Meteor Show

  • Submitted on time! Jan 31, 2024
Meteor Shower at the Motel

oh gosh wow hi it’s been almost ten years since i’ve done one of these things. dang!

i was thinking about why the hell someone might be inside for a meteor shower. then i thought back to some surgery i recently had which left me bedridden for a couple of days – that’s a pretty good reason to be inside.

said surgery left me in a total depressive creative rut. this is the first time i’ve picked up an instrument since. so naturally this song is about that – feeling stuck in bed while there are more interesting and beautiful things happening in the world around you.

if you care to get technical, this is by far the most structurally complex song i’ve ever written. first time using 9 chords, diminished chords, and minor major 7ths. but hopefully it doesn’t feel like a complex song for the sake of being a complex song.

here are the chords if you wanna play along at home!


Am9 Am Fmaj7 Dm | Cmaj7 C6 Dm9 Dm

Am9 Am Fmaj7 Dm | Cmaj C6 Ddim FmMaj7



Dm9 Dm Bdim Am | Dm9 Dm Bdim Am

Fmaj7 Dm Em7 Am | F Am Ddim FmMaj7



Dm FmMaj7 Cmaj7

Looking for feedback on

mainly recording, vocals, and mixing - but throw whatever you've got at me.


EliasSZ February 14, 2024 11:54am

This is a really cool tune. I don’t have a ton to say that people haven’t already – the early Modest Mouse reference definitely resonates. I’m no master at mixing (or mastering, for that matter), but to my ears I think at points the arrangement feels a little cluttered in a way that makes me think some tweaks to the mix would be the solution.

danhunt February 10, 2024 6:28pm

This is such a cool sound you’ve created here. Totally agree with the artist comparisons already made by others.

My one area of constructive feedback is around vocal performance. Sometimes it felt like the articulation and timings could be approached more confidently. I noticed that the most confident your vocal performance sounds is around when you deliver the line “I rub my eyes, see the tiny little spots, like-ahh”. I’d encourage you to embrace and play around with your persona so your full vocal performance can feel more at home in the groove of the song. Feel free to bring the energy and (dare-I-say?) swagger in varied ways throughout the piece, you’ll have so much fun and will sound even more awesome! Excellent song!

Z February 9, 2024 7:12pm

I love the ‘rubbing your eyes and seeing the tiny spots’ like a meteor show, and the approach of asking the question “why would someone be inside for a meteor shower?” It’s a really cool take on a prompt that could have been an excuse to just write something ‘pretty.’

well done!

Ben February 6, 2024 4:12pm

Come for the plucky tones, stay for the plunky tone’s polyrhythms. I almost wish those intro polyrhythms could play a bigger role in the song throughout.

The major (major 7th?) chord at 3:40 hits so nicely.

I love the David bowie, David Byrne, Tom Waits, Nick Cave. It’s got this 80s New Wave dark talky growly vocals.

Great vibe.

I also really like the high harmony around 3:25ish. 

Yeah, as @@nick already alluded to: it’s really just the rhythms that take me out of the incredibly authentic and cool vibe that the rest of your parts are creating.

Yes, software drums are rhythmically perfect, but that perfection drives me crazy when I’m making music for a few reasons: 1. I have to be as perfectly tight. 2. using a long track of software drums sometimes keeps the song feeling flat as a whole and makes it harder for me to let it evolve rhythmically, dynamically, and structurally. And then also, 3. The software-tight drums make it hard to let my playing breath where it needs to breath.

I’ve seen Nick work his magic with the rightward nudge, and I often do this myself now. That could work, or you could try getting even more granular: Remove certain drums at certain moments to remove elements that dont line up with your other instruments’ live playing. Let drums rest at times. I think you can also adjust the swing of a drum track with most DAWs. Maybe it instantly lines up better that way, or maybe you find that if you just re-record to a drumbeat with a different level of swing, you’ll notice things sitting way better.

The other thing would just be to experiment with changing the beat, adding drums, removing drums, etc to make the sections of the song stand out from each other more.

Nice work here, very cool song.

Also please tell me how you got a gif pic to work. I tried and failed.

Ben February 6, 2024 6:36pm

Thanks for the kind words! If you know anyone in Seattle with a drum kit and expendable free time, let me know—because live is always better, innit?

I’ll definitely experiment with this advice—hopefully for a future NCBC track.

As for the GIF, well, I made a GIF and uploaded it and it worked. So beyond that, 🤷🏻‍♂️

Ryan February 6, 2024 1:14pm

This is raaaaaad. Awesome attitude and blend of throwback Modest Mouse/Byrne meets something newer and appropriately eerier. Agreed with @@nick that the groove could improve—nothing wrong with the drum loops in my opinion, but sitting back with all the live instruments would help develop pocket. Maybe some saturation and filtering on the loops, too. To help them sound less like they’re trying to be natural. Good stuff!

