Page 6 of 8

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 its for this reason that the songs reviewed across the next pages are a combination of 12″ vinyl releases, mixtape cuts, Soundcloud uploads and more. Up this week: Gqom from Menchess, Kaytranada teaming up with Freddie Gibbs, Carly Rae Jepsen and more.

Freddie Gibbs & Kaytranada – ‘My Dope House’

Son Raw: Gibbs is top five spitting right now, but this doesn’t play to his strengths. The millennial Pac flow is in full effect but the beat is too airy and the chorus drains his words of any gravitas – if you’re going to pair him with a synth lead, go for ‘Dope Man’ not Drive. (4)

William Skar: Gibbs acquits himself well, but everything about Kaytranada’s beat screams ‘demo’ – decent ideas are only half-developed, and those MIDI presets sound like they were made on Back Of An Envelope Pro X. (6)

Chris Kelly: For years now, Freddie Gibbs has confidently and competently delivered ’90s-flavored gangsta rap… far too often without memorable hooks that would make his tracks more than simply technically proficient. Kudos to Kaytranada, then, for getting him to sing the hook over those synth chords on this one. Plus, it’s great to see Kaytranada deliver something other than Dilla-meets-Disclosure Brownswood bait. (7)

Brad Stabler: I don’t know who thought this would work. Gibbs’ vocal sounds like it’s from a cut that would’ve never had seen the light of day to begin with, stolen without permission and put onto an incredibly subpar Soundcloud remix. Kaytranada is a producer who’s always been merely adequate on his own – I still to this day have no idea how he got to be so popular – but his beat doesn’t bring out anything worth a mention and it only serves to make Gibbs look bad. For a guy who did Pinata and Pronto, this is the wrong look to wear. (2)

Claire Lobenfeld: Under different circumstances, this would be an automatic 10 for Freddie Gibbs (with a few extra bonus points for neck tattoos, how he looks in a leather jacket and general no fucks given ever). This Kaytranada beat doesn’t do much for me and I can’t help but wonder what this would sound like if Gibbs was floating over something made by Burn One or Statik Selektah instead. Call me when there’s a remix. (2)


Valet – ‘Nature’

Claire Lobenfeld: Not a huge attention grabber, but well-crafted enough. If you’re going to continue the shoegaze revival, keeping it low-key like this is a good look. (7)

Son Raw: As open and expansive as a field on a sunny day, even if those guitars sounds ripped straight out of 1991. I want to clean my house, have sex and develop an opiate addiction to this, all at the same time. (6)

William Skar: Strident and guileless songwriting, wrapped in cotton wool and trussed with fairylights. (8)

Brad Stabler: This isn’t going to win any points for originality, but for someone who’s got Lush and Slowdive records ingrained into their DNA, I can’t help but get down with this. Bonus points go towards the fact that this track made me browse earlier records. (8)


Menchess – ‘Mitsubishi Song’

Brad Stabler: I don’t take my 10 back for Nozinja last week, but this almost makes me wish I held out: this tune is making me run for anything that comes out of South Africa this year. Gqom is still a total mystery as far as where it’s going to head, but as of now it sounds like it’s picking up where UK Funky left off and adding all the darkness and reverb from Scientist’s ashtray that Funky never knew it needed. Breezes past far quicker than its cavernous six minutes lets on. Who the hell are Menchess and when can they take my money? (9)

Chris Kelly: The fact that it’s 2015 and we’re still discovering musical subgenres from around the globe is a happy accident of the-world-is-flat globalization. That Goon Club Allstars are releasing Gqom music without a hint of Diplodian fetishization is a bonus, because this shit bangs as it finds grime’s menace through house grooves. (9)

William Skar: Serviceable but unremarkable riddim. If this is Gqom’s ’Township Funk’, then I’m not sure the scene is quite ready for ‘Spotlight On…’ status just yet. (6)

Claire Lobenfeld: YEP! YEP! YEP! OK, which one of you goons here can write a primer on the array of South African electronic music? Between this dank, birdy-laden track and the Nozinja cut from last week, I need to know who else besides Spoek Mathambo and Dirty Paraffin (both of whom I love) are making the country dance. Rudeboyz have crafted something here that may actually make me snap my neck. Bang, it does. (9)

Son Raw: I’m wary of the hype cycle surrounding every house mutation that catches the ear of an internet tastemaker, but this KNOCKS. The droning bass line, broken rhythms and the straight-outta-fruity production are refreshingly irreverent and even the cheeky track titles are a welcome reprieve from the polished blandness of middle-stream dance music. Goon Club Allstars have yet to release a record that’s anything less than essential, for those keeping score. (10)


Adrian Younge – ‘Memories of War’ (ft. Laetitia Sadier)

William Skar: Sadier Sings Giallo is an amazing shout on paper, but ‘Memories of War’ is too plodding and po-faced to do justice to the elevator pitch. (6)

