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11 Free Tracks from Local Bands headed to Rock Band Rivals

Hey gang!

Coming with an update in March, Rock Band Rivals is getting 11 FREE new tracks! Harmonix has teamed up with The Record Co. – a non-profit music incubator with a mission to build a sustainable, nationally-recognized music scene in Boston – to bring new songs from some up-and-coming Boston bands to all Rivals owners! This new collection brings the total library of songs available to Rock Band Rivals owners to 89, including 65 songs on the disc and 24 as part of the Rivals upgrade. You’ll have plenty to choose from when playing with your friends online, and even more to work with during each Weekly Challenge.

Here’s a list of tracks from The Record Co. that are coming to Rivals owners for free. Get the details about each song below with commentary from our resident head honcho of the Audio QA team, Nick Gregoire!

  1. Animal Flag - “Sink”
  2. Bent Knee – “These Hands”
  3. Black Beach - “No Place For Me”
  4. Creaturos - “History Repeats”
  5. Dutch ReBelle - “RudeBoys”
  6. Julie Rhodes - “Hurry Up (& Wait For You)”
  7. Littlefoot - “Casablanca”
  8. Michael Christmas - “Cross That Line”
  9. Ruby Rose Fox - “Skydiver”
  10. STL GLD - “Good”
  11. Tigerman WOAH - “Alone Time”

Beast - TRC

Animal Flag - “Sink”

Gregoire: This is one of my favorites from this group. The kind of song I would listen to in my personal life. The song moves along and progresses, not staying in one place or mood for long. It’s got a fantastic drum part. It includes a disco beat with some quick kicks, syncopated cymbal hits, and a really cool groove with ghost snares thrown in for good measure. It’s one of Renzo’s (another Audio QA tester) personal favorite drum charts of the pack. The guitar parts are wonderfully atmospheric, creating almost a nostalgic mood throughout, while having plenty of variety to keep the player engaged. The bass drives the song and has a great feel. It’s pretty infectious, actually. Lots of alt-strumming, so if you can’t hang with that, it may prove to be difficult. No harmonies here, but vocals are fun to sing. The hook in the choruses could very easily get stuck in your head. There are some neat camera cuts on the drummer that synchronize with the cymbal hits during the black and white camera filter section.

About Animal Flag: Animal Flag is a rock band based out of Boston Massachusetts. Equally influenced by both giant stacks of amplifiers and folk music, the band features distorted guitar underscoring melodic hooks with lucid lyrical content.

Bent Knee - “These Hands”

Gregoire: Good luck finding the downbeat in this song. Lots of syncopation and time signature changes. Half of the song has a time signature change in every other measure. It’s very laid back and almost jazzy in the chord choices. The drums have a quintuplet groove in the 2nd half of the song, so have fun with that. The guitar and bass play a part that translated to Rock Band in an interesting way. Especially the bass. They play a lick that involves them playing the same note back and forth on two different strings. On the bass, the timbre of the two strings is different enough that it may seem strange to the player to see a stream of yellow gems, but their ears tell them something different. Trust me, they’re the same note. I toyed with the idea of putting them on different buttons, but that felt even stranger. I even called in some Audio QA vets for opinions, so I’m comfortable with the end result. The vocals are the most deceiving of the pack, I think. Since the song has a proggy/jazz feel, it means the vocals are going to be quite challenging to most players. She lands on notes that you would not expect and the chord changes don’t help guide you. Very dynamic song. Great addition to the Rock Band Rivals catalog.

About Bent Knee: Bent Knee is a band without frontiers. "Equal parts ingenuity and deliciousness” (The Wall Street Journal), the Boston-based sextet seamlessly connects the worlds of rock, pop and the avant-garde into its own self-defining statement.

