Caller ID: Track Roundup — May 2022

Welcome to Caller ID, Ringtone Mag's track review column! This month, we're celebrating releases by Miss Madeline, SOUND BANDIT, Alice Gas, BABii, Rina Sawayama, Thaiboy Digital, Your Angel, and Alice Longyu Gao.

Engine in the back featuring Kid Trash & Kuru by Alice Gas, Liite bt Babii, I’m Fresh by Thaiboy Digital

Lovesick” — Miss Madeline

Alright, yeah, so this is like the… 4th time I’ve written about Miss Madeline, but how could I not?! She has to be one of my favorite discoveries in a while that keeps experimenting on each subsequent single, with her EP Picture This to show for it released this past December. “Lovesick” is the latest foray into her glamorous sphere of pop harnessing a bouncy bass and bright, blaring sirens dotted along this jolt of a track. It’s a cute song and one that I feel takes the best parts of Miss Madeline’s previous work in a sample platter that’ll leave your heart in stitches begging for more.

— Dylan Robinson

new place / lizard” — SOUND BANDIT

I first found out about SOUND BANDIT back in February when Ringtone founder Amelia got me obsessed with Vylet Pony and the incredible world of brony fanmusic. In my search for similar artists on Bandcamp, I was shocked to see a producer from my local Madison scene in the digicore tag. SOUND BANDIT’s new track “new place / lizard” is the follow-up single to her stellar debut UNTITLED SOUND BANDIT PROJECT. The chopped up vocal breakdowns are reminiscent of how i’m feeling now era Charli as the plucky synth guides us to the song’s emotional beats. The build-up gradually becomes glitchier and the distorted 808s hit harder every bar, culminating in a cathartic outro that pairs nicely with the heartbreak themes throughout the lyrics.

The track leaves me oddly nostalgic for that 2018/2019 early hyperpop. Maybe I’ve been spending way too much time listening to maximalist Dariacore, but this track was a nice reminder of the tropes of the genre that led internet music to where it is right now. It makes me really happy that such talented producers like SOUND BANDIT are a part of the very small Madison scene, and I can’t wait to see what projects she’ll release next. Until then, I’ll listen to her many DJ Sets as I lament the fact that I won’t be able to attend the Whinny City Pony Convention to see her perform these songs live.

— Arthur Machado

ENGINE IN THE BACK” — Alice Gas, Kid Trash, kuru

On “ENGINE IN THE BACK,” Alice Gas and 909 Worldwide remain unabashedly determined to chart a course towards a world where Hardcore truly Never Dies. The track begins with a plinking piano and ominous synths, but quickly turns into the type of banger Alice and the collective are now iconic for. Collaborators Kid Trash and kuru round out the song, each bringing a unique style between playful hooks. Alice, both as a producer and songstress, has an ear for magnetic track elements — if you don’t believe me, listen to literally any of her releases. On “ENGINE IN THE BACK,” which was first performed in 2021, Alice proves her ability to keep something fresh and to always outdo herself. There's a reason she's your favorite DJ's favorite DJ.

— Allison Harris

LiiTE” — BABii

BABii is the instantly recognizable singer whose vocals have helped many tracks from the Gloo label soar in the past few years. Her breakout moment came in 2019 on a collaborative album with labelmates Iglooghost and Kai Whiston, where they struck a perfect balance between their various talents. BABii’s vocals are icy enough to belong in the record’s synthetic soundscapes, but she delivers a charming magnetism that elevates her angelic tones above the thick layers of electronic sound. BABii’s newest single “LiiTE” is sounding more like a true BABii song than ever before and could serve as a pivot point for her individuality as an artist. The song came accompanied by a music video that prominently features BABii herself, a rarity for artists on the Gloo label. And the track mirrors this, as it’s her vocals that dictate the structure of the track as it unfolds. Despite the change in intent, this song will have some familiar elements for Gloo fans as Iglooghost himself serves as producer. While there are familiar stammering drums and warbled synths on the track, it ditches a lot of the experimentalism of recent Iglooghost music in favor of setting up memorable verses and a reserved but infectious hook. It’s another wonderful meeting of minds that highlights exactly what makes each artist unique while giving BABii the platform to explore her sentimentalities as a pop star.

