Saturday, April 14, 2018

SpinTunes #14 Round 2 Challenge

Previously on...: Choose a famous song. It must have appeared on a Billboard Top 100 list. Now write a song that is a prequel to that famous song, such that the hit song appears to be an answer to your newly-created masterpiece.
When submitting your entry, include in the email the name of the piece for which you're writing a prequel, and identify the Billboard Top 100 list it appeared on. (Don't just assume that because you've heard of it that it meets the challenge!)

Submitting Entries:
  • Your entry must be received by April 22, 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 the song's title and your band name
  • Title of the e-mail should be the title of the Challenge & your band's name. (e.g. "Previously On - Dr Lindyke")
  • 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.

ST14R1 Results!

Round One is now complete.  

Thanks again to all who participated. We want to hear more from you! The music only ends when you stop playing!

Of the official entries, we had no disqualifications
Four bands will be eliminated, and may shadow Round 2 for possible reinstatement should there be deadline eliminations there. 

The Results

TrackName Jerkatorium Paul Tom Allan Dave Total
Temnere 9 2 5 1 5 22
Boy on the Wall 1 6 9 5 2 23
Governing Dynamics 2 4 7 2 8 23
Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken 6 7 1 3 7 24
Ominous Ride 11 1 8 8 3 31
Edric Haleen 3 12 4 10 4 33
Glen Raphael 7 13 10 4 1 35
Micah Sommersmith 4 15 2 7 10 38
Megalodon 12 3 6 6 12 39
ShyFox 14 5 12 13 6 50
Buckethat Bobby Matheson 16 14 3 12 9 54
Rob from Amersfoort 5 17 11 9 13 55
Riker's Island 13 8 13 11 16 61
Jordan Carroll 8 11 14 16 14 63
Heather Zink 10 9 15 14 15 63
Menage a Tune 15 10 16 15 11 67
Josh, Just Josh 17 16 17 17 17 84


There were two ties. Since I'm judging this round, they're broken by order of entry, which is how they're listed in the table above:

  • Boy on the Wall / Governing Dynamics 
  •  Jordan Carroll / Heather Zink

Jordan Carroll - Heather Zink - Menage a Tune - Josh, Just Josh

Disqualifications (0)
You can thank the judges for that! ;) 

  • Judges ranked the songs from their favorite (1) to least favorite (17). 
  • For each band, the ranks were added together to get a score.
  • The bands were sorted by score, low to high. 
  • Ties were broken by order of submission.

The top contenders move on to Round Two. Scores from this round do not carry over and will not be used.

Stay tuned for the next challenge!

ST14R1 Reviews - Dave Leigh

This has been a rough week. Between weddings and funerals and people moving house, getting anything done this week has been a lot like herding roommates. So I'm pinch-hitting on the judging today. Don't give the judges who couldn't make the deadline a hard time... they've got Real Life Concerns(tm). They'll come back fresh for the next round.

Here was the challenge:
This Place is a Zoo: Refer to your pet as your roommate and write a song about what your roommate did today, never mentioning its species in the lyrics. If you don't have a pet, make one up. 
Before I get into the reviews, let me just say that a lot of you are getting the benefit of having some extremely lenient judges. A number of you didn't hit the challenge. If you didn't refer to your pet as a roommate, or if you didn't talk about what your roommate did today, or if you wrote from the perspective of a pet talking about the pet's roommate, then I'd have been just fine with disqualifying the entry. But the judges were very kind to you and decided to let it all slide. As for me, I'm deducting serious points for the omissions.

So yeah. This round I'm going to be that jackass rules lawyer.

Beyond that, I'm ranking for listenability and personal preference. Sorry, about the lean remarks, folks. If you want thoughtful constructive criticism, go back and read Jerkatorium's reviews because they're generally spot on even when we don't agree on position.

Glen Raphael
I like this song. I like the vocals, I like the arrangement, I like the mix, I like the sweet, poetic honesty of the lyrics. I like it. That is all.