Black Beach - “No Place For Me”

Gregoire: This one’s pretty short, but packs a punch. Very aggressive, punk-like sound. It’ll come and go so quickly, you’ll wonder what just happened. The bass and guitar focus mainly on one or two riffs that slap you in the face. The drums contain a bunch of kicks, so even though the song clocks in at under 2 minutes, you’ll leave sweating. The vocals may pose a challenge. He sings on the edge of melodic/talkie, so finding the pitches on your first play through might not come so easily.

About Black Beach: Black Beach was bred in the smoldering suburbs of Middleboro MA. Equal parts Sabbath and Nirvana, Steve, Ben, and Ryan craft a sound that’ll shatter your eardrums and make you pulsate with energy. If you think you know what loud is, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Creaturos - “History Repeats”

Gregoire: The song reminds me of something Jack White or the Black Keys would write. There’s some pretty stark contrast between sections, going from galloping riffs to more tranquil sections. The vocals, while sparse, are very politically charged and say a lot in the brief time they’re around. This song is a riff-fest. You’ll have fun on guitar or bass either way. The drums are straight forward, at least until those fast snare/tom fills come in to break your streak. Sorry not sorry.

About Creaturos: CREATUROS formed in late 2011. Channeling a chaotic fusion of distorted tones, raw energy, and pop hooks, CREATUROS has supported notable acts such as White Fence, Ty Segall’s Fuzz, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, & Grass Widow among many others.

Dutch ReBelle - “RudeBoys”

Gregoire: This is one of the Hip-Hop/Rap songs of the bunch. This song’s got great lyrics. She’s got amazing flow. Interesting musical feel. Combines Latin rhythm with Nicki Minaj-esque rap. Much of the song is talkies, but she comes at it rapid fire and it requires some breath control. There are also a few pitches lines in the 2nd verse that will no doubt throw off players, as they have very little context elsewhere in the song. The guitar and bass are very consistent throughout. The drums will hit wood block, snare, kick, and ride throughout the verses. While not too difficult, a very multitasking drum part.

About Dutch ReBelle: Haitian-born Dutch ReBelle’s music journey began in Mattapan, MA. Dubbed a "ReBelle with a Cause' by the Boston Globe, Dutch ReBelle is a Boston Music Award winning hip-hop artist known for her mix of introspective punch-lined filled lyrics and heart pounding production.

Julie Rhodes - “Hurry Up (& Wait For You)”

Gregoire: Great throwback sound. Almost reminds me of Motown. Drums and bass hold it down, while still offering variety. So chill. The guitar is drenched in a heavy tremolo effect throughout much of the song, making it much more of a texture than a full ahead guitar part. That being said, there are plenty of tasty licks in there to keep you interested. The vocals are full of soul and contain many short runs. This is a treat for singers.

About Julie Rhodes: 2016 Boston Music Award 'New Artist of the Year', Julie Rhodes has soul in her voice well beyond her years. Produced by Jonah Tolchin at legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, her debut album, "Bound To Meet The Devil" has made waves all over the country and internationally.

Littlefoot - “Casablanca”

Gregoire: Very chill song. It almost sounds like it came out of 1960s San Francisco. Shoe-gazer type feel. The drums and bass offer interesting rhythms and grooves; remaining subdued at times and opening up when the song calls for it. The guitar part is interesting as there are two guitarists, both hard panned to either side, playing off each other. Therefore, we were able to go back and forth, pick and choose what part you play at any given time. Vocals are dreamy and will certainly pose a challenge at first. She doesn’t always land on notes that you’d anticipate, and she’s got a solid range.

About Littlefoot: Littlefoot is a surf/dreampop band from Boston, MA. Erica (guitar/vocals/keyboard) cites the Beach Boys, Beach House, and the Ventures as musical influences, and assumes that her love of reverb came from long car rides spent with her mother listening to Enya in the 90’s.