Ben February 6, 2024 6:38pm

Thanks so much! I think for this song, I’d rather lean into the drums being live (maybe hire a session drummer on Fiverr? I’ve done it, it works!) rather than lean into the intentional electronic drums. But I think what you’re saying is that you have to choose a lane—pre-programmed drums that almost sound live are almost uncanny valley, and you might as well go electronic bleeps.

alechutson February 6, 2024 12:24pm

LOVE the quality and expression of your voice here. Tom Waits meets David Byrne and Modest Mouse.

Would really like to hear this with live drums, a bit less of the synth and more bass in the mix. Great job on this one!

Ben February 6, 2024 6:39pm

I never thought I’d get a compliment on my vocals—like, ever. Thank you so much for the kind words. Maybe I’ve finally landed on a style that works for my limited range. And yeah, I definitely need to mix this one a little more—it totally needs more bass, I agree.

nick February 5, 2024 11:05am

yeah dude, stoked to have you back. im pretty happy with the chords and the instrumental arrangements. creepy, definitely stuck in a room feeling, and i think you’ve got something unchained going on vocally akin to some david byrne which is quite cool. for me, the adjustment I’d like to see is making sure the live instruments line up more rhythmically with the drum loops. once all of those pieces fit tightly together, it will leave more space for your voice to standout with that expressively urgent style.

also, how about that gif profile pic???? jealous

Ben February 5, 2024 12:16pm

Thanks, Nick! David Byrne is definitely up there for vocal inspiration—I don’t think of myself as “good singer,” so I feel like I need to lean into the stylistic stuff if I’m going to lay down vox.

drum loops – aw, how did you know? Yeah, it’s definitely the default garage band drummer going on here. Do you have any software or tips on syncing up programmed drum loops more? Because nothing ever compares to a live groove, that’s for sure.

nick February 6, 2024 3:24pm (edited)

The drum loops are always a reliable source of metronomic rhythm, ya know? They’re tight. And so anything recorded against them will have to match that tightness, or else it sticks out. I’d suggest recording one thing at time against the drums, and before moving on, zooming into the waveforms so you can visually compare the peaks and valleys of both tracks to make sure your live track aligns with the drums. Sometimes you can get away with nudging an entire live track a few milliseconds to the right (almost always to the right—humans rush) and be done with it. But if it’s only a few sections that need adjustment, make cuts around the rushed sections and nudge them until they match. piece o’ cake. MORE than happy to talk further about this as it’s my favorite thing in the world.

Ben February 6, 2024 6:40pm

Thanks for going into detail! I know my current software has a one-click quantize button—I’m going to hit that just to hear the difference, so I can pay more attention to it in the future.

peter February 5, 2024 10:23am

ben! so happy you submitted this! listened this morning and needed to revisit it. the production and some of the vocals are super reminiscent of peak modest mouse (lonesome crowded west/moon and antarctica).. but there are modern touches that make this transcend time in a really beautiful way. i personally think the denser moments help get at those claustrophobic/frustrated feelings when you are physically stuck.

Ben February 5, 2024 12:18pm

Ah Peter, so good to hear from you! Thanks! Man, I listened to Antarctica and Lonesome maybe 1000 times in high school, there’s no way there isn’t influence in everything I do. I can hear it… “I don’t want you to be alone down there…” I was actually thinking about Isaac Brock when doing the vocals, but more King Rat. When I sing “I rub my eyes and see those tiny little spots,” I was trying to do his weird big band jazz vocals—so you’re on the money.

daeclan February 4, 2024 9:24pm (edited)

welcome back 🙂 i rly dig the direction you took this. feels real, honest; i can feel the quiet post•surgery desperation. getting REM & the smiths energy in a good way. def not the best person for mixing notes, but here were thoughts:

for the most part the mix/vocals felt good and balanced.

0:57 – 1:20 & 1:57-2:19, etc. felt a little crowded, maybe bring down a couple elements or keep the guitar sounds panned to one side? this felt intentional, so if this is the vibe you were aiming for, rock on m8

rly dug the lil’ breakdowns at 2:25 & 3:45, very nice on the ears.

great work! glad to have you back in the kitchen.

Ben February 5, 2024 12:22pm

Dec, really good to hear from you! REM has really been influencing me lately. I remember being in your room and listening to Radiohead’s Lotus Flower, and then you put on REM’s Lotus immediately after. It was an excellent curation on your end.

Crowded is good, slightly overwhelming is nice… but yeah, maybe build to it a little more. On a relisten, I was thinking the chorus hits you kinda hard the first time. Maybe I can drop the keys on the first chorus. Thanks for the advice! Looking forward to getting to your tune.