- RAYGUN CARVER
Raygun Carver is offering critics an opportunity to review selected tracks from his upcoming album 'Bad Thing'- a collection of 12 new songs as well as a cover of Bod Dylan's, 'Simple Twist of Fate.' The new record features Phil Madeira (Alison Kraus, Emmylou Harris) on keys, Kaitlyn Wolfberg (Geoff Emerick, H.E.R) on string arrangements and Grammy nominated musician Ryan Svendsen (Sean Mendes, Christina Aguilera) on trumpet. His last record, 'Moon Fields Yawning' has been hailed as ‘Urban American Noir’ and was premiered in the national magazine ‘Big Indie’. The song 'Bad Thing' is the title track from the album.
- music production, songwriting, music performance
- singer/songwriter, ambient, americana, indie folk, film / video
- PORT ANGELES, WA
Hey Raygun - really nice piece here. Definitely getting some Tom Waits vibes. I think you've really captured the "vibe" and a direction here for sure. One note on production...the hard panning of the vocal on the left channel is a little distracting for me ... but I see how you counter that with other vocals more in the chorus. Overall - really exceptional recording, production, vibe, vocals. And that muted trumpet! Ultimately at We Are: The Guard - we're promoting more beat driven indie pop on the music genre side. One suggestion - have you tried micro synch sites like musicbed or marmoset? I think you could find some pick up there on the synch front. Lastly, if it's helpful - feel free to pick up (for free) my book here which has a ton of information on promoting your music on a DIY level and maybe some things you might not have thought of or worth considering: https://www.benjamingroff.com/get-the-book p.s. dig also some of those outro solos and musical moments. I think you should also do well finding your "niche" of followers and getting on those associated playlists. Great work...wish it was more of a fit for us. Tx...Benjamin.
Love the gritty guitar lead after the chorus. Great all-round production once again. This song is indeed a bit of a shift...makes me think of Matthew Sweet mixed with some Ryan Adams. A bit of a country feel to an otherwise 90s-esque indie rock vibe. The lyrics make you wanna check in on that special someone to see if something [shady] is in fact going on. Really dig this. Thank you for sharing it!
Hey thanks Raygun for the submission. I listened a few times actually after the first listen. Overall this is a really solid piece - some great guitar work too. I'm not sure if it's quite right for my platform at We Are: The Guard or the label side but will check out some of your other music. Some other thoughts for promotion. Are you using Submit Hub or doing research on UGC playlisting on Spotify. Those are some other places and / or I always find that YouTube promoted videos (if it's a great video) has the best bang for the buck. I also totally would not overlook TikTok - it's not just for hiphop / pop - someone in the more rock / indie side will break there. Hope it's helpful - dug the song but just maybe not quite over the top for me.
This is excellent! Tell you what I'll do: If you can send me a high-quality MP3 and a quick bio, I'll get this a feature play on 102.1/The Toronto as part of my undiscovered gem segment. Send everything to email@example.com
Solid, well-written track with a classic Tom Petty vibe, nice work. In terms of promotion, I would start by suggesting that you include a brief bio, lyrics and links to hear more music / your social media in your Fluence submission so people can find out more about you. This is your elevator pitch in front of the right people so you want to make it as easy as possible for listeners to get the full picture and find more of your music if they're interested. If you're not already, be sure to use all of the available and FREE artist tools across the DSPs like Spotify for Artists, Apple Music for Artists, Amazon Music for Artists and Bandcamp's artist platform as these will provide great insight into your fanbase, how your music is performing and allow you to optimize your profiles and pitch for inclusion on playlists in certain instances. If you're looking for more promotion and building a fanbase you should consider hiring a publicist or a marketing firm that you feel you can trust and is a fan of your music to help with the release of your next single and/or album to help you get visibility on blogs, playlisting, print media etc. If you're not already on a label, consider trying to get signed to one as they can help you with the promo and playlist pitching. Lastly, I would suggest making music videos or visual content for any of your focus singles, ideally the more shareable the better. This song having such a powerful message would be ideal to have a video to go with it. Best of luck!
