This week's RBN picks will startle you (Devin Townsend), make you laugh (MC Frontalot), make you sing (Rockapella), make you shake your booty (Soulive), and make money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (Kylie D. Hart) - among other things. Check out the latest recommendations from Harmonix and the RBN community!
MC Frontalot - "Bizarro Genius Baby" and MC Frontalot - "Hassle: The Dorkening"
Oh, MC Frontalot, I do love you so very much. Just reading the lyrics on the web page gets me to LOL. "Bizarro Genius Baby" has some deceptively tricky guitar bits, and "Hassle: The Dorkening" has some nice drum work. Both of them have the added advantage of being hilariously funny if you are a geek, nerd, gamer, or (in the case of "Genius Baby") a parent.
Mafia Track Suit - "Samiam"
I’m not sure where these guys are coming from, but they end up sounding almost like a '70s power trio on this track. Easy to play and straight forward on all the instruments, but in a fun way. A great break from the finger shredding tracks, and you’ll be humming the guitar hook for a while afterwards.
Ride Your Bike - "Coat Rack"
Songs about inanimate objects are usually quirky, and this is no exception. It’s funny and different, and some nice tempo changes mix this one up in unexpected way.
Rockapella - "Bang"
I love it when stuff like this comes through the RBN store. Acapella at its best, and played on plastic instruments: we live in an amazing world. And it’s a fun, bouncy tight song. Fairwood did a great job of making the all-vocal song playable and fun in RBN; it translated surprisingly well.
I dearly love the Funk, a sadly under-represented genre in the Rock Band canon. This week we have not one but two great funk songs to get you dancing:
Soulive - "Too Much"
This one has all the hallmarks of a classic booty-shaking funk track: horn stabs, fabulous backup singers, breakdowns, fat bass groves, and a drummer that’s so deep in the pocket he might as well be on the next beat. When you play the guitar solo try not to dance. CAN I GET AN AMEN! CAN I GET AN AMEN BROTHERS!
Lettuce - "Last Suppit"
Vocalists will be forced to put their mics down for this one, as it’s an instrumental. That might be OK though. Since a song like this demands backup dancers, put your singer on the couch as eye candy and have a blast with the rest of the tracks. This tune is slightly more technical than "Too Much", but it grooves just as hard and sounds great. The HOPO-riffic guitar part hops between slinky wah pedal single note runs and chikkity chikkity 9-chord strumming, the bass part is solid and oh-so-fun to play and drummers watch out...- HMXMisterGame, RBN Senior Producer
Devin Townsend - "ZTO" (also available in double-bass version)
I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that this song was in RBN. Ziltoid the Omniscient is a concept album about a space alien who comes to Earth in search of the perfect cup of coffee. Despite being a goofy subject, the music is nothing less than what you’d expect from the frontman of Strapping Young Lad. Not only that, but he changed the lyrics to be even more hilarious, just for the RBN version. Download and play this song today. Your life is incomplete without it.
Impaled - "The Last Gasp"
I’ve been a fan of Impaled for a long time now, so seeing Jason Kocol on the RBN forums made me insta-fangirl. Their death/grind sound is high-energy with a fun-sounding solo. And unlike some other metal songs out there, this one doesn’t seem over-the-top-ridiculous to beat. - Jessica Smith, Release Engineer
Mystakin - "Autumns of Optimism"
Have you ever heard of the Rhythm Authors Podcast? It's a fun bi-weekly show that discusses current Rock Band news, featuring interviews with authors and artists in the Rock Band Network community as well as samples of new RBN tracks. One of the two hosts, Mystakin, is an artist in his own right, having created a number of instrumentals with Rock Band in mind. The first is "Autumns of Optimism," a song which will be familiar to fans of the podcast as its theme song. It has a great prog sound and is a blast to play on everything, including two really fun solos for guitarists. Be sure to check it out, and if you haven't before, listen to the podcast!
