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  • RB: DLC 06/08/10 – Deftones, Crown of Thorns, Boys Like Girls

    Posted on June 4th, 2010 Simon 1 comment

    Deftones make their long awaited debut in Rock Band on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, with a three-track pack of hits from their 2003 Self-Titled album and  2006’s “Saturday Night Wrist”.  Joining Deftones are Rock Band newbies Crown of Thorns and Boys Like Girls with a song each.  With three brand-new artists coming to Rock Band, Harmonix is not slowing down one bit with Green Day and E3 just around the corner.

    Available June 8, 2010

    • Deftones – “Cherry Waves”
    • Deftones – “Hole in the Earth”
    • Deftones – “Minerva”
    • Boys Like Girls – “The Great Escape”
    • Crown of Thorns – “Rock Ready”

    Deftones are a bit late to the party, but it’s still great to see them, especially when you consider the bands and music we’ve been given in the last six weeks alone.  Still, it’s very curious to me that a major new act is introduced to the game with a multi-song pack, that doesn’t include music from their new record.  I speculate that this could be an indication that more material was held back, either for Rock Band 3 or another track pack down the road.  Their singles “Rocket Skates” and “Diamond Eyes” (from the 2010’s “Diamond Eyes” album) are two recent Billboard-charting songs, I expected to see at least one of them in this pack, in fact those two songs plus “Minerva” would have been an instant-buy for me.  I was never a huge fan of “Saturday Night Wrist”, I’m definitely more interested in playing their earlier music in the game.

    “People are gettin their freak on, all night long!”  (Actual lyric from “Rock Ready”)  L.A.’s eclectic metal band Crown of Thorns make their debut with their first single “Rock Ready” from their upcoming album “Faith”.  The video for “Rock Ready” certainly feels and sounds like a tribute to 80’s lipstick & hairspray metal.  I think this band is in good company with the likes of Spinal Tap, Thunderdikk, Electric Six and perhaps even Bang Camaro.  This is the first band I’ve mentioned on the MyGGGO blog that doesn’t have their own Wikipedia page, which makes me wonder if this obscure, gimmicky band isn’t better suited for a release on RBN instead of the main DLC channel (no disrespect to RBN).

    Boys Like Girls also make their debut in the game, who sound very similar to Fallout Boy, Good Charlotte or Simple Plan; BLG is carrying the pop-punk mantle from acts like Blink 182.   In other words, nothing to scream about.   “The Great Escape” is as forgettable as any of the tracks from those bands.

    Next Week’s Predictions:  New music from old-School rockers Steve Miller, Tom Petty and the always-evil Ozzy Osbourne makes his RB debut.

  • RB: DLC 06/01/10 – Spoon’s Rock Band Debut (plus P.O.D.)

    Posted on May 28th, 2010 Simon 2 comments

    This Tuesday will mark the Rock Band debut of one of my favourite indie bands, Spoon!  Harmonix is bringing four tracks from this excellent band to the game, plus a track from Christian metal band P.O.D..

    Available on June 1, 2010

    • Spoon – I Turn My Camera On
    • Spoon – Don’t You Evah
    • Spoon – Got Nuffin
    • Spoon – Trouble Comes Running
    • P.O.D. – Alive

    Spoon has been a very popular band in the indie music scene since their first album, 1996’s Telefono, and the band acheived moderate success in the mainstream with the release of 2005’s Gimme Fiction.  Many of the songs from Gimme Fiction and their previous Kill the Moonlight were re-written as instrumental versions for the soundtrack to the excellent Stranger than Fiction starring Will Farrell.  Their sound has been connected to many other mediums; Spoon’s music has been featured on countless TV shows (like Chuck, Smallville, Scrubs, and How I Met Your Mother to name a few), several blockbuster movies (among them are Cloverfield, 17 again, and I Love You, Man) and a handfull of videogame soundtracks (like Matt Hoffman’s BMX and Madden 2009).   I’ve had selections from their various albums on my mp3 player for years, they are definitely one of my favourite bands of the new millennium.

    “I Turn My Camera On” has falsetto-style vocals for much of the song, and I believe it’s very reminicent of the band Scissor Sisters.  It’s instantly catchy, simple, melodic and fun to listen to.  Quite a few of Spoon’s songs feature keyboards as a lead instrument–which begs the question, can we expect more from Spoon in Rock Band 3?  I think this is highly likely given the recent rumors of a new keyboard perhiperal.  2002’s “The Way We Get By” would be an excellent song to transcribe to Rock Band 3’s keyboards.

