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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: Animal Collective, ANOHNI, Glassjaw and more.

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ANOHNI – ‘4 Degrees’

Claire Lobenfeld: I’ve never been a fan of hers, but there is a very specific feel of triumph in this track that is undeniable. But also is this trap? Will there be a Jeezy remix? I’d be into that, too. (6)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: My first exposure to Antony Hegarty was on Björk’s sublime ‘Dull Flame of Desire’, where she dueled with the Icelandic visionary with romantic paeans, brass bands egging on their trysts, a steady drumbeat from Brian Chippendale pushing the battle upward. Here, HudMo and Oneohtrix’s brass blasts explicitly recall that song but there is no romance here, just scorched earth – we’re talking ‘R U Ready’ intensity.

Hegarty details the slow death of animals, echoing the World Food Programme’s recent estimation of a 4C rise in temperature turning into a disaster for much of our world. It’s a savvy decision, as human beings usually freak out hard over the use of animals to describe a global threat, and the lyrics attack that gentle nerve voraciously. (Apart from a few jarring moments: “mam-mals” was never going to sound good whatever way it was sung.) Whether or not we listen is up to how you hear the song; in the wrong mood, this becomes an ironic hymn to misanthropy. And hell, it even works like that too. (8)

Tayyab Amin: There’s a fascinating duality present in this song. As ANOHNI frames humanity’s cavalier attitude of dominance through lyrics on the collaterals and very real implications of our ambition, she turns this reflection of ourselves into an adversary. It’s paired with production that could soundtrack an epic like Avatar, that moment of Columbus-esque ‘discovery’ of a waking new world. ANOHNI’s voice saves itself from drowning in the music to rising, towering above it all – the fact that it could inspire as much as it could ravage is what’s so terrifying. (8)

Son Raw: I didn’t bother with HudMo’s last record so this is my first time hearing this combination and it actually kind of works: the towering strings and horns are a perfect fit for Antony’s soaring vocals and ramped up emotion. This success is, of course, predicated on whether you’re interested in that sort of thing in the first place, but I can’t deny that they’ve succeeded in their aims. (6)

April Clare Welsh: An electronic, slow-burning chamber jam unravelling Antony’s environmental conscience with HudMo and OPN on hand for occasional rave flavours? Yes please! It’s such a perfect contrast of sounds and textures and, like ‘Indian Steps’, reminds me a little of something Arthur Russell might have cooked up. (8)


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Miss Red – ‘No Guns’

Tayyab Amin: This beat is proper naaarsty. The dip from acid crunch into knocking dub with malignant sweepers is devastating. Deftly flowing over this is pretty expected for Miss Red, but it’s the melody on that hook which brings all the elements in together – a perfect storm. (8)

April Clare Welsh: It’s weird to think that the woman MCing over The Bug’s hacksaw beats has spent two years with the IDF, but I guess that gives her more perspective and conviction in her message here? It’s cool how she’s released a mixtape literally called Murder, like she straight-updoesn’t fuck in what she’s trying to say, and obviously all the ideas swirling around here feel more profound right now as disgusting, pointless wars rage brutally in every corner of the world. BUT is she actually Yolandi from Die Antwoord? (8)

Son Raw: I so desperately want The Bug’s acid ragga concept to become “a thing” next year. This is heavy, funky, feminine, dark and more exciting than practically any current release slotted under the now-dreaded dubstep tag. There areso many different directions this could be pushed in by producers looking to explore the intersection of British darkness and Jamaican music. Whether that happens or not, Miss Red did it first and given her confident tone and fearless production choices, chances are she’ll be the one who does it best. (9)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Miss Red’s pacifist cooing makes for an admirable effort, especially when quoting one of dancehall’s digital cornerstones – itself a pacifist statement, because when Wayne Smith talked about sharing spliffs with his neighbours, it sure as hell wasn’t to mastermind warfare. However, the performance’s charms are wrapped within The Bug’s never-ending thesis on sapping the fun and sex out of some of the world’s most enjoyable and sensual music. It’s the new, heartless machine eating the quaint one of old: a metaphor so laboured I’m surprised Kevin Martin hasn’t built an entire album-slash-dissertation around it. (4)


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Animal Collective – ‘FloriDada’

April Clare Welsh:This begins with promise but descends into something akin to an acid casualty crashing a children’s birthday party. Quite painful. (4)

Son Raw: Every decade has its regrettable decisions. We look back at 80s haircuts and bust out hearty laughs, and it’s hard to understand how the world went along with nu-metal in the 90s. Animal Collective’s mid-aughts rise came at a time when art kids were still processing the idea of having access to everything online, and the incredible music that might lead to. Well, it’s been 10 years and the results are in: Beach Boys knock-offs for whoever thinks this kind of pomo wankery is still clever. I’d rather sport a mullet. (3)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: This is adorable in the sense that it reserves all its instincts to open a trap door into the regular AnCo moustache-bristling. Restraint, y’all! And there’s no subtle way to say this but it’s so hard to say ‘FloriDada’ is working as a pop song in the week that brought us the 2NE1 reunion good God watch that now right now why is AnCo even on. (5)

