Thursday, September 30, 2010

How To be A Better Songwriter: First Impressions

Have you ever been listening to a song that starts off with some long drone or a quiet background noise that just carries on and on? It sounds like the song is building up to something really great... but it never happens. You keep waiting for the song to start but it never seems to. It drives you crazy and you change the station or skip to the next song, don't you?

That's because it sucks! It's annoying and people don't generally like it. Some people may approach this discussion from an artistic perspective and try to defend the artists with something like "well people just have a short attention span" or something like that... but that's not really true. It just sucks. Plain and simple. And most people won't sit and listen to something they don't like. Don't make excuses.

So when you write your own songs, don't do it! If you like the mellow, ambient, droning sounds to set the mood for your laid-back, mellow song... hurry up and get it out of the way. Trust me - dragging it out isn't gonna change anything. If it doesn't work within the first few seconds, it's not gonna work in the first minute and a half either.

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Football Picks Sept 30 - Oct 1

These games don't look all that exciting. (winners in green)

Thursday Night
Texas A&M at Oklahoma State

Friday Night
Brigham Young at Utah State

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Football Picks Sept 27

Had a terrible day with my NFL picks yesterday. 35-29 on the year now. (winner in green)

Green Bay at Chicago

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Football Picks Sept 26

I went 5-1 in college picks yesterday. I'm 32-24 on the year. (winners in green)

Tennessee at NY Giants
Dallas at Houston
San Francisco at Kansas City
Atlanta at New Orleans
Philadelphia at Jacksonville
San Diego at Seattle
Indianapolis at Denver
NY Jets at Miami

  • Tennessee is statistically the best pass defense in the league through the first two weeks... but they've only played Oakland and Pittsburgh, so it's not a very reliable stat.
  • Houston has been really good at stopping the run, but Dallas is a passing team. This could be the big shoot-out of the week.
  • Vick is the Eagles' starter. Now the question is how good will they be?

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Football Picks Sept 25

I'm 27-23 on the year. (winners in green)

Virginia Tech at Boston College
#1 Alabama at #10 Arkansas
#16 Stanford at Notre Dame
#12 South Carolina at #17 Auburn
#24 Oregon State at #3 Boise State
#22 West Virginia at #15 LSU

  • I'm taking Notre Dame as my upset pick of the week.
  • Auburn over South Carolina could technically be considered an upset, but it's not really.

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New Demo: Destiny Song

This is just an acoustic demo and the sound quality isn't studio perfect. It's just me with an acoustic playing the rhythm and singing the lead vocals.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Football Picks Sept 23-24

Thursday and Friday's college picks. (winners in green)

#19 Miami (FL) at Pittsburgh
#4 TCU at Southern Methodist

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

'Have You Ever Seen The Rain' cover

I haven't posted any of my recent cover songs on here in a while, so here are a few. The first one is this CCR cover.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How To Be A Better Songwriter: Pick Up The Pace

The last songwriting post I wrote was about how long a lot of unsigned/indie artists' songs are. One of the less obvious reasons for that is the tempo.

A lot of unsigned artists write songs that move so slow it puts you to sleep. Part of that is because the songs are meant to be slower which just ends up being melancholy and boring, but I'm not gonna talk about that specifically here.

I've listened to several songs by indie artists that should be more energetic than they are because the tempo is just a few beats per minute slower than they sound like they should be.

If you're an indie artist and you're familiar with audacity (which you more than likely are) take a .wav file of one of your favorite band's tracks and put it in audacity. Now go to "change speed" and slow it down about 2 or 3 percent. The difference may not seem that big at first, but if you play the two different speeds back to back a few times you should start to notice that the slower track doesn't sound as good. That's because it's not.

Now go through some of the songs you've written and recorded and re-evaluate the BPM and consider speeding it up. You'll probably want to re-record the song, since just speeding it up in audacity can actually change the key of the song and make your voice sound drastically different.

After reading this, keep in mind that most people prefer upbeat songs to sad songs on an average day.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Football Picks Sept 20

This is a no-brainer.

New Orleans at San Francisco

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Football Picks Sept 19

I'm not sure what my season total is right now. I'm 3-3 with the Notre Dame/Michigan State game in overtime and the Iowa/Arizona game just started, so I can be 5-3 or 3-5.

Here are tomorrow's NFL picks. (winners in green)

Pittsburgh at Tennessee
Miami at Minnesota
Baltimore at Cincinnati
Seattle at Denver
Houston at Washington
New England at NY Jets
NY Giants at Indianapolis

  • I don't like Tennessee's RB, but he's good.
  • Minnesota should look a lot better against an easier opponent.
  • I wanna see the Dynamic Duo get about 300 combined yards against the Ravens... I also wanna see a million dollars in my bank account!
  • The Jets/Pats game may be the most important game of the week...
  • ...But the Colts/Giants match-up is the one I'm looking forward to the most.
  • (That and what Mike Vick is gonna do to the Lions defense)

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Football Picks Sept 18

If I have another bad week because of my ACC picks I may not pick another game with the ACC in it all year. (winners in green)

*UPDATE* I'm 2-3 so far and it looks like Texas is gonna win, so that'll move me to 3-3, and Michigan State just tied it up so I may get that one too.