Ghostly guitar twangs, soft key-laden reflections, and a stirring vocal presence assemble an aesthetic/vibe that reminds me fondly of Luke Haines and Nick Cave. The title-referencing hook at the 45-second mark is wholly effective, atmospherically and melodically. Reprisal at 01:28 plays with similar effectiveness, this time unveiling a clever bridge thereafter with lush acoustics and a vocal melody variation. The woodwinds around 02:30 add further excellent depth to the soundscape, sounding like a neo-noir thriller and with the video aptly reflecting a similar tone. I'm fond of this track, for sure - thanks for submitting! I look forward to sharing. Since you noted needing help with promotion, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in hearing about my PR servicing's rates and success stories. -Mike
Hey Raygun - Short and sweet comment here. I really like the vibe. Let me know when it's released and we'll add it on our Spotify Playlist // Weekly Chart. Best way to reach me is email@example.com. Also worth noting - I just released an entire digital course at Teahable (it's our actual release plan for the label) on how to release and market and promote releases. It's on sale 80% off for COVID special. 15 hours / 70 video modules. Just use BENJAMIN10 as coupon code if interested. https://benjamingroff.teachable.com/courses
Wow, what a beautiful song, Raygun Carver (Well, I know that's not your real name, but it's a cool moniker)! There's something quite tantalizing about the intricate arrangement of the instrumentation; how each instrument unfurls in its own time to augment the fluidly moving structure of the song. I'm leery of tagging your music because I don't want to stick it in a specific box, but I'm hearing a blend of cosmopolitan pop, downtempo, chamber pop, and singer-songwriter noir... All very compelling on this track. Love how it opens with the unassuming acoustic guitar strum, then gets added depth from Western guitar reverb, and of course your perceptive lyrics sung in a gently hushed tone. And the instruments keep materializing and vanishing - softly brushed drums, delicate percussion, trembling strings, a winding trumpet line - and then a more buoyantly swaying rhythm that lifts the rumination into a melodic groove. The video itself is beautifully filmed by Ziad Edris with its saturated black and white footage shot on the streets of Cairo, Egypt! It's basically a short narrative film with its cinematic feel where the viewer follows a mysterious character, who is actually being followed by someone else... Super job! Love the song especially. :)
Good song with an honest, heartfelt vibe. I would suggest including lyrics, a brief bio, a bit about the song and links to hear more music with your Fluence submission as you should consider this opportunity your elevator pitch. Right now there is no additional information about the song or you as an artist unless the reviewer decides to see out more on their own. Consider putting your music on Bandcamp and creating a music video around a new single to get some extra attention. If you're looking for media coverage you should look into hiring a publicist and doing a pro photo shoot. Best of luck!
This song captures such an emotion. Love all the panning that truly brings out each layer of the track! Please distribute so the world can hear it! Great production, great vocals and great musicianship!
Thanks so much for the submission. Really liked this song. Quite pleasant, charming and fun. Soothing too. Usually I have a lot more feedback and/or suggestions, but I don't really have a lot about this that I would say is necessary to change. Pretty solid song through and through. Only thing I would suggest is that perhaps it could be just a little shorter? There's nothing bad about the song in any way, but for me it just feels like being a tad shorter would really help etch this one in the listener's mind. Thanks again for sending the song!
Thanks for sending over, the song makes for a nice four minutes. I'm not sure there would be much scope for getting much online attention, especially with the diminishing world of music blogging, but I'm sure it'll find a home for those who hear it. Not sure if this is part of a bigger project/album etc, but good luck with the release.
It's a typical cold, dreary, rainy day here in London and this song somehow captures the mood. Feels so right. I was thinking we should go to sunny Nashville but I just saw today's forecast. Rain. It must be a sign. You are onto something.
Hey Raygun - Cool name! I think that your vocals start really strong, but when the strings come in around 1:40 it sounds a bit like you're reaching outside the style & tone of the way the song opens. If there's a way to keep an emotional build/crescendo & keep the low, Leonard Cohen/Mark Lanegan style vocals there as opposed to kicking it up - I think you'd be doing yourself some favors from a licensing point of view. Also around 2:58, there are some goofy instruments that sound GREAT together. Production gets really fun in this verse (also, it sounds like this part is back in the vocal range you start with) I think this is a catchy tune, a little polish on the middle section - not sure if it's a bridge per se - but that could basically put a nice bow on a pretty cool tune! Really like the delicate dusty piano throughout.
