Demo Roundup: Part 3
Well, since Iíve still got hundreds of demos sitting in my inbox waiting for a thrashing, I figure itís time for another painstaking installment of the Demo Roundup. Iíve been putting it off for a couple of months now, but not without good reason. Iíd like to remind you that this truly is a death-defying feat. For your own safety, Iím only including brief clips of the songs Iím reviewing, but Iím afforded no such precaution. Believe it or not, in order to write about these songs, I have to listen to them all several times. I also have to listen to countless others which are too boring to be reviewed. By the end of it, Iím in a state of glassy-eyed internet shellshock comparable only to what our own SpokkerJones might feel after writing The Weekend Web.
Iím doing things a little differently this time. Iím not going to be giving each song a one-to-five star rating anymore. If the song is crap, Iíll say itís crap and youíll believe itís crap, then youíll download the clip and confirm that itís crap. Iím not going to baby-sit you anymore! Iíve had enough!
EvenFate Ė Back Down
What follows is an absolutely not-made-up and 100% real quote from EvenFateís website: ďEvenFate's members form so clearly the pool of their music: the ripples of each individual's craving for creation and the ripples of music that has influenced them. Stark, bold, complex, and moving, Even Fate intends the listener to let the waves inspire them, so the waves bounce back, and inspire Even Fate.Ē If youíve ever wondered just how pretentious a band of Texan Incubus copyists could get, thereís your answer. Iíd think that was a joke if only there was any hint of anything at all but brow-furrowing seriousness going on with EvenFate (by the way, is it EvenFate or Even Fate? They alternate between the two all willy- nilly). Since there is not even a single trace of artistry or originality buried anywhere within this song, one is forced to conclude that EvenFate formed as some sort of a moneymaking venture. As evidence of this, I submit to you that the only band photo on their website (www. evenfate.com) shows the band members from the neck down only. Why? Because they are sixty- year-old Japanese businessmen. They have come to America to cash in on our love of artless, soulless angst-pop-metal. They have manufactured their sound in high-tech laboratories to be as pleasing to the tin ears of stupid people as possible. They have implanted themselves deep within the suburbs of Houston, playing at far-flung venues with names like ďThe Sidecar PubĒ in order to win over the cultureless dregs of America. Unfortunately for them, their plan to sound exactly like everything else worked a little too well; amazingly enough, theyíre probably too bland and unoriginal even for American chart success.
Hideous Ė Waste
The easy joke, of course, would be to say that the bandís name and the songís title represent a refreshing example of truth in advertising. You know what? Iím going to go with the easy joke.
The 68ís Ė Sureshot
It used to sort of depress me that all the local garage bands in my town were pretty much boring and terrible. Iíd go to shows to please my friends or just to have a night out, but the music was always terrible. All the hipsters would go on and on about how great some new local band was: ďOh man, youíve got to hear them, itís Tim from The Flaminí Hots on guitar and Tim from The Flaminí Fires on vocals!Ē Deep down, I think that even the most with-it scenesters knew that all these bands were just pure garbage, but admitting that would mean admitting that they were basically scenesters without a scene. This song warmed my heart, in a way, because it made me realize that no matter were you live, no matter how big or small the town, all of the local scene bands are shit. I wonder if The 68ís know that theyíre just an excuse for people to get drunk on a Saturday night, or if theyíve deluded themselves into thinking theyíre actually good. Either way, I commend them for carrying on the ancient tradition of playing shitty rock and roll shows in tiny clubs so that guys in tight sweaters might go home with girls who work in record stores. Scene Award!
American Diary Ė Too Long To Wait
Apparently whiny alterna-pop is the new punk, because an amazingly large percentage of the demos Iíve heard lately from DIY suburbanite bands sound like Hoobastankís little brothers. Itís getting a bit hard to review this shit, because what I say about this band might as well apply to all the others as well. However, Iíve committed myself to this stupid project, so I must soldier on. I promise to do my best to illustrate whatís specifically wrong with this one song without resorting to condemnations of the genre at large. Well, first of all, itís complete crap. The instrumentation would fit perfectly as the background music to some ďextreme sportsĒ video game: It sounds like a synthesized and sequenced approximation of some old guy in a studioís idea of ďtotally rad rock and roll.Ē Secondly, the singer sounds incredibly noncommittal; I have no idea what on Earth gives him the idea that heís cut out to be a rock singer. If he doesnít sound like he cares, why should be care? There are many different kinds of good rock singers, and some of them are certainly cool and detached. However, this guy just sounds hesitant and bored. The lyrics are strike three: they include every imaginable angsty bad-relationship clichť, and the only surprise comes when the singer says ďIíve got this gun up to my head, just say the words.Ē Chill out, hombre, itís only a terrible song.
Hands of Arioch Ė Plight of Midgard
Why do people even bother sending me this stupid screaming bullshit? Yeah, go ahead and play it at your little dungeons and dragons parties or whatever, but keep it the hell away from polite society types like me. The only possible use I can envision for music like this is building a time machine, taking a stereo back to the thirties, playing it for Hitler and saying ďhey Hitler, this is what the future is going to be like.Ē He kills himself a few years earlier, the whole nasty business is averted, and we all have a party. Oh, and at the party we play real music.
