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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. All are treated equally – well, most of the time. On the chopping block this week: Caribou, Machinedrum, Lana Del Rey, Miley Cyrus and more.

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Dark0 – ‘Sweet Boy Pose (Mr Mitch Peace Edit)’

Joe Muggs: 
Mr Mitch is going to be the most amazing artist. No, he IS the most amazing artist. It takes quite a lot of non-fuck-giving  to do a track like this, or indeed all his Peace Dubs. And what makes it even better is that he has a sense of humour about it all without undermining the real emotional and physical kick of the music. Top notch. (8)

Aidan Hanratty: Grime on lean, or something. Definitely the sort of thing I could imagine myself crying to at 7am after too heavy a night. (8)

Kristan J. Caryl: At the end of a long enough, dark enough, druggy enough session, this haunting-yet-heavenly effort would make a great soundtrack to your death – actual or metaphorical. (8)

Chris Kelly: Forget war dubs: Mr. Mitch gives his peace dub treatment to Dark0’s best track, and the result is even more mellow than Strict Face’s serene ‘Fountains’, with the best edited sweet boy vox since ‘XE2’. Chopped-and-screwed grime to end the night. (8)

John Twells: Well, that was unexpected. What can you do with a track that’s already a tried-and-tested club destroyer? Rework it into a slice of lullaby ambience that wouldn’t sound out of place on …I Care Because You Do. Well done that man. (7)



Machinedrum – ‘Hazel Ash’

William Skar: 
You know what you’re getting with the back-end of JETS, and this is a particularly characterful bit of lucent loveliness. Seriously, though, another Brandy sample? The woman’s a walking Amen break.  (7)

Kristan J. Caryl: The vocal is great, but I can’t decide if the drums add or subtract from it – they’re so studiously off-time that my brain short circuits whenever I try and get into some sort of groove. (7)

Aidan Hanratty: Brandy’s the best thing about this, if I’m honest, though I do like the swell of the synths. Something really beautiful happens when the chorus comes in for the first time, and the way he repeats the “every time you build me up” line is perfect. It doesn’t half go on, but then the last minute or so is gorgeous. It’s probably better than this paragraph. (6)

Joe Muggs: Machinedrum works for me on the level of early teenage weed-smoking before life had started throwing complications around in earnest, when there was still the time and gaucheness to do a bucket, lie on your back and listen to all 60 minutes of an Orb Peel Session: emotionally untroubling, easy to drift off into, a security blanket of sound… more innocent times, slightly reddish sparkle in a young boy’s eye, tie-dye hoodies for goalposts, isn’t it, wasn’t it, mmm? This is great, and it actually feels really uncontrived with the velvety soul vibe, far more than some of the hipper attempts to do R&B – reason being that he’s about sensory pleasure first, cool genres a long way down the line. (8)

Chris Kelly: Adding a poem to a track is something that happens at one of those hippyish dance shows with live art and too much body paint. This one should have been left in 2011 when Brandy samples were still novel. (3)



A.G. Cook – ‘Beautiful’

Kristan J. Caryl: 
This is like the sort of shit CBeebies house that would be playing in the ball pit at a Brewster’s Fayre in Rotherham. (0)

Joe Muggs: Posh happy hardcore. Should be rinsed to death by the waltzer operators in fairgrounds. Kind of charming, inasmuch as a sugar rush can be charming. (5)

John Twells: ’90s fetishism is getting old quickly, but there’s something about A.G. Cook and the PC Music stable’s awkward appropriation that’s just hard not to fall in love with. ‘Beautiful’ sounds delightfully horrible, all helium-voiced dance pop and chugging stock sounds, but it’s the little touches – the hoover bass, the lolloping beat – that transform it from a frog into a prince. (8)

Aidan Hanratty: I really don’t know how to feel about this. I don’t like the hoovers, I know that much. Budget aside, I don’t know what the difference is between this and your standard pop-chart-dance fodder, really. And if it’s not cool to like Avicii I don’t know what’s “cool” about this. I do like the almost religious choral outro. (5)

Chris Kelly: I spent a week at Mutek. I think this is the exact opposite of Mutek. (9)



Lana Del Rey – ‘Ultraviolence’

