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RBN Highlights: Goin’ Places, A Day to Remember, The Main Drag
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RBN Highlights: Goin’ Places, A Day to Remember, The Main Drag

The Rock Band Network is an invaluable source of new music but, perhaps because of the quantity of songs or the unfamiliar nature of the artists, it can be a little hard to find the type of music you want. As a tester and charter for the Rock Band Network, I get a lot of exposure to songs coming through the pipeline and there are definitely songs that deserve more recognition. This feature will help you discover new favorites, find a new challenge, and support the independent Rock Band scene. Each week I’ll highlight one new Xbox 360 song, one new PS3 song, and even a song released awhile back – all of them worthy of a listen!

Xbox 360: Goin’ Places – Relationship Sneakers

This was a strong week for RBN releases – from favorites such as Honest Bob to high profile bands like The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, there are many tracks worthy of your time and digital currency. The band Goin’ Places stands out, though, simply for its old-school punk tendencies, recalling early Green Day with Ramones influences.

Guitar features an awful lot of chords – lending it to guitar/vox combo – but it really doesn’t matter that there aren’t any solos or tricky parts. This song is pure fun and guitar doesn’t always need to be at the forefront of complicated patterns. Bass more than makes up for the chord-heavy guitar chart; the bass line bounces up and down the fretboard, again bringing to mind Dookie-era Mike Dirnt with both the sound and constant movement.

Drums feature a fast punk beat, with steady kickpedal and simple fills. It’s a bit of a stamina test – had the song been longer than three minutes then it could be pretty tiring. The last quarter of the song sees the pattern reduce down to a kick beat, giving your arms a bit of a rest.

Vocals are brilliant, especially the harmonies. Not only do you have the subject matter of the song – a pair of ‘lucky’ sneakers that will hopefully lead to getting laid – but the two vocalists are given a verse each to sing. The bridge is great – a simple bit of harmony similar to Twist and Shout ‘ahs’ which might take a few attempts but which will provide immediate results. If there was one song to make you realize you can sing harmonies, it’s this one.

This song is truly a blast to play and becomes even more fun as you add people in to the band. Better still, it’s only 80MSP which is a bargain even just for the harmonies!

Sounds like: Early Green Day
Perfect for: Harmonies, bass, full band

PS3: A Day to Remember – The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle

Another well-known band that’s been absolutely wonderful in their support of the Rock Band Network, A Day to Remember (ADTR) has multiple tracks spread throughout the Rock Band library. The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle features powerful, piercing guitar licks, blasting drums, resounding bass and a good blend of sung and screamed vocals.

Anyone looking for something that’s a faster tempo than usual, although not blisteringly difficult, should consider this song. The guitar is just about doable without alt-strumming although that would certainly help. There aren’t any tricky solos or impossible trills but the range of chords and transitions offer enough of a challenge. Bass follows the example of guitar – similar patterns albeit slightly simpler but with enough power to keep things fun.

Drums are a highlight; there’s plenty of quick snare hits and double-bass (albeit charted to single pedal) to ensure drummers get a chance to rock out. Watch out for broken sticks! If you’ve got the Pro Drum kit then the cymbals will get a bit of a workout but it all makes for a wonderfully loud track.

Vocalists will need to be able to go from confident high notes to full-on shouting while the harmonies manifest in gang vocal responses and multi-vocal choruses. Invite a few friends around and try to tackle this song but make sure the volume is up, the beer is flowing (drink responsibly!) and the neighbors out.

Sounds like: Check out the RB DLC The Downfall of Us All, or any of the other ADTR songs.
Perfect for: Drummers, vocalists

Throwback: The Main Drag – Car Windows

This week’s retro-pick is a little different than usual – not only is this song available for Rock Band, but it’s also part of the amazingly awesome Indie All-Stars Bundle featuring a staggering amount of music with some of the proceeds going to charity as well! Taken from the album Yours as Fast as Mine, Car Windows is my personal favourite track although it’s hard to narrow down that choice given the quality of the rest of the tracklist (especially What’s Your Favorite Dinosaur? that riffs on the Jurassic Park theme or the already familiar A Jagged Gorgeous Winter from Rock Band 2.)

Car Windows begins with an elegant guitar riff that seems simultaneously carefree and mournful. Again, it stands that acoustic guitar has a certain feel to it whenever it’s charted for Rock Band and this song is a perfect example of the intricacy that can be found away from electric guitars. The bass chart isn’t over-the-top but adds depth to the song. Drums tick along with a steady rhythm courtesy of Harmonix PR legend John Drake (who also charted the song for RBN) while the song is backed by a beautiful string quartet. It’s by no means the most complicated – or even raucous – of The Main Drag’s songs but its introspective tone is compelling and rather hard to find in Rock Band. The rest of the album is available for the RBN along with the follow-up LP You Are Underwater.

Definitely check out The Main Drag’s output on the RBN and don’t miss out on the incredible Indie All-Stars Bundle. Many of the other albums available in the bundle include Rock Band Network artists, some of which have been or will soon be featured as a recommendation. Click here to take a look!

8 Responses to “RBN Highlights: Goin’ Places, A Day to Remember, The Main Drag”

  • FairwoodStudios says:

    And a link for the Indie Allstars bundle mentioned… http://www.indie-allstars.com

    • FairwoodStudios says:

      And now I see the link was already there. Go go reading comprehension! >_<

  • HG says:

    If you play pro drums and you haven’t purchased the Main Drag stuff, don’t. The songs are awesome but until they release some RB3 versions with proper pro drum charts, I’m not dropping any more money on their songs.

  • Nick says:

    Hm, don’t see lefty flip in videos all that often. Thought that looked a little off at first.

    Don’t really care for the first two, but the Main Drag song was kinda cool. Might add it to my list, although HG’s post above makes me want to put it low on the list due to the lack of pro-drums apparently.

  • Numskull says:

    I am continually dismayed at how many of my fellow PS3 users have no Main Drag DLC. I’ve found they really grow on you with repeated listens, and at 99 cents each they’re pretty hard to resist, although I can certainly understand passing them by if pro drums is your primary position.

    My favorites are Talk Them Down, Love During Wartime, and especially Taking Apart a Gigantic Machine.

    • MattyT says:

      I agree. These tracks are inexpensive, and great for fans of Indie Rock. On drums, I think that “Dove Nets” is still one of my top 3 favorite tracks in all of the RB library.

  • dalton d says:

    i bought relationship sneakers and a band member thanked me from out of the blue over xbox live. it sounded like a batch voice message but still nice.

  • 291j291j says:

    “Car Windows” by The Main Drag has been easily the best purchase I have made from the RBN and probably one of my all time favorite slower songs too.