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HMX RBN Picks IX

Check out this week's RBN picks including tracks from Tumbledown, Scratching The Itch, and more.

HMXLachesis, RBN Web QA Tester

Tumbledown - "Homeward Bound" - "More bluegrass than country", my bassist opined.  "Also, I can't play it."  Since I'd skated through with a mere 77% on vocals, I wasn't in any state to criticize him, though I attributed my rotten score to a bout of uncontrollable laughter halfway through the second verse.  (I have the same problem with Paul and Storm's "Opening Band" - I just can't sing some things with a straight face... or voice.)  This song is the solo project of Mike Herrera (of MxPx), and, since he's a bassist, you won't fall asleep no matter what instrument you're on.  It's trickier than you expect (five dots on drums and devil heads on guitar!) and you'll be cheering when you hit the end.

Black Gold - "Plans & Reveries" - As the music started dying away, I said disconsolately, "Is that it?  That seemed awfully short - I'm not ready for it to be over."  And as if in response, singer Eric Ronick crooned, "I want more... give me more...." and the song launched back into full gear.  This exhilarating, highly polished pop-rock song has melancholy lyrics more appropriate to alternative or indie rock, but (being the rock fan I am) I'm hardly complaining.  That contrast is characteristic of Black Gold's music, actually - in interviews, they've talked about how the name, Black Gold, reflects a contrast between shimmering brightness and darkness, which they express both melodically and lyrically.  The difficulty won't kill you, but you shouldn't be sleepwalking through the song either.  If this review intrigues you at all, make plans to download the demo!


Markleford, roseofjericho,and FairwoodStudios, RBN Community

Scratching The Itch - "End Of This" - Dramatic synthrock heartbreak with absolutely beautiful vocals. Honorable mention goes to the bassline, which bomps away happily on scattered 16th note runs. As a bonus, play this one on stadium venue for a dazzling light show.

Family Force 5 - "Radiator" - There are some songs that just work in Rock Band and this is one of them. There is no other way to describe this song than fun. Whether you are singing, playing bass/guitar or drumming this song just rocks. Play it twice and I guarantee the chorus will be running through your head the rest of the day.

Your Horrible Smile - "Shot at the Title" - Meanwhile, way down on the other end of the spectrum, this song is 100% swagger. It's loud and it's dirty, and every part is dripping with attitude. Watch out for those vocals, though: they bend and careen to unlikely places, visiting practically every blue note it can reach over a wide range. For best results, play in a bar venue: if only the vocalist could pull triggers on the controller to start throwing punches!

Tumbledown - "Homeward Bound" - As far as I'm concerned, this song is evil. These kind of country shuffles always get me one way or another. So, maybe try guitar- except that's even tougher, thanks to some high-speed banjo work that's tricky to keep up with. I think it hates me. I guess this is what happens when you take Mike Herrera out of MxPx and throw them into a country group, you just can't take the punk out of him.


All Rock Band Network tracks are available on the Xbox 360 and can be purchased through the in-game Rock Band Music Store or online by clicking on the Xbox Marketplace link on each song page. Pricing varies. For more information about the Rock Band Network, please visit the official Rock Band Network page. To see a list of all songs available in the Rock Band Network Music Store, please visit the Rock Band Network song page.