Michael Christmas - “Cross That Line”

Gregoire: This song offers another Hip-Hop/Rap selection, which is welcome, as Rock Band has always been lacking in this area. In the DLC room we always have this song’s lyrics stuck in our heads. “Tick tick”, “Hella gooood”. Very cool, smooth beat. Kind of reminds me of the G-Funk songs of the ‘90s. The drums and bass are consistent, so they won’t offer a ton of challenge, but it’s hard not to bob your head to this groove. The guitar fills out the mix with clavinet, providing the atmosphere. The verses are talkies. Not much of a surprise given the genre, but he sings the choruses and there are harmonies that offer challenge and variety.

About Michael Christmas: Dubbed "your favorite every-dude rapper" by MTV, Boston native Michael Christmas has been dropping critically acclaimed albums and touring with the likes of Logic and Mac Mlller since 2014.

Ruby Rose Fox - “Skydiver”

Gregoire: Our only returning artist from the pack we released back in December, Ruby Rose Fox. This is another one of my favorites. It’s more upbeat than her previous offering, “Pain Killer”. This means more challenge across the board. The verses have a great, subdued groove, while the choruses raise the song to dizzying heights. I still get this song stuck in my head. The first thing most players will notice is the awesome bass groove. It provided most of the momentum during the verses and switches to an octave, dance feel during the choruses. The guitar seems easy enough, until you hit the 2nd chorus and have to play the keyboard arpeggios. Then things get interesting from there on out. Drums have a disco beat, but not too fast or difficult compared to other disco beat songs. If you have trouble with disco beats, this may be a good place to work on your skills at a reasonable tempo. Once again, Ruby Rose brings it with her vocals. She effortlessly jumps between octaves and slides through huge intervals without trouble. The harmonies get more and more complicated throughout the song. By the end there are three different ideas happening at once. Getting this FC on harms will not be easy.

About Ruby Rose Fox: Ruby Rose Fox, a vocal powerhouse of soul-¬driven, edgy rock ‘n’ roll (with a nod to new ¬wave pop), whose voice threatens to knock down the walls of any room in which she performs, is hard at work to make 2017 her strongest year of new releases and live performances.

STL GLD - “Good”

Gregoire: This song has a much darker feel than the other rap songs, both musically and thematically. Once again, the drums and bass hold down the groove, but this time the guitar joins the party, creating a solid foundation for the vocalist to shine. This song also has rapped verses and sung choruses. There’s a low auto-tuned vocal section that provided some variety. The verses are fun with two people. One gets to blast through the lyrics while the other hops in to emphasize.

About STL GLD: Two-time Boston Music Awards Hip Hop Artist of Year winner Moe Pope and 2016 Boston Music Awards Studio Producer of The Year winner The Arcitype joined creative forces to make the powerhouse hip-hop duo STL GLD.

Tigerman WOAH - “Alone Time”

Gregoire: Have a deep voice? You’re in luck! This song is actually quite difficult to sing for a few reasons. The singer has a deep voice, and while the music itself is straight forward, the singer doesn’t always sing what you think he will. There are also gang vocals in a bunch of places, but they don’t all sing the same thing, making for tight harmonies that can be tough to read. There’s also a female singing alongside the male lead, which also make finding the melody difficult. Awesome swung drum part with ghost snares that add some nice variety. The guitar has a ton of variety. Rhythm parts, lead licks, sometimes it just plays whatever it wants.

(Psst…fun fact! Tigerman WOAH will be headlining our Rock Band 10th Anniversary party at the Hard Rock on March 10th! Details about the show are in our recent blog post.)

About Tigerman WOAH: Tigerman Woah is a 4-piece rock and roll band from Lynn, MA with guitars, banjo-ukele, upright bass, drums, and full-band-sung choruses.

Haven’t picked up Rock Band Rivals yet? Get the base Rock Band 4 game and Rock Band Rivals expansion for $59.99 on Xbox One, and for those who already own Rock Band 4, pick up the Rivals expansion for $29.99 on PlayStation®4!

These tunes are headed to Rivals owners for free this March. Stay tuned for more update details, announcements, and more!