Another powerful one. Love the melodic development and production leading into and throughout the chorus...and also that it doesn't swell up so much that it's overdone. The keys/strings bring the song to a melodic peak, but there aren't symphonic cymbals crashing and a Michael Kamen knock-off vibe. Somehow the added instrumentation retains the subtle, understate feel of the much more sparse verses. And the tension created by the static-y feedback sounds. Just a perfect production add-in that doesn't take focus away from the music. Just a little glance, twitch...a "what...what was that?" Had an interesting take on your voice from a musician friend of mine who's skilled and pretty worldly as far as tastes go. "Cowboy Song" was playing and when they walked into the room they asked, "Is this Geoff Tate?" Stylistically, I wouldn't have ever associated the two of you. Neither would I ever have associated Tate with Tom Waits, which I may start using when describing aspects of your sound. But your low register doesn't *not* sound like some moments of Queenryche's "Silent Lucidity." Not a knock, either. Tate's got one helluva set of pipes.
Great opening line! Love the details in the verses. The melody throughout is memorable and very catchy. It's a gritty story with an edge and it's well told. Like the lo-fi production approach, too. It serves the song well. It's no surprise the song is "cinematic" and I like the interspersing of the "scene" and "take" information. Cool. This could definitely work as a film or TV placement in a montage. Really nice work.
Such a powerful story. Stark, longing, love and lack thereof. Nice take on this classic. As with others of your songs, I can hear this recording as a backdrop for TV or film. So much potential for so many different visual scenarios. If I were you I would look into avenues for licensing and work toward actively shopping your music to TV and film directors and music producers.
Sounds great. The trick is tapping into the right audience. The biz is built around young urban talent and pop stars. Don't follow their strategy. It won't work for you. None of it. Be the anti that. Do the opposite of what they do in every instance.
Hi there. Thanks for sending a follow-up song. Quite evocative song with some really fantastic vocal phrasing. I will say I know many B-Sides & Badlands readers are not as into songs of this length; it's hard in this day and age to captivate attention for more than four minutes or so. But excellent work, top to bottom.
Epic & Huge. Aspects of a tonally morose, longing Leonard Cohen opus. Lyrically dark, brooding. Artistically, this song thrives on its own merit, growing from melodically somber to almost rejuvenating, despite the continued lyrical darkness. But commercially, from a promotional standpoint, "Laredo" should be in the next season of Fargo, or The Walking Dead, or in the next iteration of Red Dead Redemption. Huge commercial potential in that vein: setting the tone for a Tarantino-esque bloodbath. Love it!
Hey Raygun...first, I really like the name your name. Definitely stands out. I like the song, lyrics, and the vibe - definitely in the old school classic songwriting with some Dylan-esque meets Leonard Cohen meets Tom Waits vibes. The record sounds good too and the arrangement is also in that class of arrangement from those artists. Ultimately, this isn't really a genre I work in and am looking more for beat driven indie and indie pop and pop / electronic music. I'd suggest trying to submit this song also to the appropriate blogs at Submit Hub etc. BTW I appreciate some of these key changes...very nice to hear people still doing that.
I really love this track. Gorgeous vocals and fantastic production make this a sonic wonderland. Really great stuff and I'm happy to share on upcoming playlists. Please let me know when the track is available on Spotify and keep up the great work. Thanks for sharing.
very nice atmospheric and cinematic would be good for syncs in films and tv - nice breathy vocal and twangy guitar - lyrics also good - simple production maybe a modern approach might make it more accessible - would like to know more about the artist - might be able to help with promotion Mark
"Crushing melancholy" would be the best way to describe this. At nearly 6 minutes, it has a feeling over overwhelming dread and loneliness. The black and white makes it have a film noir edge to it, allowing the lyrics to really sink into the skin. Many people might not be able to handle the length, but others will appreciate the artistry to it.
Well shot music video that complements the tragic sound. I dig the sound too, seems like it could fit in a David Lynch movie at parts. I would start by suggesting including links to hear more music and a more detailed description of the project with your Fluence description. I googled your names and couldn't find any more info about this project and most people won't even do that, whether it's sending an email, handing out a flyer, or using Fluence, make sure to make it as easy for the potential listener as possible. I would also add your artist name to the title of the Youtube video to help with visibility and search results. I would also suggest putting your music on Bandcamp as it's the best platform for independent artists. Best of luck!
Hi Raygun, Thank you so much for your submission... This is beautiful...In every possible way... Love everything about this...The music, the lyrics, the instrumentation...the production. And the video is very evocative and beautifully executed. And filmed in Cairo? Wow... Please send me a good quality MP3 of this. Will definitely play on my show... Thank you!
