Friday, June 30, 2017

SpinTunes #13: The Contestants!

Here are the competitors for Round 1 of SpinTunes 13.

JoAnn Abbott and M.A.T.

JoAnn likes nothing more than to meet a challenge as exactly as she can while coloring it with her own style, whether it be a musical challenge, a costuming one for the International Costumers Guild, a limerick or haiku.  M.A.T. stands for “ménage/manage a tune”, since that is what she always tries to do.  The name started off as a poor pun on ménage a trois;  now it stands for the various talented people who have helped her with accompaniment to her songs over the years.

JoAnn has been taking harp lessons for the past 4 years, and can now occasionally play with both hands at once!  She almost has "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie" down, too.  She works as a special fx artist in the local DC-MD-VA film, tv and webseries industry as well as appearing occasionally on VEEP and House of Cards.

Edric Haleen

 I'm back.

@gorbzilla - Bandcamp

Gorbzilla has been participating in these types of challenges for a long time, when his busy life allows. Once thought to be something he did for fun, he now finds being creative the only thing keeping him from a city destroying rampage.

Melissa Phillips
Website - Facebook

SF Bay Area based singer-songwriter. 

Inflatable Vegetables
Website - Facebook

Inflatable Vegetables is an internet-only band from Hawaii that struggles to be a real band. Gregg writes the lyrics. He's a mentor at Coursera/ Cal Arts Sharpened Visions poetry workshop. Many people in Hawaii work multiple jobs. Getting people together for something that doesn't immediately earn money is worse than herding cats.

Jerkatorium music videos - Jerkatorium blog

Jerkatorium is a two-man band made up of Chumpy and the Jerk: Geek rock for nerds.  Nerd rock for geeks.  Semi-regular Song Fight champions.

Rob From Amersfoort

Dutch. Likes Beatles, Prince, Fiona Apple, Harry Nilsson, and many more. Plays PRIP (post-retro indie-pop). Doesn't like dull music. Suggestions are welcome!

Glen Raphael
@glenraphael - Website - Bandcamp

Brooklyn nerd-folk performer.

Micah Sommersmith 
@MSommersmith - Bandcamp

Micah Sommersmith is a songwriter, accordionist, and church music director. He is active on Song Fight, where he boasts an incredible 6.25% win rate.

James Young
@avidfanman - Bandcamp - Facebook

UK-based. One third of rock bands AvidFan and Good Guy Sôjàbé. SpinTunes 9 finalist. Notable skills are guitar, grunting in time & knowing what ~5% of the functions in Logic Pro do.



And prepare for a whole new listening experience designed from the ground up for...something. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you might even end up doing regrettable things later while you're drunk at the bar because all your bros were saying it was a dude and it didn't matter because you were just drunk enough to incoherently argue that "nah that's a he's a she," but it doesn't really matter because you don't remember and that means it didn't happen or whatever.

Lucky Witch & the Righteous Ghost
Bandcamp - Facebook - Soundcloud - Youtube -  Instagram -  @lucky_witch_rg

We are a concentrated ball of pure awesome. We have described our sound as “Soundgarden meets The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Spooky, catchy, different, dark and weird. Female and male vocals taking turns accompanied by Omnichord’s celestial twinkles over a foundation of the intricate rhythms of an acoustic guitar.  We are the ghost you glimpse out of the corner of your eye when you’re casting spells in the middle of the night.

Boffo Yux Dudes
Website - @BoffoYuxDudes - YouTube

Old guys who do know better. The Dudes started in 1987, reformed in 2009, and got time off for good behavior. Now they attempt to do music. Allan Morgan, Tom Giarrosso and Scott Mercer head this version of BYD with rabid optimism that they'll be remembered for more than just all those replays on Dr. Demento.

Record holder of most ST shadow songs submitted. We live 3000 miles apart, so cut us some slack. Or cut us some HardTack. Be careful - you can chip a tooth on that stuff!

Sara Parsons
Twitter - - Bandcamp

Sara Parsons is a 20-something human beast from the good part of California who hates describing herself and musical prowess in the third person.

Ominous Ride

I would never want to belong to a club that would have someone like me as a member.

Matt Walton

A player of fiddle, viol and recorder among other things, Matt is also a morris dancer, aikido instructor and computer programmer. He entered SpinTunes many years ago and managed to not get knocked out in the first round. Having learned much (but not about writing lyrics), he now hopes to not get knocked out in the first round.

