Natalie Carroll)
    I thought the lyrics were very creative.  Musically I was hoping for the underlying inspiration to create something new and I’m not sure I got that from this.  I liked the perhaps unintentional irony of a dulcet, rather proper, vocal issuing graphic street-style dictums.  The interjected spoken lines suggested a whole 50 shades of Mozart thing but overall I think the star was Mozart and not Jordan Carroll and I really wanted Jordan Carroll to be the star!  I think this was a fair and fine entry for this challenge.  Creative and well executed!

    Boffo Yux Dudes - Sirens (SHADOW)
    Good, creative story-telling lyrics.  Curious to know how the music inspired the storyline.  Would have never put Jason and Pachelbel together.  A good entry.

    Boffo Yux Dudes - Ode to Marcel (SHADOW)
    I’m not sure Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” meets the year cutoff in the challenge. 

    ST14R3 Reviews - Allan Morgan

    Allan gets straight to the point:

    Glen Raphael - Ki-Yay
    Score: 9 Ranking: 1
    Was wondering if "Ode To Joy" would show up.  This is prettier than it has any right to be, especially for a "Die Hard" tribute.  Defenestrate, hah!  Show off.  I probably laughed harder at "Even if you are a Jew" than I should have.  Oh, you're good.

    Megalodon - Magpie
    Score: 9 Ranking: 2
    Nice incorporation of the challenge, good arrangement, a very pleasant song about hoarding, who'd'a thunk it?  Lovely mandolin (?) work takes you up a notch.

    Jordan Carroll (ft. Natalie Carroll) - Work It
    Score: 8.5 Ranking: 3
    I love the sheer chutzpah of imagining this tune as a dancefloor boast.  Nice job wielding the vernacular from my middle-aged dad perspective.  Smart, fun, if you kicked the production up a notch or two it'd be a monster.

    Tenmere - Revolution
    Score: 8.5 Ranking: 4
    A toe-tapper!  Gonna play this at D&D tonight.

    Micah Sommersmith - I Sing for Clara
      Score: 8 Ranking: 5
    Well-performed and arranged, though the main vocal can be a bit wobbly at times.  Nice squeezebox!  In this #MeToo moment in history, this tribute to an overshadowed composer feels timely and touching.

    Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - Revolutionary Love
    Score: 7.5 Ranking: 6
    Despite the name of the act, quite amiable, actually.  

    Edric Haleen - With You
    Score: 7 Ranking: 7
    A bit generic, TBH.  A nice, heartfelt performance, as usual, and completely professional, just really nothing to make it stand out.

    Governing Dynamics - Forty-Five
      Score: 7 Ranking: 8
    I applaud the sentiment, no question, and like the guitar work.  The song itself doesn't leap out at me, though.  

    Boy on the Wall - Yesterday
    Score: 7 Ranking: 9
    Pleasant enough, but a bit light lyrically.  As a purveyor of cheesy synth patches, game recognize game.


    Dr. Lindyke - Far Away ft. Heather Zink (SHADOW)
    Oh, Jesus, I'm going to have to compliment Dave now, won't I?  Fine.  Very enjoyable, well-written, performed, sung by both leads, great concept, Dave's Dino (or it it Tony?) impression is classic, yadda yadda yadda...will you untie me now?
    (Dave's note: It was Dino... from the Flintstones. And no, not until you sign the Power of Attorney)

    Boffo Yux Dudes - Sirens (SHADOW)
    Being exhausted paradoxically allowed me to loosen up a bit and deliver a more relaxed and assured production (albeit a bit basic; thank God Tom was there to flavor things up), IMHO.  Yeah, it's still BYD.  But at least we covered the BYD Brain Wall with some wallpaper.

    Boffo Yux Dudes - Ode to Marcel (SHADOW) 

    Menage a Tune - Springtime Promenade (SHADOW)
    This song is perfectly timed, as we are finishing up our annual week of spring here in Chicago.  Good use of the challenge, love the syncopation.  Very pleasant and well-done.

    Jerkatorium - Today's the Day (cover)
    I do not understand the obsession with this song, but I like this version.  Good power-pop with great squelchy synth sounds.

