- Pittsburgh based saxophonist, guitarist, pianist, vocalist, songwriter, agent, educator, owner of Jason Kendall Productions
- Pittsburgh, PA
This qualifies as a "toe tapper" I think. It's well-written and well-produced and doesn't overstay its welcome. My only criticism is that I can't quite tell if the string samples are supposed to sound like a real string section or a deliberately fake one. I'd almost think a mellotron string sound might work best there - too realistic and the arrangement could veer into syrupy territory. Slap some deep plate verb on vocals and you can end up in Neko Case alt-country land. :) The song could be easily positioned as sort of an alt-rock/vaguely-country-influenced crossover kind of thing, a la something like The Wallflowers or whatever the most recent iteration is (I'm not hip to that scene unfortunately) so you could pitch it towards college rock outlets, or even geographically target it towards more country-friendly areas. I admit a lack of knowledge of good outlets for the genre beyond a bunch of low-power college radio stations so I'm afraid I can't offer a ton of help in that regard.
(sorry for the delay. I've been out of town). There definitely is a good song in here. Needs a little cleanup, sure, but I think it's got potential. Some judicious EQ on the strings and horns, maybe a bit of arrangement on those lines where they don't quite fight as much for attention (counterpoint!) but otherwise it's pretty solid, in terms of the hooks and lines. I like the shuffly feel of this one. You'll really want to emphasize the punchiness of the guitar and bass to really bring that out. Judicious use of compression and maybe even transient shaping. The reverb on the vocals is a nice touch, in a sort of vintage way. Maybe even bring that out just a touch more for that sort of retro-rockabilly feel. The fadeout seems a bit long, though. You might want to get to the scat bit at the end a little sooner, or add more to that big everything-at-the-wall bit towards the end, like maybe even a recap of the chorus while the horns and strings and all that are playing - make it the loud climax of the song.
Mixing on this is really well done. Tasteful piano. The vocal takes are excellent. The Melotron-ish pads at the beginning are quite nice. They add a nice ambience. You could even amp-up the tape-loop quality of them for a nice effect. The guitars at around 1:50 are subtle, although I think the transients on them are a little sharp. The drums in the extended outtro are a smidge on the boxy side, especially the snares. An extended instrumental outtro is a bold move, and while it mostly works to add drama, it doesn't feel like there's *quite* a clear ending there. It might be nice to, instead of just doing a fadeout at the end, recaptitulate the refrain with vox once and end more definitively - as it stands it feels like two related songs that are tied together at 3:00, but not quite one song, if that makes sense. It's not a critical issue, but it might really help put a bow on the track if some vocals came in at the end. Nice work overall!
HI Jason, I like it. It's got something there to me and it's different which is something very good in our musical landscape these days. The only thing that possibly threw me off, and this is a little constructive criticism, is the tambourine, and because I don't know the background of the song it very well may be, but it really gave the song a more Christmas song feel and took away what it could be. The song has a fantastic ring of something that could transpose over to the ability to license to TV, but the tambourine was almost too much and took away from the song a lot as well as your voice. Other than that, I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks for sharing it with me.
It's beautiful, I guess for my own tastes I'd try changing up the chords or the structure to make it a little less regular. Add some unexpected changes. Also I could hear high pitched something, like a high sustained string sound or a high synth drone coming in towards the end to add euphoria...
It's a sweet track, dreamlike opening instrumentally - the beat is very bouncy and upbeat. Vocals and lyrics are nice too, overall a very pleasant sound. It sounds like it could be good in commercials.
Jason Kendall has written looking for advice on how he can be better at his craft and while this is often a noble expression of intent I often worry that the wrong advice could spoil individuality. And Kendall certainly has a singular view, though there are flashes of Bowie in his widescreen vocals, a vigour and controlled intensity that is plainly absent from artists who are merely playing from the what-is-already-selling-millions-of-records template. ‘Make Big Plans’ really cheers me up, it’s a bundle of delight and a clear illustration of an artist who is progressing nicely under his own inspired tutelage.
Very nice hook on this one, and extremely tasteful "modern indie" production. The big hall vocal reverb suggests something Lumineers-ish. The mellotron/organish sound is a bit aggressive and is sort of obscuring the "warmth" of the guitar in the intro, though, and I think the chimy guitar would make a better focus (maybe even adding something 12-string-like would help fill that out, although I am not a guitarist so ymmv). You even have room to go a little bigger on the climactic choruses, maybe add more vocal overdubs (a second vocalist doing harmonies would be great), or a vocal countermelody, or even strings or something similar, just to really hammer that final hook home.
