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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: the return of Beirut, Waka Flocka Flame’s nadir and New York’s most exciting new rapper.

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Beirut – ‘No, No, No’

Son Raw: I was really hoping for a Dawn Penn cover. If you adore Wes Anderson soundtracks, wear bowties and write in a diary, you’ll probably really dig this. Coming soon to a brunch near you. (4)

Brad Stabler: I’m digging how the press release makes very clear how cold it was when this was recorded. New York in February is always reliably miserable, and this past one threw down even without an assist from a polar vortex or two. New York winters will always suck, and from the sounds of things, Beirut is always going to sound like Beirut. Both are less appealing the older you get. (5)

Anupa Mistry: A dismal-ish ballad guised as a jaunty pop tune is one of my favourite things , but there’s something about the way this is put together — taking more of a pop direction than Beirut deep cuts — that sounds like it was made to close out an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, or some other primetime dramedy. I love a good horn section though so I’m not really going to fault it; really lovely stuff. (7)


Nina Sky – ‘Forever’

Anupa Mistry: Every time Nina Sky re-emerge from whatever they do in between making great songs, their sound is very different and I don’t know what to make of it. Like, I’ll pretty much always be curious but I also wish they would drill down into a specific sound or idea — say, perhaps, the wistful, muted ecstasy of 2013’s ‘Comatose’ — instead of just dropping crumbs. ‘Forever’ was initially a bit underwhelming because it sounds like it could be any non-descript house banger. But then it started to give me the sultry phrasing and slick house of Jennifer Lopez’s On The 6, which, I’m ready for us to throw back to. (7)

Son Raw: I’d like to imagine that this is the kind of stuff that plays at a P Diddy takeover of Space Ibiza where everyone’s off their tits on old school E. Sure it’s completely generic and my tolerance for those prefab chords is at an all time low after seeing Wiley perform ‘Rolex Sweep’ live yesterday, but it does the job. Bonus point for fitting in those cheeky Jersey club bed squeaks in the background. (5)


The Internet – ‘Special Affair’

Anupa Mistry: I’m really excited for this new album by The Internet because the supporting cast (Kaytranada, Janelle Monae, Vic Mensa, et al) looks stellar, and ‘Special Affair’ is a pretty exciting lead single. Not just because the whooshing and chirping nature sounds give it a v artificial chill, sleep therapy machine-vibe, but because Syd’s singing over that bass line gives me actually chills. The guitar and hi-hats make it sound like something from that Timbaland, Babyface, Jermaine Dupri-era of R&B, straight from the late ’90s, like a lost cut from the Soul Food soundtrack. And unlike The Internet’s early, super Neptunes-inspired stuff this isn’t retread. (9)

Son Raw: This lot have always oozed effortless Californian cool but could never fit the pieces together in a compelling way – this goes a long way to proving they’re major league material in the wake of Odd Future’s de-facto break up. So much alt-R&B sounds forced but this genuinely nails the mix of skater sleaze and seduction. Adult Future it is. (8)

Brad Stabler: All these names attached to this forthcoming LP and The Internet have yet to figure out an actual identity for themselves, for better or worse.  Part of that for all the talent involved (Syd’s got pipes, for sure) is that The Internet’s never had enough push from within and out to make things pop. The result is we end end up with music that sounds really fucking nice, but leaves you with not much to write about. But who needs that? This is solid, even if that fadeout is almost a tragedy. (7)


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Waka Flocka Flame – ‘Game On’ (ft. Good Charlotte)

Son Raw: Finally, the millennial generation gets its answer to MOP meets LFO! Seriously though, we’ve heard him on EDM and we’ve heard him on whatever the hell this is… is there a socially acceptable way to tell Flocka not to work with aggy white dudes ever again? (0)

Anupa Mistry: I don’t wanna see Waka go out like this either but I’m glad he’s finding ways to get paid. (1)

Brad Stabler: Good Charlotte and Adam Sandler fight over a megaphone to see who can shout “We’re still relevant, dammit” the loudest while Flocka laughs to the bank. The real sad part is listening to it is nowhere near as fun as it sounds. (1)


Junglepussy – ‘You Don’t Know’

Brad Stabler: Listen up, kids – this is how you build hype for yourself and stick the landing. (8)

Son Raw: While Rocky dissolved into a lysergic puddle and Bronson spent half his album singing, Junglepussy quietly became New York’s most exciting new rapper. Crucially, both Shy Guy’s beat and her flow use later day Cam’ron as a starting point, but that yelling on the chorus? That’s brand new. NY rap has felt trapped between boring battle rap, too cool for school Jay clones and inauthentic hipster rappers for a minute now – this is the way past those dead ends. (8)

Anupa Mistry: Ugh, Junglepussy is so sick and even though it’s essentially a string of non-sequiturs she’s still rapping her ass off here. I love the part where she interpolates the pattern of “yea”’s that Ludacris and Shawna uses on the intro to ‘What’s Your Fantasy?’. The reason she’s the best is because she embodies that very greazy New York cadence like Kim and Foxy and Nicki, but she carries that — also very NYC — sense of bizarre humour. She’s just fun to listen to, particularly on ‘You Don’t Know’, from the shouty lickdown on the chorus to snort-worthy quips like, “You ain’t really sick, all you ever got was germs.” (8)


Lando – ‘Stunts’

Brad Stabler: Lando (FKA Lando Kal) fell into that unfortunate grey area where the “post-dubstep” tag didn’t give him the credit he completely deserved, but also right before house finally got back fully into the swing of things. As such, he dropped a couple of crackers (that ‘Let You’/’Help Yourself’ 12″ specifically), and then just wandered off into the great SoundCloud in the sky. Even if he doesn’t make more appearances after ‘Stunts’, it’s good to have the guy back. This is a mean little bastard from start to finish. (9)

Son Raw: Can I go to that P Diddy Ibiza party I imagined instead? I kept waiting for a single original idea but this if this were any more by the numbers it’d come with a cheap paint set. (3)

Anupa Mistry: The texture and pace of this programming is hypnotic and a little bit crazy-making, in a good way cos it also has so much soul. Please continue to feed it into my ears. (8)


Final scores:

Junglepussy – ‘You Don’t Know’ (8)
The Internet – ‘Special Affair’ (8)
Lando – ‘Stunts’ (6.6)
Nina Sky – ‘Forever’ (6)
Beirut – ‘No, No, No’ (5.3)
Waka Flocka Flame – ‘Game On’ (ft. Good Charlotte) (0.6)

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