Each week on the FACT Singles Club, a selection of our writers work their way through the new music of the week gone by.

With the way individual tracks are now consumed, the idea of what constitutes a single has shifted dramatically in the last half a decade, and it’s for this reason that the songs reviewed across the next pages are a combination of 12″ vinyl releases, mixtape cuts, SoundCloud uploads and more. This week, YG, Happa, Gage, Adamn Killa and more.


Singles Club - Adamn Killa

Adamn Killa – ‘My Stance’

Aurora Mitchell: Rising Chicago rapper Adamn Killa delivers his husky flow over T.a.T.u-sampling production for one of the year’s most summer-suited rap cuts so far. (7)

Claire Lobenfeld: Chicago’s output has become increasingly kaleidoscopic and Adamn Killa’s lackadaisical take on drill is a welcome addition to the city’s vibrant rap output. While H!tkidd’s production is one of the most easily compelling pieces of this track, something about “Fuck you like I hate you” is going to stick with me for a long time. It is something so visceral, bizarrely romantic, embedded in something so unruffled. Killa’s dynamism is what keeps me coming back to his Back 2 Ballin’ and ‘Superstar’ is one of its best examples. (8)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Off the back of last year’s FACT-recommended Libra Season EP, Killa’s burbly croons and trademark “ehhdemmmnn” ad-lib have nestled their way into my heart. He’s at his best when he shows vulnerability (see the aforementioned EP’s ‘Attention’) but over H!tkidd’s drill-inspired drum patterns he’s showing off his considerable charisma and ability to weasel his drawl into your head. Listen to how the words “magic eraser” melt at the side of his mouth and have a hard time forgetting it for the rest for the day. (7)

Chris Kelly: Adamn Killa is to Chief Keef what Lil Yachty is to Makonnen, borrowing his inspiration’s weirder, introspective impulses and turning them into mumble-mouthed melodies. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but let’s give credit where credit is due. As far as ‘My Stance’ is concerned, Adamn Killa plays second fiddle to H!tkidd’s t.A.T.u.-sampling treat of a beat. (6)

Son Raw: Adamn Killa is at his best when he’s at his least hurried, if Chief Keef sounds stoned, Adamn’s practically catatonic, letting H!tkidd’s herculean bass rumbles do the heavy lifting here. Blink and you might miss how funny the hook is though: YOU don’t understand what THEY saying, Adamn? Well I’ve got $20 on Jay-Z launching his next album with a screed against mumble rap. (5)

6.6


Singles Club - Gage

Gage – ‘Talon’s Reach’

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Abrasive and minimal industrial jams for grime kids is definitely the wave – this only builds in intensity as it clanks along, with a focus that belies its force. (7)

Aurora Mitchell: Gage melds UK bass and apocalyptic club sounds into a wonderfully mechanic thumper. (8)

Chris Kelly: It’s been two years since ‘Telo’ burst out of our speakers and into our hearts, and Gage has only sharpened his talons (as it were) since then. While contemporary club music often embraces claustrophobia, there’s a sense of space here, and a vogueish energy that picks up where ‘Bad Bitch’ left off. (8)

Claire Lobenfeld: Bless Gage for constantly innovating his interpretation of how vogue-influenced dance music should be consumed. Yeah, yeah, this a grime instrumental, but it is so kinetic and challengingly danceable from a ballroom perspective and that is exactly what I love about Gage. Now, if only he would release an entire collection of tracks with Kevin JZ Prodigy… (7)

Son Raw: Gage has finally internalized the grit of techno to the grime of his drum patterns. That means his bass hits thud you across the head like a Ben Affleck film review instead of ‘boinging’ in bright colours like an Adam West sound effect, but the serious approach works: this will induce cold sweats in the club. (7.5)

7.6


Happa

Happa – ‘Blackberreh!’

Son Raw: Ace track title on this one, and it’ll blend into the Gage tune quite nicely. I was ready to write it off as a tool though, at least until that piano line saved it three minutes in – like a pill you thought was a dud but was just a creeper. (7)

Aurora Mitchell: Happa has always been about the grit and grain – taking the gnarliness of industrial and noise and shaping it into dancefloor stompers. This one takes a couple twists and turns though, with a beautiful piano loop breaking through before we’re taken headfirst back into obliterating depths. The gritty, euphoric track surprisingly sounds a lot closer to Livity Sound or Hessle Audio’s output than you might expect from Happa. (9)

Chris Kelly: I was prepared for six minutes of noisy-ass techno, but I was genuinely surprised when this one opened up in the second half, making the last minute stand out in relief. (7)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: A pinballing construction, effortlessly folding in on itself until it begins to resemble audio origami. There’s a lot of fun to be had in its peaks and jagged valleys. (8)

Claire Lobenfeld: Incredible club triptych that I kind of just wish would keep evolving forever. Happa is one of the most compelling young producers and I can’t wait to hear where he travels next. (8)