The idea behind the track is awesome. The groove is awesome. The mix is horrible. I could barely hear the lyrics in the hook and most of the verses were overpowered by the track. This song has tremendous potential for soundtrack and gaming placements; however, until you get the mix right, there isn't much I could suggest. Don't waste an outstanding song because of a bad mix.
I think this clip was very catchy, but far too short to be used in any monetary capacity outside of a T.V. commercial. The mix needs serious improvement as the track and vocals seem to be far apart. Also, I liked where you're going with this but it doesn't follow a song structure. All of the elements are present to create a phenomenal track, you just need to take it back to the studio for some arranging and mixing. This song has a heap of potential. Thanks for your submission. I would love to hear the final version of this song and see it appear in TV ad or movie trailer.
Hey Kendall, first off, thanks for sending me this lovely track. For the most part, I think it sounds good, but there are some things you should consider adding to make it a more versatile in the licensing market. //INSTRUMENTAL// I like the fact that added a nice intro to this. The horn/synthetic horn is a nice touch because while it’s a little unique, but still familiar to the ears. A lot of today’s music has that game horn or vuvuzela. Good job. //ARTISTS// I think the artist has a nice voice, but I believe the flow is a little stuck, almost as if he's just rehearsing and doesn't really feel as if he believes the words that he’s saying. This could be exactly what you’re were going after, and if it was, good job if not, try bringing a little more emotion into the deliver. I like the fact that these are out right verses and hooks they’re catchphrases and chants that are memorable and can be easily used as cue points. You did a good job there. //MIX// I've listened to your track on three different mediums. My MacBook Pro, monitors and headphones. On all mediums, the vocals seem to clash with the instrumental. I would work on carving out frequencies so they shine through more. //MAJOR CHANGES// The title of the track leads one to believe it caters around military groups: army, military etc. The lyrics focus on a portion of that as well, but also basketball. In your outline, I see it’s supposed to be sports driven. With that said, I’d make sure all limitations are removed. Your limitations are the following: Title: Explained the reasoning about Heart of solider (kind of): Same as above Lay it up (or lay it in): This screams basketball and totally rules out: hockey, football, rugby etc. I'd also think about a few more catchphrases and chants you can add throughout the track even if you have to make them all different versions of the current track this way the client has more options when considering your song. Another addition that will help is using different artists. Overall, nice work. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Well, this is kinda fun. Two production comments, though - the vocals feel a little washed out under the effects, and I think the snares might need a strong attack transient - they splat nicely but they don't have enough "crack", so either maybe a few more milliseconds on the compressor attack or maybe a transient shaper should do the trick. Other than that, fun. And...short! I can totally see this in a shoe commercial. :)
This sounds like it was recorded live and personally I think it gives the recording a charming aspect. The song itself has a hint of country rock about it with the vocals very much Neil Diamond in direction. This confluence of ideas should ensure that Jason Kendall has a ready-made audience with ‘Victorious’ already fashioned for the live setting. I can’t say that the composition is pushing any boundaries but it is a pleasant listen all the same, put together with care and attention and fitting the classic rock template beloved of millions around the world.
I've listened to this track in a few different arrangements and an area that can use work is the mix. It feels muted and the highs aren't coming through enough in my opinion. But enough with the constructive feedback, I like the tune. The vocals are solid. The guitar solos are especially killer - great playing and tone. The arrangement does feel familiar. Perhaps the thing to do is something unexpected (add a few extra measures to a chorus or a breakdown to drum/bass/vocals).
Very nice track. Good melody, love the shifts in dynamics, and the vocals are really impressive - that sort of gravelly Lenny Cohen-intimate thing works really well for this song. Also I'm a sucker for deep vocal reverbs. The piano samples used could maybe be a bit less "bangy" - the quieter riff seems about right but the alternating notes one feels a little sharp and clashes slightly with the more restrained feel of the song. Might be cool to use that in the later loud part, but in the intro it's a bit much. Also I'm sensing that the vocals could use just a tiny bit of de-essing - a few of those reverb tails grab on to sibilants and stand out more than you probably want. The shift in dynamics at the end is great - I think you could make that even sharper relief. The drum leads into it nicely, and I think at that point you could just full-on with the electric riffs, let them really punch in. I don't think you need to fade them in quite as much as you do here. You could even condense some of the repetitions of the riffs in that section, so it's tighter - I get there's a new element coming in every time, but it might work just as well if a couple of things came in at once each time, because it's almost *too* subtle. Might also be cool to punctuate the end of that section with a bigger hit of some kind - big cymbal crash, guitar sound, whatever to really underscore the quiet fadeout after that...you've got something there but it doesn't seem quite punctuate-y enough for my taste. Maybe that would be a bit over the top, I dunno, but it might be worth a try. But a really well-written song overall.
