Monday, 17 December 2018

What merchandise is left to offer?

Since I can't think of much else to post and don't want to have two "Sounds of 2011" posts in a row, I'll throw open the virtual floor. What Pony merchandise would be worthwhile Hasbro making/licensing as FiM nears the end of its road? I phrased that question quite carefully, as I'm not asking "What do you, personally, want?" Generally that ends up with people suggesting beautiful and expensive collectibles – and ones that often don't make it outside the US, which is no help here!

No, I'm talking about stuff that could be sold in toy shops and supermarkets for a few quid. Personally, I'd like to see some more stationery. The range is much better than it was a few years ago, but it's still lacking. For example, I don't think I've ever seen an MLP-branded calculator, which seems a little odd given how ubiquitous they are. Years ago, Savers sold ponified tissue boxes, but for some odd reason they've not reappeared. And surely a little range of USB sticks with Pony theming could work. (Edit: as pointed out in the comments, there was the Mimobot range. Long since discontinued, though, and never very cheap.)
So, any thoughts in this regard?

Friday, 14 December 2018

Sounds of 2011, nos. 60 to 57

It's about time I got back to this, otherwise I'm never going to finish it! (As I've said before, if I do something similar for 2012 and 2013, it'll probably be in a rather more concise format.) Anyway, here goes...

Yup, it's yet another bouncy remix by the guy now writing as Odyssey Eurobeat. Since the base tune for this song – Pinkie Pie's little ditty to Apple Bloom way back in "Call of the Cutie" – is so short, there's inevitably a lot of other stuff here, but it all fits together pretty nicely. Perhaps not hugely memorable, but it's solid enough background music. The HQ track is part of the Super Ponybeat Vol. 1 album, which you can get as a name-your-price download on the artist's Bandcamp.

No. 59 doesn't meet my criteria, so I'm skipping it.

There hasn't been an upload of any kind from daks since January 2016, but time was they were one of the more popular remixers in the fandom. The CMCs' song from "The Show Stoppers" lends itself to this treatment pretty well, and though this track is a little on the repetitive side that also gives it a beat that's both catchy and insistent. There's something of an 80s sound to it, fittingly enough given the source. You can pick up this song in HQ on daks' Bandcamp, and you can even name your price for the download.

Now here's a name that hasn't been involved in fandom music for a very long time. In fact, the most recent update on zahqo's YouTube account was back in autumn 2013. Haymaker is the singer, and his voice has that slightly gravelly texture that fits rather well with this story of the tension between Celestia and Luna all those years ago. Maybe a little too long, but you know what I am for complaining about that! There are several links to HQ downloads in the video description, but only the Mediafire one remains accessible.

Next time: the first sighting on this list of two very big names in fandom music back in the ago.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 229: There on the Stair, Right There

This may have happened quite a while ago, but I've only recently noticed: JohnPerry has disappeared from Fimfiction – account nuked, which means all his reviews have gone as well as his stories. I've featured a few of those fics on PR over the years, and I've read plenty of his own reviews, especially the "Suffers the Feature Box" series. None of my business why he chose to nuke of course, but I hope he's okay and I wish him well.

Read it Later story count: 295 (+4)

Anyway, I have no intention of doing the same, so it's time to get PR back on the road again. It's still in rather a rickety state, with one wheel buckled and some strange purple steam coming from the engine, but I'll blame that on Flim and Flam's garage. Not reading much does tend to allow my RiL list to bloat a little. Curses. Anyway, here is today's less than enormous review pile. Er, two fics, in fact:

More Than You Know by Obselescence
Flying Lessons by Ponyman

★: 0 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 0 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

The nearer future for Louder Yay

Last month, I wrote in these virtual pages about what I planned to do with this blog once Friendship is Magic had come to an end. I stand by what I said there, although I hear persistent rumours that Equestria Girls in some form may outlast FiM, in which case I'll cover that to at least some extent. What I didn't talk about, though, was what I planned to do here before the end of FiM came. So now seems like a good time.

I intend to cover the show itself in a very similar way to what I've been doing over the past few seasons. I'll write an extended review of each episode, and if international schedules allow I'll continue with Text Review Roundup as well. I'll also cover news relating to things like whenever Hasbro actually gets round to announcing that S9 is (or isn't!) the lot, though this isn't a breaking news site so expect occasional commentary more than frequent newsflashes.