Joe Muggs: 
Trying too hard. Maybe it’ll grow on me, because most of her stuff has done so far, but only by learning to more or less ignore the clunkiness of the lyrics. Because that’s the problem: it’s not the subject matter, it’s just how clodhoppingly it’s done. (4)

Aidan Hanratty: I’ve never really paid attention to Lana Del Rey’s music (bar the ubiquitous ‘Video Games’), and this doesn’t sound any different from what I imagine most of her music sounds like. Coming from someone who says that feminism is uninteresting, I must admit that I find these lyrics quite shocking, especially as this is probably going to end up playlisted across the world. I’m not going all “sex cauldron” here, but lines like “He hit me and it felt like a kiss” (which reminds me of Florence’s debut) and “Jim taught me that loving him was never enough” are quite troubling. (1)

Chris Kelly: She’s working with the über-boring Dan Auerbach, she rhymes violins with violence, she might not know what feminism is… and I’m still going to listen to this about 50 times this summer. (7)

Kristan J. Caryl: I’m into it. The tussle between those heavyhearted drums and uplifting chords speak of real pain, and the vocal is pitch perfect, as ever. Am I alone in thinking that a Fever Ray and Lana Del Rey collab (Ray Rey?) would be excellent? (9)

John Twells: I love this, and I can’t wait for the full-length. Am I alone in thinking that it sounds like the All Saints? I think I might be going insane. (7)



Caribou – ‘Can’t Do Without Me’

Joe Muggs:
 Super. I was hoping and hoping that some extra drums would come clattering in, like his old tracks – and bingo, there they are, just in time. The vocal could, in theory, get a bit irritating, but we know that Snaith has form in making the most relentless hooks somehow get even better through repetition – all together now: “Sun… sun… sun… sun… sun… sun… sun…” The big buildup of layers reminds me of that time I saw the full two-drummers live show at Scala years ago and it was sublime. Dammit, I’m a fan. (8)

Aidan Hanratty: I like the sample. I don’t like the original line. The beat’s grand. It all feels a bit “Caribou by numbers” really. (6)

Kristan J. Caryl: Caribou was always my preferred Snaith project, so this is good news, especially as this sounds like he’s taken up from where he left off with Swim. Once again, the dude’s synths sounds like liquid metal oceans – drifting along with them is still one of modern dance music’s great pleasures. (8)

John Twells: Dance music for indie snobs who love commenting on messageboards. And Four Tet fans. (4)

Chris Kelly: I can do without this. (4)



Miley Cyrus ft Ty Dolla Sign, Juicy J, E-40 – ‘Fun’

Joe Muggs:
 Bangerz had pretty great moments, generally best when at its most musically deranged and genre-flipping, worst when when Miley’s just straight culture-appropriating – no, she can’t rap. That said, this is pretty solid. Her involvement is pretty much peripheral though, it feels more like a feature from her. Nothing special but big plus points for E40. (6)

John Twells: Miley, I love you, and getting E-40 on your track was clearly a top idea (duh), but this isn’t very good is it? I’m gonna put ‘Drive’ on again and attempt to scrub the duff robo-rap from my memory completely. (3)

Chris Kelly: It’s just a demo, but a beefed up version of a Mike Will-made bounce track with E-40 on it would have been a better fit on Bangerz than, say, ‘4×4’. (5)

Kristan J. Caryl: I literally hate fun, so the title on this one alone loses it a point, but the fact it doesn’t have an accompanying video in which Miley dry frigs herself wins that point back. The other five are awarded for some super depth-charged bass and the general face-smacking bombast of it all. (6)

Aidan Hanratty: Turn down for what? Not Mike Will’s most memorable beat by any means, but hey, the track is called ‘Fun’ and that’s exactly what it is. I’ll take E-40 rapping all over the beat any day of the week. I’d rather hear Miley singing “All pretty girls just wanna have fun” than whatever Lana has to say. (7)


Final scores:
Dark0 – ‘Sweet Boy Pose (Mr Mitch Peace Edit)’ (7.8)
Machinedrum – ‘Hazel Ash’ (6.2)
Caribou – ‘Can’t Do Without Me’ (6.0)
Lana Del Rey – ‘Ultraviolence’ (5.6)
Miley Cyrus ft Ty Dolla Sign, Juicy J, E-40 – ‘Fun’ (5.4)
A.G. Cook – ‘Beautiful’ (5.4)

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