Handbooks & Holdups

Our album artwork is done and I think I speak for both of us in Wallfly Feedback by saying that we are incredibly excited to share it with you. It’s been way too long of a time coming to release this music. Huzzah!

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I am continuously astounded at the length some of us will go to in order to harm each other without reason. And it gives me pause to realize that this is not an isolated incident, or a single deranged killer. This is our collective history, and our inability to talk about the open wounds.

I stumbled on a speech by Dr. King which was given in 1963 after a bomb killed 4 African American girls in a church in Birmingham, AL. The parallels are too numerous, and the words certainly still ring true today.

Here is to the hope that we can all more carefully heed his words.

Martin Luther King Quote

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One of the great joys of being a musician is having the ability to recreate some of your favorite music. It allows you to wear someone else’s shoes for just a few moments, it allows you to tell someone else’s story. It allows for a certain type of freedom that is absent from performing a song that you have written. There is no pressure to prove your message. You can simply get lost in the familiar melody, and enjoy it.

Similarly, I think this is why hip hop artists create mix tapes. It allows the poet/rapper to get some ideas out without all the pressures of finding the right beats, and having the right producers. It is a quick and fun way to say what is on your mind and hone your craft.

So, we are trying out some cover songs as Wallfly Feedback. Some of these will be collaborations with other artists, some of them will have original lyrics added to them, all of them are just for fun, just to let off some steam.

And who better to cover than The Beatles? Below is the first one, Enjoy :)

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American Idol Canceled
What will I do with my free time now?!?
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Check out The Politix – they are a band to watch.

Found them on Soundcloud a little while back, and they just released this new single. It has a great combo of modern production elements and a natural rock feel. Groove. Then check out their website: http://www.thepolitixmusic.org/

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No Nukes!

Noooo Nuuukes
Image: PressTV

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be a part of the Peace and Planet festival, presenting thousands of petition signatures to the UN. A clear voice advocating for nuclear disarmament.

Frankly, before yesterday I was mostly in the dark about nukes in modern day. Didn’t this stuff end with the Cold War?

Nope – apparently not.

Did you know that the U.S. spends about $20 Billion on the storage, operation, and development of nuclear weapons each year? Crazy. Especially when 10% of schools in Philadelphia closed in 2013 because…

“These are some pretty tough economic times,”Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter

Anyway, we got some gifts of peace from Japan after playing our set. And were honored to present our small gift of music to such a cause as world peace.

Last week it was revealed that Tom Petty will be given a cowriting credit for the Sam Smith hit song “Stay With Me” along with Petty’s songwriting partner Jeff Lynne. Why? Because the chord progression for “Stay With Me” is similar to Petty’s 1989 “I Won’t Back Down.”

Tom Petty
Tom Petty by NRK-P3

So the question is, does he deserve it? Or is he just jealous that Sam Smith is up for multiple Grammy’s?

Listen to a mashup of the two songs here on YouTube.

Indeed, the songs are structurally similar for the refrain, but other elements of the song are different. The Tom Petty song is in the key of G and Sam Smith is in C, but they share the same chord progression of vi – IV – I. Basically, the Sam Smith song is pitch-shifted to have higher notes.

However, the intervals used in both songs are hardly groundbreaking from a songwriting standpoint. These are some of the most used chord progressions in the history of music.

In fact, a variation of the progression is so commonly used that it has been given its own name, the sensitive female chord progression (are you laughing? I am). A quick glance at Hook Theory will list the many many many songs that use these intervals. Check it out and you’ll see just how many there are.

The same site will reveal that, of songs that include the vi chord, 46% of them are immediately followed by the VI and then the I.

So what is all this co-writing credit nonsense?

One of my new favorite bands, Alt-J, is included in the list, too. Their song “Something Good” uses the exact same chord progression! Should Tom Petty get songwriting credit for that too?

No, no he should not. His song was inevitably the same as a another song before it.

Everybody copies, this is simply how art evolves. John Lennon used chords from Beethoven to write “Because” and Green Day used the chords from Pachelbel’s Canon to write “Basket Case.” The list goes on and on.

Even ask Tom Petty of 2006, when he was asked if he would sue the Red Hot Chili Peppers:

“a lot of rock & roll songs sound alike. Ask Chuck Berry. The Strokes took “American Girl” [for their song “Last Nite”], and I saw an interview with them where they actually admitted it. That made me laugh out loud. I was like, ‘OK, good for you.’ It doesn’t bother me.”