As the end of the show approaches, I imagine there'll be growing anticipation about the finale, whether that's S9E26 or a one-off special afterwards. I'm not sure how I'll cover that fandom sentiment, or even if I will in any great depth. It's going to depend to at least some extent on how I'm feeling at the time. Once the synopsis for the finale is out, I probably will discuss it here, although I plan on putting my thoughts on that under a clearly marked cut.

There isn't a lot else to say, really. I'll cover S9 much as I've covered S8, as far as I can – but as the end gets closer, it may be more difficult for me to maintain my equanimity. This show has changed my life, and I don't care how silly it sounds for me to say that. And as such, it is going to feel strange once it hits me that there are only X episodes left before it's all over. Don't be surprised if I end up writing about that almost as much as the episodes themselves.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Signal boost: Matías Peñaloza

Those who follow me on Twitter (that's @louderyay for anyone interested) will probably already know that I'm a big fan of Matías Peñaloza's piano covers of MLP songs. He does plenty of other stuff too, but it's the Pony we're concerned with here. He has about 2.5k subscribers on YouTube, which is respectable but really a little down on where he maybe deserves to be, perhaps because he doesn't seem to do a great deal of self-promotion.

Here's his playlist of MLP covers, containing no fewer than 42 tracks at the time of writing. These aren't entirely the songs you might expect: "Winter Wrap Up" is not there, but there are a few lower-profile inclusions, the likes of "Out on My Own" and a four-handed "Blank Flanks Forever" for example. The great majority are official songs, but there's also a cover of "Anthropology". There's a little change in style between the oldest and newest covers, but they all sound good to me!

At least with the newer recordings, Matías Peñaloza is also kind enough to include links to sheet music and MIDI of his versions. He's still active, with "A Kirin Tale" being his most recent release. The song I've chosen to embed at the head of this post is "So Much More to Me", Fluttershy's song from the Equestria Girls short that came out earlier this year. Come on, this is me talking – what exactly did you expect? :D

Saturday, 8 December 2018

New FiM shorts?

Well, this is interesting indeed. As mentioned on Equestria Daily, three new shorts have popped up over in China. They're currently only available in Chinese, so I haven't seen anything of them beyond the screenshots on EqD, but I believe it's the first time we'll have had shorts that aren't Equestria Girls and feature ponies, ponies and more ponies.

Edit: actually not. As OilyValves points out in the comments, there were the Hot Minute shorts back in 2013. Published by Hot Topic rather than by Hasbro directly, but they count, I think.

I'm not going to spoil anything (not that I know much anyway!) but apparently these will be written by a mixture of newcomers and existing show writers. I shall wait and see with interest!

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Sounds of 2011, nos. 64 to 61

Off we go again. Three songs featured today, all by musicians whose names are still very well known in the fandom.

This is an interesting early (May 2011) effort by PinkiePieSwear (now called Matt R). It takes the show's first real blockbuster song and gives it a gentle opening that becomes a relaxing, dreamy remix. This is punctuated with sounds that could easily represent the drips of melting snow. The accompanying "video" is no more than a still image of the night sky, though that fits with the "late again" motif. Should you want HQ goodness, you can buy the track for $1 on PPS's Bandcamp.

No. 63 doesn't meet the criteria to be featured, so I'm skipping it. 

The most likely song you know by d.notive is "Vicious Lies", but that's not from 2012 so we'll say no more about it now! This track is considerably less well known, though it ended up on the same album (The Fantasy). It's a catchy bit of mildly distorted electronica, told from the point of view of Tank and relating to the events of "May the Best Pet Win!" in S2. Mildly silly lyrics, but never mind. You can get it in HQ on a name-your-price basis on d.notive's Bandcamp. As for the artist himself, it's several years since his last Pony upload, but he's uploaded plenty of other stuff to YT since then.

Now here's a real piece of fandom history: this is the very first brony song by BlackGryph0n, who is of course still around in the fandom, often duetting with Michelle Creber. "Take Me to Equestria!" isn't a bad debut at all, with a somewhat 1980s feel to it and some pleasant lyrics wrapped around with a magical repeating theme. The one I've embedded is the original 2011 release – there's a more polished 2012 remix. That's unlisted, but since BlackGryph0n himself links to it in this video description it's hardly a secret. Also in the description: a TinDeck download link. Now there's a blast from the past! Sadly with that gone, I can't find any HQ versions.

Next time: into the fifties, and all I can really say looking at the next post's tracks is "They're a real mixed bag!"