Page 1 of 10

Disclosure, James Blake & Drake, Eminem & Kendrick and more reviewed in the FACT Singles Club, Nov 4 2013

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. All are treated equally – well, most of the time. Popping their necks on the block this week: Gorgeous Children, Blake ‘n’ Drake, Disclosure and more.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 1/10)


Gorgeous Children – ‘Sour’


Chal Ravens: What the Halloween is this? Tampering with the Bladerunner vibe is risky business, but Gila Monsta pulls it off on this dreamy, kushed-out goth-hop experiment. Extra point for the forecasting accuracy of this line: “I bet your white friends like this.” (8)

Chris Kelly: Gila Monsta keeps this based-beat from floating off into the clouds with one foot in the familiar and one in the future, while Face Vega holds his own with lyrics as icy as those synths. (7)

Joe Muggs: Ritual rap! Really sounds like it’s conjuring something weird, like there’s some Lustmord, Current 93 sort of thing going on. Ill, in several senses. (7)

Brad Rose: Look, if you’re going to sample Blade Runner, you gotta bring it, at least in my eyes, because there are few things better. Fortunately, Gorgeous Children are in top form here and the dystopian, futuristic vibe is one hell of a playground for Face Vega to crawl over. All indications are that whatever they’re cooking up is going to be quite something when it’s done and dusted. (9)

Josh Hall: This doesn’t have the ominous chug of ‘Liberace Gems’ but it feels remarkably more accomplished. It’s also an interesting move for Vase, seeming to take the label’s so-so sparkle aesthetic and putting it in the service of something much more sinister. (7)

Joe Moynihan: I’ll be honest: you had me at ‘Blade Runner sample’, but I wasn’t expecting something as tastefully executed, or as bloody nippy as this either. Face Vega does well to stand out alongside the melancholic cryogenics and the combined result is one of those rare trap neck-breakers that can transform a club’s steam machine output into an icy fog. Gimme gimme more. (7)

John Twells: Absolutely unfuckwithable. These guys have combined two of my favourite things – Blade Runner and rap music – and actually not fucked it up. Who’d have thought it was possible? If they manage to keep up this streak we’re gonna be hearing a lot more from Gorgeous Children in 2014 I reckon. Two thumbs up. (9)



Disclosure – ‘Apollo’


Joe Muggs: Bonk-bonk-boink-bonk-boink-boink-boink-swish-swish-swish-swish-spooky-voice-BASSLINE.  Absolutely does the business, that. (7)

Chal Ravens: Can’t lie, I’m totally up for this. It’s shamefully over-engineered for maximum euphoric lift-off, but goddamn, if you ever find yourself in a club playing this and the people you’re with don’t put their hands in the air, don’t bother sharing a taxi home. (7)

Joe Moynihan: These kids’ – BLOODY KIDS – press shots always make me instinctively draw for vitriolic semantics sheathed under the proverbial puffer jacket but fair play they’re alright at making some belters that stay on the healthy side of cheesy aren’t they? I’d get loose to this in a dark room for sure, just keep that room free of their stinky branding and general gropey-student aesthetic cheers ta. (7)

Josh Hall: This isn’t even ‘but it’s a decent pop song’ good. I could abide them when they were sticking to their pop formula, but this attempt at early-morning-sticky-floored-half-empty-club seems well out of their comfort zone. (4)

John Twells: This is bad simply by default, it’s just so average that every bit of it irks me. I’ve honestly heard keyboard demos that sound more edgy. (3)

Chris Kelly: We already knew the Lawrence brothers could do pristine and laser-focused, but at least Settle did it with panache and a ton of fun. This’ll be a good one during which to grab a glass of water while waiting for ‘You & Me’ or ‘White Noise’. (5)

Brad Rose: I still can’t muster any interest in Disclosure and ‘Apollo’ is another by-the-numbers vanilla snoozefest. (4)


BET Awards '10 - Show

Eminem feat. Kendrick Lamar – ‘Love Game’


Joe Moynihan: I’m thankful that this doesn’t have any BOWCHICKAWOWOW Kid Rock vibes on it, but this is still an incredible nope. (3)

Chris Kelly: Dear Eminem: if you’re gonna burn down the house that holds your legacy, try not to lock one of rap’s most promising artists in the basement. Dear Kendrick: these guest verses are killing us. (2)

Josh Hall: It’s a shame that Kendrick feels the need to stoop to Eminem’s lyrical level on this, although “I want you as bad as the head shattered on George Zimmerman” is an estimable line. That said, the production here is almost obscenely entertaining, and it’s a hundred thousand times better than that horrendous Jamie N Commons track elsewhere on the album. (7)

