Rebecca Binnendyk returning to the spotlight

Canada has been producing some really exciting talent this year, and among the brightest stars that I’ve had the pleasure of taking a look at lately is none other than Rebecca Binnendyk, the sultry singer/songwriter whose 2016 album, Some Fun Out Of Life, won the hearts of critics and fans across the country and beyond when it first debuted. 2019 sees Binnendyk returning to the spotlight once more with the release of her brand new single, the lovesick power ballad “Brick by Brick,” ahead of the long-awaited follow-up to her acclaimed greenhorn LP. I got the opportunity to give “Brick by Brick” a listen ahead of its premiere recently, and to say that I was impressed with what I heard would be putting it very mildly.

Every component of this track and its music video is used to stimulate the mood created by the harmony between Binnendyk and the foundational piano parts that are beneath her in the mix. From the crumbling bricks that we see on our screen to the supple recoiling of the percussion as the melodic wallop of the other instruments comes crashing through the silence during the chorus of the song, there’s nothing unnecessary or nonfunctional in this recording, and that’s not something that I can say about most of the pop singles that have landed on my desk this month. It’s obvious that some serious work went into making “Brick by Brick” the masterfully produced video (and tightly arranged title track of Binnendyk’s new album) that it is, and I’m not surprised in the least that it’s been garnering the critical praise that it has been this August.

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/7MvU9xjRcyE069OlqkODhs

If this song is a fair representation of what we can expect to hear out of Rebecca Binnendyk’s sophomore LP, then I can’t wait to get ahold of my own copy as soon as it comes out. “Brick by Brick” is overwhelmingly multifaceted, and though some listeners might find it to be a bit cerebral when juxtaposed beside the singles that have been gracing the top slots on the Billboard charts lately, I think that’s exactly what makes it such a uniquely fetching listen. Binnendyk’s got my attention, and I doubt that I’m the only music journalist saying as much right now.

Kim Muncie

Caracol releases “Flooded Field”

Caracol’s “Flooded Field” from the album Symbolism is the work of an engaged and top notch recording artist intent on providing listeners with a worthwhile listening experience and abundant entertainment alike. Caracol has enjoyed a career a little over a decade long and, rather than repeating herself with each successive release, This new single continues tilling much of the same fertile ground that has paid enormous dividends for her on previous releases, namely shaping her songs along electronic and quasi-reggae lines, but she is fearless recruiting artists far removed from her wheelhouse, like Detroit hip hop performer Illa J, to reinforce her efforts. These choices help keep her music fresh and moving forward and “Flooded Field” is no exception.

YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzxRAhBZhRY

Caracol’s vocals keep you involved from the first and never settle for the lowest common denominator. Instead, I am impressed from the first with how she navigates her way through the verses filling each one with an abundance of emotion without ever slipping into melodramatic filler. Instead, she takes a measured approach from the first and inhabits the lyric with the feeling of someone who has genuinely lived through these experiences rather than someone just trying to interpret another person’s words. Even Illa J’s rap vocal brings an added, if short, dimension to the performance.

The video for the track reflects the same contrasts inherent in the recording, but it is further distinguished by the high sheen finish present throughout each part of the video and how the footage reflects the same emotions present in the song through different means. The use of color and sharp editing help set the video for “Flooded Field” apart from similar efforts and raises the song’s profile without ever overshadowing it in any way. Much like with the song, Caracol obviously went into filming this video with a firm idea of what she wanted to visually convey and does an exceptional job.

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/05DVhqCl0NIyfyyCpqhXOF

Caracol’s “Flooded Field” is musically on point and the only real fault I can find with the track is how the admittedly fine lyrics could be fleshed out a little more with no visible drag on the song. Choosing this as a single is clear indication she regards the track as one of the finest entries on her latest album release Symbolism. Being unfamiliar with Caracol before hearing this song, I can say it impressed me a great deal and prompts me to further investigate her talents.

