Singles Club: Yves Tumor’s nouveau Britpop reigns supreme

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

This week’s Singles Club is all about exploration: Santigold takes dancehall full-on with a little bit of help from Mixpak’s Dre Skull; Ash Koosha implements AI to create his latest; Yves Tumor starts… a big beat revival?

All that, plus new tracks from Rabit and Sacred Bones up-and-comer SPELLLING.

Yves Tumor – ‘Noid’

Michelle Lhooq: Yves Tumor’s ability to flip between two opposing Jekyll-and-Hyde personas is one of the most intriguing parts of his artistry; his live shows are brutally dark and visceral assaults while his recorded music trends towards wistful, gentle introspection. ‘Noid’ is somewhere in between, with Yves singing plaintively in an emo-style whine over swelling orchestra strings and a sampled collage of hellish screams. When he sings “911, can’t trust ’em” — I felt that. (8)

Caroline Whiteley: I almost did a spit take when I found out this track is by Yves Tumor. What’s especially genius here is that he pairs dystopian tales of police brutality with the kind of Britpop melodies that are usually produced by white people. (10)

Cameron Cook: OK, is it just me or are these vocals a little emo? Right? Is that too reductive? I think this track has soul, and grit and gravitas, and I love the weird off-kilter pop angle Yves Tumor took this in. There’s just something about it that takes me back to mixtapes that I made in my bedroom in like 2002, and I’m choosing to believe that it is by design. Admittedly, I’ve been sleeping on Yves, but no more. (7)

Jesse Bernard: ‘Noid’ isn’t particularly a complex song, but what elevates it is all of the captivating elements combined, from the sombre lyrics to anxious pulse of the beat. Where the lyrics breed a dark anxiety, the ambient loops and guitar hauntingly breathe life into the track. (7)


Santigold – ‘Run the Road’

Jesse Bernard: ‘Run The Road’ sounds exactly like 2008 – in a good way. It’s a development of the Santigold sound but retains all the right ingredients, and while it’s not the most memorable song ever, it is one that’ll put Santigold back on our minds. (7)

Cameron Cook: This is what I’ve wanted from Santigold all along. I was all about her debut album, but other than some bursts of brilliance here and there since (there is a track called ‘Banshee’ from her last album that is truthfully, so amazing) I haven’t really been riding her bandwagon for a while. This pure dancehall-pop version of Santi is so fresh and chill and just plain cool, I’m totally back under her spell, like when I first heard ‘L.E.S. Artistes’ at a house party in Williamsburg after drinking three-and-a-half Sparks (remember 2007?). (7.5)

Michelle Lhooq: Santigold recently told me that, while her previous albums were painstaking, months-long endeavors, her latest mixtape-style LP was mostly recorded during her final weeks in New York before she moved to LA. That spontaneity lends a sense of carefree lightness to the summer record, with ‘Run the Road’ as a prime example of her knack for unforgettable pop hooks working perfectly with Dre Skull’s dancehall riddims. (7.5)

Caroline Whiteley: Have you ever experienced putting a track on a summertime playlist, excited to pump it out at the next park picnic, but then when the song comes on through the bluetooth speakers you suddenly feel super bored with it halfway through and wish you could skip the track, but then you’re worried you’d disrupt the vibe so you just ride it out till the end? Well, that happened to me over the weekend with ‘Run the Road’. (5)


Ash Koosha – ‘Wild Heart’

Michelle Lhooq: Ash Koosha’s use of AI to make this album is an interesting experiment. The strained, squeaky synths on ‘Wild Heart’ sound like a sentient computer singing its sad, mechanical guts out before human vocals enter the picture to complete this uncanny duet. Cool concept, but the song loses some steam and starts to drag in its final minute. (5)

Caroline Whiteley: As has been the case with a couple of FACT Singles Club tracks, this is absolutely stunning on an intellectual level (co-produced by Koosha’s own AI, what?), but I don’t find the track to be memorable at all. (4)

Cameron Cook: I’m not going to embarrass myself by pretending to know the name of the string instrument that is sampled here, but it adds a flair that elevates ‘Wild Heart’ above mere background music… but that’s kind of it. That being said, I would not be mad if Ash Koosha scored the entire last season of Game of Thrones. (5)

Jesse Bernard: The Middle Eastern sounds that provide the backdrop to this electronic soundscape feel like the ancient world merging with the future. Koosha programmed AI to augment the production of the record and the result isn’t far from what I’d ever imagine that to sound like. (8)


Rabit – ‘III’

Michelle Lhooq: The new album is supposedly inspired by the work of Jodorowsky, and ‘III’ sounds like the soundtrack to a midnight movie about the looming space wars. Rabit is a low-key genius and I’ll follow him down whatever wormhole he wants to burrow. (7)

Caroline Whiteley: I often find myself associating tracks in this column as soundtracks to specific types of movies and while this one would be perfect for the next doomsday scenario blockbuster flick, I know I will literally never come back to ‘III’ after reviewing it here. (3)

Cameron Cook: Meanwhile, I would genuinely pay HBO to NOT make me watch a season of Game of Thrones scored by Rabit, because this may have been the longest 2:53 of my life. This reminds me of The Most Unwanted Song, that audio experiment where composers create a song based on a poll of what people didn’t want to hear. Calling ‘III’ the worst song in the world is an obviously catty overstatement, but whatever Rabit is aiming for here is beyond me. (2)

Jesse Bernard: This feels like the cinematic climax of a movie set in a dystopian future. Where the orchestral nature of the song really thrives, the electronic whizzing takes too much from what could be a really amazing release. (7)


SPELLLING – ‘Hard to Please’

Michelle Lhooq: There’s something really endearing about Tia Cabral’s soft coos juxtaposed with cheesy ’80s synths and a stew of zany sound effects — it reminds me of peak Grimes before she devolved into a union-busting Tesla stan. Despite its short, two minute run time, the song still sounds woefully undercooked. (5)

Caroline Whiteley: Had to listen to this one without the music video, because it’s one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen. I didn’t enjoy this at all, the melodies are super incoherent and it’s really half-assed – before I could really grasp any sort of musical theme, the track was over. Giving it my lowest rating yet, sorry. (2)

Cameron Cook: There’s a cool Johnny Jewel vibe to this, which I am 100% behind. The woozy synths and distorted vocals give it this spooky, dark element that keeps you on your toes. Again, and maybe I’m just an unrepentant pop freak with basic bitch taste, but a some kind of chorus or just some basic song structure sometimes can go a long way, is all I’m saying. But all-in-all, I’d potentially buy what SPELLLING is selling. (6)


Final scores:
Yves Tumor – ‘Noid’ (8)

Santigold – ‘Run the Road’ (6.8)
Ash Koosha – ‘Wild Heart’ (5.5)
Rabit – ‘III’ (4.75)
SPELLLING – ‘Hard to Please’ (4.3)

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. (@MichelleLhooq)



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