Joe Muggs: Em and Kendrick are basically spectacularly gay for one another, right?  This track is one almighty, none too subtle, flirtation. (3)

John Twells: The most astonishing thing about ‘Love Game’ though is that it’s not even close to the worst moment on the brain-achingly awful Marshall Mathers LP 2. Honestly, that record should serve as a warning for young artists on the perils of trying to recapture past glories. It’s not only sad and depressing, it’s also unlistenably awful. I will seriously question the sanity of anyone who tries to tell me otherwise. (3)

Chal Ravens: This totally isn’t as bad as everyone thinks it is! Ridiculous, yes; ill-advised, possibly – but you can’t deny it sounds nothing like any hip hop track this year. Or probably ever. Maybe there’s a reason for that. The first part of Kendrick’s section is just bananas, like a time-travelling culture smash that’s one part Compton and one part sunshine and lollipops. Still, hearing him run through his own extensive repertoire of character voices really underlines how massive Eminem’s influence has been on the rapper 15 years his junior. (5)


katyb-9.17.2013 (1)

Katy B – ‘I Like You’


Chris Kelly: Katy knows that dubstep has been supplanted by all things house, and thankfully her dancefloor confessionals sound good over both. (7)

Joe Muggs: Lovely stuff. Almost any Katy song takes a while to grow on you, so I’m always cautious of judging immediately, but it’s got all her usual songwriting panache, wordplay, distinctive vocal groove etc. And I just love how she’s almost single-handedly holding the torch for UK funky – this really is a UK funky vocal, even if it’s over a tech-house track. Baby Katy is still here! (7)

John Twells: Way better than Eminem (7)

Brad Rose: The hook on this is so good.  Since the first time I listened to it I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Add in a danky bassline and some narco-synth leads and I’m totally on board. (7)

Joe Moynihan: I’ve forgotten all about this tune already. I’ve always liked Katy B’s vibe, but it just washes right over me when put alongside this to create what sounds like the friendly face of Rinse FM. (4)

Josh Hall: ‘I Like You’ is one of the most straightforwardly entertaining Hotflush-associated releases since ‘Dream Within A Dream’ from Heritage. It’s also vastly better than the oddly flat ‘5 AM’, with its embarrassing video. This really comes into its own with the bass breakdown though, which could quite easily have constituted the entire track. (7)

Chal Ravens: Absolute smackdown. I don’t know why I’m going soft on the shufflers this week. Someone take me out dancing, please. (7)



Machinedrum – ‘Gunshotta’ (Om Unit’s Rollers VIP)


Joe Muggs: Well, this is where it’s at isn’t it?  As you can see from the second half of our Sound Of The Cosmos Mix, I’m a sucker for all this: Machinedrum’s album, Om Unit’s album, that last Exit compilation, the whole of Machinedrum’s London Boiler Room, everything Samurai Music are doing, the Metalheadz renaissance etc etc etc. And this is as good an exemplar of it as any. Gives me the rave-tingles every time. (9)

Joe Moynihan: Nah fuck off, as if he made this as enjoyable as the original. Love how this one breathes, with doses of healthy, smooth restraint amongst the chaos. And that Reese bass? Mate I’ll have that on everything. (8)

Brad Rose: The first minute or so if this totally great and had me excited that it was going to end up going into some weird, slow crawl and totally creepy direction. And then the beat flops in and I’m a lot less excited.  It’s still decent enough, and the way the vocals are mixed and spaced out is great, but generally it’s just kind of there. (5)

Josh Hall: I really like how this retains the form of the original, with a neck-snapping build up that finally materialises into something much grubbier than expected. Om Unit’s version, though, is obviously much more propulsive, and is all the better for it, with its distant, reverberating pads and kinetic percussion. (8)

John Twells: Fuck, this is alright isn’t it? I will say it does feel like it’s about to properly kick off and never does, but that’s a minor criticism of a grade A remix. I’m guessing jungle’s back in full force now, right? (8)



Vissacoor – ‘Spectral Evidence’


Chris Kelly: Everything into the meat grinder: industrial, techno, Baltimore club, John Carpenter. I know it’s just a mash-up of their aliases, but doesn’t Vissacoor sound like something out of Hellraiser? (8)

Brad Rose: If Night Slugs were to soundtrack a horror film it’d sound a lot like this. Yes please and thank you. (8)

Joe Muggs: Almost completely brilliant, but it keeps refusing to sit down on the groove a bit more and it would be nice if it had about a third as much going on going as it does. Good, though. (6)

John Twells: It’s all very Night Slugs by numbers, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (Night Slugs is good) but it’s also not very exciting (Night Slugs already exists). It is better than Eminem though. (6)

