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Winter Storms

demo ughvocal GRIK4

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40 replies to this topic

#1 pboaz

Posted 24 September 2012 - 06:49 AM

Ok folks. Here's this weekend's project.

A couple of notes

-- Acoustic, electric, bass guitars all me
-- Electric piano has been laboriously assembled with my MIDI controller and cut'n'paste
-- Drums and tambourine are Apple loops with a few effects added

I'm never very happy with my vocals, but this one is extra bad. When I am able I am going to take voice lessons to do something about that. But that might not be for a year or two.

In the meantime I advise using headphones to avoid inflicting this on pets, small children or other innocents.

I'm looking for constructive critique on all aspects of this track from lyrics, through performance to recording and mixing. Both barrels. I'm keen to learn. Have at it!



After getting some really good crits I did a new version where I re-recorded the vocals and guitars. I also played around with the percussion loops.

Here it is

Winter Storms
© polar bears of arizona 2012

Between high and low tides there's about five miles
I must navigate through shoals and isles
Trying to find my way out to
Open ocean, wide and blue

Pharmacy will anchor me
While I overnight in the headland's lee
Winter storms may obscure my view
Winter storms will blow on through

With the rising of the sun I set sail
But with a heavy sea it's to no avail
I'm beaten back by the rising wind
I fear the reefs may do me in

Pharmacy will comfort me
While I consider what my fate will be
Winter storms may wreck your boat
Winter storms can make it hard to stay afloat

As the storm subsides I'm glad to be alive
My craft is battered, but has survived
A constant wind now fills my sails
I'm heading south, following the whales

Pharmacy will pilot me
Until I find myself some friendly quay
Winter storms may stir the sea
But winter storms will not sink me

Edited by pboaz, 30 September 2012 - 11:45 PM.

#2 Avit Hammer

Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:29 AM

Barrel one - the 6/7 note riff, even though it's quite catchy, tends to get a bit repetitive. Even when the the guitar breaks, it's carrying the same tune.It needs something to break it up.

Barrel two - Not sure whether the word 'pharmacy' is very ''rock and roll'' .... if the song is about being on drugs, or having an illness then I suppose it has some relevance, but if the words are literal........ I'm not sure.

Barrel three - Phrasing........ if there are too many words in a line, edit it. If there are too few, you can usually play with the timing, but too many can sound a bit naff.

'As the storm subsides I'm glad to be alive' I would put 'the storm subsides , 'glad to be alive'

nice guitar sound and catchy riff

#3 ClaireCreekProject

Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:18 PM

Very Herman & The Hermits!

Numero Uno... stop ragging on your voice... influences from two continents have yielded you a great one! Rather than taking voice lessons,
have a glass of wine and relax. I really like the lyrics.... this is the very first time...ever... that I've heard the word pharmacy in a song, that
means it's a keeper in my mind! Ok, back to the relax statement....structurally most everything is here (although a bridge or two might be
cool, not completely required) even the guitar strumming is perfect for this song, just feels a little tense. That's a hard strum pattern to make
"flow" and you do a pretty good job! During your intro it sounds like you're struggling and as the song progresses it "eases up" and feels nice
& comfy. So.... great song, back-rub, and consider making it even better with one each of an electric & acoustic instrumental bridges (BTW,
your acoustic guitar sound awesome!) .. followed by stardom :) BTW#2.... you're doing some nice midi work in there too! (one of my many
musical short comings) BTW#3.... I think the word count that Avit's (very well thought out.. I must add) post included, will correct itself as
you become more comfortable with singing this song over time.

More great stuff from the desert!

"and from right out of the middle of this twisted hell, came the sweetest note we've ever heard"
Cir. 2012 - Rickamas Glynnius o' Mountainus


#4 Ferry0123

Posted 24 September 2012 - 03:05 PM

Aside from the few nits (the guitar playing between 0:10 and 0:12 sounds off, the start of the lick at 0:57 I would have expected just a little earlier, the lick could benefit from a few more notes and a bridge) this is really enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.

