so a couple weeks ago, the wonderful Andrew Huang (@andrewismusic) presented his followers with a challenge. that challenge? to make music based on a description for a genre of music that he completely made up. the genre, called “Shiny,” is defined by Andrew as:
a form of electronic indie pop from Japan, notable for its use of video game samples and general lack of bass frequencies.
going off that description, this song is my take on Shiny music. i also used as many sparkly sounds and light-related words i could… just ‘cause. :^]
unfortunately i got hit with a rando sinus attack on recording day, so my vocals are a little rough and weak. lyrics on Bandcamp and below the cut so you can, y’know, actually get what i’m saying :’)
as always, if you don’t have the means to purchase, drop me a chat or inbox message and i’ll send it to you for free! thanks for listening and sharing. ❤️
On this day in music history: May 30, 1966 - “Paperback Writer” / “Rain” by The Beatles is released (UK release is on June 10, 1966). Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the first track to emerge from the recording sessions that produce the “Revolver” album. McCartney comes up with the idea for the song after having a conversation with one of his aunts, asking him if he can write something that wasn’t about love or romantic involvement. During a writing session at Kenwood, John Lennon’s home in Weybridge, McCartney sees an article in the newspaper The Daily Mail about an aspiring author. The pair write the lyrics in the form of a letter to a publisher, with the author asking that they consider publishing it. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios on April 13 - 14, 1966, the basic track of the song is perfected in two takes, with the first take breaking down before complete. The single marks McCartney’s first use of his recently acquired Rickenbacker 4001 bass on a Beatles single, producing a clearer and more defined tone than his venerable Hofner bass. The band having complained about the lack of bass on their records (compared to American R&B records), recording engineer Geoff Emerick devises a way of getting a louder bass sound by using another loudspeaker as a microphone, also using a piece of outboard gear created by EMI’s technical engineers called “Automatic Transient Overload Control” during the mastering process.“Rain” (written primarily by John) is inspired when the band are on tour in Australia in 1965, when they arrive in Melbourne in poor weather. Recorded between April 14 - 16, 1966 at Abbey Road, the song is recorded with the four track machine running at a slightly slower speed with the band playing the rhythm track at a faster pace, so that the track and vocals take on a different texture on playback at normal speed. Lennon also hits upon the idea of having part of his vocal playing back backwards when he takes a work tape home and accidentally puts the tape on upside down. He likes how it sounds so much, that he has George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick to take part of his vocal from the master, copy it and insert the backward vocal into the final master. “Paperback Writer” becomes The Beatles thirteenth US number one single on June 25, 1966 (2 weeks non-consecutive). The B-side “Rain” (written by John Lennon, also credited to Lennon - McCartney), peaking at #23 on the Hot 100 on July 9, 1966.
so i’ve been toying around with this idea for a while that the karasuno first
years form a band as a bit of fun.
yachi is the lead vocalist
because she has a surprisingly large vocal range and boy can she sing! she’s
really good at harmonising too and her voice is suited to a lot of different
yamaguchi is the backup vocalist
when they play acoustic songs bc his voice is pure heaven oh my god. he also plays the drums as he likes to
be the dependant and reliable one who keeps time and tempo for the band. plus
he likes to play loud and complicated fills when he thinks the others need a
bit of a push as their music is lacking passion.
tsukishima plays the bass and
sometimes piano/keyboard (if the song requires it) because his long fingers are
excellent for plucking bass strings and he also has a good sense of rhythm. he
and yamaguchi work together a lot to keep a steady rhythm going.
hinata is definitely the lead
guitarist because he loves to play difficult riffs. he can do tons of them due
to his boundless energy and he loves being the centre of attention, so he’ll
try to add something in whenever he can. he originally wanted to play the drums
but when he discovered the electric guitar he was awed by the different sounds
and melodies he could create.
kageyama is the second guitarist
bc he likes to keep hinata in check with the rhythm as hinata tends to speed
up when he shouldn’t thanks to his enthusiasm and he also enjoys setting up
introductions for cool riffs that hinata can launch into.
band started because hinata had recently picked up the guitar and wanted to
play with others. yamaguchi and yachi needed no convincing and kageyama only
joined because he wanted to prove that he was a better guitarist than hinata,
dammit. tsukishima needed some persuading but he reluctantly joined because of
his love of music and yamaguchi’s promise of cake afterwards. he ended up
enjoying it though, not that he’d admit it.)
