Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (5/19/08)

A quick reminder, tomorrow will be the European additional tracks for the Rock Band downloads. While I'm normally one to skip on most foreign music (I like to understand the lyrics...except Rammstein always rocks in German or English...more so in German, though), but I'll give each song a listen (read: check the expert guitar charts on youtube) and decide what to get based on how these songs look to be. Afterall, Rock Band is a great chance to expand one's musical tastes.

It's just a little funny that Harmonix is slightly screwing over Europe again.  It seemed like these tracks were specially included to make up for the delay and price for Rock Band in Europe...and then North America still gets these tracks before Europe.

Speaking of expanding music tastes, I've been picking up my guitar (real guitar) again. It's the first time I've given into being musically inclined for a few years. It's also the first time since my favorite web site for guitar stuff has been down. I'm talking about If the link seems to give you almost nothing, there's a good reason.

I guess the RIAA was not happy enough just f#@$ing up music for the average American. Now (well, starting in 2006) they felt like messing up other things beyond MP3s. This time it's homemade guitar tabs (for the uninitiated to guitar, tabs are like sheet music...but easier to read). Yes, they are tabs for actual RIAA controlled and overseen songs, but not quite.

Tabs on OLGA are not for actual songs. Yes, they are tabs that when played sound like real songs. The difference is that these are primarily fan derived tabs. People will listen to a song, pick out the guitar sounds and then try to pick out what the chords and notes are based on sound. Sometimes these match up with real tabs, and sometimes they don't. You could find, for a popular song (Nirvana and Eagles especially), a good 15 listings for tabs for a single song and few of them agree. This is because most are not the actual tabs but sound like it when played.

The RIAA issue with this, at least according to their press releases and PR people, is that these free online tabs drop the amount of purchases for real guitar tab booklets. In reality, I don't know what to respond to this part with, but rather have a different response; a lot of real guitarists don't give a shit. Why? The money is not all that great anyways. Instead of selling about 25,000 copies of a tab booklet, the RIAA seems to imply that only about 5,000 are selling because of sites like It's a large loss (80%), but it's also not like the 80% loss on something truly profitable.

Luckily, a new site has been established that gives a good chunk of advertising profits to the RIAA in exchange for posting fan created tabs. The site in question could be MXTabs (which is an awesome site, indeed). The one problem with this site is that it also requires the permission of bands or song copyright holders to put the tabs online. Most bands are cool with this, but then again...some bands don't own their songs and complete nut cases own the real songs (hence, there's no Nirvana on this site).

Anyway, long story short, I just have to say that I'm happy with all of the smaller recording groups that have come along in recent years. While the big boys (Sony, Time Warner, etc.) are dicks about music, at least the smaller groups tend to be more open to getting music out there so new fans can find their ways to their bands.

Ok. I'm now just mainly rambling. Luckily The Ramones are found on that new site, so I'm good to get my easy, but ass kicking, punk action going.


Malik (5/21/08)

I checked out the expert guitar charts for all nine of the European single DLC tracks yesterday. For the first time in too long to remember, I bought all of the songs for a week and didn't regret a single one (sorry Boston...but Smokin' is a regret for me). I don't know if the average consumer would want to spend $18 on one week worth of DLC, but I know I have no regrets about it.

I've played each song at least twice and there is some good variety. Muse and Die Toten Hosen both bring some good heavy sounds. You have some softer but still moderate heavy with Blur (cover...sigh...) and Oasis. You even have some breaking things down nice and mellow style with Juli. There's even some weirdness with something I can't recall the name of the song or band (it's French)...just find the song that sounds like French Limp Bizkit for silly fun.

There's also a nice range in challenges. Muse and Die Toten Hosen both bring the trick playing into full effect with high tier (around 7) on guitar. Muse also gives something pretty unique with Hysteria; a song that is two tiers harder on bass than guitar (tier 9 bass!). There are some songs that I could gold star on my first try, some that took a couple tries, and a few that give me fours at best after a few tries. There are hammer-on phrases in some songs (Muse has a long HO phrase at the end that would let you free your strumming hand for a good minute or more) and some chord messes. In other words, there is variety.