Alex Valentine
Twitter - Youtube - Bandcamp

Alex is a self-described Gender Punk who has cultivated a low-fi sound and DIY attitude to her music, with songs covering topics such as the gender binary, the unhelpful limitations of Modern Masculinity and how it feels to have an anxiety attack. Alex's current plans are to form a band and see if this music performance stuff is all it's cracked up to be and explode gender in the process


Jubilation is exactly that, a reckless celebration of things most would rather condemn or deny. Smiles on crooked faces, laughter in the abattoir and candy in the coffin, you need no true introduction, just awaken to the name you heard in those long forgotten fever dreams and dance.

W8 What

An American-born actor born September 22, 1960, bst known for his role as Chachi Arcola on the sitcom Happy Days and its spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi, as well as the title character on the sitcom Charles in Charge.  Oh wait, that's Baio.

Governing Dynamics
Twitter - Bandcamp

Governing Dynamics is a guitar driven, one man alt rock/shoegaze/post grunge (depends on mood and requirements) band from Kansas City, MO.  Allegedly won Spintunes.


The "Big mighty" band is an extinct species of shark rock that lived long ago, during the Cenozoic Era.

Megalodon is regarded as one of the largest and most powerful predator bands in vertebrate rock history, and likely had a profound impact on the structure of marine rock. Primitive recordings suggest that this giant shark rock band reached a maximum awesomeness. The Megalodon showing in Spin Tunes 12 was that of a Magikarp.  Sharks always move forward, especially big and mighty sharks. Looking forward to the hunt.

Boy on the Wall
Bandcamp - Twitter - Instagram

Brian makes pop songs, sometimes under the stage name Boy on the Wall.

Jailhouse Payback
YouTube - Website - Facebook

Two guitars, a bicycle, a shotgun, and the truth.

Little Bobby Tables
Facebook - Bandcamp

Little Bobby Tables is a four-piece nerdpop band based out of San Francisco, We compose and play original music, with topics like lonely spacecraft, Mexican cryptids, and DIY aviators.

Army Defense
@armydefense - @MartyWilderness - Website

5 singer-songwriters from Minnesota.  We were on NPR's "All Things Considered" once, so I guess...we won?

Name: Emperor Gum

Chamber Rock.

Jordan Carroll
@ploogle - Website

A software developer with a ukulele and, MASSIVE SHOCKER, computer.

Kevin Savino-Riker 

When not at his day job producing circuit boards for electronics companies, Kevin is a an unsigned and unknown independent musician on YouTube. Kevin has served as drummer, bassist, guitarist and lead vocalist in a number of bands over the last 25 years, though never all at the same time. He is uncomfortable writing about himself in the 3rd person.

Friday, June 16, 2017

SpinTunes #13 Sign-Ups

Sign-ups for SpinTunes #13 are now OPEN. 
  • Sign ups end June 30th @ 11:59PM.
  • The first challenge will be posted July 1st @ 12:01 AM
  • The entire schedule can be found HERE 

To sign up you and/or your band, do the following:
  • Copy and past the text below into an email, edit it as appropriate, and submit it to Include "Sign-up" in the subject of the email so it doesn't get confused with spam. 
  • Send it from an e-mail account that I can reach you at if need be. 
  • Don't panic if you don't get a confirmation e-mail immediately after signing up. This isn't automated. I'll message you back within 24 hours of getting your e-mail.
Please don't get cute and change the terms. I'll read them, and just not sign you up if you do. If you have questions or concerns, just email me (Dave) and I'll do my best to resolve them. Same address.

-------------------------------------------- Begin ----------------------------------------------------------

I _____________ wish to be entered into the SpinTunes #13 songwriting contest. I assert that
  • I will give my very best effort in each round to provide a NEW song, written in response to the challenge, that has not been released before in any form. 
  • Any music I submit into the SpinTunes contest is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (details).  I realize it will be played at a listening party and will become part of an album hosted on along with the entries of other artists, and that it will be available for anyone to download for free for non-commercial use. I further realize that this license is not exclusive and does not restrict me from licensing my music to others under any other terms, including commercial terms. 
  • I have no expectation of remuneration or financial reward. The prize for winning this contest is acclamation for a job well done. 
  • Judges' rankings are final and non-negotiable. All stated deadlines are in US Eastern Timezone. Interpretation and enforcement of the rules are left to the sole discretion of the contest organizer, Dave Leigh.
  • I agree that this competition is Heather's fault.   
Name: (The name you or your group wants to be referred to during the competition.) 
Bio: (Give a brief description of your group/music/history. Try to keep it to 500 CHARACTERS or less. It's just an intro... you'll have the links below to direct people to your sites for more information.) 
Links: (Optional, and you can list more than one. Some examples:) 
  • Twitter 
  • YouTube
  • Band Website(s) (Bandcamp, Blog, Myspace, Facebook, etc.)
Picture: (Attach a band picture or logo. It will be re-sized at need, so big's better than small. But be reasonable.)

