Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: Roaring All Stars + Tweedia

Following up on last week's unboxing, this week I do a review of the recently released Japanese Pokemon singles. Do these songs from the 18th movie measure up favorably?


Transcript:

Hi, folks. Steven here with a review of Roaring All Stars and Tweedia, the two new Japanese Pokémon music singles. In case you don’t know, last weekend I put up a video of an unboxing, which I recommend you definitely take a look at. I’ll put a card in here. But, the thing is, they come with some really interesting stuff, you know. The Pokémon editions of those singles. And, really, do want you to take a look at that. Here, we’ll be just doing a review. And, just so you know, I’m not claiming to be a professional music reviewer. I don’t have any training or anything like that. But, give it my best shot here. And, I should also point out, in case you didn’t know, I have very limited Japanese knowledge. So, I’m not really appreciating these songs on a lyrical level, so much as just listening to them as music and sort of judging things there. So, with that said, let’s go on to the review.

Let’s start off with Roaring All Stars. In case you didn’t know, this is the current ending theme to the Pokémon TV show in Japan. It’s also associated with the short from the 18th movie. The first time I listened to it, I really didn’t like it all that much. It just seemed a little dizzy and loud. It really just did not strike my fancy, I guess you could say. But, I thought about, what is it about this song that makes me not really like it? And, what I did is I thought, maybe it’s too loud. It might be percussion and instruments. So, what I did is I went into Audacity and I took the regular version, instrumental version, lined them up and made it so that the instrumental version would cancel out the regular version. And, I just sort of played with the volume and stuff like that to get some of the instruments removed. And, it actually struck me a lot better there. I’m not sure exactly what it was. Maybe the vocals started to come out more and that’s what I like. Because, I think Little Glee Monster did a good job singing it. That may have been just enough to make me appreciate it a little bit more. It was kind of interesting. And, as a result-this is not currently on the station, yet-but, I am experimenting with releveling it and seeing what I can do there to make it, maybe, a little bit more radio friendly. At least, in my opinion.

The only other real criticism I have of this song-I think it’s good overall, especially, like I said, with the releveling to bring up the vocals a little bit more-is that there’s this speed up sequence towards the end, where it sort of repeats and then gets faster and faster. The song’s kind of over at that point. I think we could cut out maybe one or two of those and the song might be a little bit structurally better for it. Otherwise, like I said, first impression wasn’t that great, but I think it’s a little bit better in my mind now. So, definitely glad to hear some of that.

Let’s move over to Tweedia, which is the ending song to the 18th Pokémon movie in Japan. It actually kind of reminds me, now that I’ve listened to it a couple times, of ONE from movie 12. You may remember, that was the Shaymin movie, in case you’re forgetting. But, that was the Japanese ending song. And, they have kind of similar, I guess you could say, space with instruments sound. Where they have the vocals, of course, and then there’s sort of this ambient— ONE uses more strings, whereas Tweedia uses strings, but also there’s a piano part, and they both have drums and all that stuff.

Overall, I would say I like ONE better. I think it has better flow and a more interesting melody, and it’s more catchy. Definitely more energetic. And, at the same time though, I don’t feel like Tweedia is redundant or not needed, or something you don’t need to really care about. I think it’s still worth listening to. Tweedia is on the station right now. We’ll see what folks think of it. In any case, I don’t have a whole lot else to say about Tweedia. That’s sort of the main point of comparison I could come up with. Not too much that really stands out, not much that really detracts from it either. I think that it’s an overall good song.

But, of course, part of the point of putting this video up, I want to know what you think. Do you like both songs? Do you have similar criticisms? Do you have different criticisms? Please, let me know. Post a comment. Or, give us an email. And, like I said, if you listen to this station, go ahead and rate the tracks that are on there. It really helps me determine which tracks stay around and get promoted, and stuff like that. Alright, folks. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pokémon VGC US Nationals 2015: Seniors Winner Interview

Ben Piercy
The following is an interview with Ben Piercy, winner of the Seniors Division of this year’s Pokémon VGC US Nationals.

Where are you from?
I’m Canadian, from Calgary, Alberta.

How did you get into Pokémon in general, and competitive battling in specific?
I started Pokémon when I switched schools before the start of grade four, where many of the kids on the school bus had one of the early generation four games (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum). I would spend most bus rides watching the other kids play, until I got my own DS and Pokémon Pearl for my birthday. As for competitive battling, I knew I wanted to try it after watching the 2013 World Championships online. The thought of playing for a crowd excited me, and the prospect of having actual commentators and interviews seemed interesting.

What was the team you used at nationals?
My team at nationals was Mega Salamence, Focus Sash Breloom, Expert Belt Scizor, Sitrus Berry Volcarona, Choice Scarf Latios, and Life Orb Nidoqueen.