Very good, love the lyrics. Very calming vibe. I think the only thing I would do is get you into a good producer that can help you utilize your voice and work on breathing and get a stronger sound and recording out of you.
Thank you for sending me your song. It's a nice pop song all in softness in the singing and the melody. One things has disturbed me in your song at the 3 min of the song concerning the mix of the two voices. I think it's just a question of sound level. I would put the sound of one of the voice a bit less loudly to make the end of your song more enjoyable for the listener. Good job anyway.
You are a fantastic songwriter as I said in your last submission. Your breathing needs some work and you need better production for sure. Work on your hooks as well, try not to leave us flatlining through the songs. Good job.
Hey Jason, thanks for shooting this over. At first listen I liked the vocal when it came in, once the drums kicked in I felt like the sound of the drums were kind of stock and could be more modern/hard hitting. Also the mix seemed like it could be more cohesive level wise, even tho its a demo I feel like that first presentation is everything, make sure your vocal levels are consistent throughout the song or bring in a mixer to get the best possible presentation. In my opinion I would say possibly having the vocals mixed properly and going after some remixes on the record to give it a fresh take would be ideal.
Being an avid collector of 7-inch singles back in that media format’s heyday I’m all about making first impressions with a song before I’ve even heard a note courtesy of the sleeve art. So it was with a little trepidation that I pressed play on Jason Lloyd Kendall ghoulishly painted ‘While Your Eyes Are Closed’. And my suspicions were instantly affirmed given Kendell’s ghostly layered vocals and a musical circus that could have drifted out from the basement of the haunted castle on the hill. But for all the bumps in the night there is a fine melody at the core of this song. The unusual delivery turns out to be a nice antidote to a million other songs that all sound the same and spend their time in an eternal reach for whatever the zeitgeist sounds like this hour. ‘While Your Eyes Are Closed’ is theatrical and stagey but nothing can stop a chorus like this that has the wherewithal to hack via comedy-blood-soaked-axe right into your memory nodes.
I love the dark undertones! Very good job. I'd work on the lyrics some, the chorus is a bit too general, but I love everything else. I like "Sister Kiss me while your eyes are closed", maybe make that the center point of your chorus as opposed to "Love...."
You got my toes tapping. Nice and catchy. I would only do the intro once. Feels like the same thing plays twice. Great addition of vocal harmonies in the chorus. Some of the backing vocals seem a little drowned in reverb or delay. I appreciate the brass unison with the vocal. The pad (accordian?) -- I'd have it do some rhythmic changes, too. Maybe a syncopated thing to vary from the constant sustain. Grammatically, I think it would be "let LIFE slip through my hands". This is just a matter of taste, but I think the "hey" thing during the intro, etc. is a little overused. I didn't sense that it added anything to your arrangement. As I said, that's my opinion. (Well, all of this is.) As I said, it's a sweet song. Very catchy. Wishing you the best!
it sounds to much like an other song on the beginning " the brass part change that and it will help your song a lot honestly drop the brass all together and go more for a indi light rock feel i do like your voice and i would hire you to write and sing but your production sorry is still amateur I think that you could place your music on commercials but not on regular radio
Gave this one a listen both in the car and at the desk. Hard to articulate what it is about the mix, but I think there is probably an improvement to be made in the overall clarity and punch of the track. Not a huge negative, but it was immediately noticeable in different listening environments. In terms of the arrangement, I wouldn't change anything. Lots of interesting dynamics and places that this song explores. Cool to hear accordion featured, and as a side note, I particularly like the 16th note handclaps and the horn parts--they keep the tune driving and fresh. The tune is as billed: happy and upbeat with good vocal and instrumental performances. I could totally see this placed in a TV ad or show. Best of luck!
Catchy singer-songwriter pop ditty with a positive message and a big heart message. Great production values make it an easy listen. Send the mp3 along and I’ll include on an Aspenbeat ‘new music’ show sometime soon. Thanks for your submission and good luck with your music!