#5 ABeautifulVirus

Posted 24 September 2012 - 05:17 PM

the vox isn't as bad as you say...song is actually neat. that 2nd guitar line reminds me of Harrison and the whole piece had a Traveling Wilburys feel.
i think the lyrics are quite intriguing w/ 'pharmacy' - the outro where you drop the drums out first is great

#6 cognac

Posted 24 September 2012 - 07:30 PM

I'm always attracted to Storms........but Winter Storms are ones I can't resist. Good stuff! Just remember to always have extra nails, and cloth for the sail, on hand, when entering that kind of storm.................. -Tom

#7 pboaz

Posted 24 September 2012 - 08:01 PM

Thanks all for the comments and the detailed feedback. Very much appreciated.

Avit. On the repetition of the guitar motif. I think you're spot on. This is the kind of feedback I needed to work out where to go next with this. I lost a lot of objectivity during recording. But I stand by the use of the word 'pharmacy' - the song is a metaphor for battling depression. Storms/sea etc. not the most original metaphor, but I got into the imagery. On those 'pharmacy' lines it drops out of metaphor into literalism. Your points about phrasing and de-wording are excellent and I clearly need to work on that. Thanks ever so much for your critique! :)

Rick. Yep. Listening back now in the cold light of day, the acoustic guitars are tentative and stuttering. I'm not sure doubling them up really helps either. In order to try and make this singable I'm capoed at the 7th fret (!), but maybe I could redo this in Open D or something. That might also facilitate some more fluid guitar work to make things more interesting. As for relaxing, then yes, I think maybe I just need to practice this a lot before trying to record again, so the phrasing comes naturally. Thanks very much for the listen.

Ferry. Thanks for the comments. I'll definitely look at 'refreshing' the lead guitar!

ABV/Daren. You are a very kind man. Thanks as ever for the encouragement!

Cognac. I grew up fairly close to the sea, so it has always been a presence in my life. But now I live in the desert! Thanks for the kinds words

#8 refusedrevival

Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:07 PM

Great "man and a guitar" type song.
The tempo is little bit odd for me at the beginning of the song.
You have great voice. Great stuff!
Thanks for Sharing.

#9 psyve

Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:22 PM

Interesting song and interesting lyric.
I think you have nothing to worry about your vocals except perhaps a certain reticence and a little lack of confidence in your voice.

That same sense of confidence would also do a lot for your guitar work. Not sure if it was the newness of the song , but i had a feeling of a certain level of ... tremulousness.... come thru in your playing.

That said, I liked very much your metaphor and lyric.

The "Pharmacy" reference made complete sense to me, by the way. :)

Overall, I thought this was pretty good!


#10 McnaughtonPark

Posted 26 September 2012 - 01:48 AM

All day I knew I listened to something last night in my feverish stupor that I wanted to get back to today, finally found it. Pboaz, I'm just going to say I like the tone of the vocal, your voice has a nice texture to it. This sounds a tad under-rehearsed, but as is, a fine sketch for the finished product. I love the notes you play on the electric, as well as the lyric. Fine job of writing here.

I always listen for the blend of message and tone. I believe this is on cue. Somehow, my mind keys in on the terminology you use, the word lee fits very well. The following the whales line is a syllable long I think.

Nice work on this one.
Hey, the eraser still works, it's the pointy end that won't co-operate.

#11 pboaz

Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:02 AM

Refusedrevivial. You're right on the beginning. The acoustics are out of time. It's disconcerting! Thanks for listening!

Psyve. Thanks for the comments. You're right on all. I am going to work to fix them. I think I was a little in hurry to 'finish' this, so the guitar and vocal are both, as McNP says so correctly, under-rehearsed. I'm also very glad you 'got' the pharmacy reference.

McNP -- I'm going to rehearse the vocal, so the phrasing comes naturally. It's all over the place right now. I'll hopefully iron out all the bugs in meter and timing as I do that. Then I'll record again.