    ST14R3 Reviews - Dave Leigh

    ROUND 3! Awesome challenge, awesome responses! I'm in Thailand business this week, so I got a lot of listening done while winding down after work.

    When ranking these, I had a number of things in mind. First, that the classical tune was recognizable. Also, that all of the aspects of the challenge were met, including the fact that we asked for a contemporary song. To me this means that the work should be significantly transformative. I wasn't looking for you to set words to the tune as-written. Rather, it's taking the tune and making it your own. I also considered whether it was a "qualifying tune"... that is, did it meet the time and genre constraints we placed on it. If it was written on or after January 1st, 1900 it would be immediately disqualified. Beyond that, it's all personal taste and listenability, folks. I did listen to the original composition and the submission.

    I should point out that I don't like eliminating any of these competitors. But it's a game, and games have rules. As in Highlander, There Can Be Only One.

    Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - Revolutionary Love
    based on: Etude Op. 10, No. 12 in C Minor, by Frederic Chopin (aka "Revolutionary")
    Before even listening, I had to laugh at the pun in your title, as Chopin's piece is commonly called by the title "Revolutionary". And this is a brilliant adaptation. We wanted classical, and you picked a genre-defining piece by Chopin, no less. We wanted it recognizable, and you included one of the most recognizable keyboard arpeggios in all of Western music. We wanted contemporary, so you gave it a drum-machine beat and squashy synth for a danceable, club-worthy song, as well as a nice repackaging of the tune itself.
    I love the easy listenability, the lyrical humor, and the excellent balance of the classical tune with the contemporary aspect of the challenge. And way to hold a note! You go, boy! As far as I'm concerned, this knocks it out of the park.

    Megalodon - Magpie
    based on: Hungarian Dance No. 5, by Johannes Brahms
    I love this for all the same reasons as I love Bubba's number (with suitable allowances for instrumentation). Only personal preference separates them, and then mostly because Bubba picked a harder tune to adapt. The varied string instruments in Magpie grab me instantly. Lyrically, there are some really fun rhymes in here. Some of the figures make for some light-hearted transitions, and that's just what I needed to hear this week.
    Fun fact: my sister actually has a collection of dolls with missing heads. I swear it on my mother's eyes. So if Edric wants to know why you're ranked higher than him, he can stop wondering. You have better spies.

    Edric Haleen - With You
    based on: the second (“Largo”) section of Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, by Antonín Dvořák
    You tear-jerker, you.

    Boy on the Wall
     - Yesterday

    based on: Pavane, Op 50, by Gabriel Fauré
    Overall, I enjoyed it. ;)
    I was tempted to leave my review at that, but damn, you did a fine job. If you're curious as to what caused others to rise higher in my rankings, it boils down to your lyrics being less intricate and more repetitive.

     - Revolution

    based on: Egmont Overture - by Ludwig van Beethoven
    When my kids heard your style they told me they hoped you would pick "Ride of the Valkyries". That said, you picked the right song to match your chops. It's hard to find a piece with more in-your-face attitude than this. That said, you stepped up the attitude by wrapping it up in hard rock. Talk about transformational. I can actually imagine this as background music in a 1980s-style shoot-em-up arcade game. That's not a dis. Kudos. 

    Governing Dynamics - Forty-five
    based on: Asturias (Leyenda), by Isaac Albéniz
    Some of the best vocals I've heard from you. And a great choice of tune. Although I most often hear Leyenda played on guitar these days, it was written for piano, so I've linked to that above. I mention that because it's nice to see you take it back to guitar, but in a completely different direction. Everybody else plays it on Spanish guitar, whereas you whip out the amps and the ebow and streeeetch and slur those notes like you own them. I wish we could have ties in the rankings so I could put this higher.

    Micah Sommersmith - I Sing for Clara
    based on: Piano Trio in G minor, movement 3, by Clara Schumann
    You are the king of the near-rhyme. Nice job in not only picking a suitable tune, but also in making the lyrics hark back to the original composer, the wife of Robert Schumann. This should inspire anyone who listens to look up her Wikipedia page and listen to a few songs. 
    This might come across as a backhanded compliment, but I think you did such a good job picking a tune that it hurt you in my rankings. Piano Trio in G minor is one of the most emotional pieces I know. It's one of the very few that I can get moist-eyed just from being exposed to a performance. Your adaptation of it is so faithful that I can't help but notice that this rendition falls short of the emotional range of the original. Nevertheless, this is a fitting tribute.