    P.O.D.’s “Alive” was nominated for a grammy, and was definietly the band’s most popular song.  I’ll admit that I was not certain that I’d heard the band before, but a quick listen of the song showed me that I had; it’s uplifting certainly, but it is fairly forgettable.   It’s notable mostly for the vocals, and the sound reminds me of the bands Incubus or early Papa Roach.

    Next Week’s Predictions:  followup tracks from RB alumni Hot Hot Heat, Against Me! and Iggy Pop.

  • RB: DLC – 5/20/10 Pantera’s “Great Southern Trendkill”

    Posted on May 21st, 2010 Simon 1 comment

    Available on Tuesday, May 20th, Harmonix today announced that the long awaited Pantera DLC will appear in the music store, and it is none other than ten tracks from “The Great Southern Trendkill”  from 1996.  The DLC will cost 1280 MSP for the entire offering, and 160 MSP a-la-carte.  Harmonix has released yet another full album of music that is sure to be a top seller.

    • “The Great Southern Trendkill”
    • “War Nerve”
    • “Drag the Waters”
    • “10’s”
    • “13 Steps to Nowhere”
    • “Suicide Note Pt. II”
    • “Living Through Me (Hells’ Wrath)”
    • “Floods”
    • “The Underground in America”
    • “(Reprise) Sandblasted Skin”

    It’s really happening.  Drag the Waters!  War Nerve!  Flood!  That solo from Flood!  Those vocals from Flood!  Rock Band DLC is going to be on fire next week.  The fans have been waiting for over two years for this day to come, including us at MyGGGo.

    Pantera is the modern American standard for Heavy Metal.  Formed in Texas in 1981 by original members Rex Brown, Diamond “Dimebag” Darrell and Vinnie Paul, they originally focused on the popular “Glam” scene of the day.  It was only after vocalist Phil Anselmo joined in 1987 and the band changed their sound to metal that the band gained any notoriety, particularly with 1990’s “Cowboys from Hell”.    The band followed up with chart-breaking album after album, not the least of which were ’92’s “Vulgar Display of Power” and ’94’s “Far Beyond Driven”.  By 1995 the group’s morale had hit an all time low – in fact Anselmo recorded all the vocals to “The Great Southern Trendkill” in a completely separate studio.   Although Pantera released nine studio albums, had several platinum albums (an achievement for any group, let alone a metal band) and countless world tours, the disharmony in the band caused the group to break up forever in 2002.  Tragedy struck again in 2004 when Dimebag Darrell was killed on stage while performing with his new band, Damageplan, which destroyed any hope of a Pantera reunion.  The band has since released a greatest hits album of sorts, in March of this year.

    “Trendkill” is one of their masterpieces, and the only Pantera album I perfer to listen to in its entirety.  One track is notably missing, “Suicide Note Pt. I”, and I can only assume this is because of the diverse nature of the song which features 12-string acoustics, keyboards, and no electric guitar, or perhaps the fact that the band preferred to play this song over the P.A. in concert rather than try to play it live.  Instead we are given the bonus track, “(Reprise) Sandblasted Skin”.

    Next Week’s Predictions:  It’s going to be 1992 all over again with music from Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, and Stone Temple Pilots, all of which have new albums on May 25th.

  • RB: DLC – Mid-May DLC Roundup

    Posted on May 20th, 2010 Simon No comments

    On Tuesday May 11th, Harmonix released another full album as DLC entitled “British Steel”.  Some musicians have described Judas Priest’s legendary sixth album, 1980’s “British Steel”, as “the first album to define Heavy Metal because it does away with the last shards of ‘blues’ that were otherwise characteristic of the genre”.  The album contains the following tracks:

    • Judas Priest – “Breaking the Law” (Live)
    • Judas Priest – “Rapid Fire” (Live)
    • Judas Priest – “Metal Gods” (Live)
    • Judas Priest – “Grinder” (Live)
    • Judas Priest – “United” (Live)
    • Judas Priest – “Living After Midnight” (Live)
    • Judas Priest – “You Don’t Have to Be Old to Be Wise” (Live)
    • Judas Priest – “The Rage” (Live)
    • Judas Priest – “Steeler”  (Live)

    I have to admit I was impressed that Harmonix would choose such an iconic and well-respected album to include in their DLC catalogue, that is, until I later learned that the tracks are not in fact the original master recordings.  No, these tracks are an entire live performance by Judas Priest, recorded in late 2009 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the album.  “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight” are great metal songs to add to your collection, but I personally have drawn the line on live recordings in my Rock Band DLC.

