The makers of Rock Band have big news recently for people pretending to be rock stars, and even for people who legitimately know how to play musical instruments with like strings and shit. In an effort to delay this post from turning into the sad glimpse into my private life it will inevitably become, we'll start with the news that matters to actual musicians.
Harmonix and MTV Games have announced they'll be releasing a set of software tools enabling musicians to create their own playable tracks to sell on Xbox Live. Unlike the Music Studio feature that comes with Rock Band competitor Guitar Hero: World Tour, Rock Band's creation software will allow you to begin with an actual master recording of your song and use computer software, instead of plastic instruments, to create a Midi map of each instrument. Also, unlike GHWT's free dumping-ground-style GH Tunes, songs made for Rock Band will be sold for real money, so they're going to have to be evaluated for quality and copyright concerns. All you SA bands full of shred-happy guitarists and woodpecker drummers should definitely look into this. The toolkit is reportedly going into Beta testing soon, so go here to get in on the ground floor.
For pretend musicians, Harmonix announced 15 more songs for The Beatles: Rock Band, scheduled for a September 9 release. (Warning, this video is NSFW for Beatles nerds, if they frown on you pooping your pants at your desk.)
The 15 newly announced songs:
Twist And Shout
Do You Want To Know A Secret
Can't Buy Me Love
I Wanna Be Your Man
Eight Days A Week
And Your Bird Can Sing
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With a Little Help from My Friends
Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows
Dig A Pony
I've Got A Feeling
The previously announced songs, in case you forgot, are: “I Saw Her Standing There,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “I Feel Fine,” “Taxman,” “Day Tripper,” Back In The USSR,” “I Am The Walrus,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “Here Comes The Sun,” and “Get Back.”
The game will feature 45 total songs, Beatles-centric venues such as the Ed Sullivan Show, and the Rooftop Concert, plus Harmonix claims you'll be able to buy all of Abbey Road as downloadable content at launch. "Revolution," "Taxman," and "I Am the Walrus" are awesome, but I'm still waiting for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Helter Skelter," though the odds of me actually being able to play either of those on fake guitar are pretty slim.
Speaking of songs I can't even pretend to play properly. Rock Band recently released a pretty incredible Dead Weather pack for download ($5.49 for all three songs or $1.99 each. The drum part for "Hang you From the Heavens" is the definite highlight. Here's a video of someone killing it on expert drums, something my candy ass won't even attempt, and my kit isn't even held together with duct tape:
Speaking of stuff I can't do, I also recommend Guitar Hero World Tour's recently released pack of live Phish, even though I don't care for the band. It's worth the money just for the guitar solo on "Down With Disease." Once again, heres a video of someone who isn't me nailing it. Unlike most music critics, I'm not a failed and frustrated musician, but a failed and frustrated fake musician. I'm pretty sure that's infinitely more pathetic.