This isn't my usual area of expertise, but this is a pretty catchy tune. I really like the shuffle beat and the bridge. A few concerns: the gang-shout "hey!" is well-produced, but it sounds a little bit too much like "hey, look, we're referencing the Lumineers" (or any other of the folky indie bands that have tried this recently). It fits the song but it's gotten to be a bit of an indie-rock cliche. I wonder if there's something you could do to separate it from that, maybe some additional echo or a different manner of phrasing it. That's a tough one. I'd also like to hear the vocals in the later choruses really "go for it" a bit more. I like them sort of subdued in the early chorus. but towards the end...seems like that's the climax of the song, particularly the last chorus before the clarinet solo (love the clarinet solo) - so really tearing into that seems like a good way to go with that. I'm not sure if you can do anything about it, but the brass feel like they need to be a bit punchier and clearer, especially at the intro. Clarity can probably be accomplished with EQ, but the punchiness seems inherent in the performance. I wouldn't go full-on mariachi staccato, but the attacks on the brass lines seem a bit tame. I love that clarinet solo so hard. Almost thinking you could have some smaller dialed-back variations in other instrumental breaks. Not full-on solos, but just something to differentiate the multiple recapitulations of the brass theme.
Your voicee..... I want to put your voice on so many things haha. And although I appreciate the story you are telling here, your voice is what sticks out to me. This could have been a huge song 20 years ago, but now people just dont appreciate this stuff anymore. With that said, keep writing, maybe think about trying to adopt some present day production elements and sounds, and then try to tell your stories-- because they are great. good luck. please send stuff my way. Best, JD
Reminiscent of Starsailor. Get some links & skinning in your SC profile, as at present very bare. A name, some imagery, and links to other content as at present my journey ends with listening to the track.
Thanks for submitting your track Jason. I've been listening to it all DAY! I was drawn in 'instantly' by the piano in the intro. This is a really beautiful piece. The vocals are nice, the arrangement is great... the quality sounds really good. I can hear this song in so many different TV shows/movies, tons of potential here. I'm not sure if that's your intent (film/tv) for this track, but if not, start pitching immediately! Things I Would Change(Overall mix): Now, these aren't a must, just things I'd fiddle with and maybe you already have. Think of this as an alternative mix. Music supervisors like options. Piano: I would add a little more 'body' to it. What I mean is, layer it up a bit. It's sort of thin, but it does work! Guitar: Make the guitar a bit more edgy. Drums: I'd give the drums an edgy mix as well. Maybe even a dominant role with the guitar. Basically, I'm saying give more emphasis around the instruments (instrumental). Now, I know the vocals are the focal point here, but this will make the instrumental stand out as well. Often times when pitching to TV shows, they'll want an instrumental version of the song and that's more versatile than the full song (with the vocals) on it's own. Again, very lovely song you have here. Keep up the good work! PS - Are you mixing your own material? - Greg Savage
Great song. Very Radiohead sound to it. We would be keen to give it a spin on our new station Unsigned Project which launches in January. Check out our test transmission http://unsignedproject.com and send you track (and any others) to firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for submitting it to us. Well done.
Well crafted rock pop tune. Distinctive and mesmerizing male vocal tone and quality that could work for many different types of songs. Very good production values. Nice arrangement with depth that compliments the vocals. The composition itself doesn’t resonate with me, but I’d sure like to hear more from this artist, there’s lots of talent here!
You have an AMAZING voice. Definitely push it forward more in the levels. i don't love the electric guitar line that comes in around 3:40--i'd take it out. As far as the song goes, nice melodies; definitely has commercial appeal--i'd seek out licensing opps for it. Nice work!
Light as falling snow piano opening, followed by the sweetest of percussive tumble of noise. Add in a voice that sounds fragile but capable of blowing a sound system apart when it hits those emotional highs. Bowie is quite possibly an influence but Jason Kendall never wrings too much of this quality out of his voice so it remains quite unique throughout. The songs progression takes plenty of twists and turns along the way and in doing so perfectly matches the high arcs and devastating lows of a relationship that appears doomed from the beginning. What a lucky girl to have taken a man to his limits and in the process afford him such inspiration to write a devastating song of lost love. This is a talent to watch closely.