In all seriousness, this is actually fairly interesting. Most of you probably know that Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is a reskin of Puyo Puyo for western audiences. What you might not know is that while Mean Bean Machine does feature Puyo Puyo’s final boss music as the 2P theme, it’s not identical. The composition is the same, but the instruments have all been changed to sound more “rock”. Very unusual, and kind of pointless. Frankly, I think it sounds kind of cheap and bland (and lacking in bass), but you can judge for yourself. That lead guitar is much meatier in Puyo Puyo, which gets funnier the more I think about it.
The Mean Bean Machine player character fights goofy ass robots. Arle fights Satan. Metal as fuck.
The same fake slapback delay trick heard in Devil Crash MD (duplicating the part on a second channel, shifting it forward a quarter of a bar and lowering the volume) is also used here to make the guitar sound really huge, whereas MBM uses a much more subtle fake reverb type effect (achieved similarly, but at lower volume) that sounds weak in comparison. Said delay is particularly effective on the would-be two-handed tapping. The sound team also attempts a right-to-left panning dive bomb that almost sort of works given the Mega Drive’s hard panning limitations, and it’s kind of adorable. They tried so hard! MBM condenses this down to just the center channel, which I find less interesting.
My letter to those who want to start making their own music
Greetings newly minted audio engineer! Here are many tips to make you sound as professional as possible!
First off, you need a DAW. (Digital Audio Workstation) Some of my recommendations include Windows Media Player, Audacity, and Window’s classic Sound Recorder.
Mac or PC? This battle should end right now. I find that producing works best on Windows XP.
You need a room with great acoustics. I would suggest renting out your local cathedral rather than adding a tedious reverb plugin.
Make sure you go out and buy the most expensive gear before you know how to use any of it!
General mixing tips
Mix as loud as possible! It’s okay to clip! Mixing at over 90db is preferable since your ears naturally start compressing for self-protection at this level so you don’t have to add any!
Record everything as close to the microphone as possible. 1-3 inches would work best.
Slow computer and can’t afford an Apple PowerBook? Many audio professionals believe you should record at a 96 kHz sample rate and use as many plugins as possible to make sure you hear every detail and overloading your CPU makes it run faster.
Can’t hear the singing? Make room for the vocals by panning the drums hard left and the rest of the instruments hard right.
Need effects? Record at a 1024 buffer size to make sure you have a delay so you don’t have to add it later.
Need more bass? Boost the EQ from 100Hz and below to add bass to things that are lacking it. When dropping the bass make sure it goes below 20 Hz so you can really hear and feel it.
Use auto tune on all the instruments as well as the vocals so everything matches.
Mixes too quiet? Turn up the master fader!
Never use a reference track; it will only hurt your self-esteem and confidence and make you question your motives.
Hate to Say They Told You So: Garage Rock Revival in the Early 2000s
For about three years in the early 2000s, there was a lot of talk in the mainstream music press about a garage rock revival centered around four bands with prominent hits at the time: The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Vines, and The Hives. The cover of Rolling Stone for the September 2002 issue said “ROCK IS BACK!” in big bold letters while SPIN and NME talked about a “new rock revolution.” NME even called The Strokes the “saviours of rock ‘n’ roll” (though, to be fair, NME seems to find at least one band a year to saddle with that particular job). While each of these bands–and the gaggle of second-tier acts that followed them–had at least one internationally charting song and did seem to share an affinity for the visceral, simplistic pleasures of rock music, there was a sense that this 'revolution’ was an invention of the music press, that they’d seized on hype and made kings out of cavemen because the music these bands were producing stood in clear opposition to the tired, bloated post-grunge and nu-metal that was dominating rock radio. You might even call it the last big, hyperbolic moment these older publications had before the Pitchfork-led internet became the definitive new engine of attention with the next wave of ascendant indie bands.
