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 five absolute must-hears from the wide breadth of jams.
This week saw some big releaes in the dance realm, with scene titan Calvin Harris returning yesterday with Love Regenerator 1, four new tracks recorded under his alias Love Regenerator. Four Tet also announced a new album, while other dance world stars like brothers A-Trak and Dave-1 and Tensnake also delievered new tracks. Let’s dig in.
Four Tet, “Baby”
Earlier this week, Four Tet announced that his new album, his tenth studio LP, was done. Just two days later, the producer dropped the album’s name, tracklist, release month and newest single, “Baby.” The exceptionally pretty song features the gently pulsing beats and bells Kieren Hebden has long been known for, along with his instantly recognizable method of chopping and repeating vocals — this time coming from dance world favorite Ellie Goulding. “Baby” comes from Four Tet’s forthcoming LP Sixteen Oceans, a sixteen track effort out this March and including previously released tracks “Teenage Birdsong. — KATIE BAIN
Kaskade and Brohug, “1990”
1990 was a massive year for music, with Wilson Phillips’ empowerment anthem “Hold On” topping Billboard’s Top 100 year end chart and hits by Madonna, Mariah Carey, Phil Collins and En Vogue coming in hot on its tail. Hitting No. 26 on this end of year chart was Snap!’s massive “The Power,” an early dance crossover hit straight out of clubland. Today, Kaskade and Swedish trio Brohug pay homage to the power of “The Power,” via “1990.” Together, the four guys chop the song’s rap vocal from Turbo T and layer it into a buildling house jam that peaks with the tracks iconic “I’ve got the power!” vocal hook. Altogether, the remix puts a very fresh 2020 spin on the ’90s classic. — K. Bain
Two Feet, “Grey”
New York producer Bill Dess has been through a lot, and not all of it was pretty. Thankfully, he’s come out the other side of rather dark tunnels, and we all celebrate his strength in this three-and-a-half-minute, grungy, blues rhythm. “Grey” pulls itself through heavy synthetic muck, bouncing defiantly with a ghostly beat, filtered guitar and Dess’ own soulful vocal. It’s the fifth single from his forthcoming debut album Pink, due March 13.
“For a lot of these lyrics, I’m using real memories and trying to figure out the best way to formulate and pull emotions from listeners,” he says in a press release. “That’s how my past experiences affected this record. I wanted something with a more complete meaning. A lot of the songs deal with the passage of time and how you interpret it. Musically, I wanted it to be a full album with bangers, heavy songs, and acoustic tracks.” — KAT BEIN
Tensnake feat. Fiora, “Automatic”
Tensnake is back, baby. After resurfacing last November with his first piece of new music in two years, “Rules,” the purveyor of feelgood dance has announced a new album, L.A., coming our way in 2020. The producer born Marco Niemerski has also shared a new single, “Automatic,” featuring vocalist and regular collaborator Fiora, who fans will have previously heard on singles such as “Love Sublime” and “See Right Through,” as well as on their collaborative side-project Gemini Rising.
Whereas “Rules” was a nod to ‘90s house, “Automatic” goes back further in time. It’s a cover of the Pointer Sisters’ 1983 single of the same name (and, according to a press release, one of Niemerski’s favorite songs from that decade). A bold blend of swirling synths, sultry bass and bright cowbell clinks, “Automatic” has a lush, lose-yourself essence, with shades of Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long,” that has us looking ahead to endless summer. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Raphael Saadiq, “So Ready” (The Brothers Macklovitch Remix)
A-Trak is the boy-wonder-turned-cross-generational-taste-maker who stands tall for #GoodDJing and all things #TheCulture. Dave-1 is the hot-nerd frontman for Chromeo. Together, the brothers prove the undeniably talented genes of their parents, and for the first time today, they team up as The Brothers Macklovitch.
The duo’s first take is an easygoing house remix of Raphael Saadiq’s solo jam “So Ready.” The original is very funky indeed, a slick-soul sing-along that drips over wonky walking bass in line with the grooviest Stevie Wonder jams. The Brothers give it a steady club beat but keep the jazzy vibes, so you can feel smart, grown and sexy while it rocks. A-Trak teased the project on Twitter earlier this week and promises plenty more to come in 2020. We’ve never been “So Ready.” — K. Bein
Weeping strings, playful pan flutes, boom-bap drum beats and raindrop synths. That’s how Emancipator’s Douglas Appling casts aural spells with “Labrynth,” the lead single from his sixth studio album Mountain of Memory, due for release April 3. “Listeners will probably notice that it shares a lot in common with the original Emancipator vibe,” Appling says in a press release. “It has a quest-like, adventurous spirit and reflects that part of the hero’s journey toward enlightenment. Musically, this song went through many forms over the years. It felt like I was building a labyrinth of melodies that I would have to produce my way out of, and here we are with the finished track.” This is the soundtrack to a fairy tale for an urban generation, and we happily accept the expedition. — K. Bein
Ship Wrek, “Bloodstream”
It’s been a good week for Ship Wrek. After DJing at a Grammy party last night, the LA-based duo has released its latest single, “Bloodstream.” Miles away from Ship Wrek’s future-bass beginnings, “Bloodstream” sits even in stark contrast to its immediate party-hard tech-house predecessor, “Mirror Mirror” with its brooding melodies. There’s a surprising, even haunting, vulnerability in its lyrics — “skin and bones, without you I’m skin and bones, whenever you pull me close” — while still delivering on dance floor-friendly groove and that sweet satisfaction of a hold-your-breath build, released. With these last two singles, which feature on their forthcoming Mirror Mirror EP (out Mar. 13), Ship Wrek has our attention. — K.R.