One of the issues with finishing this record (that I have figured out in retrospect) has been that my understanding of rhythm and "tightness" changed when I was nearly done. Tracks were in the bag and then I suddenly started noticing some songs didn't "groove" or "bang" the way I perhaps wanted them to.
Before this I've mostly thought about my contributions in music as chords & riffs, melody and words. The groove was just something that happened -- or sometimes mysteriously didn't happen and I'd have no idea why.
But what to do? I can't re-record the album every time I learn something new or get better at something. I know that doesn't end well for me (or anyone who wants to hear my record in the next ten years).
So I took some time and I've gone back and re-addressed things, trying to avoid re-recording everything or changing them too much (people already like a lot of these demos! some have already been licensed!). Here's an example of one I'm working on right now:
Excerpt of the original "Feel Free Plastic Surgery!" instrumental
Excerpt of the new version
It's been confusing to diagnose and treat this without starting over. In this one I ditched the South American drum loop that I wrote the song on top of and replaced it with a more straight ahead rock pattern I tapped in. Then re-recorded the bass to fit better.
I'm still working on it (I'm concerned the snare on the 4 is late sometimes), but the new one is more fun to me, dancier and rockier. It's such a small change and I feel dumb that it's taken me forever to understand and figure out. But... maybe it's a good thing? I don't know, we'll see.