    Jordan Carroll - Work It
    based on: Turkish March, by Mozart
    Way back when I was a larva practicing my piano lessons, I hated playing Mozart's Turkish March due to the mechanical precision of timing required and relative lack of dynamics (typical of Mozart, who apparently makes babies smarter). Later I associated it with the game "Jawbreaker" on the TI-99/4a. Mozart's pieces make great retro video game music for all the same reasons that they're insufferable for humans to play.
    Why did I mention all that? Because I appreciate the fact that you broke up that mechanical feel with the off-kilter, slow drums. They give the piece a completely different feel even though you're playing it at roughly the right tempo as-written.  

    Glen Raphael
     - Yippee Ki-Yay

    based on: Symphony No. 9 in D minor (aka "Ode to Joy"), by Ludwig van Beethoven
    I hate putting this one here. But I have to rank them somehow, and I picked my criteria in advance. Honestly, Glen, I think this one's a little light on the "contemporary" part of this challenge. And given that it's pretty much a straight rendition plus lyrics, it comes across sounding more like a parody number than something you've taken and made your own. That said, it's a pretty good parody. I enjoyed it. And I'm going to be dodging blows from my son for ranking it last.

    (in submission order)

    Dr. Lindyke - Far Away (SHADOW)
    based on: The Beautiful Blue Danube, by Johann Strauss II
    A mini-bio instead of a review: We had a lot of fun making this one. The Blue Danube has been my favorite bit of classical music since I was 6 years old, and since Hoover wanted me to re-do a set of lyrics I'd done years ago, I took the opportunity to shadow. So technically it's a DQ (since it's not "new" new). I set the tune to 4/4 time, and originally imagined it with a vaguely Caribe rhythm, but it kept wanting to be Mack the Knife, and to an extent it finally won. I passed this adaptation around a little bit for feedback, and everybody thought the original horns stunk. So I minimized the brass ensemble, scaled back the piano in the opening verses to let it build, and threw on some trumpet and trombone solos. It's mostly trumpet because I'm blatantly pandering to Paul. I'm really happy about the piano on this one. I'm also thrilled with the Doris Day quality vocals Heather provided. She keeps it grounded when I'm tempted to overdo the nightclub cheese.

    Boffo Yux Dudes - Sirens (SHADOW)
    based on: Canon in D, by Pachelbel
    The portion of Canon in D that you used is pretty much all chord changes and light on melody. And we asked for melody. Sigh. Since it completely coincidentally has sirens and contains the phrase "trial by fire" I would suggest submitting it to Nur Ein... it might have better luck there.

    Boffo Yux Dudes - Ode to Marcel (SHADOW)
    based on: 4'33", by Jon cage
    I'm pretty sure you guys know this is a DQ, for several reasons. First, the original piece was written in the 20th century, thus failing the time restrictions. Furthermore, despite replacing "orchestra-ready" background sounds with passing traffic, I don't think I found your silence to be significantly transformative enough to count as a contemporary piece. Also, it contains no lyrics, in a blatant violation of our submission guidelines. Couldn't you at least have submitted lyrics and claimed they were performed in ASL? This is what you get for not bringing me in to collab. You should feel bad... very bad... for having submitted this.

    Menage a Tune - Springtime Promenade (SHADOW)
    based on: Pictures at an Exhibition (Promenade), by Modest Mussorgsky
    Mussorgsky's Promenade is a stately number, transformed here into a light and bouncy celebration. It's the tune, alright, but in a completely new setting. That's what this challenge is about. The main (constructive) criticism I have of it is that it's too restrained for what it needs to be. A fuller piano sound would be nice (this one's a bit tinny); the drums and bass are too muted, when they should be driving the emotion; and probably both of you should be singing as a duet. And when you sing, back off the mic and just belt it out like you want your neighbors to bang on the walls. Perform it with as much joy as the arrangement allows.

    Jerkatorium - Today's the Day (COVER)
    based on: Today's the Day, by Inverse T. Clown
    Bravo! That is all.