Saturday, May 26, 2018

SpinTunes #14 Winner - MICAH SOMMERSMITH!

Winner: Micah Sommersmith (29 points)

Runner Up: Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken (34 points)
3rd: Temnere (44 points)
4th: Megalodon (46 points)

Congratulations on a job well done, and you are extended an invitation to judge SpinTunes #15 this fall! Your theme song will be used to introduce each Listening Party in that competition!

Rankings (small numbers are good!)
Micah Sommersmith: (1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 1) = 26 
Bubba & TNLAK: (4 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 2 + 3 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3) = 34 
Temnere: (2 + 3 + 2 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 4 + 2 + 4 + 4 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 4 + 2) = 44 
Megalodon: (3 + 4 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 3 + 4) = 46

Votes were cast by*
Edric Haleen - Megalodon - Temnere - Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - Ominous Ride - Jordan Carroll - Micah Sommersmith - Governing Dynamics - Menage a Tune - Heather Zink - ShyFox - Bobby Matheson - Boy on the Wall - Glen Raphael - Riker's Island

* votes are private so the order of both these names and the scores were scrambled.

Judges' Rankings:

Artist Jerkatorium Paul Tom Allan Dave Travis Total
Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken 1 1 1 1 2 3 9
Micah Sommersmith 2 2 2 2 1 1 10
Temnere 4 4 3 3 4 2 20
Megalodon 3 3 4 4 3 4 21

ST14R4 Reviews - Dave Leigh

This was haaaaaard....

I changed my mind a lot. Naturally, I had my own preconceptions coming into the round (full disclosure: I've already written a theme), and this challenge has been bouncing around in our suggestion box since before I took over. But the judges like the challenge, and after much thought, so do I. Cons of the challenge include replayability... but that's exactly what we're looking for! It has to be played at the start of each show, so it better hold up to repeated listens. Another con is that it could be perceived as self-serving. Well... sure it could. But presumably we're all playing this game because we like it. Besides... we didn't float the challenge until I already wrote a theme (so it's not because we need it, but to open it up for group participation).

But the challenge isn't what made this hard. It's the entries. Every single one of them deserves to be played in future listening parties, and I'm happy to say that after SpinTunes 15, they will.

Well done, all!

Micah Sommersmith - The Tunes are Spinning
This was the hardest for me to get behind. And then it just kept being an earworm. And when juggling these songs around repeatedly, it just kept moving upward. The lyrics are clever, with a great deal of specificity, and also just the right amount of ambiguity (in case Tom needs to move the listening party to another time or day). Plus the fact that it's just a really nice, catchy, quirky theme that seems to capture the eclectic mix of our participants. So... number one it is.

Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - Listening Party Theme
This one is my hands-down favorite when Micah's isn't. Seriously, there's about zero-point-zero-zero-one percent difference in ranking between this and Micah's entry for me. It's catchy, it's got specificity, and I absolutely love the "Get to the point, Tom!" line. It's also short and sweet after the instrumental break... just a repeat of the chorus and the show starts. When all was said and done, the separator here for me was that it's slightly too specific as to the time and day of the show, and that could limit it in the future.

Megalodon - STLIP-15
Things that I like about this most... you get to the point right up front. You're introducing a show, so it's nice to know when the pre-show ends and the show begins. I think you've got a good intuitive handle on that. It's not as lyrically dense as the higher entries, but this is still really impressive.

Temnere - Saturday Morning SpinTunes
I've been most impressed with the solid consistency of your entries this whole contest. We know your style, we know where you're going to go, and you go there. Bam! The reason that this lands behind the entries for me has to do with the feedback I gave Megalodon. You're introducing a show, so it's important to solidly break from whatever was previously playing. And here it takes right at a minute into a 2-minute song before you introduce us to the contest. That's not horrible... there's no criticism I could give that wouldn't overstate the difference in quality between these entries. Fantastic job!


