Caller ID: Track Roundup — 2/18/21

Welcome to Caller ID, Ringtone Mag's now monthly track review column that emphasizes songs by smaller artists!

Graphic with album covers

"do u hear me?" – nari, 8485

In the same vein as Bladee’s “Hero of my Story 3style3” and also P!nk’s “There You Go,” “do u hear me?” by nari and 8485 makes use of a vaguely medieval 2000’s throwback sound to create something wildly original. The song’s chiming track successfully balances its vibe with that of 8485 and nari’s lyrics. Embellished with distorted vocals and a warped and screwed-up outro, the song is a strong collaboration from a team of artists currently on the rise with their sounds. “do u hear me” is just over two minutes, but after the first listen, it’s impossible not to repeat. Turned up in your headphones, it rattles and shakes your brain in the best way possible.

– Allison Harris

"Headphones” – GENDERGRIND, Boxkitty, Phixel, Lisa Adiso, TAMAGOTCHI MASSACRE, nari, thirtyonetwentyfive, Big Dimp

Let me explain to you what my taste in music is: it either needs to be devastatingly emotional, lush and silk-like in feeling, rot my teeth away with sweetness or punch me in the face with sheer aggression. I get my fix for the former two categories from artists like underscores, AViT and clearlew, but the latter two? I struggled to figure out an appropriate reference point for a very long time, until I heard “Headphones." Hands down, this song set my standards for all others that aim to be like it.

You probably noticed the gigantic string of artists at the top of this entry. Fear not, dear reader, for there are not 8 artists on this track… but 7: GENDERGRIND is a collective. A relatively new one, in fact, founded by Phixel; this is their second single as a group, though all members have been releasing on their own.

Moving to the song: glittery, loud, and abrasive, like a chainsaw made of candy, “Headphones” finds four vocalists and three producers all attempting to one-up each other at once. Over a bouncy, chiptune infused beat courtesy of Boxkitty, Phixel and Lisa Adiso, TAMAGOTCHI MASSACRE, nari, thirtyonetwentyfive and Big Dimp take turns laying down verses, each of them moving in lockstep with the beat before it disintegrates into a minimal, warped and screwed nightmare. In just two short minutes, GENDERGRIND has established itself as an extremely promising, extremely strong collective of musicians who are bound to continue improving in the future.

– Canary Autumn

Lord’s Upper” — Blimpee, Emily Rose

Another single in a growing catalog of tracks reminiscent of hip church devotional music, but taken to the parodic extreme, Blimpee’s “Lord’s Upper” is an irreverent, frenzied song that combines piety with an intense lust for coffee. Likely one in a series of songs about the seven deadly sins that Blimpee, a sort of alter-ego of creator Brooks Knapton, said he would create in an interview, “Lord’s Upper” is a borderline sacrilegious expungement of sloth. There’s also a big aspect of gluttony in it – the vocals and pace are reminiscent of a caffeine high, with vocals that gradually pitch up cyclically throughout the track, like piling up shots of espresso to save you from the inevitable crash.

Blimpee slows the frenetic pace mid-song to tell the listener that “the one thing Jesus Christ stood for more than anything on this earth was productivity” – a hyperbole of a culturally inescapable Protestant work ethic that reminds me of Dorian Electra’s song “Career Boy.” The energy in the song also reminds me of acts like food house, ludic and basically unfiltered. “Lord’s Upper” is definitely one of Blimpee’s more dancey, bubbly tracks, and I think it absolutely slaps. I was coincidentally drinking coffee while listening to it, taking a dance break in my bathroom because I absolutely deserved it. I will be personally hyping up this fervent ode to coffee.

– Dalia Gulca

closure” — Can of Bliss, saoirse dream & "ritual" — saoirse dream, Can of Bliss

“closure” and “ritual” are a peculiar pair, but they deserve to be mentioned in the same breath: both are the result of collaboration between webcage members saoirse dream and Can of Bliss. The former takes vocal duties on “ritual” while the latter handles production, and they swap places for “closure.” No matter who’s where, though, the two of them click extremely well, and both tracks are well worth your time – not that they take much of it up, since both are less than 2 minutes long. All the better for looping with, my dears!

“I’m a fucking asshole, you deserve better than me, better than me," Can of Bliss confesses on the personal, downcast (well, as downcast as a glittery, fizzy drum & bass-backed song can get) “closure”, a song reflecting on past failings, jealousy, and interpersonal relationships. Released to celebrate her 20th birthday (happy belated birthday, by the way!), it’s a standout entry into her already incredibly strong catalogue; beautiful, fleeting, and over the top while not losing sense of self. It's strange at first listen, but one comes to realize that "closure" is a beautiful, personal song that's honest without sensationalizing much.

Meanwhile, in saoirse dream-land, there’s an important question that needs answering: “Is your mom a table?” Well, that’s a strange question to ask, why do you need to know? “...‘cause I think I’m gonna bussin’ her!” ... Huh.

“ritual”, in stark contrast to “closure”, is downright hilarious, finding saoirse dream bouncing off the walls, (not) kissing moms, threatening to impale a certain Canadian pop star, bemoaning food service work and swearing – sometimes, all at once – backed with a glittery, frenetic beat and one of the catchiest hooks I've ever heard. saoirse dream's complete nonchalance on this track (you can actually hear her start corpsing halfway through her verse) feels like a welcome break from the melodrama that sometimes surrounds the scene, a reminder that just having fun with music is important, and that it really doesn't matter at the end of the day so long as it's something you enjoy.

– Canary Autumn

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