Neves Ė Now
This is one of the irritating breed of self-referential rock and roll songs that do nothing but describe how wonderful rock and roll is. Yes, most of us already know that rock and roll is pretty good, or else we wouldnít be going out of our way to listen to some unknown band of hacks in the far-fetched hope that it might not suck. This song adds nothing new to the genre of rock and roll, but even worse, it doesnít even bring anything new to the field of talking about how great rock and roll is. ďRock and roll is going to save our soulĒ? Great. ďRock and roll is going to pay our toll?Ē Probably not. If youíre going to write one of these insipid things, you might as well give us some new reasons why rock and roll is great. Maybe rock and roll could be used to cheat at gambling. Maybe rock and roll could invent a new way to give your dog a bath. Maybe rock and roll could go back in time and kill Hitler, like in that review of Hands of Arioch I wrote. I donít know, I donít care, just donít give me the same old bullshit about saving my soul. Oh dear, I'd better give Neves the Day Job award, just in case they believe the thing about rock and roll paying their toll.
Cowsponge Ė Aquaman
Wonderful, itís this weekís first ďhilarious songĒ contender. If people wanted to listen to unfunny nerds dicking around with crappy recording equipment, theyíd buy They Might Be Giantsí first record.
The Elliot Project Ė Postcards and Polaroids
What weíve got here is some authentic indie mope music! You see, in the aftermath of emo, moping is the new dancing, and songs like this are the emo kidís version of disco. This song has pretty much everything you could hope for in a good mope: itís got driving all night, itís got memories from last year, itís got lines like ďIíll promise you that Iíll die trying,Ē and itís got guys with shaggy hair and pretty faces playing acoustic guitars. Itís even got that part at the end where it sort of sounds like the guy might be crying a little bit. Clearly, this sort of music is not for everyone. Is this song for you? I donít know, look down. If you see a really tight faded t-shirt advertising a place youíve never been, or if you see Chuck Taylors which have been written all over with a sharpie, then yes, this song is probably for you.
Splatterfest Ė Cathedral of the Archfiends
Splatterfest is a one-man ď digital metalĒ band, which from what I gather means that he makes scary metal songs with his computer. I have some bad news for you, Splatterfest. Nobody wants to listen to shit like this. In fact, Iíd venture to guess that youíre making these recordings purely out of boredom and you donít even particularly want to listen to them. Is metal without guitars and drums and basses inherently better than metal with them? Obviously itís not. Are you some sort of genius who can transcend the limitations of your chosen genre and make something truly revolutionary? No, youíre barely competent. Just because you can, Splatterfest, doesnít mean you have to.
The Day We Die Ė Severed Head Money Shot
So do you just make this crap to confuse your parents? They donít care, you know. They just think youíre an idiot.
Pixels Ė Two More Bodies
Okay, imagine if you were down in a deep, deep well and it was 1986 outside. If someone topside played their favorite obscure indie record down the well, it would probably sound to you a little something like ďTwo More Bodies.Ē The main thing this song has going for it is the fact that itís recorded poorly enough that I canít really tell if itís crap. For all I know, what I thought were vocal harmonies could have been someoneís mom yelling at him to take out the trash.
Many Small Functions Ė Betrayal
Iím going to go ahead and admit that I sort of dug this. It sounds like the theme music to some educational show about space from the 80s. In fact, I think Many Small Functions should just go with that. They ought to record a track over this with some deep- voiced narration: ďThe gloryÖ of the cosmos. The mysterious spiral of a distant galaxyÖ what wonders does it hold? Mankind may never know.Ē Or donít, whatever. Iím just trying to make your stupid song better.
Shelton San Ė In This Very Moment
You know what Iíve always wanted to do in a music review? Iíve always wanted to use the term ďtour-de-force.Ē Thereís just something awesome about that phrase. Itís a TOURÖ of FORCE. Well, Iím going to live my dream and call this demo a tour-de-force. Itís a tour-de-force of me not wanting to listen to it ever again. Itís an unrelenting hurricane of skull-shattering unpleasantness! Itís the sonic equivalent of getting mugged by a junkie at Disneyland! Itís sort of like being alone on graduation day and getting drunk with your grandma, just like my friend Bobby did! Basically Iím just filling space at this point, because thereí not a lot to say about this demo other than that the singer honestly sounds like he has Downís syndrome. If I find out that he does, Iíll probably feel a little bit bad about it. What if this poor guy is one of those high- functioning mental defectives and heís just trying to lead a normal life by being the lead singer in a band? Maybe he didnít fully understand the concept of this demo roundup and just wanted to get his demo heard. If thatís the case, Iím sorry, little buddy. I admire your gumption. Donít let anyone tell you what you canít do. For your bravery in the face of adversity, I give you the Special Needs Award. Oh, and if by some outrageous stroke of luck youíre not retarded, you really should do something about that sounding-like-you-have- Downís-syndrome thing.
Well, Iím certainly spoiled with variety. Iíve heard everything from indie mope music to inexplicable screaming metal, and Iíve come away from it hating the world just a little bit more than before. I apologize if you sent in a demo and I havenít reviewed it. First of all, I got way too many of them. Secondly, a lot of them were boring and worthless. Thirdly, Iím not your goddamn slave.
If youíre still dying to send in a demo for next time I do one of these, you can mail it to email@example.com with the subject ďDEMO ROUNDUP.Ē Give me the name of your band, where youíre from, and what the song is called, as well as a link to an mp3. You have no idea how many people just sent a link to an mp3 file and expected me to magically guess the name of their band using nothing but my internet fame. The rule is: if it takes me more than ten seconds to determine the basic fundamental information, Iím not going to bother. If you tell me that your song sucks, I wonít listen to it (if you already know itís bad, why do you need me to tell you?). Do not attach files, because I wonít open them.n them.