Ronnue’s Introduction 2 Retro-Funk

With a mild rattle at the center of its rhythmic swing, “Give in 2 Me” is easily one of the more seductive songs for us to behold on Ronnue’s Introduction 2 Retro-Funk, but it’s not the only sexy set of bass-driven beats in this tactful funk twelve-pack. The vintage “You Tried Me (The Man’s Anthem)” and “Do It (The Remix),” the latter of which features Roc Phizzle and Soultry stepping up to the microphone with Ronnue, are just as fun and devoid of the robotic frills that have come standard on records of this kind for far too long now. Introduction 2 Retro-Funk isn’t about trying to meld a bunch of different influences together or simply appealing to as many open wallets as possible – this is Ronnue’s message of funk, and it’s as far away from commercial classlessness as an LP can get.

Other than the humorous skit “Bathroom vs Studio” and intro track “Rated M.A.,” this record is nothing but content, which has become increasingly hard to come by in full-length R&B albums as the 2020s have neared. “I’m a Lesbian” doesn’t repeat the same verse to us over and over in some pseudo-cerebral swirl of textured vocals; it’s a real composition, with a beat, a melody and a heroic harmony that inspires as many slow dances on the dancefloor as it does in the bedroom. Other tracks like “17 Days (The Hood Mix)” employ heavy instrumentals in making an intrepid statement (and further demonstrating Ronnue’s matchless style of play).

NAPSTER: https://us.napster.com/artist/ronnue/album/introduction-2-retro-funk

While “17 Days (The Hood Mix)” has a stealthy grind, “In Love” is a little more liberal in its stylization and could absolutely make as strong a single as its predecessor in the tracklist, “Something About U (The Retro-Funk Mix),” does. “Something About U (The Retro-Funk Mix)” was my favorite song when I first got a copy of the Introduction 2 Retro-FunkLP, but as I’ve gotten more acclimated to the rhythmic framework of every track here, it’s difficult to give one song more critical favor over another. “Why” (featuring Figuz on guest vocals) is just as hooky and memorable, as is “Be Your Freak” and “If We Stayed 2gether,” the first charismatic tune that we find at the start of the album following “Rated M.A.”.

As an MC, a singer and a songwriter who has yet to slow down since first coming onto the scene nearly five years ago, Ronnue knows no equivalent in the local music culture that has raised him to be the strong sonic titan that he is today, and if we are to take his music in Introduction 2 Retro-Funk at face value, then I believe it is to be interpreted as a declaration of independence from the muted market that he has now grown too big to remain in. An artist of Ronnue’s pedigree doesn’t have to play along with the irreverent bickering of scene politics, but I don’t know the he’s looking to change the system in this LP. He’s making his own way in this world, which in itself deserves to be extolled by everyone who loves rock-hard funk.

Kim Muncie

The music of RONNUE has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Records. Learn more – https://musikandfilm.com

Ooberfuse’s “Call My Name”

Remixes, particularly when they’re boxed together in a single disc, allow for us to look at a song from a litany of different angles, but the new extended play centering on ooberfuse’s “Call My Name” composition goes well beyond that. From the abrasive sounds of “The Noise” remix to the fundamentally simple “Hal St John Radio Edit,” each version of “Call My Name” gives us a unique insight into the musicality of this incredibly skilled British duo. Ooberfuse are delivering an electronic/indie pop hybrid for the ages here, and though I’m not typically one to go for this style of music, Call My Name is simply too captivating to be ignored.

The synth parts that we hear in the “Patrik Kambo Radio Edit” aren’t all that different from the ones that we hear in the “Push The Frequency Festival Mix” in that they both utilize textured melodies to create a narrative for us. The lyrics are the same in both versions – though the vocal serenading us with them is a lot more pronounced in Kambo’s cut than it is in the festival mix – but that said, they’re never the main focus here. In essence, it’s all about the instrumental prowess in these two mixes, with everything cosmetic element in the tracks taking a backseat to the grooves themselves.

