Rock Band DLC Tuesdays: SRV! SRV! SRV! SRV! (……. and No Doubt)
March 3, 2009, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Rock Band DLC Tuesdays

This week plastic guitar noodlers around the world rejoiced as Harmonix finally released the long awaited full album of “Texas Flood” the seminal blues album from guitar guard Stevie Ray Vaughn. It was delayed (HMX PROMISED it’d be released last year) but hey, better late than never. Admittedly, not REALLY a SRV fan, but I enjoyed Pride and Joy well enough so I picked that up along with Testify and the title track but before we go on a look into the gaping hole that is my vagina.

No Doubt – New

A strange omission from the Single full album release, New was probably the only song on Return Of Saturn I enjoyed. Here it’s got a nice disco drum beat that while not overly challenging WILL give your a workout. Guitar is definitely a work out, with a quick not progression that is repeated through the verses. More difficult than most No Doubt songs but guitar and bass may get board due to the repetitiveness. Drum fans this is another track for you to shin though.

Steve Ray Vaughn – Texas Flood

For the the SRV songs you’re getting your mileage mostly out of guitar. The rhythm songs, outside of a few examples, are practically non existent and the vocals (when they’re there, Texas Flood features THREE vocaless tracks) aren’t overly challenging once you get the pitch. Starting out it’s actually a pretty even challenge but once you hit the solo wow, you’re in for a killer but fun bit of guitar work.

Stevie Ray Vaughn – Pride and Joy

You may have played this to death on Guitar Hero III but there are a few compelling reasons to pick this up for RB2. One is the fact that we now have a master and while the GH3 cover is not terrible it’s always welcome to get the original track. Two, HOPO chords. Pride and Joy gets a lot of life breathed into it thanks to the HOPO chords and it truly feels like a new challenge that once again I did fairly poorly on my first crack. Still it’s a helluva of a song and guitar lovers should definitely pick it up.

Stevie Ray Vaughn – Testify

Failed it a minute in…

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Rock Band DLC Tuesdays: The Grab Bag
February 24, 2009, 10:21 pm
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White Zombie – More Human Than Human

Since I did TLAD mini review I forgot to put up my thoughts on the one DLC I got last week. More Human Than Human is pretty much as its rating states. Kind of a bore on guitar and vox well once you get the pitch you can mumble your way through it. However drummers rejoice, this is an amazing song for you, being tough but with variety instead of a pushing speed and crazy athletics. Check out the expert drum chart to see what I mean.

Jimmy Eat World – Sweetness

CHORD CITY. I kind of think Sweetness is a little underrated in its guitar rating granted I’m a guy who’s total shit at three note chords and alt strumming so take my opinion with a grain of salt. Drum is surprisingly good for a lower tier song and bass is decidedly boring. Vox has some interesting portions especially the “oohs” in the middle there but really shouldn’t be too difficult once you learn the song.

Jimmy Eat World – Futures

Another neat little song on drums, a lot of variety and enough challenging bits to keep it from being boring. Guitar is kind of like Sweetness on NyQuil, lots of chord progression but a little slower and has some nice single note sections to bring down the chart to sanity. Vox is also very similar to Sweetness, fun to sing when you get into it but not exceedingly difficult.

Jimmy Eat World – Lucky Denver Mint

Considering the weaknesses of my guitar play in Sweetness this chart is absolutely brutal for me. Expert players will find a lot to enjoy from this chart. It’s a fast chord progession based track with a lot of variety, especially in the chorus where you have a alot “index-pinky” shifting. Drums again is not hard but interesting and vocals shares an even easier fate than the last two songs. As with the previous songs, bass is dull.

Neko Case – People Got A Lot of Nerve

I’m always happy to see lesser known or “indie” acts I enjoy make it into rock band and was surprised to see Neko Case show off one of the tracks from her upcoming album on RB2. On guitar it’s a good song for beginners, offering some finger work without absolutely killing them. Drums is also surprisingly interesting with some decent bass pedal work. Can’t really judge on vocals, didn’t try, but I’d probably fall in love with any girl who even attempted this song on vox.



Rock Band DLC Tuesdays: THE RETURN
February 10, 2009, 10:59 pm
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So Rock Band DLC Tuesdays are back! NO I didn’t stop because the article is wildly unpopular because this blog is wildly unpopular! No it’s because about 3 weeks ago my Xbox finally went KAPUT. RROD’d my friends and I was none to happy. However I have to hand it to Microsoft, I got my system back in 2 weeks and it’s a brand new one with another warranty, so I’m covered for ANOTHER 3 years of RROD madness!