There’s a lumbering-dinosaur quality to the early ’00s garage rock revival. You have these old, long-standing publications that, by this time, were losing a lot of their cultural cache with American youth, praising bands that were wallowing unapologetically in classic styles of rock. All the 'savior’ talk was predicated on the idea that these retro bands were bringing the fun, sexy, cool, stylish, pop elements back to guitar music, or rather a version of them that had been forgotten in the self-serious wake of grunge. There was also a historic surge of creative, forward-thinking R&B sweeping the pop charts around this time, so it wasn’t that surprising for a simultaneous back-looking trend to emerge. It’s easy to see how kids (white teenage boys in my experience) got excited about this stuff. As fads go, it was pretty perfect for its 15 minutes in the sun. The real heyday was in 2002, when all the press coverage happened and the four biggest bands all had their biggest hits. The moment had passed by ’04. Jet’s lame, shallow, stupid single “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” a straight Iggy Pop “Lust for Life” clone, was the biggest nail in the coffin for most people who cared about this stuff (and this was in a genre where you could get away with being stupid and shallow if you were cool enough!). There was a sister 'revival’ happening in those years that was all about new-wave/post-punk/dance-rock styles, starting with Interpol, The Rapture, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs but going into The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, et al. For a minute, though, the big garage rock revival bands were commodities of cool, getting radio play, press attention, and enjoying their youthful rock star moments.
The Strokes were the first and the biggest. They were prep school chums who got together in the late 90s and started gigging around the Lower East Side, taking a lot of cues from bands that had made that part of New York a musical hotbed in the 70s. Press bios always compared them to The Velvet Underground, mostly because of the Lou Reed-esque mid-range filters they put on Julian Casablancas’ voice, I think. They really sounded much more like Television, especially on Is This It, but talking about the VU was a better way to position them within the cool NYC rock continuum because everyone knows you’re supposed to love and revere the Velvets. The Strokes were absolutely doused in hype. As I mentioned above, British music rags went nuts for them, and when “Last Nite” became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, the band blew up. It helped that they were all terminally hip, stylish, and disaffected, with greasy hair, ratty sneakers, leather jackets, and dangling cigarettes. I personally love their first two albums (and can’t argue with Is This It being considered the most important rock record of the 2000s), but it’s hard to escape the sense that what The Strokes really brought to the table–the thing that made them valuable figureheads of this fad–was their ineffable cool. Even in their heyday, there were so many easy ways to criticize them. You could point out how they were phony rich kids, musically derivative, sonically deceitful (making a cruddy-sounding album with non-cruddy means), lazily nostalgic, preening, self-involved (read the lyrics), fashion victims, hype beneficiaries, etc. and until about 2003 when their second album, Room on Fire, wasn’t as big a hit, all of it just seemed to roll off their backs. That’s a huge, important thing to understand about what this cultural moment meant. In many ways, it was a recognition of the power of cool, of how nothing else about a band really has to matter if they have that certain, slippery, magical aura. It never lasts, though, and The Strokes took a pretty big nose dive with a difficult, over-macho third album that nearly tanked their career. Even so, they were basically the biggest rock band of the decade.