Boy on the Wall
This is just nice. There are a lot of "my roomate doesn't pull his/her weight" songs in this mix, but the execution here is light-hearted and entertaining, with plenty of replay value.

Ominous Ride
So. I'm a fan of this drug-induced 70s sound. I admit it. And to be fair, I had a roommate who snapped whenever I left my shit on his bed, too. So I can relate.

Edric Haleen
Let's get this out of the way: BROADWAY! That's not a bad thing. It's nice to see Edric playing to his strengths. Especially nice here is taking the "roomate" angle seriously. THAT's the spirit of this challenge, and Edric's hit it squarely on the head. Odd for someone who usually takes liberties. ;)
I like the ending on this one. All of that complaining and tsuris, followed by a sigh of resignation and plodding over to the vacuum cleaner. Yup, that's what it's like.

An excellent entry! It meets the "roommate" requirement and is a little weaker on the descriptive element of what the roommate did today. There's more "is" than "did" about the song. I'm not a great fan of hard rock; in this genre, lyrics often take a back seat to the pure wall of sound. Nevertheless, scoring highly for execution. That's "execution", as with a big heavy-metal axe. A big electric, six-stringed axe. Because puns.

I'm extending "roomie" to cover "homie". Judge's privilege. This is just super-duper cute and it got ranked up just for that. I'd like to hear a re-mix with the vocals mixed more up-front and dry. It doesn't need the reverb.

Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken
"We share a room" squeaked this under the challenge requirements. Not much you can say about a goldfish's day. And yet, Bubba got an eminently listenable song out of it. This is exactly the kind of easy-listening thing that I listened to in the late 70s, early 80s. The illegitimate love-child of Steve Miller and Alan Parsons. And I think it's got plenty of hook.

Governing Dynamics
I did NOT expect a piano ballad from Governing Dynamics! And very nicely done! "Singing the song of her people"... heh! And I can't exactly ding your for vocals when you reach for that "tuuuuuUUUUuunaaaa!" Because damn.

 Buckethat Bobby Matheson
OK, using your CHIA PET for this challenge is audacious, outrageous, utterly ridiculous... and begrudgingly allowed. It's so audacious that I moved you up a slot purely because you did it. (Sorry, Micah). If only your mix was as audacious as your premise. Crank up the mic, lay some "intention" on your cajon, and mean it.

Micah Sommersmith - Our Arrangement
Nice subversion of the rhyme-scheme to communicate the species without saying it, although we might have gotten it from the eggs. I have nothing bad or even terribly constructive to say about the instrumentation because I like it as is. If you were to ask me why I ranked anything above this entry where I did, I'd say it's purely due to personal preference.

Menage a Tune - Who Needs an Alarm Clock?
Quirky delivery. The song needs to be pitched about 2 full tones higher, which would give JoAnn more opportunity to sing rather than talk through it. The dynamics-free percussion is a little weird and out-of-place given the other instrumentality. You can get a little more organic percussion sound if you were to try a cajon.

Megalodon - Dignified Leisure
The "roomate" connection on this one is weak: "Here with me" pretty much sums it up. And except for eating a strawberry it's mostly advice for your pet rather than telling us what your pet did. And that's a shame because I'd like to score this about 6 places higher than I'm scoring it.
However, you made me look up a word. That hasn't happened in years. Thanks. 

Rob from Amersfoort - You're So Fab
Another that's really weak on the roommate connection. I love the opening guitar licks. But then it gets into the verses with the hits on the 4/4 beats and it just kind of loses me musically. You get me back in the choruses and lose me again in the verses.