Thanks everybody for listening. I think I have some great notes to get this where it needs to go. You are helping me improve as a songwriter.

#12 Darmin Deflern

Posted 26 September 2012 - 03:22 PM

As per usual I didn't look at any reviews as to not taint my own opinion of what I listened to (with my eyes closed as you do!). First of all I thought your vocals were fine and were the best thing about the mix maybe slightly to "above" the mix but they were clear and in tune. I opened my eyes and looked at your lyrics when you went from storms and waves to a pharmacy and the light dawned and I realized you were being metaphorical!! clever and cool me like.

My biggest problem is with the guitar more than anything nothing wrong the the chord progression or anything but even at the beginning I felt the rhythm guitar felt a little uncomfortable with the chord changes and the timing seemed a little off or not right to my ears at times. I liked the lead bits in the song they were great.
I love music in general and create music in many diffrent styles and genres. my website = http://www.darmindeflern.com/. facebook = https://www.facebook....De.flern.Music, youtube channel = Darmin's Youtube Channel

#13 pboaz

Posted 29 September 2012 - 05:16 AM

Darmin. Thanks for the crit. Very much appreciated.

#14 pboaz

Posted 29 September 2012 - 05:17 AM

All. Thanks to everyone who gave such good pointers on this track. I've re-recorded the vocal (not sure the singing is any better, but hopefully the phrasing is!) and the guitars and played around with some other parts of the arrangement. Would be grateful for further listens...

Listen on Soundcloud.com

Edited by pboaz, 29 September 2012 - 06:07 AM.

#15 McnaughtonPark

Posted 29 September 2012 - 08:07 PM

Ha, this sounds like a new song!!!! Smiling cause you did good brother, nicely reworked. No nits from me.
Hey, the eraser still works, it's the pointy end that won't co-operate.

#16 pboaz

Posted 30 September 2012 - 06:00 PM

Ha, this sounds like a new song!!!! Smiling cause you did good brother, nicely reworked. No nits from me.

Thanks man. Appreciate your taking the time to take another listen. Thanks also for the kind words.

#17 Darmin Deflern

Posted 30 September 2012 - 06:16 PM

Chords sound much better are much more natural and much better mix overall the tambourine works very well to. If someone forced my hand I would say I would like a bit more bass off the drums because I can't hear any of the bass drum and the snare is also a little "light" for my taste. Also the lead guitar is a little dry for my taste think it needs a bit of delay or something. However both those things are my personal taste only all in all much better mix enjoyed listening to it.
I love music in general and create music in many diffrent styles and genres. my website = http://www.darmindeflern.com/. facebook = https://www.facebook....De.flern.Music, youtube channel = Darmin's Youtube Channel

#18 pboaz

Posted 30 September 2012 - 06:56 PM

Darmin. Thanks for taking another listen. I'm with you on the drums and the guitar sound.

For the drums I just threw down an Apple loop and actually forgot to add any compression, reverb or EQ.(doh!). That's pure Apple loop there.

On the guitar, I think I actually preferred the lead on the first recording. The setup was identical, but I was trying to break things up more second time around to make it more interesting -- to be honest what it really needs is a better guitarist (!). It's all in the fingers man...

Thanks again for your comments. Very much appreciated.

Edited by pboaz, 30 September 2012 - 06:57 PM.

#19 Ferry0123

Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:43 PM

Much improved version, this mix. Right amount of reverb to the vocal to me. Nicely played acoustics, confidently sung. I would have liked the words 'may obscure' faster sung after each other so that 'obscure' is not emphasized. The last note of the electric guitar lick (which I really like) at 1:05 could be rung through more till you sing 'With'. Great variation in the drums. Again, great song.

#20 pboaz

Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:44 PM

Ferry -- thanks very much for listening to the new version. The lead guitar is still a little awkward, you're right. I think I'll let this one a lone for a while now. There's another idea I want to work on.

Thanks as ever for the kind words and encouragement.

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