The bad: I had both Prince of Persia and Fable 2 on tap to complete prior to the releases of Lost and the Damned and Resident Evil 5. Ooops! I’m pushing Fable now as a “summer project” and am working my way through PoP collecting fucking light seeds all the time (seriously Ubisoft, WORSE IDEA EVER. NO I DON’T LIKE GOING THROUGH LEVELS AGAIN AFTER I’VE COMPLETED THEM.) I heard PoP is short AND I have a long weekend up coming up, so I’m trying to get through it as fast as I can.

Sorry there my friends, ok, lets get onto some DLC I missed over the last few weeks. Admittedly the Rock Band DLC was one of the good things about losing my Xbox 360 because well, nothing really big (for me) came out during that time. Admittedly I know a lot of people out there are championing both the Thin Lizzy and Steve Miller Band packs and good for you, these are two classic rock bands that are very talented. However I’ve never been a fan sadly. I might pick up Boys are Back In Town some day though.

Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way

I’m not really a huge Kravitz but this is just such an infectious song and I just had to download it. This song is farily pedestrian when it comes to the drums and rhythm section and vocals wise, yeah it’s Lenny mugging the mic. However this is one of the best guitar songs to get if you ask me. It’s not the MOST difficult but it gives you a bit of practice at thing you’ll see a lot of in harder songs. If you’re trying to master expert guitar definitely pick up this song and use it as a warm up.

Pat Benatar – Hit Me With Your Best Shot

I like this song because it’s a definite “crowd pleaser” in the vein of My Sharona and Tempted. Drums is shockingly tricky, with some good bass pedal work and a few unexpected. Guitar wise it’s a little bit of a snoozer, that is until you hit that hellacious solo. Seriously once the solo come’s it’s HOPO city for you! Vocals isn’t too bad and as usual if you have a good female vocalist in your crew it’s always great to hear them try and tackle this song.

The Fratellis – Flathead

Slight rant; why the Fratellis? There are so many good “indie” british bands yet to be tapped (hello, Arctic Monkeys? Franz Ferdinand?) seems weird to go for a bunch of guys whose highlight was an iPod ad. That said, we did see a LOCKSLEY pack after all. Now while I wish we got Chelsea Dagger Flathead is quite a good song that strangely works very well for Rock Band. Bass is suprisngly a good challenge for once in a song and Guitar avoids being just a series of chords with a few differences tossed in once in a while to keep you on your toes. The “ba da da da da da daaaaaa” section is also fun for group sing alongs. A highly recommended download, it’s tough without being too challenging and the song has great energy to it.



Rock Band DLC Wednesday: 70’s Rock Week
December 31, 2008, 2:31 pm
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Ok so I missed yesterday, got caught with a few things and I didn’t even get to download the songs till this morning. Look how I’m writing as if I have regular readers for this blog, HAH.

Deep Purple – Space Truckin

Space Truckin to me has an iconic rift to it, or at least it would be if that OTHER Deep Purple song didn’t exist (for those of your who aren’t hip on your classic rock, I’m talking about Smoke on the Water and trust me, YOU DO KNOW THIS SONG, take a listen here.) That said it suffers from the fact that while awesome sounding it is rather simplistic. Guitar wise Space Truckin’ only goes nuts during some key parts, namely it’s solo. The real stars are the rhythm section, with a fairly interesting and an absolutely excellent drum chart that is difficult without being hellacious like Blackened. Normally I post the guitar charts but the drum chart for Space Truckin’ is so good it has to be seen.

Jethro Tull – Hymn 43

Anyone who has played Rock Band with me know Aqualung is one of my fave songs to play and I was absolutely thrilled to find out it was going to be part of Rock Band 2. Hymn 43 can be in some ways be seen as Aqualung lite, with all of the challenges but few of the quirks that made Aqualung so good. It’s still a great pick up as it seem Jethro Tull songs make great “full band experiences.” The vocals are goofily challenging, Guitar gets a nice little boost in difficulty from Aqualung and the rhythm section is really fun on this song. All we need now is a USB Flute for the full Jethro Tull experience. Luckily I found a rare full band video for this song, enjoy!



Rock Band DLC Tuesdays: Foo Fighters
December 23, 2008, 10:15 pm
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This week Harmonix gives some festive cheer with the “Holiday Pack” which, even at its bargain basement price I won’t be touching. Holiday packs to me seem like such a waste (both Lips and Singstar have also recently released Holiday songs on their download services) because they’re cool around Christmas but then they pop up on your mystery set list in like June. WEIRD!

However Harmonix happily gave us a nifty Foo Fighters pack (3 songs a week is SO LAST YEAR.) Unfortunately this week I only had enough time to play these on guitar but vocals and drum rankings are looking pretty low so go nuts with that.

Times Like These

All the Foo Fighters songs this week aren’t necessarily exercises in insanity but provide a good challenge. Times Like These mixes things up just enough, with a nice three chord set at intervals cut up but some nice note progression. It’s a little tough on the hands (or maybe I haven’t played guitar a lot in a while) but it’s fun and challenging enough.