Brad Stabler: You know there’s no chance of reliving past glories when your very hash tag is #stereolab. The emperor’s out of ketchup. (2)

Claire Lobenfeld: Laetitia Sadier is a little too heavy and Euro-mechanical for such a lithe track. When you’re serving garage-y Misery is a Butterfly vibes, you have to go with something a little bit more ghostly. The music is gorgeous, but the only time the vocals really work are the softer backing “whoa-oh-whoa”s. Give me a little bit more of that. (6)

Son Raw: I’m ideologically opposed to endlessly recreating vintage musical aesthetics, but Laetitia Sadier is making it impossible for me to stick to my convictions. Sure this is as safe as a psych-pop/trip-hop song gets, but the drums knock and the vocals soar. You win this round retromaniacs. (7)


Carly Rae Jepsen – ‘All That’ (ft. Dev Hynes)

Chris Kelly: Carly Rae Jepsen is the latest singer-songwriter to jump in Dev Hynes’ time machine, following Solange and Sky Ferreira into ’80s-flavored pop transcendence. Not another ‘Call Me Maybe’ (as if that’s even possible), but that bridge is worth its weight in gold lamé. (6)

William Skar: This is getting massively bigged up in some quarters, but all I’m hearing is a tactless grab for some Jessie Ware dollar – a pastiche of a pastiche, and, despite its sheen and twinkle, all but redundant. (5)

Son Raw: I feel like I’m stuck on hold waiting for customer service already. (3)

Brad Stabler: As far as re-brandings go, this is the very last turn Jepsen could’ve taken. It gets points for that – and for not being a full-on technicolor seizure like ‘Call Me Maybe’ – but that’s about it. There’s about a billion vaporwave producers and session musicians from a few decades now that have made slow jams more engaging than this, and whatever good Jepsen’s verses bring to the table are undone by that chorus, which arrives like it slept in and missed the song it’s supposed to be on. Reboots are healthy, necessary even, but not when they come with a bottle of aural Xanax. (4)

Claire Lobenfeld: I really waffle with Dev Hynes. He was two out of two for me with Solange’s ‘Losing You’ and ‘Everything’s Embarrassing’ for Sky Ferreira, but this just puts me to sleep. His ’80s, slow dance at the John Hughes prom style as Blood Orange can be lit on St. Elmo’s Fire for all I care, but all it does it drag. Same goes for this Carly cut, which is disappointing because she has such a penchant for the ebullient. I really, really, really, really, really, really like ‘I Really Like You’ but this? Not so much. (2)


Mick Jenkins – ‘Alchemy’ (prod. Lee Bannon)

Claire Lobenfeld: This knocks so hard, I don’t know what to say other than ‘run it back’. If this is what’s going on in Chicago, then I’m really glad I’m moving there. (9)

Chris Kelly: With The Water[s], Mick Jenkins proved that he has a lot to say; on ‘Alchemy’, it’s clear that he’s not done talking. Jenkins’ dense, poetic lyrics evoke Kendrick’s Butterfly as he paints vivid pictures and confronts critics that think The Water[s] relied too heavily on its main metaphor (ahem). But between his words and the lush production work by Lee Bannon and ThemPeoples, the first glimpse of Wave[s] is a heavy one. (8)

Brad Stabler: Speaking of Freddie Gibbs, this sounds like Pronto. Have you listened to Pronto? It’s pretty fantastic. Have you also listened to 56 Nights? You better have, it’s one of Future’s best to date, simply because the best kind of Future is a sad Future. No one likes a happy rapper. Oh wait, we’re talking about Mick Jenkins and Lee Bannon? I couldn’t tell, because this plays to neither’s strengths (of which there are many) and makes me want to go back to Gibbs and ‘March Madness’. Better luck next time, guys. (4)

William Skar: A few more quirks, some proper mastering, and a dash of ol’ fashioned righteous anger – and that Kaytranada track could have sounded like this. (7)

Son Raw: A beat that expansive and a rack filled with vocal effects usually covers up a poor performance but Mick Jenkins’ voice cuts through the space and gated synths like soft cheese. Lee Bannon’s gradually finding ways to merge his electronic and rap ambitions as well, and Jenkins is the perfect emcee to challenge him. Can’t front on the message either: it’s important to hydrate. (8)


Final scores:

Rudeboyz – ‘Mitsubishi’ (8.6)
Valet – ‘Nature’ (7.3)
Mick Jenkins – ‘Alchemy’ (prod. Lee Bannon) (7.2)
Adrian Younge – ‘Memories of War’ (ft. Laetitia Sadier) (5.3)
Freddie Gibbs & Kaytranada – ‘My Dope House’ (4.2)
Carly Rae Jepsen – ‘All That’ (ft. Dev Hynes) (4)

Page 6 of 8
Latest Stories

Latest Stories

Share Tweet

Our privacy policy has changed - please go here to update your preferences.

Privacy Policy