Hey Schmalzy - Real nice all around - I love it when a tune I'm writing goes where I don't expect. Embrace it. The production sounds top notch to me. Nice and clean ..if not a tad loud for my tastes. I was waiting/hoping for the background vocals to come in, and they didn't disappoint. It feels good and fresh - I heard shades of Joe Jackson in places in a real nice way. My only nit - somewhere in the middle I heard one of those arpeggiated synth leads with a portamento kind of pop into the mix - then it was gone. It reminded me of what Owl City uses in some of their music and my initial reaction was, "Huh? What is that doing there ..and why is it so fleeting and buried?" I would probably pull it if it was my mix, but ultimately my suggestion is that you need to commit. If you like it, bring it out, use it in a few more places - otherwise just can it. Just spitballing with my $0.02
Thanks for the super nice things you said! You have no idea how big of a relief that was. I was seriously freaking out thinking "what if I just missed the boat COMPLETELY and I just don't know it?"
Those synth arpeggios? Yeah, they're buried. I'm not a synth/keyboardist but I like to pretend. That was my buddy's MiniBrute. I love that thing! I tried to mute the synth parts but I and an impartial listener both preferred the extra movement present with the synths. I turned 'em up and hated my playing. I'll try bringing 'em up a bit again and we'll see what happens!
Drums? Oh, man. Did I have a hell of a time with those! My playing (my editing!), my kit, my mics, my room, no samples.
The kit is a fairly cheap Pearl Export from 2000-ish. The snare is a Tama Starclassic Maple and is the reason I struggled so much with the drum sound. I just didn't notice during tracking but it was too tight and sounded super choked. Some EQ, some compression, some distortion, some short reverb, and a bunch of parallel compression eventually gave me some length in the snare sound - but very little! Cymbals are Avedis Zildjian.
Nothing special in the mic technique except a stereo pair of Cascade Fatheads as room mics (delayed 12ms in the mix) and an Apex 205 in the other room as a mono room mic.
Quick photo of the setup:
Well, that's a lot of typing...sorry for making you read so much!