Why did you choose your uncommon Pokémon?
The problem with common Pokémon in VGC is that opposing teams become very intent on working to find ways to reliably beat them. The solution to this, in my opinion, is to use obscure Pokémon that are still competitive when run properly. Nidoqueen is a good example, as it has tons of potential, but still sees very little use. Opposing teams will have no pre-planned counters to my Nidoqueen, and oftentimes they are completely unprepared to face off against it-most opponents won’t remember base stats for these Pokémon going into battle, and I’ve also had more than one opponent tell me during the game that they forgot Nidoqueen’s types (Ground/Poison) and thus can’t predict its move set or know which types are super-effective against it.

What was your overall strategy for the finals?
After seeing his team, I knew that I immediately had to target his Breloom. Breloom knows Spore, and should be faster than four of my Pokémon. It also often carries Focus Sash, meaning it can’t be taken out in one hit. I decided he’d recognize Breloom was important and send it out as a lead in game one. I was able to take it out from game one before it could get any serious damage off, so I decided going into game two that he wouldn’t lead Breloom again, so I sent out Nidoqueen and Volcarona, which had a bad matchup against Breloom, but can take out any combination of his other five. Luckily I was correct, as he led Kangaskhan and Thundurus, without using Breloom at all.

Are there any improvements you might make if you used this team again?
One of my Latios’ moves was Heal Pulse, which wasn’t helpful. Not only did I never use it in the tournament, I never even used it in practice. The move I wanted was Draco Meteor, but I didn’t have time to acquire it in-game, considering I had to play through Omega Ruby just a few days before to even get Latios at all. I also should have replaced Salamence’s Dragon Claw with Dragon Dance (a fact I realized about a month before nationals). The only problem is that Dragon Dance is an egg move for Salamence, and I decided I would rather just use my Dragon Claw Salamence instead of breeding for and raising a new one with Dragon Dance.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Unboxing Roaring All-Stars + Tweedia CDs

Earlier this week, I had a chance to unbox "Roaring All-Stars" and "Tweedia",the two latest Pokemon CD singles from Japan. In addition to the CDs themselves, there are also a number of extras included with the music:


Friday, July 17, 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New music for the week of 7/13/2015

One new track this week from Mewmore and Dasgust:

-I Wanna Say Goodbye

This is actually from the Mystery Dungeon games. You can see a video of it here:


Happy listening!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

New Pokemon US Nationals interview following tomorrow's Top 25 + Train Station at 8

At last weekend's US Nationals, I had a chance to interview Lance Bradshaw, the winner of the TCG Seniors Division about the Primal Kyogre deck he used. We discuss some of the specific cards, as well as the finals against a metal Mega Rayquaza deck, which he describes as the worst matchup for his deck. That interview will debut following tomorrow's Top 25 Countdown, which starts at 5pm Eastern/4pm Central.

If you like, you can also see it here:


Or, if you want the audio-only experience:



Additionally, I recently appeared on another episode of the Train Station at 8 podcast with Makoto from Pikapi Podcast. For this episode, we discuss the use of licensed music in video games. It's a good discussion, so be sure to listen.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Pokemon movies 8 and 9 now on iTunes US

The eighth and ninth Pokemon movies are now available on the US iTunes store, marking the first time a Pokemon movie has been available since 2011 when the third movie was removed from the US store. Both movies are available for purchase in HD for $14.99.

Update: The movies are also available in the Canadian, Australian, and UK stores.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Is (Blank) a Pokemon Song?

Help me out with the podcast episode that I'll be appearing on later this week! What music connected to the Pokemon franchise do you consider a "true" Pokemon song? How much do association with the franchise, matching the themes of the show, and other versions of the song being present matter?

For more information on the podcast, check out this video:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New music for the week of 6/22/2015

One new song this week, from insaneintherainmusic's "Back to Your Littleroots" album:

-Surfycove (Surf Theme / Lilycove City)

You can take a listen here:



"Back to Your Littleroots" is available on Loudr, iTunes, and Google Play.

Additionally, my co-review of Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions is now on the PokePress SoundCloud:



 Happy listening!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

New two-part Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions review following today's Top 25

I was fortunate enough to attend a recent Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions concert in Milwaukee, and I got to bring my mom (an orchestra teacher) with me to the performance. Afterwards, we did a co-review of the event. That two-part review will debut following today's Top 25 Countdown. The countdown starts at 4pm Eastern/3pm Central, so be sure to tune in!

You can check out part one of the interview here:


We discuss the music, the venue, and the atmosphere of the event. Is it possible for someone with limited knowledge of the franchise to enjoy this concert? Listen and find out!