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meet the Judges - SpinTunes #13

SpinTuners, please welcome your judges for SpinTunes #13:

Brian Gray - SpinTunes #12 Champion

Brian is a long-time SpinTunes competitor. His entries have been often funny, sometimes poignant, and always excellent. This excellence paid off with a win in our last competition, earning him a spot as this contest's lead judge. Here's what he has to say for himself:

Hi, I'm Brian Gray. You may remember me from such online songwriting competitions as "SpinTunes #1", "SpinTunes #9", and "SpinTunes #12". Now I'm back, and ready to judge the shit out of you. What makes me qualified to do so? Well nothing really, except I have a SpinTunes #12 champion t-shirt and a keyboard, and I'm not afraid to use either. 
I grew up in a musical household, listening to 80's pop, musical theatre, and random other stuff. Studied a few instruments (violin, piano, percussion), played in the band, and dove into theory during high school and college. Learned about orchestration and composition on my way to not earning a degree in music because I had no patience for the 2 required history courses. Fast forward to 2009 and I thought it might be cool to try writing songs, something I'd done exactly once before. It went ok. Then I bought a guitar. Now I am here because Dave likes me. 
I live in Philadelphia with my wife and daughter, and my favor can totally be bought.
Brian has written Every Song in the Universe, as well as A Bunch of Stuff. You probably thought there would be more. I know I did.

Dave Cheetham - Musician 

Dave Cheetham is the Welsh singer/songwriter behind the website Here you can not only learn about the songs Dave wrote, but also about the stuff Dave tried, the books Dave read, and the sites Dave likes. I discovered Dave on Twitter, tracked him down to his eponymous website, and having sampled some of the things Dave likes, tried, read and wrote, found that this Dave likes them, too. Like him on Facebook.

Paul Rosenbluth - Music Aficionado

Paul Rosenbluth of McKinney, TX is an avid music fan with eclectic tastes.  Paul played trumpet all through school where he did some arranging and composing but now mostly just plays guitar for fun and the love of music.  Paul hosts a weekday email group called “Name That Tune - Lyric Quote of the Day” where he brings familiar as well as unknown, deep tracks to the attention of fellow music lovers.  Paul’s favorite thing is to spend the day making a gourmet meal with a fine bottle of wine or two while listening to Miles Davis.  Paul is a student of eleven languages and is often prone to wax philosophical about his passion for history, language, arts, and culture.

DJ Ranger Den - Songfighter 

DJ Ranger Den (not to be confused with Cherry Pi or @suspiciousden) has been involved in the Spintunes community since its inception and has also been Song Fighting since her first Nur Ein in 2010 (She has an artist page to prove it). She is a fervent collaborator and over-participator, and has begun remastering and setting to video some of her favorite contest songs, as well as writing a "definitive work" of song stories about just what all these vague lyrics actually refer to, maybe.

Although increasingly absent from public life, she nonetheless continues to prolifically write stories, poetry, and instrumental music and songs; and to occasionally perform for select audiences throughout the country--as she has for over three decades. Her current favorite project is to write the tiniest and yet most complete songs possible--in order to perhaps set them to charming videos. She currently studies improv at both The Institution Theater and at Merlinworks in Austin. She dislikes corn.

Daniel Prince - Radio Personality

Daniel has been at WBCU since February of 2004.  Daniel graduated from Toccoa Falls College in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Radio Broadcasting.  He credits his voice change and love of music to leading him into the radio field.  “Everyone would always tell me I should be on the radio with my voice sounding the way it did when it changed,” he said.  “I always loved music and wanted to be around it, but didn’t think I had the talent to sing for a living, so I figured I should play music for a living, instead.”

Daniel is the operations manager/traffic director/webmaster/social media director/technical support provider/[insert new responsibility here] for the local radio station, WBCU. He is also the host of Union County's Morning Show, filling that role since 2012. In his nearly non-existent spare time he enjoys reading, music, church activities, and acting in community productions.  He serves as music director of First Baptist Church. His married his wife Katie in 2007 and they have two children: Grace and Abby.

Stealth Fun Fact: Both Daniel and Katie have appeared on SpinTunes and Song Fu entries.