Hey Raygun...thanks for the submission. I liked the epicness of it along with the music video. Overall, I don't have anything much to say other than for the genre and as a piece I think it's really well done. I'll ask Jess Grant out editor to put in our Best of Indie column at We Are: The Guard. And I've dropped in our Best of Indie Playlist too. https://open.spotify.com/user/wearetheguard/playlist/7pwtAIH9b6mSNLGVHH5Vnf?si=UjD-s2_pS-uJ_gBwjOKbUg Nice work.
Starting out the mix on the track sounds like a rough demo. The backing track itself doesn't sound bad mix-wise, but the vox themselves sound like they would need to be cut again. You can hear the hiss of the mic whenever the vocals come in. I really like the music itself and there is some solid musicianship shown within the backing track. The strings are a nice touch to add another layer. That first verse was quite shocking. I definitely didn't expect that with the solemn music at first. At first I thought this may be a joke, but at further listen I actually kind of like the idea of it all. I could see this working for a television show, but the vox need to be re-cut in my opinion. I like the long guitar solo towards the end of the track also, but I'm hearing that a better mix overall would push things up a notch when all the elements are playing. Overall a cool song with a great shock factor that could use some polishing within the mix just overall to take things up a level. This is a very cinematic song and the right mix could help it shine a lot more. I hope my feedback helps thank you!
Dig the art and vibe of this song. Very sad and melodramatic with great lyrics. I would definitely suggest including links to hear more music / socials in your Fluence description, a short bio and lyrics as anyone listening here should easily be able to check out more about your artist. Also make sure to put your music on Bandcamp and all streaming services as I could only find you on soundcloud. This music is so vivid too you should consider making a music video for an upcoming single. If you want promotion you should hire a publicist to get your new music out to the blogs / influencers that are writing about this kind of stuff or just do a paid campaign on Spotify, Instagram, Facebook, etc. for starters. Best of luck.
First off, the artwork freaked me out and made me not want to listen, just so you know 😂. Listening to the song, I can say that it's certainly very heavy lyrically. I guess that's your intention. Inteeeense content here, but I appreciate the willingness to go down into the dark and see what comes up! Thanks for sharing
Very dark and threatening opening, but the added instrumentation seems to cover the dark and angsty lyrics. Eventually the extended instrumentals make you forget the lyrics with an uplifting sense of healing. It shows that no matter how dark your feelings might be, music heals it and perhaps saves you from it.
Reminds me of the music in Juno. It has a naivety and awkwardness, the timing feels slightly off and the voice wavers around the notes...but this is not a negative somehow. It is unexpectedly enjoyable to listen to, pulling me forward into the next verse or chorus. A very lovely sound, I'm happy to share it onwards
Interesting song, nice delicate instrumentation that mixes well with the vocals. Reminds me of early tracks by British Sea Power, specifically “The Lonely.” I like how the vocals become sort of boxed in towards the middle. The track is kind of moody and uplifting at the same time, it’s sort of an odd mix that works.
I really like this song. It seemed a little long but I really liked the instrumental at the end. I think I would have liked a little more production on the song as a whole but honestly, I really did enjoy it. I would love to play it on the station
Nicely recorded and performed. Great sonic landscape. Nice, hooky melody, too. Vocal has a confident, emotional feel that works really well. The song takes a little long to get to the title/hook for my taste but when it gets there, it's memorable. Great job overall!
A subtle and emotionally charged song filled with a sense of nostalgia. Pretty Roses is a mixed-gender piece which alternates between Anglo-American folk, folk rock, alt-rock and Americana fronted by the graceful vocal. Personally, I like the smooth intro where a tune slowly builds up. In this emotionally charged melody, the singer brings out the feeling of nostalgia and vulnerability. This song scrapes evidence of an Neil Young, Bear's Den and Blanco White influence. Instrumentally, a melody is rich and varied. Unique vocal with an warm vocal tone and ability to intertwine and explore different music genres. Quality sound and well produced. Definitely enjoyed this track and I would like to hear more from this artist in the future! Thanks for sharing your music with me!
Thank you first and foremost for submitting. Starting out the mix on the record sounds like a rough studio demo. There is some solid musicianship shown within the backing track and I like the different guitar elements. There is an ambient feel to the track overall which I enjoy. Vocally it's not blowing me or anything, but the vocal performance is good enough to bring the idea home. Lyrically a nice story is told and the arrangement of the record keeps things pushing along nicely. Overall a pretty solid record that could work well for synch/licensing opportunities. With a stronger mix on the track/vox it could really take things up a level. I hope my feedback helps thank you!