Glen Raphael - SpinTunes Listening Party
Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! You Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! did Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! this Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! to Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! me! Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! You Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! made Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! me Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! hear Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! this Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! even Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! in Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! my Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! sleep! Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! Darn Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! you Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! to Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! heck! Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! Ba-duh-pah-te-bum! Ba-duh-pah-te-bum!...

Menage a Tune - SpinTunes
Nice and bouncy. I'd say that the second verse needs to be moved down a bit closer to the instrumental break. It's a good intro, so you should just hand it off to Tom for his voiceover without the "write a shadow" portion in the way. IOW, I'd reverse those. Musically, really commit to the shouting. If you're going to shout, SHOUT! And both of you do it, and layer it. Nice shadow! 

Menage a Tune - TailSpinTunes
It's a filk, and the tune's unoriginal, but you already know that. But it's a nice way of showing the same lyrics set to a completely different tune.

ST14R4 Reviews - Paul Rosenbluth

Paul's reviews will be coming soon. In the meantime, here are his rankings:

Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - Listening Party Theme 02:13
Micah Sommersmith - The Tunes are Spinning 02:06
Megalodon - STLIP-15 01:45
Temnere - Saturday Morning Spintunes 01:59
Glen Raphael - Spintunes Listening Party (SHADOW) 02:17
Menage a Tune - Spintunes (SHADOW) 02:22
TailSpinTunes 01:12

ST14R4 Reviews - Jerkatorium

As before, Jerkatorium's reviews will appear in PODCAST form at They inform me (Dave) that it was verrrry close (and I'm sure you'll hear about that in the podcast!) 

Here are their rankings:
  1. Kraken
  2. Micah 
  3. Megalodon 
  4. Temnere


You can directly download the mp3

00:00 Introduction
05:20 Micah Summersmith - The Tunes are Spinning
12:00 Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - Listening Party Theme
18:19 Megalodon - STLIP-15
23:00 Tenmere - Saturday Morning SpinTunes
28:15 Glen Raphael - Spintunes Listening Party (SHADOW)
32:19 Menage a Tune - Spintunes (SHADOW)
36:23 TailSpinTunes (SHADOW)
38:55 Rankings
49:41 Wrap-up

ST14R4 Reviews - Tom Giarrosso

(Dave's note: Tom is travelling today, so he sent me these reviews from his car somewhere near Toledo, Ohio)

First thoughts- I loved all of these songs, and will literally be using them for future listening parties.

I’m on the road with just my phone, so here are some abrevaited notes on the tunes

loved the 70’s feel. Instrumental was just the right length, and the retort just put you over the top. 

awesome bubbly tune, with lots of history. Well done!

nice and meta. I liked the self referential lyrics. 

a hard rockin theme that works great! 

I love the multiple versions. Definitely a catchy bed to talk over

bouncy tune for a bouncy LP. And a spare one as a samba/conga line!

Good luck to everyone, and thanks for making some totally amazing tunes for ST14!

ST14R4 Reviews - Travis Langworthy (Guest Judge)

Before I get going, I just want to say that everyone has done great to get this far.  I don’t run the contest anymore, but I do listen in & enjoy it as a fan now.  Like the competitors, the judges have done a wonderful job, and I’m thankful for their time & efforts throughout.  HOWEVER!  When I heard what the round 4 challenge was, I was not thrilled.  I thought it was a bad challenge for multiple reasons.

  1. It seems too self serving.  I’d have been worried that newer SpinTuners & possible future SpinTuners would see this as someone just trying to get a free theme song with the challenge & nothing else.  I’d thought of this challenge before, and that’s exactly why I never did it.  I’m sure that’s not the only reason this was selected as a challenge, but again...bad optics in my opinion.
  2. The final challenge in past SpinTunes has been a lot more interesting or challenging than this one.
  3. It’s bound to create an album of songs that will have little replay value other than being played at the SpinTunes listening party.

I’m not trying to throw all the judges under the bus for this one bad challenge though.  Hell, I ok’ed the worst challenges ever (Sad song about birth).  I also ok’ed a challenge that I knew would have little replay value (jingle challenge).  So yeah, everyone makes a bad call from time to time, and I just thought this was one of them.  Oh, and maybe link to the examples mentioned in the challenge considering both aren’t exactly well known.  Enough time talking about the challenge... onto the songs.