Tayyab Amin: This is some row-your-boat merrily hippy Mr. Blobby LSD wizardry and I won’t stand for it. They’re damn good at what they do though, no doubt. It’s the sound of everyone having a really great time when you’re not in the mood at all, and it becomes really grating and disproportionately cartoonish as a result. (5)

Claire Lobenfeld: Part of me feels this weird sense of empathy for Animal Collective because I do not know what it’s like to have the honor of being The Coolest and then have to keep that up. However, the turns they have continued to make post-Post have been unbearable. They were the coolest band, then they became ~The Coolest Band~ and now they are self-parody. But I don’t want to live in that world. I want the one where AnCo still make songs that make you swallow your tongue. This isn’t it. (1)


AJ Tracey – ‘Bare Girls’ (ft. Jammz)

April Clare Welsh: Musically, I feel like West London is often in competition with its limelight-hogging geographical counterparts, so it’s always good to hear something being blasted out from the area (of my birth). This is sharp, menacing and bouncy, but spiked with a lil cheekiness which is somehow quite endearing. “She clocked my face in the Guardian and now she’s smiling because I’m an in ting.” Maybe he’s a soothsayer or maybe he’s just cocky, but I hazard a guess that it could be the former… Let’s see. Nice whiff of something French at the end too. (8)

Tayyab Amin: Jammz came in and started dropping bars about 1080p dreams and trying to render like it was no big deal. I like this – no hook, they’re just spitting and that’s all they gotta keep doing for now. Both AJ Tracey and Jammz have put in work this year and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do in the next. (7)

Claire Lobenfeld: Do these guys need one of the La Croixs I’m drinking right now? They sound way too thirsty. (3)

Son Raw: First up, big up Jammz on the beat for bringing back Roll Deep’s digital accordions – underrated sound choice right there. Second, AJ named his EP after the fictional quarterback from Blue Mountain State – that’s an unorthodox choice in entertainment for a guy who’s clear about his trap bonafides, and I respect that. Finally, he calls himself a “light-skinned-a-saurus” here and if that isn’t worth the reload, well, we just don’t share a sense of humor. (8)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: This is terrific, a barrage of highfalutin cheek harkening to another generation altogether, bolstered by trippy production that throws both MCs chirpsing down a hall of echoes, topping it off with an accordion trip down a digital Seine. It even works ‘Lipsing Ting’ into a punchline without reminding us all of the trauma of living through ‘Lipsing Ting’, which is worth the final score alone. (8)


Glassjaw – ‘New White Extremity’

Son Raw: Feels like I just reached the final boss in a game and he just unleashed a 999 HP combo on my ass. I can’t really separate this stuff from very angry teenagers but hey, better they turn to this than Tumblr. (5)

Claire Lobenfeld: I am so mad at this comeback track because it has made me re-evaluate Glassjaw as a whole and, ugh, they were kinda trash. I did a lot of teenage making out to them and I think that might have been their only true value. But the last thing this song makes me wanna do is make out. Between that and it being a nostalgia killer, I am not even sure what do with this except acknowledge Daryl Palumbo still sounding great on vox. (4)

Tayyab Amin: At a stretch, yes, I would consider this for my wrestling entrance theme tune. Briefly. (2)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: I’m not going to be objective, I’m not going to be impartial: Glassjaw are my favourite band of all time. They are modern mystics, evolving from the most #problematic emotional bloodletting in hardcore into cryptic post-9/11 composers of confusion we didn’t know were needed but received regardless. Their last release, 2011’s Colouring Book EP, was a collection showing the band exploring their textural qualities rather than pushing ahead with sheer fury: bass throbs, snare echoes, staccato guitars.

‘New White Extremity’ swerves in a different direction, an angular, atonal throttle that unconventionally buries Daryl Palumbo deep in the mix, rendering his moshpit koans into echoes. Once the delayed hook kicks in, he rises above the deeply distorted low-end with a grasp on the world more touching than any obvious ‘mature’ artistic gesture: “I’m searching for a familiar face in my surroundings.” Our composers of confusion, for now and forever. (8)

April Clare Welsh: I thought they didn’t believe in albums anymore? Rage on… limply. (5)


Andrew Weatherall – ‘The Confidence Man’

Son Raw: We don’t neeed no educaaatioooon – wait, this isn’t a Pink Floyd tribute night? (6)

Claire Lobenfeld: Listen, I don’t want to insult history here, but this is what the Animal Collective cut should have sounded like. (3)

Tayyab Amin: Sprawling and psychedelic with a skulking bassline, there’s a lot of charm in this storytelling. It turns into a bit of a saga however, with not all that much happening. It sounds a little like when people overuse the sepia filter. (5)

April Clare Welsh: Those little cosmic bubbles kept me entertained for a bit but mainly this just sounds like a new Damon Albarn project. (5)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Your dad just got kicked out of the house and is living in a B&B but he’s got this wicked psychedelic band with his mates and just doesn’t give a FUCK. (3)


Final scores:

Miss Red – ‘No Guns’ (7.3)
ANOHNI – ‘4 Degrees’ (7.2)
AJ Tracey – ‘Bare Girls’ (ft. Jammz) (6.8)
Glassjaw – ‘New White Extremity’ (4.8)
Andrew Weatherall – ‘The Confidence Man’ (4.4)
Animal Collective – ‘FloriDada’ (3.6)

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