Jordan Carroll - Unloved
Challenge fail. This song takes up the pet's POV, which is pretty much the opposite of what we asked for. That kills me, because I love the song itself. And I totally get the melodrama of the pet. My mother had a cat that we named "MacBeth" because whenever we left the house it was a terrible tragedy. (Also, it was a ginger in tartan, so... Scottish)

Heather Zink - When She's Gone
Challenge fail for perspective. It should be you referring to your pet as a roommate, not the other way 'round. 
Love the vocals. Would love the song even more if after the first verse the piano opened up a little more. Get it off the downbeat. As for the layered vocals... primo stuff. Really nice, Heather!

Riker's Island - Amy
Challenge Fail for not establishing the roomate connection. And I really hate down-ranking this because of it because it's Yet Another Song I Like.
I'd be tempted to criticize it for being a bit loose with the timing, but on the other hand I think it might lose some of the intended feel if it were cleaned up too much. 

Josh, Just Josh - Best Friend
Challenge fail.It's not the only song to take up the pet's POV, so you're in good company, Josh; and you did better than the 7 contestants who didn't get in an entry under the deadline, making you eligible for wildcard re-instatement. If you don't make it through, come back next round with a shadow. SpinTunes is only over when you stop writing.


Match Matchy - One of These Days
This entry takes full advantage of the fact that shadows have additional leeway. And I'm glad that Matchy2 did that, because this is a really entertaining and well-done entry.

PigFarmer, Jr. - Lazy Bitch
It's a little formulaic, and it's a little rough, but it's a shadow, so we'll cut the song some slack. A lot more slack than we'll cut Clyde. She's a lazy bitch.

ST14R1 Reviews - Paul Rosenbluth

First, I am grateful to return as a Judge for another edition of SpinTunes.  I have continued my approach to judging from last time.  Quality of music and lyrics are weighted most heavily, but I also include creativity and delivery/execution (how well you communicated or sold me on the song regardless of production value). I also gave some weight to overall impression and first reaction.  I used a scoring scale with five categories based on my qualitative reactions as I listened.  I tried to not be biased by styles that are not my favorite and rather judge the work on its merits within the context of that genre and how people who like that genre would deem it.  I greatly appreciate the creative process of all the competitors in this round and thank you for the opportunity to share my reactions.

So here we go…

1.       Ominous Ride - Marco Polo
So much I like about this song.  The music gave this one an overall edge over my choice for #2.  Many elements were suggestive to me of comforting song favorites (perhaps a little Simon and Garfunkel or Tommy James and the Shondells), especially with the syncopated rhythm, echoing voices, flute sound (not sure if actual flute, synth, or if my ear is hearing it as such) and the piano and organ accents.  Strong entry from a band that gave me one of my SpinTunes favorites from last time, “Line After Line.”  Excellent.

2.       Temnere – Domesticity
Well crafted, driving, energy-laden track.  A strong, balanced composition overall with convincing lead vocal, guitar work, and quick paced percussion.  Very creative and sharply executed hard rock anthem.  Superb effort.

3.       Megalodon - Dignified Leisure
Really enjoyed the melody on this one.  A bit pensive and nicely answered with the guitar in the breaks.  Felt a touch of Ween or Joe Jackson.  Creative and well delivered.  Props for use of “otium.”  A nice piece indeed.

4.       Governing Dynamics - *boop*
Loved the cheeky lyrics in such a melodic tune: “singing the song of her people” and “evil mouse.”  Creative, pretty and well executed little number.  Well done.

5.       ShyFox - My Homie
One of the most creative entries to me.  Reminiscent of Beck, Bicycle, or Cider Sky.  Nice lyric work placing rhymes and weaving in spoken elements.  Light and playful.  Very well done.

6.       Boy on the Wall - Amelia, What Are You Thinking?
Really liked the contrast between the lyric and chorus on this one.  Nice melody a bit reminiscent at moments of “This is My World” by Darius Rucker.  Well-constructed and enjoyable.  Good job!

7.       Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - Floating By
This is another one where I really liked the contrast between lyric lines and chorus.  An existential lament of good lyrics.  Love this line: “With you I don't even have to try.”  A solid, well-executed entry.  Nice work.