In Call My Name’s “Paul Kennedy Radio Edit” the synthesizers, percussion and bassline are stoic, colorless and totally blinding in a couple of crucial moments, but despite the dreary backdrop, the consistent crooning of our singer warms up the atmosphere just enough to make it a palatable listen. It’s a rather interesting choice for ooberfuse’s new music video, but I suppose that the contrast in tonality gels with the visual concept better than, say, the passionately dark “The Noise” would have. While I can admit that I don’t completely understand the method to their madness, there’s no debating whether or not this pair clearly know what they’re doing both in and out of the studio.

YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNJbwJmKH6k

Hal St John’s mix is the most straightforward of this bunch, but it’s doesn’t play out like a boring radio version of an urbane experimental track at all. On the contrary, the “Hal St John Radio Edit” replaces the crushing blows of the synths with rollicking guitar rhythms and a string melody that complements the vocal in a way that an augmented harmony never could. This is my favorite version of “Call My Name” by far, and it’s reason enough to pick up this awesome mixtape this July.

Call My Name was tailor made for hardcore electronica connoisseurs, but there’s no reason why occasional pop fans shouldn’t also be able to dig its intriguingly experimental foundation, which is derived as much from alternative rock, indie pop and post-punk as it is EDM, house and modern club music. Littered with more sonic sundries than one would expect to find in a five track, sixteen minute long extended play out of the European underground, ooberfuse’s latest record is a lovely listen this summer, and a noteworthy step forward for a duo that has already done so much to impress both critics and fans in the last few years.

Kim Muncie

Nicholas Altobelli delivers an eclectic collection of alternative Americana

In his latest album, the long-awaited Vertigo, Nicholas Altobelli delivers an eclectic collection of alternative Americana via songs like the brilliant “Runaway Trains,” “Red, White, And Blues,” and “Don’t Let the World Get You Down” whilst redefining his artistry with an experimental aesthetic that just wasn’t present in previous offerings bearing his moniker. Altobelli pulls out all of the creative stops to make Vertigo as unflinchingly honest and endearingly melodic as possible, and though it’s definitely got the look and feel of a basement tapes compilation piece, that could be the biggest reason as to why it stings with as much emotionality as it does.

The opening riff in “Runaway Trains” (which we find in a more surreal setting later on in “Trains”), as well as the string arrangements of “Midnight Songs,” “Tell Me What I Got to Do” and “Go to Sleep” provide an unparalleled foundation for every verse that Altobelli sings, and though his words are quite communicative in their own right, the guitar parts in this album are often just as evocative an element. “Look out the Window” features a chilling acoustic melody that, while not quite as bold and flowing as what we hear in “Everybody Knows the Truth” is, significantly adds to the cinematic feel of the LP’s second act, but the same could easily be said for many of its neighbors in the tracklist as well.

BANDCAMP: https://nicholasaltobelli.bandcamp.com/

“Don’t Let the World Get You Down,” “Look out the Window” and “Go to Sleep” have a really vulnerable lyricism as their primary linchpin, and I think that they show us a side of Nicholas Altobelli that he’s been rather reticent to share with us in the past. You can tell that he’s being completely genuine with us in these tracks, and to some degree, he sounds a little more relaxed and at peace in all of the aforementioned songs than he did in anything on 2015’s Searching Through That Minor Key.

This mix is really well-polished, but there’s never an instance where it sacrifices the raw emotion in Altobelli’s performance in order to live up to some artificially-modeled pop pedigree. Though he’s definitely maturing as a songwriter, and thus adapting his style to suit the direction that he’s going in, I don’t get the impression that this artist is looking to sell out anytime soon on Vertigo; on the contrary, it would seem to me that he’s more committed to the concept of originality now than he ever was before.