This Is A Call

I’ve always loved the Foo Fighters debut album, it’s raw but it’s powerful. To me the sheen of aiming for massive stadium rock hits has sort of taken away the Foo’s appeal to me. Anywho This Is A Call was never a single as far as I know but it has become as ubiquitous of a song as any from the Foo’s early days. I remember getting the Guitar Hero 3 version and it was absolutely punishing. The Rock Band version is WAY toned down but also more interesting. The GH3 version was full of lines of three not chords while the Rock Band version uses more two note chords set up in unique patterns. Overall my fave song and my fave chart this week, it’s an absolute blast.

DOA

I bombed out on DOA my first run through. I don’t know this song terribly well and admittedly I suck when it comes to tricky three note progressions. The chart is a little repetitive but it’s got a lot of nice little suprises like the G to B+O notes. Out of all the songs to me this is probably the most challenging and apt for the killer shredders out there.

Also quick note: due to the holidays we get early DLC annoucements this week. Definitely look forward for reviews of Deep Purple’s Space Truckin and Jethro Tull’s Hymn 43!



Rock Band DLC Tuesdays: Rock Band is a little bit Country…
December 16, 2008, 12:18 pm
Filed under: Rock Band DLC Tuesdays

It’s something a lot of people say all the time when asked what their favorite kind of music is: “I pretty much like everything, except Country.” It’s a dubious statement at best because by saying that you’re saying that you don’t like a lot of things, like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and various other classic artist nor are you willing to admit Country music is a pillar of a lot of modern day music.

Now yes, I don’t like MOST Country music and this week’s Country pack I won’t be downloading any of it. But the uproar from the from the Rock Band community seems a little silly to me. Suffice it to say comments such as this have been common among the Rock Band faithful. To me however what Harmonix is doing makes sense to me on a lot of levels.

For one whether you like it or not Country is the best selling genre of music in North America and that market is Harmonix’s biggest market. From the all mighty dollar standpoint it makes sense to at least test the waters and see how well a Country pack does sales wise. On top of that by releasing a Country pack you might get people who are on the fence about getting the game tip them over to purchasing the game.

The constant argument I hear is “why are we getting Country when there’s so much Rock Music greats that haven’t been touched yet.” This is an ultimately flawed train of though for numerous reasons. For one you don’t angry at a store for releasing music you don’t enjoy, so why does Harmonix not get this sort of forgiveness? Two at the rate Harmonix is releasing music (and it’s at a quicker clip than most) even if it was able to get the rights and have great rock bands allow them to release songs it would take YEARS. Rock music is so huge, so vast, why should other genres wait for it to be “done” when it can technically never be done? Also the point here is subjective, with some posters on the Rock Band forums touting Nickelback as a “great rock band”, which I would quickly disagree with. But that’s the point, Harmonix can never make you happy completely, so it tries its best to give something for everybody. You may hate the Country pack but what do you think Country fans, Indie rock fans, Pop rock fans were feeling when that Roadrunner pack was released a few months ago?

Also to me the Country pack must have been a treat for some at Harmonix. The team seems to have a diverse taste in music (I mean for gods sake we got a MISSION TO BURMA pack) and after all the metal and punk they do it must be nice to chart some Country which on a technical standpoint is really complex. If you don’t agree check out this absolutely sick note chart from the Dixie Chick song “Sin Wagon”

If you’re the kind of guy who likes a challenge (uh… i kind of suck so not me) I don’t see how you can ignore this song.

To me this is a good thing, Harmonix has proven time and time again from their DLC choices that EVERYTHING has a chance, from indie punk Mission to Burma to Swedish metal Yngwie Johan Malmsteen to yes Country music. It fills me with a lot of hope really that some obscure stuff that I’m longing for like Television and Gang of Four have a chance at making the game and that I won’t be cursed to playing only Classic rock hits and metal-flavor of the month bands in my rhythm games.



Rock Band DLC Tuesdays: Getting more No Doubt than I care to admit
December 10, 2008, 10:50 am
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I love video games.  I love music, specifically, rock music. Obviously these two intersect at a converging point that is Rock Band (and I guess of Guitar Hero as well, but I’m not a fan of THAT series, we’ll save the partisan fanboyism for another article.) Which is why I look forward to Tuesdays, where Harmonix unleashes new DLC onto the XBL network for me to consume.

I admit, I have a disgustingly large library of over a hundred songs including stuff I’ve played maybe once or twice. I’m such a rabid collector of this music and I like having people over and saying “oh wow THAT’S in the game.” So Tuesdays on Cotinuous Fire will be Rock Band DLC Tuesdays discussing what I’ve most recently downloaded with my hard earned Microsoft points on.

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