I appreciate you continuing to ask for my reviews of your work. Although, perhaps your money would be better spent running targeted ads on facebook or twitter? Anyways, a nice sounding song, good vocals and solid production. Not really my type of tune, so I wouldn't listen more than once, but I like the overall feeling of it. Happy to give it a share on twitter. Warmly Nate
The opening reminded me of "Space Oddity" and now I feel like anyone could be president. "Pretty Roses" is a lovely nod to the Black Star. The dreamy background vocals reminds me of one of my favorite band's slower moments. Good job, I'd be happy to promote it!
Wow, what a beautiful and moving tribute to the late, great David Bowie with nods to his lyrical genius and mystery, and an appropriately reflective ambience to pay respects to a musical (and more) master. The hymn/lament is crafted with care and balance, from the poignant lyrics, heartfelt vocals, subdued acoustic guitar strum, lighter piano notes, and a spare, solemn backdrop of what sounds like extended synths and maybe vocals. The second guitar with deeper reverb adds to the pensive mood by the last half of the track and the smooth flow continues throughout. I especially liked the rising chorus filled with bittersweet uplift and stark lines like, "Let's drive away" from the verse, which then move to "We're already gone" on the chorus. That transition of thought and feeling, from expectation (of leaving or running away) to realization (that it's already happened) is complex and conveyed to the listener who experiences the words as they materialize. Very thoughtful and touching.
Thought homage to Bowie, channeling the vibe appropriately. Strong vocal performance here, passionate and emotional. Strings and piano round out a simultaneously full yet still sparse production style. In promoting such a tribute I think you need to proceed carefully. While the most interested audience might be those who are already fans of Bowie, part of what makes him who he was is the originality and creativity he brought to each project. So there may be an element of his fan base who may really not dig what they may see as a knock-off...while others might really dig this track for being so obviously forthcoming with its "tribute" intention, rather than being a "copycat." For this reason, I would be sure to include some mention(as you did here) of that when posted around social media or on fan Slack channels, message boards, etc.--but those are among the channels I would definitely recommend tapping into for the sake of promotion.
There is so much about this song to appreciate. The lyricism is fantastic! Your sound textures work really well. Instrumentation is fluid and crisp. What a great song! Makes me want to hear the rest of your album or EP. Let me know how I can experience more of your music. How are you getting this out to more people? Let's talk via email. Mine is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please reference this Fluence review so I don't mistake it. Looking forward to talking with you.
Interesting lo-fi sound, there’s a lot of Layers of dark moodiness going on instrumentally that I like. I also like the melodies and harmonies in the vocals. Unexpected horn sounds in the bridge continue to keep the song interesting up until the very end. Well done, I’m happy to share!
Raygun's a helluva name. Song's real nice. Sounds like sitting on a porch or near a fireplace with friends. Bridge almost has a Beatles vibe to it. And a trombone?? Definitely the friends hangin' out vibe. Dig it. I can see the performers in my mind--not in a stuffy, dolled-up studio, but rather around my living room right now. I'd me more than happy to give this song some pub through our website: coyotemusic.com. There's a little charge, but not much. We put you on our site and post you around to our social media. You can reach me through any of the ways listed at coyotemusic.com/contact This song's pretty universal. Could sit right alongside Tom Petty or Bob Dylan on radio. And the melody's catchy enough to keep swirling around in your head hours later. Nicely done! Wiley Koepp, Owner/Editor Coyote Music
This is a nice tune which definitely has some big cinematic elements. I went through and listened to a handful of other tunes on your soundcloud as well - I think that you're doing great things. One idea would be to incorporate some more percussion to help move the songs forward. I think that the songs have a tendency to 'settle in' to some familiar rhythms and sequences - shaking that up could help make the different parts of the songs stand on their own. Good example of this is YEAH YEAH - where the horns come in at ~1.33. That's a great change, and plays into a great build. I would probably consider that tune a bit more 'sync-friendly' in terms of placements. Really cool name as well. I'll definitely flag your page for future updates - thanks!
This strikes me a decent, film-soundtrack-ready record, something of a slow-burner. The vocals are well-delivered and the production is spot on. It wouldn’t usually be 100% what I’d gravitate towards genre-wise, but I can appreciate the work that’s been put together here, in the form of an enjoyable, 6-minute Americana-tinged opus. From a UK perspective I’d see no harm in approaching Folk Radio, or Maz from Communion for his Radio X show about this, both are usually pretty approachable on Twitter and other social channels from a plugging perspective.