#12 Arkansas at Georgia
Maryland at #21 West Virginia
Georgia Tech at North Carolina
#10 Florida at Tennessee
Brigham Young at Florida State
#6 Texas at Texas Tech
Notre Dame at Michigan State
#9 Iowa at #24 Arizona

  • It's a little disappointing to see only one Top 25 match-up after so many big games last week.
  • Georgia fell out of the Top 25?
  • BYU has never impressed me - this year is no different.
  • One of Florida's top wide receivers was apparently arrested and charged with stalking his girlfriend or something like that. I don't think it'll affect the game (I'm still picking Florida), I just wanted to point that out... because I hate the Gators...
  • Only one Top 25 match-up and it's Iowa vs Arizona?

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Football Picks Sept 16-17

I need some wins! (winners in green)

Thursday Night
Cincinnati at North Carolina State

Friday Night
Kansas at Southern Miss
California at Nevada

NC State won so I'm up to 17-13 on the year.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How To Become A Better Songwriter

Before I begin I have to get this out of the way: Most music sucks. There's no sense in making it worse, so stop.

I've been listening to my recently created radio station and as an unsigned indie artist, most (read all) of the similar artists that get played on my station are the same. *NOTE* I don't choose who the "similar" artists are on - they do all of that. So when I listen to the radio station, I'm hearing all of these bands for the first time. And most of them suck.

The first thing I've noticed is that most of the songs are well over five minutes long. I don't have a single song that I've recorded that's five minutes long. Because that's too long. There is a reason why radio stations don't play a lot of long songs, and it's the same reason most big labels don't usually let their artists put out long tracks as their lead singles. That reason is simple: People have a very short attention span.

If you're writing a song that's five or six minutes long you better change things up a lot. I mean Stairway To Heaven a lot, or Paranoid Android a lot. When people sit and listen to the same riff playing over and over it becomes more annoying than anything else - especially if it's not a very good riff (and most indie songs don't feature a lot of great riffs)

The radio stations don't want their listeners to change the station because the same song has been playing for ten minutes. They also don't want to play a single song and then have to go to commercial break because the song took forever.

It doesn't really matter weather you're talking about an FM radio station or an internet radio... people's short patience for songs that drag out doesn't change, so keep it short and simple please.

I could go on forever about this (which would be ironic) but there's a football game on! And besides, if you don't get it by now I can't help you.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Football Picks Sept 13

My NFL picks has been a lot better than my college picks so far. Let's hope that holds up.

(winners in green)

Baltimore at NY Jets
San Diego at Kansas City

  • The Ravens/Jets game is a tough pick. I have no idea who's gonna win that one.
  • The Chargers/Chiefs game is a pretty easy pick. (And not a very good match-up for the first Monday Night of the season)

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Football Picks Sept 12

I had a terrible day yesterday. Fuck you, Virginia Tech.

Week 1 of the NFL. (Winners in green)

Carolina at NY Giants
Atlanta at Pittsburgh
Indianapolis at Houston
Miami at Buffalo
Cincinnati at New England
Green Bay at Philadelphia
Dallas at Washington

  • Blah blah...
  • Blah blah blah...

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Football Picks Sept 11

It's week 2 of the College Football season and we're just a day away from week 1 of the NFL season!

I'm not doing as good as I expected so far, and with all the big match-ups on Saturday I'm gonna have to be on my game to stay above .500. (winners in green)

#22 Georgia at #24 South Carolina
#17 Florida State at #10 Oklahoma
Michigan at Notre Dame
#12 Miami (FL) at #2 Ohio State
#18 Penn State at #1 Alabama
#7 Oregon at Tennessee
#25 Stanford at UCLA

  • South Carolina has been slowly building momentum since Spurrier took over. When I say slow I mean slow.
  • This is Fisher's first real test as head coach at FSU. It's been so long since they were a real contender, I'd do just about anything to see them win this game... anything.
  • I'm a little surprised that neither Michigan or Notre Dame are ranked. Especially Notre Dame.
  • As an FSU fan, I don't like Miami. (I'm not even sure if I'm allowed to like them), but I really don't like OSU, so I'd love to see Miami pull off the upset here... but I don't see it.
  • Bama is pretty much unstoppable. The only real threat to their repeat hopes is Ohio State, If OSU holds on the the #2 spot, they could give Bama a good fight. But if OSU falters and Boise State moves into the #2 spot, as weak as their schedule is, they're not letting go of it.  Which would mean Bama wins the National title in a blow-out.
  • My big upset picks are Tennessee and UCLA.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Football Picks Sept 9-10

It's time for some new picks, and time for the big boys now. That's right, the NFL opening game! I'm gonna go ahead and make my picks for Thursday and Friday's college games. (winners in green)

Minnesota at New Orleans

#21 Auburn at Mississippi State
#23 West Virginia at Marshall

  • I think Minnesota has had a lot of time to think about their playoff loss to the Saints. I'm confident they'll get it right this time. (they weren't exactly blown out in that game, either)
  • The Thursday (and Friday) night college games aren't usually that big, but a lot of them turn out to be good games to watch. I'm hoping these games will be close.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Cover of 'Death Of A Clown' by The Kinks

I've got one more cover song to post today. This one is 'Death Of A Clown' by The Kinks. I know the Kinks have seen a kind f resurgence lately, but even with that I think they're one of the most underrated rock bands of all time.