8.       PigFarmer Jr - SHADOW: Lazy Bitch
Would have ranked this #8 if in competition.  A good bluesy acoustic performance.  Get your shit together, Clyde.

9.     Riker's Island - Amy
Melodically like a lost track from Pink Floyd’s “Obscured by Clouds.” A bit meandering and abstract vibe yet with thoughtful lyrics.  A good little composition.

10.   Matchy Matchy - SHADOW: One of These Days
Homicidal pets panic and hang the DJ, I mean kill the mailman.

11.   Heather Zink - When She's gone
Simple and pretty with a “Porgy and Bess” vibe.  Felt like this was a good start to a song that wanted to be more.

12.   Menage a Tune - Who Needs an Alarm Clock?
Solid lyrics with a light, airy tune.  Reminds me a bit of John Hiatt’s “Slow Turning” and the accordion always makes me hear Camper Van Beethoven.  A nice entry.

13.   Jordan Carroll - Unloved
A well-constructed song.  I like the pauses and spoken interjections.  The beat and mood would be well suited to a proper hip-hop joint.  Nicely done.

14.   Edric Haleen - Bitch
This could be a fine number in the Broadway musical “Pets” with props to Kahn and Donaldson.  Creative and well-executed.  Good job.

15.   Glen Raphael - Lazy Sunday
Gordon Lightfoot would be a great name for a pet cat.  Mr. Pibb and Red Vines equals crazy delicious.

16.   Buckethat Bobby Matheson - You Don't Do Anything But Drink
Very creative take on the challenge.  “You Don’t Do Anything But Drink” is a great title and line “loaded” with imagery.

17.   Micah Sommersmith - Our Arrangement
Another creative take on the challenge.  Was worried you might lay an egg on this one.  Smart lyrics and well delivered.

18.   Josh, Just Josh - Best Friend
A bit simple but could be the start of something.  For me it needed a little more musical variation and less obvious rhymes in the lyrics.

19.   Rob from Amersfoort - You're So Fab
Just not enough musical hook for my tastes.  I did dig the drum spills on the outro.


Special mention to Jerkatorium.  Yes, so stupid, right?  Curious what the proper demonym is for us Jeraktorium fans.  Jerkheads?  Jerkatorians?  Jerkers?  Inquiring minds want to know.


Paul actually gave rankings including the shadows. Shadows have been removed and numbers adjusted for the aggregate totals, but here's how it would have shaken out if shadows were competing.

Ominous Ride - Marco Polo 03:00
Temnere - Domesticity 04:53
Megalodon - Dignified Leisure 03:23
Governing Dynamics - *boop* 03:05
ShyFox - My Homie 02:19
Boy on the Wall - Amelia, What Are You Thinking? 02:40
Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - Floating By 03:46
PigFarmer Jr - SHADOW: Lazy Bitch 02:38
Riker's Island - Amy 03:19
Matchy Matchy - SHADOW: One of These Days 03:34
Heather Zink - When She's gone 01:59
Menage a Tune - Who Needs an Alarm Clock? 03:52
Jordan Carroll - Unloved 03:26
Edric Haleen - Bitch 02:36
Glen Raphael - Lazy Sunday 02:49
Buckethat Bobby Matheson - You Don't Do Anything But Drink 03:09
Micah Sommersmith - Our Arrangement 02:57
Josh, Just Josh - Best Friend 02:01
Rob from Amersfoort - You're So Fab 02:00

ST14R1 Reviews - Tom Giarosso

My thoughts -

Hi folks! This is my fist official judging of a SpinTunes round. I’ll give you my ideas as to why I picked the way I did, and some insight on the process, but overall, I think this was a strong round of songs.

I grade highly on relistenability. I’ve had these playing in repeat in the car this week, so If I get to one, and I want to hit the skip button, it’s not going in the top ⅓. I also take into consideration it’s a song WRITING contest and not a song production one. Some of you have much better equipment than others, but polishing a turd is still a turd at the end of the day.