The vibe of this track seems to lend itself to a sort of ambient, wide production, but not too cluttered with filigree. I could see going the Lana Del Rey route. So maybe wide jangly guitars, vocals, bass, drums and strings, and that'd be about it. Everything would have to slot together nicely, of course, but that kind of reverby, spaced out feel would probably be appropriate. I would definitely consider adding some more "vibrant" strings - you've got a pretty great start with those sort of atmospheric string pads, maybe get some sort of additional motion in there, like instead of homophonic strings, get a little counterpoint going with the lower strings, or if nothing else, split the rhythms of the lwoer stirngs into something a little more driving. An intimate chamber-ensemble sound would probably be best if you could wrangle it. But I'd also recommend only doing that if you could get either real string players or a really good string samples, because synth strings wouldn't work well. A good, solid bass part would help anchor things too. I think the first set of repetitions of the chorus goes on a bit long - you could tigthen that bit up a bit, sand save the "here's the hook" bit until the end. You might not need need the final keychange, basically running through the chorus a few times and ending by 5 minutes. You'll want to keep this arrangement pretty tight and punch if you want to pitch it towards film. That first "drum loop solo" seems like it could be a good spot for an instrumental break...either a short few bar drum fill leading up to the second verse, or maybe a guitar solo. It's a good spot for that sort of thing. Hope that's useful.
The menacing synth lead that kicks in at the 0:15 second mark effectively hooks the listener in and doesn't relent for the duration of the nearly five minute running time of the song. The vocals are heavily steeped in '80s new wave influences, but instrumentally this song takes its cues more from '90s industrial than any thing that has followed in the twenty-first century. The occasional impassioned scream gives this song additional credibility, and likewise the use of repetition in the chorus burrows the song deeply inside the listener's head. Perhaps overly repetitive and simplistic with respect to the instrumental arrangements employed, this song nonetheless is extremely catchy and an effective club anthem yet to be discovered.
I think there are some good ideas here - I like the vocals (although they're slightly distorted at times) and the main piano loop is effective. I think the beats are a bit too consistent and could be better built up and down. I mostly feel there's a bit too much going on at the same time at every point during the track. If you take out elements and let the track build organically, giving each element more room to breathe, it'll be easier to appreciate each component and it'll give the some more momentum and better dynamics.
It's got a good clubby vibe, and the vocals are nicely up-front and kind of Robert-Smithy. They're strong and mixed well, and it's a good performance. The chimes are a bit loud and kind of dominant in the midrange, which is making them sound a bit congested and fight with the vocals a bit. Your hook is really that layered theme. You want to bring that out as much as possible, The hi-hats are too loud, and a bit, er, boring, frankly. They're way too high in the mix for something that just goes "tsss" for several minutes on the offbeats - maybe try a combo of a little less volume, and a shorter decay time or a clickier closed hat sound - or add variations to the pattern. Maybe save the open hats for "special occasions" like the big climaxes. The drop at around 3min in is nice and is a great little break from the relentless oontz oontz of the kick/snare.hat combo. You might want to drop the kicks out for four bars here or there, or cut the snares during a verse, or even drop all the drums for a measure right before a chrous or bridge (killing them for a few beats during the swoop up to 1:10 would be pretty dope). Maybe vary the pattern once in a while with a half-time few bars or a syncopated snare hit, or some ghost snares or...basically something to keep it from being 5 solid minutes of whomp whomp whomp. I think overall the arrangement can be tightened a bit - pull out a loop or two of the hook/chorus thing in the outtro or the middle bits, maybe throw some sort of modulation on a synth sound here just to avoid straight repetition. It's like a tight 4-minute dance track stuck in a 5-minute dance track body. It's *almost* there.
The raw, live off the floor drums give this song an immediately engaging quality. The simple acoustic guitar melody suits the song well, and the lead vocal recalls equal parts Bowie, The Verve, and at times even The Cure. The use of strings to round out the sound gives the song a deceptively multi-layered sound, without ever detracting from the raw simplicity of the instrumental arrangement of the song. There is a circular quality to this song, blurring the lines between verse and chorus through a series of surprisingly fluid transitions. If I have one criticism of the song, it is simply that it would be equally as effective if it were one minute shorter in running time.
I dig this track. I think there's a lot here. I would love to see a harder, rockin' version with electric sounds probably heavy guitar riffing through, but that's just me. This track as is could definitely be used in film. Have you checked out some of the film people in Fluence? Leena https://fluence.io/leena-pendharkar, Paul Heck https://fluence.io/paul-heck would be good recipients. Also, have you checked out the other Fluence users in film: https://fluence.io/influencers/film.
The intro led me to believe this was going to be a totally different track to the one that eventually transpired. I was imagining a country-pop ballad, but what I got was a gorgeous emotionally charged track which had a strong Bowie-esq vibe, especially the vocals (which i'm sure you'll agree is no bad thing). Arrangement wise the break at 2:13 is perhaps a little too long, made me think the track was coming to an end which then made the reprise at 2:27 feel slightly clumsy. Overall those this is going to be a gorgeous track, emotional, endearing and generally really intriguing. I look forward to hearing more from you.
