Singles Club: ‘Win4’ is a win for Queens rap collective World’s Fair

FACT Singles Club features a panel of writers rating and slating the biggest new tracks of the last seven days.

World’s Fair may be named after a global event, but they are one of New York’s best kept secrets — even though they shouldn’t be. Five years after the release of their fiery debut Bastards of the Party, the Queens collective are gearing up to release their second Fool’s Gold full-length, New Lows, later this month. Its latest single ‘Win4’ had the Singles Club panel feeling tangible NYC energy, landing it high on this week’s ballot.

Elsewhere, Brainfeeder young gun Iglooghost delivered a mind-melter, How To Dress Well went long, we got a new tune from Anika project Exploded View and Cibo Matto legend Miho Hatori’s new endeavor New Optimism gave the panel hope for the future.

Iglooghost – ‘Niteracer’

Caroline Whiteley: The sound design is absolutely slick, there’s not a single chill moment in this tune. It’s not the kind of vibe I’d listen to on a regular basis but you just know it would be absolutely mind-bending in a live context. (7)

Cameron Cook: Just the other day I was in a bathroom and saw an Iglooghost sticker on the wall and thought, “I wonder when he’s going to drop some new music?” That, my friends, is called the Power of the Universe. This new track is proof that Neo Wax Bloom wasn’t just some hyped-up flash in the pan: it’s as dense and crazy as anything Iglooghost has done in the past, and even though I’m not 100% sure how his whole “mythology” of wacky characters fits into all this, I’m along for the ride. It also reminds me of a French Smurfs CD I had when I was a kid that included a rousing cover of ‘No Limit’ by 2 Unlimited. (8.5)

Jesse Bernard: The song really hits its apex a little more than halfway through making it perhaps one of the most mind-expanding beats I’ve heard. (6)

Michelle Lhooq: Underground music currents move fast, and the manic maximalism of Iglooghost’s scrambled trap/club — which sounded radical when he debuted a few years ago — now sounds a little…tired? I still appreciate this track’s hyper-detailed production, especially its speedfreak tempos and neon synths, but there aren’t many ideas here that we haven’t already heard before. (6.5)


How To Dress Well – ‘Vacant Boat (shred) | Non-Killing 1 | The Anteroom | False Skull 1’

Jesse Bernard: How To Dress Well taking a more “workshop” approach to his music has really worked out for the better. This experiment has resulted in a combination of sonically pleasing acts. (8)

Caroline Whiteley: The song unfolds like an epoch, shifting between contemplative moods and flat-out acidic rave moments. I quite enjoy tunes that take you on a journey like that: you can dance to it, but it also makes you feel all of the feels. (8)

Cameron Cook: Listen, I’ll admit it. I’m an (old) millennial and my attention span is shot to shit. I’ve never been the biggest HTDW fan, but on top of that, there just isn’t enough here to sustain my interest for 7+ minutes. I know I sound like a bore but cut it down to 3:30 and edit the vocals a little and I could get down. This just sounds… indulgent? (5)

Michelle Lhooq: Oh god everything about this track and video is trying SO HARD, from the seizure warning to the skull imagery, heavy metal fonts and sporadic subtitles making sure you don’t miss the poignancy of his lyrics. As the song progresses from soulful ballad to noisy breakdown, I couldn’t stop thinking that this whole thing reeks of sensitive white boy who discovered acid techno in 2017. (3)


New Optimism – ‘Jet Setters’

Cameron Cook: Oh, man. I want to give this a 10, I really do. Miho is legendary, Cibo Matto are everything, and ‘Sugar Water’ will be the first dance at my wedding as soon as someone is dumb enough to marry me. But this just isn’t that good! It has a lot of ideas (the helicopter sample at the beginning is so great!), but what made Cibo and a lot of Miho’s other solo stuff great is the subversion of “quirky” stereotype Japanese women get saddled with; the songs were more witty and more complex than people wanted to give them credit for. ‘Jet Setters’ is only an echo of that — it’s not bad, I just expected more from Miho’s big comeback. (6)

Michelle Lhooq: I am obsessed with this!!! Have genuinely never heard experimental pop crossed with Brasilo-beat and noisy synths like this. It’s like the track can barely contain the originality bursting out of every seam. Also, I fucking love that Miho’s new music is a response to the New Sincerity movement, aka the defining vibe of our generation. Can’t wait to hear more. (8.5)

Caroline Whiteley: This song is bonkers! I mean if you have a hook that literally goes “ayayayay”, the song is bound to get stuck in your head. Sound-wise this feels very much like 2018’s underground take on M.I.A’s ‘Paper Planes’, if slightly less memorable. (7.5)

Jesse Bernard: Hearing Miho’s voice break through all of the noise and flitter in and out highlights the vividness of the music. One of the reasons why ‘Jet Setters’ is so striking is how the fierceness of the production is calmed and tempered by the softness of Miho’s voice. (6)


Exploded View – ‘Raven Raven’

Cameron Cook: Sacred Bones is one of those labels where I’ll give anything they release at least a couple of spins. This track has a krautrock heaviness that could have easily been too droning and repetitive, but it’s just the right amount of woozy. I’d take an edible and go see this live, for sure. (7)

Jesse Bernard: I’m a sucker for the rhythm, no doubt, but anything that requires me to listen hard in order to make out what is being sung is already starting from the back foot. (5)

Michelle Lhooq: This is very “post-punk band jamming out in the desert on acid,” and Anika’s morose, glassy-eyed delivery creates a creeping sense of dread that pairs nicely with the psychedelic scuzz. Feel like this song would best unfold on a cold night under the stars, instead of over my laptop headphones on a sunny afternoon. (7)

Caroline Whiteley: Andy Warhol’s Factory doesn’t exist anymore, let’s move on. (4)


World’s Fair – ‘Win4’

Cameron Cook: This track somehow mixes an old-school hip hop beat with a trap beat, which I’m not sure I’ve ever heard done effectively before. This goes pretty hard and the NYC-centric video gives World’s Fair an added layer of authentic grittiness that I can get behind. I gotta say though, I left New York over two years ago and I’m still psychologically triggered by any depiction of the MTA. Those are scars that never heal. (6)

Caroline Whiteley: Absolutely killer flows. Roll down the window and get the cabriolet out, I would blast this during a cruise through the neighborhood. (7)

Jesse Bernard: This is probably one of the most interesting rap beats I’ve heard in a really long time. The looping synths and 808s make a lot of room for each MC to throw in all their energy. (8)

Michelle Lhooq: So many rappers claim to rep New York but this is the first song I’ve heard in a long time that makes me feel New York, from the hypnotically menacing melodic hook right down to its seductive swagger. I could be biased since I was just hanging out with Nasty Nigel in the strip club last weekend, but his bars on the discrimination against POC club kids really pop off; when he says “white kids forever rave, black kids forever slaves,” we all felt that. (8)


Final scores:
Worlds Fair – ‘Win4’ (7.3)

Iglooghost – ‘Niteracer’ (7)
New Optimism – ‘Jet Setters’ (7)
How To Dress Well – ‘Vacant Boat (shred)’, etc.(6)
Exploded View – ‘Raven Raven’ (5.8)

Cameron Cook is an American culture journalist currently residing in Berlin, Germany. He would go to the ends of the Earth for Kate Bush. (@iamacameron)

Caroline Whiteley is freelance writer based in Berlin. (@carowhiteley)

Jesse Bernard is freelance music and culture journalist based in Brooklyn and London, still hotsteppin’ in a Nike Air sneaker. (@MarvinsCorridor)

Michelle Lhooq is an LA-based journalist writing about music and weed. Find her on Twitter.

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