— Lav Alexandria

This Hell” — Rina Sawayama

As a huge fan of her work, time since Rina Sawayama’s 2020 release for her debut record and its associated album cycle has felt like an eternity, so… what better way to celebrate that than a song about the eternal — eternal damnation, that is. With her usual early 2000s edge and vocal stylings, Rina brings quite the literal fire to “This Hell” seen in its lyrical pointedness and chorus that makes roasting over the coals more fun than it appears.

There’s a heart to this song that, while the instrumental is nothing noteworthy (mainly because all her other songs are just that standout), shines through with its warming message about togetherness and allyship even when the world is burning around you and those in power would rather watch you turn to ash with it. Allusions to pop culture queens of old accompany the playful dynamics that fill in between verses, showcasing that Rina will forever hold pop by the throat in a grasp that I simply can’t escape from either.

— Dylan Robinson

I’m Fresh” — Thaiboy Digital

After two years of no solo material, Drain Gang’s legendary member drops the freshest track of the year with the highly anticipated “I’m Fresh.” Ever since Thaiboy first performed the track during their world tour, the drainersphere has been obsessed with the short goofy track. The song, produced by Whitearmor, features trademark Drain Gang earwormy lyrics on top of a UK drill beat. This beat leans heavy on the 808 slides and chopped hat triplets, characteristic of the genre — it’s no surprise fans were going crazy over the song during the tour.

However, the standout aspect of the song is how much Thaiboy’s carefree attitude carries over to the track. I was lucky enough to see the Swedish boy band in Chicago during the tour, and it was incredible to see how much stage presence the rapper had next to his counterparts Ecco2K and Bladee. Throughout every track in the show, Thaiboy was dancing, jumping around, and clearly just having a blast being there. “I’m Fresh” has this same high energy: it’s upbeat and silly, and he really needs you to know that he's fresh. The accompanying music video shows the Drainers goofing around in the parking lot and a quick shot of Thaiboy with a sombrero drinking a michelada — as a Latino Drainer, I honestly don’t know what else I’d want out of them. “I’m Fresh” is an extremely worthy comeback from the often underappreciated Drain Gang member, especially after the lukewarm Yung Lean collab “Starz2TheRainbow” released earlier in the year. If Thaiboy keeps up releasing bangers like this, he might as well get some more of my pesos (Jeff-Jeff Bezos).

— Arthur Machado

Go Getter” — Your Angel

This may not be to the usual zeal that Ringtone has traditionally covered, but in broadening our scope to the whole of internet music, I feel Your Angel fits like a glove. “Go Getter” is all things dazzling pop, with a melody as hypnotic as the synth fueling its ornate wall of sound. The mid-track breakdown blurs its layered tapestry to make way for Your Angel’s enchanting vocals that channel the best parts of Britney in an effort to reach all new heights of her own.

There’s a decidedly lo-fi tinge to the mixing, with the instrumental and vocal occupying a similar channel in that it all blends in this miasma of ambience which is striking considering the brisk length. Every aspect gets to breathe, capturing a sound I’m excited to hear more of in songs to come as a successor to her 2019 debut Pipe Dream. Which, given that this might be the first time you’re hearing of Your Angel, you need to do yourself a service and go back and listen to. Easily one of my favorite projects of the past couple years.

— Dylan Robinson

“DTM (Simlish Version)” — Alice Longyu Gao

In last year’s track “DTM,” Alice Longyu Gao sings “Music is just a video game.” This year, she’s taking that lyric to the next level — “DTM” is now officially a track in The Sims 4, sung in Simlish. This isn’t technically a new song, but I could not pass up the chance to review one of the first Simlish hyperpop tracks ever. In an interview with EA, Alice attested to her Simlish expertise: “It felt extremely natural for me to speak in Simlish because I’m usually in my bedroom talking to myself like that.” She’s right — just like on the original “DTM,” the song is bubbly and confident (as per Alice Longyu Gao standards). Simply put, this song just makes me want to say “Whippna choba dog!

— Amelia Zollner


Email ringtonemagazine@gmail.com to submit tracks for future editions of Caller ID!

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