Got kind of a Church/Brendan Perry vibe going here, which is good and not too terribly common right now. The guitars are a bit loud and "woody", and sort of overwhelming everything else. Perhaps instead of quite so much reverb on the guitars, add a bit of delay to give them some depth, and accentuate the jangly high end on them and pull some of the mids out to give more space to the vocals. Especially since the guitar is primarily chordal strumming and no soloing or fancy rhythmic work, you don't need that to be the focus of the mix. Bring those vocals out! Might be kind of cool to dial the guitar back a ways and replace the reverb with a more Eno/Lanois "shimmer verb" to give it a lot of atmosphere and brightness without necessarily requiring you to add much to it. The drums are barely audible - which is kind of causing the track to feel a bit more languorous than it really wants to be - if they'er audible, and maybe a really tight, snappy kit sound, they might give a little more propulsion to the track without it feeling like you added "rock drums" to a ballad. Just something to give it a little more of a rhythmic or syncopated pulse than the more static guitar-chord-on-the-downbeat thing that's driving it right now. The biggest issue is the vocals - they're EQed sort of oddly in a kind of aggressively lo-fi waywhcih saps them of presence and some intelligibility, and they sit too far back in the mix. There's some nice Bowie-ness to them, but they're too distant for that to come through with much impact. And they're kind of pitchy in the melismatic parts, most notably at the beginning, and that's the worst place for that to happen because that's the first thing anyone hears. At the key change at 2:50ish - that's a pretty gutsy modulation and it's not telegraphed in any way by the music so you really need to stick that "boy" dead on pitch for it to not sound like you yourself didn't know it was coming, and right now it feels a bit tentative. It's one hell of a modulation to do though, and big props for risking it. Track's got potential, but it needs a little shine to it.
A fantastic distorted guitar intro. Strong power pop sensibilities in the verse bring to mind Teenage Fan Club and lots of other '90s acts. The sing-along vibe going on it the chorus gives this song an infectious quality rarely heard in rock music today. Overall, an extremely impassioned vocal delivery, especially in the second verse. Great sing-along chant of "Serephina" in the outro too, and the guitar solo is pretty bad-ass if I do say so myself. Definitely a catchy and memorable song.
I'm not hugely versed in the trappings of pop-punk, beyond a few records here or there, but here goes... From a songwriting standpoint, this is pretty solid, and the performance is pretty good. The bass is particularly well-done. It's pretty much a textbook 3-minute pop-punk song. The mix is a little muddy, though, particularly in the low-mids. The drums could use a bit miore snap, the bass could use some more attack and punch, and there's a lot of frequency argument between the drums, the bass and the low end of the guitars. Judicious EQ should help with that. Notch out some 200ish hz on the bass and pull up the higher end, try and pull some of the "woodiness" out of the snares at 500hz, maybe get some NY compression going on them to beef them up a bit. But the biggest hindrance is you have two pretty solid hooks - the vocals and the guitar - and they're quite often in conflict with each other. And usually the guitar wins. While the guitar performance is quite good, it's not the part you want fans to be singing along with and waving their lighters in the air for. Dial it back just a smidge in volume (except at the solo of course) and maybe cut back the presence a bit, and then bring the vocals up and give them some shine in the upper mids and maybe even the airy high bands juts so they're super-present and in-your face. Maybe a bit of wetness with a slapback delay or plate verb to give them some space. You may even want to cut the guitars back in a few more places, for a bar or two, just to really let the vocals cut through and give the whole track more impact and dynamics. A few extra overdubs on the chorus, maybe even hard panned left and right, just to really make that chorus pop. Doesn't have to be overwrought or polioshed up like a Jimmy Eat World track or anything, just a few simple mix tricks that give the track a boost without sacrificing the in-your-face-ness of the track. It's certainly got a lot of potential as a song; the lyrics are good, and cacthy; the vocal melody has a singable hook; it's just shy of having quite the right mix and balance. Right now it has "this is gunna be big in my hometown" vibe to it; with a little tweaking it could be a "this is gunna be big. period" kind of single.
I just was caught into a tornado of musical ecstasy! Imagine a dance floor banger that incorporates Garage House, the theatrics of Marilyn Manson and the sexiness of Prince, set to a 4/4 beat that could excite club goers from Ibiza to Miami. Now take that and multiply it by 10 and you have Jason Kendall’s dance tune “Cry (Grey Mix)”. As a DJ rooted in house music, I love this joint. I could see myself and other superstar DJs playing this track as a standalone or as part of a mix. I could see the clubs jumping all over this one…the vibe it creates is RIDICULOUS! This track is 90% retail ready, less a bit of housekeeping on the mix (the change around 3:00 was exciting, but a bit loud). With an infectious groove and a melody that will get you hooked like Meth, I see DJ’s around the globe adding this to their playlists!