Periphery - "Icarus Lives"
In the last "Picks" article, I recommended a band that was like Periphery. This time around, I am happy to be able to recommend Periphery themselves. Their first RBN outing, "Buttersnips," was perhaps most notable for its brutal difficult across every instrument. "Icarus Lives," on the other hand, is far more approachable across the board, allowing players to enjoy their intense brand of progressive metal without having to worry about failing at every turn. Every instrument is a joy to play, with the vocals being my personal favorite. Be sure to give this track a try, because it's a real treat. - Xenigma, RBN, Community
Rockapella - "Bang"
Acapella group Rockapella, most known for creating the theme song to and being the house band for the popular '90s game show "Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?", makes their Rock Band debut with their song "Bang," the first a capella song in the Rock Band platform. While the song is all-vocals, it is authored to guitar, bass and drums as well, making for a truly unique experience. The instrument charts capture the vocals very well, and the lead vocal part is astoundingly fun to sing, with high and low pitches abound. The song is fun to play on every "instrument," and a must buy for vocalists.
Zakk Tremblay - "Plátanos Con Sangre"
"Plátanos Con Sangre," which means "plantains with blood" in Spanish, is a very unique metal song by Zakk Tremblay. The first thing any decent Spanish speaker will notice is that the lyrics make absolutely no sense. I found this hilarious, and it made for one of the most fun vocal charts I’ve ever played, despite the majority of it being talkies. The other instruments are no cakewalk; the majority of the song is incredibly fast and will pose a challenge to guitarists, bassists and drummers alike.
Akira The Don - "Steven Wells (He Was The Greatest)"
Welsh rapper Akira The Don makes his Rock Band debut with a punk-rock influenced tribute to the great British journalist Steven Wells. This song is the stuck-in-your-head kind of awesome, which to me is the best kind of awesome there is. The vocals are composted of mostly pitched rapping with a sung chorus that you’ll be singing to yourself over and over again. At the end, despite there being no harmonies, your entire band will scream out "It's Out Teenage Terror Totty" out of sheer compulsion. As a mediocre drummer, I usually find fast-paced drum parts to be more of a chore than fun to play, but the drum chart for "Steven Wells," which alternates between slow and fast punk beats, may be one of the most fun drum charts I’ve played so far. Never a dull moment with this song. - Arcanon, RBN Community
Bright Midnight - "Killers of the Worst Type"
If you watch a film noir, and the hardened detective is hanging out in a speakeasy, and for some reason there's a rock band playing, that band would be Bright Midnight. All of their songs, "Killers of the Worst Type" in particular, have this sinister seduction to them like a classic detective film, thanks in part to Andrew's jazzy technical drumming and Hillis' nervous yet controlled vocals. They get called post-punk, but that's not entirely right - it's an entirely different fusion, and definitely worth noticing.
C&O - "Step on the Throat"
From the very first listen, this latest entry in C&O's arsenal sounded like a lost experiment AC/DC did with synths. Sure the vocals aren't as crazy, but they've got the same straightforward, driving style to their lyrics and instruments, making for the kind of song you just want to pose and strut obnoxiously while playing.
Soulive - "Too Much"
This is pure, old-school, James Brown soul, right down to the recording quality. Sure it's rough around the edges, but that's part of soul - it's not polished and pristine, it's genuine and frank. With lots of energy, too, so it's not a cakewalk for anyone playing along. - FairwoodStudios, RBN Community
A Wilhelm Scream - "Skid Rock"
I freaking love this band. Check this song out if you're into fast, throaty punk-rock with so many riffs. Plenty of sing-a-longs and "woah-oh-oh"s. This particular song reminds me of Turbonegro, and that's the best possible compliment I can bestow on a band.
Kylie D. Hart - "Firehouse Bar"
Rowdy female-fronted drunk-country. That's the best kind of country, possibly the best kind of music. My current mood for "twang" could probably be attributed to this damned Country Track Pack Volume 2, and if that's the case, "Firehouse Bar" came out at the perfect time! Also, proceeds from this song benefit The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, so support your Rock Band addiction and feel excellent about it! - asiansteev, RBN Community