Micah Sommersmith - The Tunes Are Spinning
I was at the listening party, and while this was playing I couldn’t think of anything good to say aside from the fact that I love accordion.  AFTER the listening party I listened to everything again on BandCamp and it sounded so much better.  The audio quality on YouTube really sucked I guess, because I didn’t have any major issues with this song.  The lyrics got the point across in a catchy humorous way.  You had the break in there.  Thought it was sang well enough, and did I mention I love accordion?

Because I feel the need to nitpick there are a couple things I felt could have been better.  I enjoyed the build up for Tom, but the line “I’d tell you more, but I think he might be onto me” feels off.  I mean I get he’s about to have to judge you, and it’s a joke about your sucking up to him with this song.  But in future contests, he won’t be judging you... and this is a theme song for future contests.  So it didn’t feel like a good choice.

The other small issue I had was with the line “Rhymes so sick you’ll need to take a couple days off ”.  I actually LOVE the line, but you rhymed it with “face off”.  Not exactly a sick rhyme. ;p

But like I said...nitpicky because overall I really enjoyed the song, and if this wins, I’d say it was deserved.

Megalodon - STLIP-15
Creative title…  Again this sounds way better on Bandcamp than it did on YouTube.  The first thing that jumps out at me is the fact that “Spintunes Listening Party” is too much of a mouthful to be catchy.  Should have just went with “SpinTunes”, cause I don’t think “Listening Party” needs to be forced into the theme.  Something like “Welcome to SpinTunes” could be worked into the lyrics easier & people would still know it’s the listening parties theme. 
Really enjoyed the instrumental section, and the music throughout was really catchy so nice work there.  Lyrically I don’t always mesh with Megalodon, but I think you did a really good job aside from the chorus.  Vocals, performance...I just really liked everything other than your chorus.  Solid entry, you got a shot.

Temnere - Saturday Morning SpinTunes
I wasn’t really sure how your sound would translate into a theme song, but it turns out pretty well.  There are parts that I listened to without the lyrics in front of me, and I swear I couldn’t make out what was being said.  But when I had the lyrics in front of me I was like, “Oh yeah, I hear that now.”  Not sure if that’s just me, or if the vocals need brought up a little or what.  “where war's fought mind to mind” was probably the line that got me most. 
You definitely make the contest sound pretty badass, and you do it while laying out exactly how the contest works.  Honestly I don’t think anyone could have done a better job of making it sound so epic.  Up until the line “set your mark and write the perfect tune” the song could’ve been about something completely different...yet it still fits SpinTunes.  I don’t know what else to say other than well done, and you’re probably getting my top vote.

Bubba And The No Longer Amiable Kraken - Listening Party Theme
Another nice title…  Dang, another I could see winning.  Obviously I’m going to have a favorite, but I see all 4 having a legit shot at winning.  You did a better job of making “SpinTunes Listening Party” catchy than Megalodon did, but I know less about SpinTunes from listening to your theme vs the others I think. 
No question you got a bouncy feel that honestly suits what I personally envisioned for a theme more so than the others.  The production was good, vocals good, just wish you could have worked in a little more detail about the contest.  Also, what happens if Tom changes the time or day for the listening party? ;p

Glen Raphael - SpinTunes Listening Party (Shadow)
Acapella is a bold choice.  I think in parts it turned out great, and in other parts it felt like a “wall of sound” which I think is how you put it in the chat room?  And really those moments come so close together, there’s a fine line that you seemed to step back & forth across multiple times.  Lyrically it’s a bit sparse in terms of detail about the contest.  It was certainly fun to listen to, and I always love getting shadows, but I think it’s where it belongs this round when compared to the actual entries.


  1. Micah
  2. Temnere
  3. Bubba
  4. Mega

SpinTunes #14 Round 4 Songs

Here they are!