There's a lot of potential here, but some issues that need to be addressed before this is ready for prime-time, so to speak. It's an interesting combo of dance and rock, almost venturing into 90's WaxTrax territory, which is ripe for mining, but it needs a bit more impact and some production cleanup. First off, despite EDM being a bass-heavy genre, this is way too bass-heavy. The sub bass renders basically everything else indecipherable. It's basically completely overwhelming your kick drum. Some low-cut in there and a lot of notching EQ to carve out space for everything is absolutely required. All the "energy" in the song is going into reproducing the super-low frequencies and that's stealing focus from the drums and synths. At the very least you probably want to sidechain-compress most tracks (but not the vocals) to the kick drum. It'll give you that very-modern dance music "pumping" effect and also get the bass and stuff out of the way of your underlying pulse. The high-hats are mixed a little loud, and they're a bit...static. The 909-style hat is fine, sort of de rigeuer for this style, but I'd go with a shorter decay on it so less of the listener's attention gets focused on a repeating pattern and it's more just a backbeat. Maybe vary the pattern a bit more. You probably want a sharper and treble-ier -attack on the kick drums, maybe some layering or transient-shaping on the snares to make them pop would be a good idea. You kick/snare combo is the soul of a dance track, and you want that to be driving everything else. The real strength in this track is in the distorted (and later doubled) lead, and in the bowie-esque vocals. I'd recommend bringing the vocals to the fore a little more, maybe removing some of the "telephone filter" effect except maybe where it would have the most impact - either have it in the chorus or the verse but not both - and when you have that lead, do something fun with it - modulate it, automate some effects, play with reverb and delay...something so it's attention-catching each time it appears in the song. It's your hook, so you want it to grab people's ears and keep them engaged every single time. The sample at the end is clever, but you might be a bit at risk for sample-clearance issues if that recording isn't authorized. A slim chance, yes, but better safe than with a large lawsuit on your hands.
Overall, this is a nice track, very reminiscent of Glen Philips and some of the mid-90's radio-friendly guitar-college-alternative (for which I have a distinct fondness). Arrangement wise, everything is in the right place and fits the arc of the song nicely, although I think the guitar solo in the bridge could be a bit longer...it feels like the wah guitar solo just gets going and then vocals are back and it's over. Feels like that should be a climactic point for a soaring instrumental and it kind of ends before it gets going. As for the mix, things are generally pretty solid (the nice round bass sound you've got is killer for this sort of thing), but a few things might level it up - both the guitar and the strings seem to be a little "boxed in" by their room sound (or cabinet sound). The guitar especially, since it's so prominent. A slightly twangier/janglier guitar tone for that loop might help focus that a bit - the tone's a little on the dark side to be providing the hook, so ti might just be a case of rolling off a little more low and turning up the treble knob a tiny bit (or EQing the recorded track a little differently) just to give it a bit more air. I'm not sure how you recorded it, but it may be better suited to mic the cab closer or go for a drier main signal, then post process with some subtle delay and reverb to give some more space, especially in the top end. Another trick might be to try some sort of microshifting/multitracking on just the upper mids and highs to get some stereo imaging on the guitars without taking them "out of focus" or overwhelming the mix. It's a tricky one, but you have a few options, so if you can, just play around with it in a few different ways. Since it's the first thing anyone hears, you want to make sure that it's memorable. You could even start it one way, then dial it back a bit as the song progresses so it fades more into the mix once the vocals come in. For the strings I'd either back off the room sound a bit, or go all in with a more lush reverb, depending on whether you want those to be "intimate" or sort of "syrupy." Honestly I think either would work in the context of the song. Right now they have a bit too much of an indecisive setting about them, like they can't decide whether to be important to the mix, or just atmosphere, so they kind of split the difference. Drums sit nicely. Maybe a tad hot on the snare, especially since it's one of those thumpier snares and not as snappy as on some kits. It's refreshing to hear a track these days where the kick drum isn't the focus of the song! The vocals are very well-performed and recorded. I'd make them even more prominent in the mix, especially in the choruses. Maybe even multitrack some more backing vocals just so they're huge when you hit those spots (the trick is mixing them without swamping the lead...I know it can be done, I'm just terrible at doing it myself). A few subtly automated effects, like maybe just a touch of delay on the first word/phrase of a verse ("Can I...") would kind of underscore the "here it is, a new verse" and give a little drama to that pause between lines. Overall, solid track. The main challenge seems to be in just carving out a little more "space" with it, giving it that final "cinematic" polished quality that someone looking to do soundtrack sync would want.