Despite spending some time away from the recording studio, Nicholas Altobelli sounds as sharp as any of the stars making headlines in 2019 have been, and I think that Vertigo may well be the most well-rounded album to see widespread release so far in his career. He’s demonstrating a lot of growth in its tracklist, and if he can continue to cultivate his difficult to categorize sound with the same kind of personal touch that he has in tracks like “Thunderstorms” and “Red, White, And Blues,” then I haven’t any doubt in my mind as to whether or not he’s going to continue being one of the most revered singer/songwriters in his scene.

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/naltobelli

Kim Muncie

Gravity and Friction (LP) by King Ropes

Plunging percussive thrusts are joined by a gush of distorted melodies in “Butterfly Joint,” one of the eight songs comprising King Ropes’ exquisite sophomore album, Gravity and Friction. In “Butterfly Joint,” and really all seven of the tracks that it’s accompanied by on Gravity and Friction, a mind-bendingly surreal soundscape is utilized as a forceful canvas atop which the band can colorize the otherwise simplistic beats. The music is unrepentantly experimental, but despite its grizzly finish (and, more often than not, angular complexities), I think that rockers aren’t likely to find anything as authentic as they will in this stellar new LP.

“California Stars,” the title track and “Brown” possess a dirty, almost blues-rock style grit that’s melded with the atmospheric textures in the bass parts beautifully, while in other songs like the cerebral “Mouth Full of Bees,” King Ropes get so lost in the hypnotic nature of their harmonies that it’s hard to tell whether they were recording a pre-rehearsed composition or simply a flat-out jam session. In either case, I can’t say I’ve heard a record with quite as many unrefined attributes that still managed to remain palatable and, on occasion, even a little bit pop-friendly (the album-closer “These Days”).

The lyrics in Gravity and Friction are pretty enigmatic from song to song, but they’re never so absorbed in provocative poeticisms that we lose sight of the central narrative in tracks like “Giacomo’s Assistant,” “Saint Peter” and the brilliant “Brown.” The first time that I sat down with this tracklist, it actually reminded me of early 2000’s fringe alternative rock, but at this point I would term its sound as being much more eclectic and left-field than anything that era’s mainstream produced. King Ropes aren’t repeating history here, but instead drawing inspiration from the unfinished experimentations of their predecessors.

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/6rViSQ35f1JpoFb7NkWFif

I absolutely love the guitar tones in “California Stars,” “Butterfly Joint,” the title track and the fiercely balladic “Giacomo’s Assistant,” and I found their warmth to be remarkably refreshing to hear in 2019. So many of rock n’ roll’s most reliable beat-makers have been moving away from the visceral intensity of the genre’s past in favor of embracing something more augmented and aligned with the advent of modern technology, but King Ropes are doing the exact opposite here; they’re using contemporary recording techniques to maximize the effect that their ripping sound can have on listeners, and sounding incredibly inventive in doing so.

True blue rock fans can’t go wrong with King Ropes’ Gravity and Friction, and I think that this album absolutely has the potential to break the band’s music into the mainstream once and for all. This record is a tremendously creative effort that doesn’t remind me of anything else I’ve heard this year, and though their debut LP – 2017’s Dirt – was definitely one of the best records of its kind to see release two years ago, its substance pales in comparison to that of this stunning piece. King Ropes mean serious business with Gravity and Friction, and anyone who doubted their legitimacy is in for quite the wakeup call in its eight intriguing songs.

Kim Muncie

Kendra And The Bunnies and becoming the VOICE you wish to hear on the wind…

Tell us about being a musician in Los Angeles.

Being a part of the creative music scene in Los Angeles is cool. There is a network of us indie musicians that gravitate towards each other in different areas of town. I’ve got my singer-songwriter clan in the Valley, the rock ’n rollers in Hollywood, my EDM & hip-hop crew in K-town, and the chill surfers down in Venice. We all work together to make events happen, support each other during album releases, and press our homies to stretch further for themselves. A good friend of mine who is a producer and sound engineer just finished a festival-house remix of my song, “Sucré Mon Cherí”. He goes by cnotebythelayer. Look for that release on Spotify and in a club near you soon. 