“When we first started playing we were like, ‘What’s going to be the new kind of cool music? I wonder if anything cool could still come out?’ We wanted to see if we could find out.“ - Julian Casablancas in NME
"I heard a rumour that no one actually comes to our shows and that we only exist in magazines.” - Nick Valensi in The Face
The White Stripes were a close second. In the early days, prior to their '04 transition to 'misunderstood classic rock troubadour’ territory, Jack White still seemed willing to engage pop culture on young, enthusiastic terms. They were shrouded in pettifogging back then, with questions about Jack and Meg’s 'brother’/'sister,’ husband/wife, divorcee status, rigid but playful peppermint candy color scheme, lack of a bass player, and eye-popping Michel Gondry video. Presentation was just as important to The White Stripes as it was to The Strokes, but The White Stripes placed their extra-musical accouterments much further up front back then. To hear the band tell it, the point was to dodge media attention and deflect it back to their music. But anyone who’s been clocking pop music for more than six months knows a gimmick when they see one, and if all The White Stripes’ press-ready baggage was an attempt at getting people to let the music speak for itself, then it was surely one of the stupidest and most misguided attempts to do so in pop history. The strange thing was the more you understood them and their music, the more you realized how deeply rooted they were in very stodgy, stubborn notions about authentic rock 'n’ roll. They had the fortune of being from Detroit–Motown’s headquarters and a notorious breeding ground for grimy garage punk bands–but Jack White was also obsessed with the blues, with guys like Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell and Charlie Patton. He would say the same things that rock stars have been saying for decades about how 'real’ and 'soulful’ this old blues music was and how modern pop was too fake and plastic. Their third album, White Blood Cells, came out in '01 and ended up being something of a transitional record for them, even though it was arguably their best. “Fell in Love With a Girl” was a big hit that reveled in cheap, plastic, puppy-love fun. The video was all stop-motion Lego: how much more 'plastic’ can you get? If The Strokes made a career out of cool, The White Stripes made a career out of contradictions. After 2003, with the release of Elephant and the soccer stadium-conquering “Seven Nation Army,” Jack and Meg left garage rock and fad/pop culture behind, retreating into a kind of heady formalism, and would never really sound like they were having fun ever again.
“The last twenty years have been filled with digital, technological crap that’s taken the soul out of music. The technological metronome of the United States is obsessed with progress, so now you have all these gearheads who want to lay down three thousand tracks in their living room. That wasn’t the point.” - Jack White in SPIN
When Rolling Stone emblazoned their Sept. '02 issue with “ROCK IS BACK,” it was for a cover story on Sydney, Australia’s The Vines. They were by far the biggest victims of music press hype and, critically, the most divisive of the big standard-bearing bands. That’s saying something, too, since reviews from the time for the other three were at near-universal levels of acclaim. There was something about The Vines that suggested over-calculation and, ultimately, a pose. Lead singer Craig Nicholls’ dad was an accountant for Sony Music in Australia, but beyond undoubtedly advantageous connections, their upbeat rock songs hinged on a faked Kurt Cobain scream and their mellower 'pop’ songs were blatant Beatles homages. They had terrible lyrics—way too many “Yeah!"s and "Come On!"s–which, again: this was a genre where you could have awful lyrics if you sold the package well enough. Nicholls was presented as an erratic, unstable, unpredictable, substance-abusing wreck. In the late '00s, after being charged with assault, it was revealed that he actually has Asperger syndrome, but at the time everybody talked about him as a tortured, rebellious inheritor of Cobain’s junkie milieu. Like some of the Britpop bands of the mid-90s whose mantle these garage bands took up, there’s a sense that The Vines were a little too obvious in their 'real rock’ posturing to be taken so seriously. As blatant a set of critic-baiting influences as The Velvet Underground or The Cramps were for The Strokes and The White Stripes, there’s something about having The Beatles and Nirvana as your only two reference points that crosses a line. It’s tough to talk about artistry with this whole movement because, really, the artistic depth of most of these bands is up for questioning, but to my ears The Vines brought far less musical personality to the table than the other groups of this era. They could check off a long list of cliche rock star prerequisites–which is maybe another reason Capitol invested so much and plugged them so hard–but I think by now even their supporters know they didn’t earn the attention they got by playing music.
"There’s so much good music that’s happening now, and we’re glad to be a part of it, with bands like The Stokes and The White Stripes. I don’t think it’s a movement. It’s just real rock music.” ~ Craig Nicholls in Rolling Stone
I’ve been avoiding the word 'rockism’ thus far because it’s been so overused and numbingly debated in the last ten years, but it does help us understand a set of ideas that were propping this garage rock revival up and making it out to be 'more’ than it was. Kelefa Sanneh’s famous 2004 New York Times piece on rockism frames it in terms of “idolizing the authentic old legend (or underground hero) while mocking the latest pop star; lionizing punk while barely tolerating disco; loving the live show and hating the music video; extolling the growling performer while hating the lip-syncher.” These garage rock revival bands weren’t actually ‘rockists’, they were pop stars in rockist clothing. They were flashy and ambitious, conspicuous and perfectly tousled, and were never cooler than in their own music videos. But it’s sort of impossible for a retro rock fad to operate outside the notions that define older rock for so many people, at least on the surface. Either by a quirk of history, a changing of the pop guard, or honest to goodness cultural evolution, time has stymied and struck down the firebrand rhetoric of bands and journalists alike. Was rock 'n’ roll ever a thing to be saved in the first place? And did The Strokes accomplish anything close to that? Is Craig Nicholls the Kurt Cobain of the 00’s? Will the analog blues legacy of The White Stripes outlast the digital ones of, say, Usher or Beyonce? No, no, hahaha no, and probably not.