Several of these songs missed the challenge. The viewpoint was specifically mentioned as first person from the writer, not the roommate. I didn’t feel this was enough for a DQ, but I did ding the rankings respectively because of it, even if I liked the song. Other judges might feel differently.

These are reviewed in the order they were on the Bandcamp LP. Dave’s got the rankings on another page.

Jordan Carroll - Unloved
I love the mood this instantly sets. You can tell it’s going to build as the strings kick in. I was expecting a twist or something changing the mood when the door opens. Instead it went back to the chorus. Strong entry, but flawed perspective..

Glen Raphael - Lazy Sunday
You hit the lazy sunday vibe with the dual guitars. Doubling the voice on the second verse adds to the comfortable feel. Overall, well done.

Micah Sommersmith - Our Arrangement
I did snicker at the over the head rhymes on your roommate's identity. Story was solid. An accordion somehow fits the bill for a song about eggs. Very enjoyable.

Edric Haleen - Bitch
This one started slow, and then kicked into a ‘Making Whoopie’ 20’s feel. Good choice. The asides within the lyrics were well done. It made me smile with the building resentment and ire.

Josh, Just Josh - Best Friend
Interesting perspective from the point of view of the roommate.I’d like to hear this with a bit more variety in the refrain. Not bad for a quick recording on a condenser mic.

Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - Floating By
A lot going on in this one. The flanging compliments the underwater theme. The twist that the sad state of the roommate is miniscule to the fact the the writer is in worse shape was quite revealing. Lush production. One of my favorites this round.

Menage a Tune - Who Needs an Alarm Clock?
Sounds like quite the inconsiderate roommate. Nice use of melodica solo and solid piano work. Interesting synths and sampled barks.

Buckethat Bobby Matheson - You Don't Do Anything But Drink
You had me scratching my head on this pet roommate. What the hell is it? I did break down and look at the summary and must say, Bravo! (Golf Claps all around).

Rob from Amersfoort - You're So Fab
Big, Fat guitar sounds and striking opening riffs. I like the Vox doubling and the flanging and instrumentation. At least your roommate gives you some comfort and satisfaction. Good use of lyrics.

Boy on the Wall - Amelia, What Are You Thinking?
Poppy synths. Nice hooky song. The trailing vox are a nice touch.Points for rhyming Blob!.

Governing Dynamics - *boop*
Nice job setting a story. Not a very nice roommate. Good groove, and I liked the imagery. Thumbs up!

Temnere - Domesticity
Monster Guitars! Soaring chorus! Love the counterpoint of the roommate having a upbeat, driving song where it’s all internally based. Loved this one.

Riker's Island - Amy
Has a nice Folk feel to it. Good use of strings in the middle. Quite the ambivalent roommate.

Heather Zink - When She's gone
Simple piano is a good complement to your voice. Liked the repeating lyrics under the 3rd verse. Would have ranked much higher with correct perspective.

Megalodon - Dignified Leisure
You made me look up ‘Otium’, and it fits the tune like a glove. Referencing ‘Kung Fu Panda’ was a nice touch. The soaring Guitar part made me smile. Nice job!

ShyFox - My Homie
Happy Guitar background riff. Wanted to learn more about the roommate, who seemed pretty cool. Liked the breakdown return. Nicely done.

Ominous Ride - Marco Polo
Piano beat really sets the moon. Fun synth solo break. Liked the tie in to the name, the game, and the wondering if your roommate will return.

Matchy Matchy - SHADOW: One of These Days
Passionate to a fault. Chorus is hooky and sticks in your brain. So, is the roommate going Postal? Love the way the music builds.

PigFarmer Jr - SHADOW: Lazy Bitch
Another roommate that doesn't pull their weight.  I did like the ocular insights I had an Iguana growing up, and they seriously don’t do much except sit there. But when they move, your heart pounds!

Thanks everyone for sending in an entry, and I’m looking forward to Round 2!