Please explain your creative process.

The creative process right now for me begins with the element of fire. I light the red candle by my desk that I painted the words, “Productive Creativity” on to; I then light some incense. Right now, I am working with Jasmine. Jasmine opens the heart to success in dreams and prosperity. From there, I grapple with whichever aspect of my creative self is pining for expression. Last night, I wrote a few pages for the novel-memoir that I am currently writing. It is titled, “Friend of the Level”. It is my third book. 

What drew you into the music industry?

All the greats. All the characters that spoke to my soul. A big spirit I look up to is Jerry Garcia. He has such a sunny disposition grated with knowing a dark before the dawn. Today is his birthday, July 1. I like looking up to role models that are clearly unique in who they are day in and day out. When I listen to an artist, I want to hear where their soul is singing from. I may hear traces of what legends influenced them, connect the dots, and know where to look next for sonic guidance. 

If you could have your fans remember only one thing about you, what would it be and why?

Cool question. If I could have listeners remember one thing about me, it would be that I care. I compassionately look at life with eyes of grateful service. How can I influence the person next to me, positively? I ask myself how my actions, creations, and offerings are effecting others. I think through everything. What did I mean by that glance to that stranger? What does that mean about my current state of being? How can I compassionately work towards portraying a joyful spirit on a blessed planet? I would like this to be embedded in my lyrical composition. I ultimately want to be remembered for my poetical phrasing. Kind heart, stellar penmanship. 

What is the overall message you want to deliver to your fans?

My overall message plays into my answer previously mentioned. Every one of our actions, even thoughts, create a ripple effect in our environment. When we think of our own character on a grander scale, we become more than an actor in our current scene, we become an agent for positive change in the universe. Who are you? What would you like to bring to the table? How can you adjust to align with where you would like to go? “Be the voice you wish to hear on the wind… Listen.”

Tell us about the NEW MUSIC & New Videos!

I would love to! My first album, “of Vinyl”, debuted on July 5, 2019. This album is about the psychic inner-heartlands of love. Following this is the current EP I am recording. It is titled, “of Always”. It is an ode to my muse in the moon, expressing love, gratitude, and explanation that I will always be my best for them. Following that is my second full-length album that has already been written. That is titled, “of Thank You”. It is a call from the native healer within to take a look at where we are going as a socio-ecological, politically charged society. On the same basis, my first music video was released on July 20, 2019. It is an aestheticly pleasing nature-filled landscape design for my song, “World Peace a Thing”. In this video, I dance my healing dance. It is beauty. 

Please list all links you would like us to share with our readers.

If you want to get to know more about me & stay in touch with my upcoming albums, books, & other projects,

I recommend following me on Instagram. I am @Kenbunny (https://www.instagram.com/kenbunny). Also, My website has all relevant information, show dates, and offerings:https://kendraelisabethmuecke.com

To watch the “World Peace a Thing” music video and other performances of mine, you can visit my youtube channel here: http://youtube.com/user/thepoliticsofkendra

My debut album, “of Vinyl” is streaming on all platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, SoundCloud & more.

You can find links to each platform here: https://songwhip.com/artist/kendra-and-the-bunnies

If you’d like to support the recording of my upcoming EP, check out the books and albums I currently have for purchase at

Thank you!  

Thank you so much for having me!