Josh Hall: This on its own will never be able to compete with Total Freedom’s Ciara mashup, but it’s still brilliant. Night Slugs obviously have a rich seam of dread music to explore, and this horrendous-clang-at-the-end-of-a-lift-shaft vibe suits them really well. It’s begging for a Trim vocal though. (8)

Joe Moynihan: Further evidence that the Night Slugs / Fade To Mind collec are slowly achieving a monopoly on tunes to be played and danced to between the hours of 10pm and 6am and further reasons for me to be totally OK with that. (8)

Chal Ravens: Not too keen on the reedy pads, but I’m too confused to resist this big, bossy charmer. Night Slugs and Fade To Mind need to just get married already. (7)



Blood Orange – ‘You’re Not Good Enough’

Joe Muggs:
It’s ‘Tango in the Night’, it’s ‘Piano in the Dark’, it’s Hall & Oates, it’s Terrence Trent D’arby… this is exactly my era of school disco awkward slow dances, and it’s quite spooky how well he nails the sound. I like it. (7)

Brad Rose: I’m still on board with Dev Hynes even if I can’t exactly explain why. This track is pretty simple, but as with most of his stuff it’s his vocals and melodies that make (or break) the tune. He’s figured out the formula that works: keep the production minimal, win everyone over with the vocals. Or at least win me over with ’em. I’m still on board. (7)

Chal Ravens: I don’t trust Dev Hynes. He’s had too many personalities in one lifetime, and not in a chameleonic, boundary-pushing David Bowie kinda way, just in a WHO-AM-I-AND-WHY-HAVE-I-BEEN-PUT-ON-THIS-EARTH kinda way. This song, like almost all of his productions since he decided to become the 21st century Brooklyn immigrant reincarnation of Jam and Lewis, is absolutely on point in its retro reproductionism but absolutely miles off target in terms of catchy, Top 40-bound songwriting. I’ve forgotten how it goes already and it’s still playing. (4)

John Twells: Outsider 80s pop anyone? If anyone can handle it and come out smelling of roses I suppose it’s Dev Hynes, and I’m surprised how much I actually like this one. He thankfully just stops short of allowing himself go into full-on pastiche territory, which is a blessing. (7)

Josh Hall: Blood Orange’s solo work is a void of talent into which interesting ideas enter and from which slickest beige is emitted. (3)

Chris Kelly: Dev Hynes is up to his old tricks, and who cares if it bears more than a passing similarity to ‘Everything Is Embarrassing’ or ‘Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work’ — this is a jam. Also, I would listen to a full album of his duets with Samantha Urbani, but maybe I just have a soft spot for bands that cover ‘My Boo’. [Score upgraded when I realized I had been humming this all weekend] (8)



Drake – ‘Come Thru’ (James Blake Version)


Josh Hall: Hot weepy tennis player collaborates with dull upper middle class child star. What’s not to hate? (3)

John Twells: Sometimes music’s just incorrect, and this is one of those times. It begins innocently enough, but Blake’s expected jazzy chords seem to clash gratingly with Drake’s vocals, and the less said about the jaunty middle section the better. It feels as if Blake was inches away from making it work, and just couldn’t manage to pull it off. Still marginally better than Eminem mind you. (3.5)

Chris Kelly: Drake! James Blake! Atonal synths? A victim of sky high expectations, this one. Wake me when there’s a proper collaboration. (5)

Chal Ravens: This isn’t just bad, this is objectively wrong – some of the chords in Blake’s version jar horribly with Drake’s vocal. Are my ears broken? I suppose Blake can get away with the odd dissonant, jazzy chord as it’s characteristic of his style and delivery, but it was never going to work underneath a guy who even raps in Autotune. The original isn’t the most impressive beat on Nothing Was The Same, but I’m surprised this was even in the pot as a possibility. Weird. (2)

Brad Rose: Basically, if you like Drake, you’ll probably like this. If you don’t, you won’t. James Blake is mostly irrelevant (always). (6)

Joe Muggs: No, look, sorry, I really like James and the production here is alright – but the only way this was ever going to be interesting was if they did the sessions with Nathan Fake and The Rakes. And had a video with them jumping out of a cake. At a wake. With a snake and a corncrake. (3)


Final scores:

Gorgeous Children – ‘Sour’ (7.7)
Machinedrum – ‘Gunshotta’ (Om Unit’s Rollers VIP) (7.6)
Vissacoor – ‘Spectral Evidence’ (7.3)
Katy B – ‘I Like You’ (6.5)
Blood Orange – ‘You’re Not Good Enough’ (6)
Disclosure – ‘Apollo’ (5.3)
Eminem feat. Kendrick Lamar – ‘Love Game’ (3.8)
Drake – ‘Come Thru’ (James Blake Version) (3.7)

Page 1 of 10


Share Tweet