I think Europe really lucked out with this set being included. Not only are the songs fun and diverse, they also will all fit in with the core Rock Band game experience. There is nothing in here to drive people insane with it's weakness (like how many see Dead on Arrival or the song from The New Pornographers). This is just solid rocking at some of it's best.

The only part that saddens me is that I don't see my Friday band (Doctor Philosophers) picking up too many due to that whole lack of English thing.

On a different note, it has been made official. Next week, like I have said for the last two and a half weeks, will be The Cars. The second whole album (one more song from Boston and they could have a full album as well) to come to Rock Band. While being forced down our throats a bit much with advertising lately (like the Circuit City ads), The Cars have a definite sound fit for Rock Band. This will be a whole album I know I'll be happy to spend some money on. I may even skip reading the charts ahead of time on Youtube for this DLC.

I'll even add one more prediction...but this one is more with blind guessing that making any educated assumptions. I see Doolittle from The Pixies coming out on the 24th of June. It's the last whole week of June and would space out the whole albums as much as possible. We'll see in the next four weeks if I am right...but I'm thinking it will be so. I'm also guessing we'll see either some metal (Metal Pack) or something hard and dirty in sound for the first week of June. That would be to throw off the sounds from The Cars.


Malik (5/22/08)

I've been focused primarily on real world guitar action and pet training lately. It really makes for a lack of anything interesting to post. The only interesting thing I can say is that I may be seeing if the big Memorial Day sale at Guitar Center has any deals this Monday on the Digitech Whammy pedal (the one that is used in such uses as making Jack White's guitar sound like a bass on Seven Nation Army, to name one example of its use). Beyond that, I have hit some Rock Band time, but that's been about the bulk of my geeking for the last few days.

On that note, Guitar Hero World Tour (AKA GH4) is getting some details. All I can say is it looks like Neversoft is doing what they do so well...copying the competition into a stale form of cash milking of franchises.

GHWT will include too many of the same things that Rock Band has done. Customized characters? Check. Drums? Check. Mic? Check. Going all master tracks? Check (and a hair better but more limited in scope that RB).

When it comes down to it, I think one big difference will still exist and this is what will keep me with Harmonix. I expect Neversoft to keep up with poorly designed charts with false notes. Due to this, I am expecting RB to be the Forza of the rhythm game world while GH continues to be more like Burnout.

That's not to say that Burnout/GH is a bad thing, but it's not a simulation rhythm game as much as an arcade rhythm game. So, if you want a game that wants you to have fun, then RB will probably be the way to go. If you want constant flows of DLC, then RB is the way to go. However, if you want DLC on the Wii, or a game that doesn't care one shit about your fun factor, then get GHWT.

Also, I don't see Harmonix being happy with being in direct competition. That's why I foresee a big expansion pack for RB around the fall. In it, I see some new venues for BWT, new character options, and maybe some new ways to manage DLC (both in the solo and BWT modes). This, of course, is just me talking out of my ass again, but I also was able to foresee The Cars being the last Tuesday of May (which it will be) several weeks ago. I just think I'm getting a good idea of how Harmonix thinks. They usually have a good plan of attack to remain the top dogs in their field.

As for the rest of what Neversoft is trying to say, it's looking like a great big "we can do that too!" type of thing. This is not reinventing the music rhythm game genre, and the idea of anything like building a song in a studio mode is going to be sad. The only thing they seem to be doing right is to imitate a company that has done so well at this game style. I also see either a massive licensing deal behind the scenes or that Harmonix will (via EA, since EA is minded to be this way) sue for infringing their copyrights.

Ok...they did get one other thing correct; having the Eagles and Sublime. Both bands are needed in a rhythm game...but I mean in a Harmonix rhythm game.

Anyway, for now I'll say one final thing. There is no post on Monday (vacation, bitches!). So, between now and my next post, The Cars will be on Rock Band. I'll see about posting my thoughts on Tuesday, if I have enough time to play them before posting.


For Those Who Don't Have Flash Plug-Ins...

Rested XP    News    Reviews    Videos    Features    Forums    Archives    Search This Site    Links    Contact Us    Disclaimer

Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page