You Know by Jaco is built around stylishly heavy tracks

Though its sway can be, at times, both nauseating and cerebrally entrancing, Jaco’s “Say Goodbye” is nonetheless one of the most evocative tracks that you’ll encounter in the debut solo affair from the noted Birmingham scene stalwart, You Know. Released this past July 19th to critical acclaim, You Know is built around stylishly heavy tracks like “Say Goodbye,” the crushing “Shoe” and monolithic “For Myself,” all three of which contain as many pop facets as they do dreamy, seemingly double-amplified rock riffage, and while some songs – like “Shoe,” for example – owe more to fuzzy proto alternative heroes like Dinosaur Jr. than they do anything contemporary, there’s scarcely a moment in this album where Jaco comes across as anything but a modern musical magician. “For Myself” sees him fusing elements of mind-bending psychedelia, jangle pop and ultra-heavy guitars into a cocktail that, ultimately, yields more melodicism than most any rock song I’ve listened to this summer has. There’s a lot for us to unpack in this LP, but one consistency that I found throughout the whole of its tracklist is undying emotion, which in my opinion is something that has been wholly absent from the pop music lexicon in 2019.

URL: https://www.jacosongs.com/

Chugging guitars and a bushy bassline form the perfect foundation for Jaco to unleash some intoxicating vocal harmonies in “Blackboard,” and much like “Your Way” (a song that instantly recalled an Uncle Anesthesia-era Screaming Trees when I heard it for the first time), it uses a glowing hook to trap us in its spell amidst a backdrop of sheer chaos and electrified discord. “I Don’t Mind” is probably my favorite track from the first half of You Know (although the streamlined “Lavabo” definitely gives it a run for its money), but not because of its fiery riffs alone. Even when Jaco is riding an understated rhythm into a brick wall of feedback and distortion, he’s utilizing the fabric of the instrumentation as a canvas atop which to paint a lyrical showcase with his pointed variety of punky alternative poetry. He’s a really masterful songwriter, and for the first time in his career, I think we’re getting to see what he can do when there’s nothing to hold him back in the studio.

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0hyT7mn2IAnvOxRllI1sPc

More grinding guitars await us in the somewhat relaxed “Reservoir,” but they’re not nearly as excitement-inducing as what we find in the distinctive closing numbers “Again” and “All Your Love,” which despite being a little formulaic on the surface, are still two of the more solid compositions on this album. “On the Ground” is the only song that didn’t really affect me on You Know, but even though I felt like it comes up short in terms of substance in comparison to the other material here, it doesn’t even come close to qualifying as throwaway filler. All in all, Jaco hits a homerun with his first solo LP, which I can confirm as being quite the worthwhile listen this season. He’s still got some room for improvement in the future, but I’m looking forward to seeing where he goes with this sound next.

Kim Muncie

Chris Douglas welcomes us into his incredible new single

With a fierce gallop of the drums, Chris Douglas welcomes us into his incredible new single “Ain’t Getting Any Younger,” the juggernaut debut release from one of the season’s most discussed young songwriters. Right off the bat, we’re hypnotized by the chic stylization of the percussion, the marvelously melodic crooning of Douglas, and the fiery tonality of the guitars, which have a much sportier, hard rock-inspired depth than what I would have expected to find in a newly-minted Nashville track. We’re carried away by the gargantuan grooves, which don’t waste a stich of sonic space as they plow through the stoic silence from which the song first came stampeding into head-first. There’s nothing in the master mix to come between Douglas and his adoring audience, most of whom will likely agree with me when I say that his brand of country/rock rhythm isn’t just among the hottest vibes of the summer thus far; it’s possibly the most exciting new swing not bearing an alternative labeling to see release all year long.

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/5EsOQJiNbqw81mdU3uBOoQ?si=wT-LV9l7TtOUkh3fn7A-Hg

Nashville has grown indefensibly stagnant due to a lack of youthful external influences, but that isn’t an issue for Mr. Douglas in this track. If anything, he embraces the experimental side of songwriting more than most any of his peers east of the Mississippi have in a great deal of time; there’s no getting around the rock-themed construction of the main hook in this song, nor can we try and describe the guitar as anything other than a powerhouse, arena-style riff distributer. Douglas doesn’t stop at amplified overdrive though; there’s a bit of a conventional pop aesthetic incorporated into the way that he delivers the lead vocal to us, and though it’s hardly a product of the so-called Americana revival movement, there’s also a touch of folkie humbleness to his prose that really makes the lyrics feel all the more relatable and anti-commercial in nature. Even in the few moments where he’s wearing his influences on his sleeve, he’s never recycling anything that we’ve heard in past hits from either side of the dial. Chris Douglas is a true original, and that’s one thing that I think every critic checking out his debut is going to unanimously agree on.