The chorus of this track is catchy, so is the guitar riff. I can see the potential for it getting licensed. If you don't already, I'd get an instrumental version of the track together as it will give you a greater chance of getting a sync. Once you've done that visit SELL OUT SYNC, it's who we send tracks to from our label when we believe they have a sync opportunity. Hope that helps. Pete
Well. The songwriting is solid. The performances are solid. As far as the arrangement goes, the prime suggestion I have is to vary them a bit more in terms of effects and instrumentation from the verses. The best way to de-Beatle it would probably be to change the way things are processed. Make the vocals drier and cleaner, maybe even compressed a bit more in the verses, so they're more up-front, and save the lush reverb for the choruses. Maybe multi tracking and wide panning them in the choruses so the contrast between verse and chorus is more dramatic would do it. Modern mixes tend to be more bass-forward, too - a little punchier bass attack and a heightened presence in the mix would go a long way in that direction. I like the subtle guitar processing a lot but the vintage phaser does sort of scream "Rubber Soul." You should consider saving that effect for certain passages - that bridge would be perfect - and maybe trying something else for the verses (a tempo delay or even an Eventide-ish shimmer verb, but you do run the risk of sounding like U2 instead). It's a matter if personal taste, but try experimenting with switching effects in and off between chunks of the song to add a little more sonic contrast and modernize the sound. Unfortunately the simplest way to modernize a song is to alter the drum processing; but you don't have a drum track so that's out. A bold move, I might add, to anchor your track to the bass for rhythm. It works for this track but might make it a harder sell as a single, especially for radio play, if that's a consideration. Hope that's helpful!
A generally solid track. I would recommend doing something a little different in the arrangement in possibly the second or third verse to distinguish it from the previous verses, maybe even something as simple as changing the background vocals slightly, so instead of the same "la da da da" there was some extra variation or possibly even a bit of unison to emphasize bits of the lead vocals. Some sort of overdubbing harmony vocals on the chorus/refrains would also sound pretty awesome. I middle-8/bridge with a guitar solo would also do wonders. From an actual performance standpoint, the vocals are nice - in tune, intelligible, good tone. The guitar work in the very beginning seems a little less confident than it should be, though. Since it's just a demo version I'm going to chalk it up to that. Everything else is solid, although again, a bridge would do wonders, as the rhythm section feels a smidge repetitive. Admittedly, that's what rhythm sections do, but something to break up the loop-y feel. Production-wise, everything's placed pretty well. I'm not 100% sold on the wide stereo vocals for the whole thing, though. They sound a bit phasey and while that works great as an effect it's a bit distracting when it's the whole thing. My recommendation would be to use that effect for choruses, and keep the vocals on the verses centered and prominent, and achieve the rockabilly vocal effects primarily through a little bit of slapback delay or spring reverb. You could also mess with EQ a bit for the vintage mic vibe, but that can be tough to do without sounding cliche (although when it works, it works well). The goal is so that when the choruses do come in with the wide vocals, it'll grab the listener better and feel less like just an extension of a verse. I also think the drums could have a little more presence - while this isn't a barn-burning rocker, what with the brushes and shuffle beat, their attacks are still getting a little washed out and might benefit from some tightening, maybe with a transient shaper. Catchy track, though. Good hooks. I think the primary improvement would be to emphasize the hooks in the "all the pretty dancers" refrains and maybe the leadups to that part.
I was really intrigued by how you describe this track. I liked the soft pop and gentle tones in this song. It was a nice ride. Knowing the meaning of the song made it all the more worthwhile because I felt it was more special than just an indie rock sound. I am going to listen to this a few more times and will most likely end up sharing it. Thanks for sending this to me.
I really like the bridge, good dynamic range, good production quality, vocals and lyrics are good. Nothing I don't like about this song. But...there is nothing I love. I would still rather play the 1000 other songs I love more. So after the first listen I would pass. But the artist has potential and I do think some people would dig this song.
If I had a red Camero, I'd drive slowly through my neighborhood, playing this song on full blast out my windows, then park my car at the baseball field, walk in slow motion to the home plate, and have a flashback to my high school days, when I was the pitcher on my team, and I got chicks and drank Schlitz in the dugout, then when the song ends, come to the realization that those days have faded away like the last chords of the song, which resonate into infinity.