    Some have argued the merits of live tracks, but you can put me squarely in the ‘No Thanks’ group who are not very keen on emulating anyone’s  live performance.   I think my dislike for live tunes really started with the introduction of the AC/DC track disc – I played through all of the tracks when I first got the songs, but now I’m only keeping them around just to have them on the list.  I would never choose to play one, only tolerating them when they appear in my ‘mystery setlists’ occasionally.   I would just much rather play the studio version of the songs, the versions I grew up listening to.   Also, with all honestly, I’d rather not have the song at all than purchase a live version, which is why I am going to pass on this collection.  It’s just not for me.   This post has reminded me of a classic Jim Breuer standup routine where he impersonates both Rob Halford and Brian Johnston (Priest and ACDC respectively).

    The following Tuesday, Harmonix delivered a more typical week for Rock Band DLC.  The 18th marked the return of The Grateful Dead and even more songs from their massive catalogue of music, and songs from another hipster band, The Smithereens.

    Grateful Dead – “Beat It on Down the Line”
    Grateful Dead – “Cumberland Blues”
    Grateful Dead – “Scarlet Begonias”
    Grateful Dead – “Throwing Stones”
    Grateful Dead – “Touch of Grey”
    Grateful Dead – “U.S. Blues”
    The Smithereens – “A Girl Like You”
    The Smithereens – “Only a Memory”

    These songs are all classics in their own kind.  “Touch of Grey” is long overdue, probably their most recognizable song (“I will get by, I will survive”) and will make a worthy addtion to the DLC library.  I’m not too familiar with the Smithereens sound, but it doesn’t sound like they will be too hard to play.  “Only a Memory” was the band’s only #1 hit, and “A Girl Like You” was very popular followup hit in the late 80’s.   I always enjoy seeing new artists, and while the flood of freshmen acts on the platform is starting to dry up, Harmonix seems to consistently come up with compelling DLC.

    Next Week’s Predictions (i.e. Tomorrow’s Announcement):  I think we can all bet on Soundgarden.

  • RB: DLC – 05/04/10 No Doubt, Picture Me Broken & Orianthi

    Posted on April 30th, 2010 Simon No comments

    Just a quick update this time to inform you of next week’s Rock Band DLC.   This time we get *most* of a full album, No Doubt’s mega-selling “Tragic Kingdom”, the album that put them on the map, and a single each from new artists Picture Me Broken and Orianthi.

    Available on May 4th, 2010

    • No Doubt – “Different People”
    • No Doubt – “End It on This”
    • No Doubt – “Happy Now?”
    • No Doubt – “Hey You”
    • No Doubt – “Sixteen”
    • No Doubt – “The Climb”
    • No Doubt – “Tragic Kingdom”
    • No Doubt – “World Go ‘Round”
    • No Doubt – “You Can Do It”
    • Orianthi – “According to You”
    • Picture Me Broken – “Dearest (I’m So Sorry)”

    This week’s DLC is a mixed blessing for me.  This is actually No Doubt’s 2nd full album in the Rock Band Store, as you may recall their “Singles Collection” was released last year.  All of the popular singles from this album have already appeared in the previous collection, so what you are left with is the rest of the album, the filler, the songs that were not as popular.  Even if you are a casual No Doubt fan, its very likely that you already purchased some or all of this album.  Harmonix is making the tracks available in a number of ways to accomodate this fact.  It is awesome to see more music from well-established acts in Rock Band, because it is both unexpected and unpredictable that we would see more tracks from No Doubt.  At the same time, this is a bit disappointing because I have no interest in any of the additional tracks that are offered, and was not that impressed with the singles collection in the first place.  Even though I actually owned this CD when it was popular, none of the tracks stand out as “must haves” for Rock Band.   Still, overall, this is a good thing as it brings hope that there will be more music down the road from all of your favourite artists (moar Rush please).

    As for the other two acts, you can read more about Orianthi here and Picture Me Broken here.  I’ve given the tracks a listen on Grooveshark, and they are nothing to scream about, very average as far as Rock Band tunes go.

    Next Week’s Predictions:  More music from Dead Weather, UNKLE and Stereophonics (all of whom have new albums out on May 10).

  • RB: DLC – 04/27/10 Flyleaf, Busted and Silverchair

    Posted on April 23rd, 2010 Simon 2 comments

    Harmonix has announced next week’s DLC tracks on schedule.  One of Australia’s biggest rock acts in the last two decades, Silverchair, is coming to Rock Band on Tuesday, as well as a follow up track from Flyleaf and the debut of brit-poppers Busted.