Personally, I’m very excited to hear more music cut from the same cloth that “Ain’t Getting Any Younger” was in Douglas’ 2020 extended play of the same title, and once you give it a spin for yourself, I’ve got a feeling that you’re going to be inclined to feel the same way. His energetic style of attack alone makes this song quite the worthwhile acquisition for diehard country music enthusiasts, and even if the genre isn’t your very favorite, I would still recommend taking a listen just the same. Songwriters with the attitude and charisma that Chris Douglas has come around only every once in a great while, and although there’s a case to be made that he’s got a lot more talent than most of the first-timers that make their way to my desk throughout the whole of the year, his is a sound that is difficult for even the most discriminating of audiophiles to decry as inauthentic.

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/thechrisdouglas

Kim Muncie

Ronin releases debut “Chemical Smiles” (single)

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/5EA6FSQuQ489bOrdCvJRSN

Silence. And then, out of nowhere, we’re smacked in the gut by the first in a tizzy of boldly arranged beats. The bass and the percussion are fused together in “Chemical Smiles,” the new single from Ronin, and they’re likely to leave anyone and anything that gets in their path humbled (and hobbled) by their devastating thunder. “Chemical Smiles” is a song that can be described as a sonic juggernaut which is just melodic enough to win over the mainstream pop crowd, and it’s a uniquely physical offering in a season that has been underwhelming to say the least. Ronin isn’t pulling any punches in the raucous, rock n’ roll-influenced rhythm that comprise his debut studio cut, and something tells me that this is only a taste of what’s to come from his camp as the decade winds down.

The tension in this track is generated solely by the bassline, but I wouldn’t say that “Chemical Smiles” is lacking in elaborate stylization. There’s a ton of textures to the synth parts, as fleeting in presence as they are, and the vocal is riddled with an emotiveness that has become all too hard to come by in electronic pop lately. Unlike the bulk of his contemporaries, he doesn’t bask in the surrealism of an atmospheric melody here; in fact, quite the contrary indeed. Everything in “Chemical Smiles” is built to make a big impression, and even at moderate volumes, its bottom-end was designed to quake the floorboards and induce chills on-demand.

Although the bass is, in my opinion, the biggest star in “Chemical Smiles,” the vocal track packs plenty of wallop as well. The melodic facets in Ronin’s delivery of the chorus are balanced out by his carefree, uncompromisingly abrasive approach to the verses that lead us into it. You could make the argument that the master mix is so tightly arranged that it doesn’t leave much room for the melodic verses to spread out, but I think that was Ronin’s intent all along. I get the feeling that he wants us to be on the edge of our seats here; with his audience as tense as possible, we’re vulnerable to his fierce lyrical lashings in all of their relentless, neo-noir grandiosity. It’s conceptual for sure, but not overly intellectual at all.

Smooth, darkly seductive and thoroughly addictive – “Chemical Smiles” is a smash if I’ve heard one this season, and I hope to sample from more tracks of its supreme quality in the future. Ronin isn’t an artist that I had any knowledge of before getting a copy of this single recently, but I think that he shows a lot of untapped potential in this track that, if properly exploited, could bring him a lot of fame and financial gain with both electronica and pop aficionados alike. There’s a couple of rough edges here and there, but by and large, I think that his 2019 debut is a solid offering from a songwriter who has the chops to satisfy a diverse group of fans with this melting pot of melodies.

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/stories/himtheronin/

Kim Muncie