I've always loved this song, even though it's not one of my favorite Kinks songs.

If you listen carefully you can start to hear my voice about to go out half-way through the song. I was really shouting on this one.

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My 'Child Of Nature' Cover

'Child Of Nature' was a song that John Lennon wrote during the White Album sessions. The band ultimately decided to scratch it. Lennon eventually re-recorded it with new lyrics and it became 'Jealous Guy'.

This is my cover of the original 'Child Of Nature'. I know it's not as good as Lennon's version, but I still like it.

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My 'Bad To Me' Cover

'Bad To Me' was a song that John Lennon wrote for Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas. Their version is ok, Lennon's is better.

This version is me. I'm playing the composition a little differently. I don't have a camera so I had to make a video of the lyrics instead.

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Football Picks Sept 6

I'm off to my typical good start this season at 7-2.
It's almost time for the big game of the week. I've got a lot to say about this one, but first...

#3 Boise State vs. #10 Virginia Tech

I haven't been able to watch much ESPN the last few days - mostly because I've been recording a lot of music lately - and also because I got tired of listening to the college football "experts" crushing over Boise State. There comes a point in every relationship where your boyish (or girlish) crush crosses over into obsessive stalking. That's about where the sports media is with Boise State right now. The problem is that Boise State is less head cheerleader and more of a fruit of the ugly-tree kind of girl.

But since ESPN (or anybody else discussing this match-up, for that matter) hasn't bothered to give Va Tech (who may not be the head cheerleader, but is definitely on the squad) any attention, here are some counter-points to the media's unhealthy obsession:

  • Boise State is ranked #3 in the AP (media) poll while Va Tech is #10... but in the coaches poll (ie the people who actually have to play these teams - or not, but I'll get to that in a minute) They're rankes #5 and #6 respectively. 
  • Boise is ranked so high because of their undefeated season last year. But if you look at their schedule from last season it's an even bigger joke than their schedule this year. Va Tech is the only big opponent in either. And Boise's big bowl game last year was against a TCU team who had a schedule just as weak as their own.
  • Va Tech, on the other hand, played more Top 25 teams last year than Boise has between last year and this year. (*NOTE* I'm going on the final ranking for last season)
  • The actual game is so close to home for Va Tech they might as well be playing in Blacksburg.
  • There's no ludicrous blue field in DC.
  • Va Tech is used to playing in big games early in the season. Something very few teams can honestly say.
  • Nobody ever says "Boise-Ball"... they do say "Beamer-Ball"

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Football Picks Sept 4 UPDATE

I was 3-1 today. I told you the UNC/LSU game would be close... it doesn't get any closer than that. I still feel like Carolina deserved to win the game. It's pretty impressive with as many players as they had out on suspensions.

I'll have my pick for the big Monday night game up tomorrow afternoon (I'm picking Va Tech)

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Football Picks Sept 4

Week 1 is always pretty boring for the most part. Everybody is playing their cake-walk games. There are a few Top 25 games, though. (Winners in green):

Purdue at Notre Dame
Connecticut at Michigan
#24 Oregon State vs. #6 TCU
#21 LSU vs. #18 North Carolina

  • I'm picking the home team in every game... always a bad idea, but I"m doing it anyway.
  • You have no idea how bad I wanna pick UConn. They're a little better than they get credit for. 
  • I don't think Oregon State belongs in the Top 25.
  • UNC/LSU is the second biggest game of the week after the Va Tech/Boise game. If you turn on ESPN it sounds like UNC's entire season is over before they've even played a single down. That's ridiculous. Carolina still has the most important part of their team: T.J. Yates.
  • While the Va Tech/Boise game Monday Night may be the most exciting of the week (and probably the month of September) I'm predicting the UNC/LSU game will be a lot closer.

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Football Picks Update Sept 3

4-1 in yesterday's picks. Wow, I couldn't have been any more wrong on the Pitt/Utah game.

I'll have tomorrow's picks up in a little while (and this season's sidebar scoreboard too)

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Football Picks 2010: NCAA Kick Off!

It's that time again! It doesn't feel like it's been a year already. (My picks are in green)

Marshall at #2 Ohio State
Florida A&M at #13 Miami (FL)
Southern Miss at South Carolina
#15 Pittsburgh at Utah
#14 USC at Hawaii

There are almost never any good games on opening day. There usually aren't many good games the first two weeks, to be honest (aside from Va Tech, who always seem to schedule a tough game right at the start of the season - this year being no exception)

The Pitt/Utah game is easily the biggest match-up of the night, and even that is lopsided.

I have a feeling the Southern Miss/South Carolina game may end up being the best game of the night.

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