    • Busted – “Thunderbirds Are Go!”
    • Flyleaf – “Again”
    • Silverchair – “Tomorrow”

    “Tomorrow” was Silverchairs debut hit in the early 90’s, rocketing them to fame in the 1992 post-Seattle grunge era.  They continued for many years to be one of the top acts in Australia and are currently recording a new album.   Silverchair has not received much attention outside of Australia since the 90’s, but perhaps we will see more of their music in the game one day.  Flyleaf was one of the original bands from the Rock Band 1 disc, with their song “I’m So Sick”, and if you enjoyed that song then “Again” should likewise please your ears.

    I’m a bit surprised with the third track next week.   Busted (now defunct) was a fairly boilerplate Brit-pop band that had incredible success with their first album, but quickly faded to insignificance within two years.  At their peak, they recieved the top music industry accolades (album of the year in 2003) but could not recapture their success with their second album.  “Thunderbirds are Go!” was not released on any of their major British or even their North American records, in fact this song was one of four bonus tracks with the Japanese release of their second album, for their short-lived tour of that country.  So rather than getting one of their handful of songs that people actually liked, we instead are given this B-side to their forgotten japanese import.   This is aside from the fact that the song is the theme to a show about marionettes in space.  Sorry Harmonix, but this track is just way too obscure to be believed.  I just cannot picture this track being popular in Rock Band.

    This might seem like a very short release list, indeed it is a rare occasion that a Tuesday only has three tracks to add to the Rock Band catalogue.  Harmonix has ackowledged this in their press release and have informed the public that they’ve ‘got loads of content in the pipeline’.   Remember there is a major title release (Green Day) in just over a month, development is presumably ongoing for Rock Band 3, and the stream of tracks appearing on the Rock Band Network seems to have hit its stride, with 5-15 new songs per week.

    Enjoy the new songs.  Next Week’s Predictions:  The Deftones, RATT and Hole.  Courtney’s not currently pissed off with Harmonix right?

  • RB: DLC – 04/20/10 Violent Femmes, Coheed & Cambria, Souxie and Supergrass

    Posted on April 20th, 2010 Simon No comments

    Hippy New Year everyone!  I’ve missed a few weeks worth of updates, and rather than recap what’s been missed I’ll simply point to these posts here over at our good friend RockBandAide.  Have you been reading his excellent PAX-E coverage, or his daily RBN updates?

    New DLC Tracks available on 4/20/2010

    • Violent Femmes – “American Music”
    • Coheed and Cambria – “Guns of Summer”
    • Coheed and Cambria – “Here We Are Juggernaut”
    • Coheed and Cambria – “The Broken”
    • Siouxsie & The Banshees – “Peek-a-Boo”
    • Supergrass – “Sun Hits the Sky”

    Do you like American Music?  The Violent Femmes were one of the most popular alternative rock bands of the 80’s and 90’s, being discovered ‘busking‘ by Crissy Hynde and subsequently being invited to open for The Pretenders (coincidentally, another Rock Band DLC alumni).  They released 8 studio albums, several live performances, and 4 compilation albums during their existence, acheiving platinum status on many records.   Their music is an eclectic blend of folk-rock and punk-rock, and songs like “Blister in the Sun” and “Add it Up” from their debut album made them instant stars in the mainstream.   Violent Femmes have also created music in other genres, notably country and gospel music on their second and third albums respectively. Unfortunately as it happens with a lot of bands, years of internal turmoil over creative rights, song ownership and money caused the band to break up a handfull of times from the late 90’s until finally announcing the band’s breakup in late 2009.

    This week we are treated to the first (of many we hope) Femmes tracks, the catchy “American Music” from 1991’s “Why Do Birds Sing?“.   The song has a handful of drug references (appropriate for the date) so this probably won’t be a Lego-friendly track.   I think it’s probably assured that we have not seen the last of this artist in Rock Band.

    Also this week, another triple pack from Coheed & Cambria from their new album, a Souxie track, and the first Supergrass DLC (but still no “Alright”).   These tracks are available today in the Rock Band store.  Enjoy the music, and I’ll be back next week with more DLC news.

  • RB: DLC – 03/02/10 Disturbed, Mother Hips, TRUST*CO & Silversun Pickups

    Posted on February 26th, 2010 Simon No comments

    Next week’s DLC has been announced, and this week it features a return of some old favourites in Rock Band and one new artist.  Harmonix is releasing a second three-pack of Nu Metal from Disturbed, as well as double singles from DLC alumni Mother Hips and Silversun Pickups.  Making their RB debut is a band called TRUSTcompany.