7.8


Singles Club - Amrit

Amrit – ‘Mouth’

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Hiccupping melodies with sex talk narrated in Kim Gordon’s ‘J.C.’ drawl – a headbob moment of curiosity but more an approximation of ideals than an successful song. Still, more of this please: seeing as people were shocked even when Missy told dudes to eat like vultures, Amrit shouldn’t have to think about double standards. And yet. (5)

Claire Lobenfeld: It is really some ol’ bullshit that eating pussy is still fucking taboo in 2016, but when you have places like Fusion publishing pieces like Against The Cult of Pussy Eaters and Broadly investigating men who won’t go downtown, someone still has to stand up for the cause. Amrit’s tongue-in-cheek rapping is especially meta cos, you know, tongue in cheek, and overall this cut has a pretty entrancing vibe. But good goddamn, this should not be a thing anymore! *turns on Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande’s ‘Get On Your Knees’ and plays it on repeat for eternity* (7)

Chris Kelly: Even though the flow on the verses doesn’t do anything for me, I’m all for the message, the lyrics, the hook, the slinky beat and the ‘Take My Breath Away’ bassline. (6)

Aurora Mitchell: Adding this to the list of great tracks that reference women getting eaten out. (7)

Son Raw: Shame that this is “taboo smashing” by virtue of advocating something as obvious as sexual reciprocity, but that’s not Amrit’s fault in the slightest and the tune is breezy. (6)

6.2


Singles Club - Odeko

Odeko – ‘The Yumato Spring’

Chris Kelly: Forget vinyl: release this as a limited edition music box. (9)

Son Raw: I love that Gobstopper have dived off the deep end with this one, with zero regard for their status as a “grime” label: at this point their ambient square wave leanings stand on their own, no ancestral genre ties required. That said, if we get a third vaguely Japanese sounding beatmaker of this ilk in 2016 alongside Odeko and Yamaneko, we’ll be required by music-press law to declare this a subgenre and give it a name. And as long as it’s not “grimebient” I’m OK with that. (8.5)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Slightly wonky mourning music to a first-generation Nintendo cartridge, with the pixellated technical wonder and simple surges of beauty that come with that era. We talk a lot about music indebted to nostalgia here at Singles Club, and while Odeko plays with nostalgia in ‘Yumato Spring’, he also aims for something beyond irony – tranquility. (8)

Aurora Mitchell: Gobstopper’s knack for emotional, after-hours grime is proven once again with this one from Odeko. It’s celestial ambient grime that soothes like a lullaby. You can hear that he’s taking cues from Oneohtrix Point Never in how pointed the piano melody is and that almost unnerving use of negative space. (8)

8.5


Singles Club - YG

YG – ‘FDT’ (ft. Nipsey Hussle)

Son Raw: The hook is “Fuck Donald Trump” over G-funk piano keys. What more do you want from a gangsta rap song – Schoolboy Q calling Ted Cruz the Zodiac Killer? (8)

Chris Kelly: There’s an argument to be made that the anger of Republican presidencies inspires better music, but that’s apparently not the case with GOP candidacies, no matter how batshit insane. Still, I do appreciate how a Blood and a Crip came together to relate the importance of… Mexicans. Thanks, Donald! (4)

Claire Lobenfeld: Rap has a long-standing fascination with Donald Trump, so it’s about time someone stepped up to offer a necessary current corrective for things like ‘Up Like Trump’ and so on. But I will take these viral kids from Baltimore’s ‘Fuck Trump Anthem’ well over YG’s iteration. While his intentions are good, it’s just not hitting the way one of his tracks usually does. And the whole “He gave us his reasons to be president”? Bruh, no he has not! Trump is literally just a flesh wound espousing hate rhetoric with nary a policy explained. “We’ll make a great deal” is not a reason to vote for someone. That said: more of this, please. Here for something about how Ted Cruz is just as terrifying, TBH. (5)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: YG’s switch over the past year away from the Mustard-hop that helped make My Krazy Life so essential – since the under-heralded trampoline-funk of ‘Twist My Fingaz’ – has been interesting, emphasizing not only an artistic growth but a shot of adrenaline to his persona. This comes together on ‘FDT’, a protest against a rich racist, that shows political rage (Mexicans helped build the USA) side-by-side with the expected street-hop attitude (the plug is Mexican too). (8)

Aurora Mitchell: [Jim Halpert from The Office look to the camera to anyone who says music isn’t political any more in 2016] Fuck Donald Trump. (8)

6.6


Final scores:

Odeko – ‘The Yumato Spring’ (8.5)
Happa – ‘Blackberreh!’ (7.8)
Gage – ‘Talons’ (7.6)
YG – ‘FDT’ (ft. Nipsey Hussle) (6.6)
Adamn Killa – ‘My Stance’ (6.6)
Amrit – ‘Mouth’ (6.2)

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