It wasn’t a movement, it was a moment. The history of pop music is replete with such moments, each with its own looks, musical styles, and cultural impacts. We call them fads, but there’s a lot of condescension built into that term, as if anything with a shelf life of only a few years, months, or minutes wasn’t worth enjoying and exploring fully. My guess is that the hard part for a lot of people who loved these bands isn’t accepting that it was a fad instead of a revolution, but accepting that there’s nothing wrong with fads. From punk rock to grunge, rave, boy bands, and all the way to today’s EDM, the culture of pop music is founded in large part on the quick churn of ideas. Chris Ott, in an episode of his Shallow Rewards video series chronicling the career of Richard Gotteherer and The Strangeloves, talks about the period in the early-to-mid 60s just before The Beatles came out with Rubber Soul, when pop music was treated more as stagecraft than art that needed to be 'authentic’–“a whole grab-bag of images and ideas.” When you hear about The Strangeloves hiding their identities behind stories of sheep-breeding and silly animal print costumes, or see Paul Revere & The Raiders dressed up in Revolutionary War regalia and galloping in place as they sang, you can start to see why gimmicks like The White Stripes’ color scheme or The Strokes’ NYC punk fashion pedigree are such important parts of the experience. You can start to see how fundamentally built-in they are, and to realize how pop music as stagecraft has never truly gone away. It lurks behind even the most willfully unshowmanlike acts.
It’s on this level that I would argue The Hives were the most honest and historically consistent of the big garage rock revival bands. Starting as a regular old punk band in Fagersta, Sweden but transitioning to an ultra lean, angular, even mechanical garage sound, they took on a kind of all-encompassing level of gimmickry and stage-personhood. They had nicknames that landed somewhere between those of old bluesmen and comic book villains—Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, Nicholaus Arson, Vigilante Carlstroem, Dr. Matt Destruction, and Chris Dangerous—and they dressed in matching black and white outfits both onstage and off. The songwriting and production on all their albums is credited to a mysterious ‘Randy Fitzsimmons’, who they also say discovered and manages them (I believe that’s supposed to be him obscured in shadow and literally stopping time with the movement of his hand in the above video for “Hate to Say I Told You So”). Combine this invented producer-svengali business with their brash stage antics, goofy videos, and Almqvist’s arrogant Mick Jagger pouting, and you get a glossy, winking, modern rendition of pop-rock from the mid-60s. It rings truer precisely because it takes in the full breadth of the pop world in which garage rock first arose and transposes it into modernity. The Hives didn’t have to make ‘real’ rock because they knew there was never any such thing, and they didn’t have to worry about maintaining their elusive cool because it was all a bunch of put-ons anyway. Most importantly, they had a sense of humor about everything they did, managing to be fun, sexy, cool, and stylish all while putting no stock in whether any of this mattered in the slightest. They’re still at it, too. They keep putting out albums that sound basically the same, wearing the same black and white suits, and strutting around the top bills of the European festival circuit as if their moment had never passed. As the other standard-bearers for the early-00s garage rock revival fold under the weight of unsustainable stardom (The Strokes), bloated ego (The White Stripes), and not living up to the hype (The Vines), it turns out the band with the most classically pop M.O. was the most equipped to keep their own fad going.
“We never wanted to be the next Nirvana. We wanted to be the Hives. Things only happen once. Elvis showed up once, Nirvana showed up once. The Hives showed up once.” ~ Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist in SPIN
Russia looks like the kind to enjoy classical music, and the kind to kill you while smiling if you hate on him for it. But his taste lies in Dubstep. Yep, Dubstep. He could listen to it for hours. The lack of lyrics and thumping bass is mesmerizing to him.