    • Disturbed – Meaning of Life
    • Disturbed – Voices
    • Disturbed – The Game
    • The Mother Hips – “Third Floor Story”
    • The Mother Hips – “White Falcon Fuzz”
    • Silversun Pickups – “Panic Switch”
    • Silversun Pickups – “Sort Of”
    • TRUSTcompany – “Downfall”

    Disturbed has been featured twice before in the weekly DLC, with a three song pack in June 2008 and two more followup singles in May 2009, and also featured a song on the Rock Band 2 disc.  Their music has a very complex and pulsing sound that translates very well to the note highways of Rock Band; the band’s songs are among some of the more interesting and fun pieces to play as the riffs are very addictive once you get the pattern down.   Indie rockers The Mother Hips were one of the so-called ‘Bonus’ tracks from the first Rock Band disc with their song “Time We Had” and also had a DLC track in May of 2008.  Silversun Pickups make their second appearance in DLC with two tracks from their latest CD, 2009’s “Swoon”, and are currently on tour with the wildly popular Muse.

    March 2nd will also feature the debut of TRUST Company, whose sound is described as “Alternative Post-Grunge”.  Their track “Downfall” was their highest charting single to date and the song has appeared in over 10 different videogame soundtracks including “BMX XXX”, the “MVP Baseball” franchise, “Burnout” and “Project Gotham Racing 2” as well as being the promotional theme song to many WWE Pay-Per-View events.  Recently the band has experienced hard times and have parted ways with some of the founding members of the group, so the outlook for more DLC from TRUST*CO is not terribly promising.

    Next Week’s Prediction:  Classic rock from Scorpions and Flock of Seagulls, as both bands have “Best of” compliations out shortly.  My advice:  Run so far away!

  • RB: DLC February 2010 Roundup

    Posted on February 25th, 2010 Simon 1 comment

    So far in February we have been treated to three consecutive weeks of brand new music and artists in our weekly Rock Band DLC, and the selection spans not only the last few decades of Rock music, but also spans several genres of music, from Motown R&B to Electronica.   New music is always welcome, not only to attract new fans to the game, but to keep existing fans interested by allowing us to expand our setlists and ‘repitoire of replica-rock’.  Here’s a rundown of what has been added this month:

    Otis Redding – “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”
    Otis Redding – “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)”
    Otis Redding – “I’m Sick Y’all”
    Otis Redding – “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember”
    Otis Redding – “Love Man”
    All Time Low – “Weightless”
    Alphabeat –“Fascination”
    Brian Setzer Orchestra – “Stray Cat Strut”
    The Chemical Brothers – “Let Forever Be”
    HIM – “Heartkiller”
    HIM – “Ode to Solitude”
    HIM – “Wings of a Butterfly”
    KSM – “Distracted”
    Marilyn Manson – “The Dope Show”
    One Night Only – “Just For Tonight”
    The Police – “Walking On the Moon”

    There have been some standout singles, and of course the can’t-miss pack from Otis Redding which is one of the first track packs especially for Rock Singers – basically the other instruments are not the focal point of the music and complement the vocalist.  H.I.M. is a finnish metal band, and they describe their music as “Love Metal” however I find that their sound is akin to the later works of Black Sabbath.  “Stray Cat Strut” is a classic from 80’s pop music.   The Chemical Brothers make their debut with their trademark, digital electronic sound.  Marilyn Manson is no stranger to heavy metal fans, and finally The Police’s “Walking on the Moon” contains their world famous mix of rock and reggae riffs (one of their all-time best songs, check out Cas Haley’s rendition from America’s Got Talent Season 2).  Once again Harmonix have treated fans to a wide assortment of music, and this is exactly what they need to keep doing to attract as large an audience as possible.

    Next Week’s Predictions:  I was right about H.I.M. but wrong about the date.  I’m getting closer.  March 2 will be new music from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and a follow up pack from Gorillaz.

  • RB: DLC 02/07/10 – The Who’s 2010 Superbowl S-Mashup

    Posted on February 8th, 2010 Simon 3 comments

    This year’s NFL Superbowl halftime show was a rock’n’roll medley by legendary rock icons “The Who” called the Superbowl S-Mashup.  The medley features five of their greatest all time hits arranged together to form a seamless song.  The majority of these songs are already available as master tracks or DLC in the game, which should be no surprise, as The Who are one of the game’s main acts with 19 tracks available to play.  The songs in the S-Mashup are, in order:

    • Pinball Wizard (Rock Band 2)
    • Baba O’Riley (DLC)
    • Who Are You ? (DLC)
    • See Me, Feel Me  (New)
    • Won’t Get Fooled Again  (Rock Band 1)

    The song is rated as a 5 star difficulty (bass and drums and vocals).  Here is a preview of the medley in two parts.  The song is a mere 160 points, but if you’re like me, you already own the master tracks and would rather play those all the way through.

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