RockBand.com

HMX RBN Picks XIII

This week's recommended tracks include Five Finger Death Punch, Jonathan Coulton, a guitar duet, and more!

 

"Hard to See" - Five Finger Death Punch (Rock)
I was caught off-guard last week when I saw the email in my inbox saying that this track was added to RBN. As an FFDP fan, I was THRILLED they were a day one launch track with "Burn It Down", but I was anxious for more tracks to come through. "Hard to See" is super-challenging for drummers, has a killer guitar solo, driving bass, and more melodic vocals than most of our hard rock tracks. This is definitely a good track to bounce around on different instruments, making the replayability of this one high. Stay tuned for an email interview I did with bassist Matt Snell.  - HMXcj, Web Editor

"Bright Side of Life" - Rebelution (Rock/Reggae)
This song just makes me feel good when I hear it, I get a little relaxed and energized at the same time. It’s like reggae and ska hooked up and had this happy go lucky kid. It’s got everything you want: brass, strings, and a good beat with some very nice word slinging. The sound reminds me of NOFX with the vocals of 311. - Drew Kerrigan, QA Tester

"Beautiful Machine" - Rose of Jericho (Pop-Rock)
So you've burned through all of the female-fronted rockers in Rock Band and Rock Band 2 and even LEGO Rock Band and are still dying for more? Queue up Rose of Jericho's "Beautiful Machine" and let the driving rhythm section and Andrea Russie's impassioned vocals scratch that estrogen-fueled itch. Those drums sound like they'd be tricky and hellaciously fun. - Allen Holt, Senior Web Software Developer

"Mandelbrot Set" - Jonathan Coulton (Rock/Other)
The Mandelbrot set, for those not in the know, is a rather famous fractal (partially because it makes very pretty figures when visualized by a computer).  This song is about the fractal.  It's geeky and fun and has a great beat, and memorizing the chorus will help you remember how to build a Julia Set. Plus, it has a very cool bass part (not hard - just cool).

And check this out: The Mandelbrot set was invented by the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot.  "Mandelbrot Set" was written by Jonathan Coulton.  In 2006, Julia Lunetta (minordomo for the Ig Nobel Prizes) took a copy of the lyrics to "Mandelbrot Set" and got them signed by Benoit Mandelbrot.  Who's Julia Lunetta?  Well, among other things, she's a great Rock Band player, and she's visited our studios repeatedly to playtest upcoming games.

I can't help feeling like some kind of circle just closed here. - HMXLachesis, Web QA Tester

"Buster Voodoo" - Rodrigo y Gabriela (Rock)
This really cool guitar instrumental is performed by the Mexican duo Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero, considered by many to be the best instrumental folk/rock/Latin duo around today.  This song represents their amazing fast, rhythmic style of acoustic rock that combines the heat of flamenco with their heavy metal spirit (the two met in a thrash metal band). Awesome song!  A blast to try and play for a Medium player like myself. They will be doing limited US dates this August. Get tour dates at their official website rodgab.com - HMXBinThrDunTht, RBN Executive Producer

Hey, guitarists - want a challenge?  I'm not looking at the latest metal offerings from the RBN, but at "Buster Voodoo", an acoustic instrumental rock piece with devil heads on both of the only available parts.  (Note: the "bass" part is rhythm guitar, not bass.)  At first, it doesn't sound all that scary, but trust me, you won't be falling asleep.  If you're on Expert, it'll rip your fingers off and feed them to you in a friendly, courteous kind of way, especially around the second guitar solo.  Have fun! - HMXLachesis, Web QA Tester

I'll make this simple: if you play plastic guitar, you need to download this song. This acoustic guitar duet may be very limiting in terms of parts, but those two parts are among the best charts on both guitar and bass. I know I had to download this song after seeing praise heaped upon it while it was on the Creators site, and suffice to say I've got a new favorite. Don't be scared away by the impossible tiers: the song has very few "fail points," and the song is so fun to play that you should enjoy it regardless. Be sure to download it, and prepare to be blown away by one of the best experiences on Rock Band.  - Xenigma, RBN community

"Three Words" - Todd Thibaud (Country/Alternative)
I have known Todd for many years, and I have always thought he was an awesome songwriter and performer. He plays a style of music that I would call alt-country. He writes about life as he knows it, and I always can find something to relate to in his heartfelt songs and melodies. He is a guy that grinds out there on the road, playing shows and making new fans wherever he goes. This song leans towards the country side of his writing, and in my mind this could be one of his best to date.  It's an up-tempo, rockin' song with a great bridge and chorus - it's super fun to play and sing in the game. Welcome to RBN, Todd, glad you could make it to our party! - HMXBinThrDunTht, RBN Executive Producer

"Crash Years" - The New Pornographers (Indie Rock)
This is from the band's new record Together that was released in May of this year on Matador Records. This Canadian band has been on the scene since the late '90s. The band’s first three albums were critically acclaimed and made the top indie release lists in mags like Blender, Rolling Stone, and The Village Voice. You have heard their music in a ton of TV shows and films. You may have seen them play live, as they are constantly touring. With “Crash Years”, we get another amazing indie pop song by this band that keeps creating one great album after the next. If you are a newbie to their sound, check it out... then dig deep into a solid catalog of music I am sure you will enjoy. We also have an interview with the band coming soon on RockBand.com - stay tuned! - HMXBinThrDunTht, RBN Executive Producer

"Cookie Monster" - XTT (Novelty)
This is a perfect piece to pull out at parties.  If you browse through XTT's songs, you'll rapidly realize that Renato Ferraz is something of a chameleon - a reggae song here, a soapy romance there, an alternative song there, and so on across genres.  As a result, there's nothing else like "Cookie Monster" in the list, but it's worth the one-off for this hysterically funny parody.  Backed by driving, straightforward hard rock rhythms, the song starts "Cookie monster!  Cookie monster!  Cookies!" and goes on in that vein until the final triumphant laugh. - HMXLachesis, Web QA Tester

"Crooked Strings" - Kiev (Alternative)
This song is absolutely fantastic to listen to, as well as play. The song opens with guitar that reminds me of what made the first Grateful Dead pack so great - a long run of hammer-on and pull-off notes. Then, as the song evolves, it starts becoming more and more intricate as the other instruments join in. The singer also has a wonderful voice that may encourage non-singers to pick up the mic and give it a try. I highly recommend at least trying the demo, but be warned: the song will likely be stuck in your head for days afterwards.  - OzoneEntertainment, RBN community

"Why Bother?" - Scratching The Itch (Alternative)
I'll tell you why you should bother! I swear that half of this is reminiscent of Nile Rogers era Duran Duran, except that then it gets a bit *angry* at times, only to be cooled off by spacey synth interludes with cavernous drums. You got your drama in my funk! No, you've got your funk in my drama! Either way, we all win. - Markleford, RBN community

"A Better Forever" - SexTon  (Alternative)
Alternative band SexTon took on the task of personally charting two of their songs for Rock Band (with possibly more to come), and I couldn't be happier they did. "A Better Forever" is an amazing song, simply put, and I'd have likely never heard of it or the band altogether if they hadn't tried RBN. More importantly, they did a fantastic job with the charts, as they all feel very high quality. Kudos to them! Also, while I'm no drummer, I hear that particular chart is extremely fun, so be sure to take a look if that's your interest. - Xenigma, RBN community