New Music Friday is intense. Hundreds of songs drop from artists around the world, and you’re supposed to somehow find the best ones. It’s fun work, but it’s time-consuming — so we at Billboard Dance want to give you a hand. Each week, we sift through the streams and dig in the digital crates to present the absolute must-hears from the wide breadth of jams.
Once again demonstrating the endless variety of the dance scene, this week we got an excellent new album from the always excellent French producer CloZee, the debut solo LP from psybient legend Simon Posford of Shpongle, an equine-centric new video from Diplo and Noah Cyrus, an incisive conversation about diversity and the creative process from Coco & Breezy, DJ Sliink and Aluna plus the launch of a new video series for children from Marshmello.
Also this week: the dance scene tested the waters for small-scale, COVID protected festivals via an experimental gathering in Pennsylvania, Steve Aoki launched the Latin arm of his Dim Mak label, a bunch of big name producers announced a huge new voter registration initiative and Carl Cox had some things to say about the unnerving trend of illegal superspreader raves.
And yes, there’s more new music too. Seven Lions released a huge new track, and Krewella and Yellow Claw did the same. Reese Witherspoon’s 16-year-old son Deacon released his debut single, while 100 gecs gathered even more gecs for their debut album, Jim-E Stack beautifully remixed Active Child, Jason Derulo linked with Alok and the producers below dropped some truly excellent new productions to head into the weekend with. Let’s dig in.
Tiga x Hudson Mohawk, “Love Minus Zero”
Tiga and Hudson Mohawke are both inimitable in their own right, and together they’ve made something that sounds a bit like both of them and also like something entirely fresh. In a statement, Tiga acknowledges that the pairing, “seems kind of unlikely on paper, but took nanoseconds to click once we actually met” and the proof is in the output.
“Love Minus Zero” has an urgent effervescence, with shimmery synths laying the foundation for feathery vocals that altogether play like the soundtrack to the climax of your favorite ’80s fantasy film. The single is the first from their collaborative effort, with more music coming throughout 2020. “We’re building a particular kind of zone where it all fits together. A place lost in time,” HudMo says of the project. Toss your calendars out the window, ’cause we’re all going with.
DJDS, “Simple Things”
DJDS return with a collab featuring Canadian rapper Tory Lanez and Nigerian Rema, and together the four guys delivering three and a half minutes of romantic and gorgeously produced balladry (there’s even a choir!) to transport you from the quotidian doldrums of this bleak time to the quotidian beauties that also exist when you look a little closer.
“To us ‘Simple Things’ sort of feels like the ultimate DJDS song because it sounds like what we’ve done and where we’re going all at once,” the LA-based production duo say in a statement. “You hear the sample chops and that’s old school DJDS, but the collaborations represent the future. The work we put in with Burna Boy directly lead us to linking with Rema, and Tory is somebody we’ve been waiting years to get in the studio with. These guys are upper echelon so we really had to draw upon all our experience to give them something that felt undeniable.”
You’re doing something right when Pete Tong hits your track with his “best new tune” stamp. So it goes for Raynor de Groot and Emiel van den Dungen, the two Dutch producers who together form the rising project Tunnelvisions. Their track “Forever” is the opener on their just-released six-track Picture: Tunnelvisions mini-album –coming as part of Diynamic Music’s Picture series. The song takes a sizzling beat, adds a kinda funky, kinda dirty, kinda robotic riff and throws on a chorus of voices with an “Another Brick In the Wall Pt. 1” meets Depeche Mode vibe. It’s a lot, and it works.
VenessaMichaels & Kaleena Zanders, “Creme Brulee”
Finger snaps and a bouncy bubblegum beat serve as the base layer of this sweet treat by LA-based producer/songwriter VenessaMichaels and vocalist Kaleena Zanders. On their collaborative single “Creme Bruelee,” Michaels keeps the vibe light as confectioner’s sugar while Zanders proclaims that much like the namesake desert, she is that “that good.” The song comes from the duo’s forthcoming Sunset Situations EP, which will drop this fall on their joint label/creative house Go Off Studios.
Hayden James, “Waves Of Gold”
We have now entered the “would willingly peel off a fingernail in order to go out dancing in a crowded club” stage of quarantine, and no song is currently us giving us more cabin fever than the dually hot “Waves of Gold.” A sophisticated and also deeply fun house single dripping in island vibes, the track is a collab between the Sydney-based producer Hayden James, the London house duo, Azteck and London singer Paije on vocals. The song is out via the venerable Aussie imprint Future Classic.
Past Palms, “When the Sun Reaches Its Highest Point in the Sky”
Look, you’re not going out right now. We’re not going out right now. No one is going out right now, unless it’s to Walgreens to buy a socially responsible amount of toilet paper. So what we need more than club bangers (which are still of course useful for exercise mixes and mental health dance breaks) is ambient music to tool around the house to.
New York-based producer Past Palms says his music is made specifically to water your houseplants to, and certainly you, your ficus and all the other living things in your apartment will enjoy his moody, spatial, serene and often deeply emotive ambient music. The latest is the poetically named “When the Sun Reaches Its Highest Point in the Sky,” which actually fuses two tracks — “Solar Noon” and “Midnight Sun” — for a gorgeous, transportive composition that works any time of day.