This week in dance music: Hardwell performed his big comeback show at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami and, naturally, immediately followed that up by announcing a world tour. Swedish House Mafia have gotten into Ultra fun by revealing they’ll be headlining the festival next year, and we’ve detailed 10 reasons why this year’s event marked a return to form for the festival. Meanwhile, Above & Beyond announced that they would be celebrating the 500th episode of their radio show Group Therapy with an October show in Los Angeles. Stockholm’s Pophouse Entertainment announced it has acquired the rights to the Swedish House Mafia catalog, Tampa’s Sunset Music Festival announced the addition of Alesso, John Summit and more to its Memorial Day Weekend event, and the Do Lab announced the line-ups for her stage at Coachella.
“Continued?” you say. Agreed. Charli XCX saw her track “Beg for You” rise to the top of dance/electronic songs, we spoke with Ólafur Arnalds about her surprise Grammy nomination, with Marshmello about her surprise Grammy nomination, with Ten City about their historic nomination and with Richie Hawtin about his sublime new project with Chilly Gonzales.
“Even more?” you say. Absoutely. Let’s find out the best new dance music of the week.
Totally Huge Extinct Dinosaurs, “Blood in the Snow”
It’s been a hectic week for Orlando Higginbottom, the British producer known as Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Ahead of Sunday’s Grammy Awards, for which his collaboration Bonobo “Heartbreak” is nominated for Best Electronic/Dance Recording, he announced a new album When the lights go out. It’s his first LP in 10 years (but to be honest, his 2012 LP Difficulty is timeless to the ears of this writer). The first single “Blood in the Snow” is more of a ballad than a banger. Smooth and subtle, his sparse production allows Higginbottom’s distinct vocals and nostalgic harmonies to spotlight rippling synths, icy cymbals and barely there rhythm. “This song,” says Higginbottom, “is about melting glaciers and a girl’s desire, where to put love in that fall.” — KRISTAL RODRIGUEZ
Hardwell, “Into the Unknown”
Who wants drama? Hardwell is back and he’s on high with his first original singles since 2019. If you weren’t there for his big comeback at the Ultra Music Festival, this is your chance to experience the deep, heart-pounding darkness that is the new chapter of the Dutchman. . And even if you were there, listening to those tracks without the screams of thousands in your ear welcomes a more minimalistic experience. It begins with the monologue track “Broken Mirror” which served as its opener last Sunday, then moves on to “Into the Unknown”, which played immediately after. Released now on his own reveal recordings, this is definitely Hardwell like you’ve never heard him before. – KAT BEIN
SOFI TUKKER, “Kakee”
And now for something a little more…wet. SOFI TUKKER is back with a brilliant dose of guitar funk and mechanical drum groove. “Kakee” is a tasty little ditty that’s as mean as it sounds. “‘Kakee’ is an ode to khaki and the power of p-sy,” the duo wrote on YouTube. “May this video inspire you to get excited with whatever does it for you.” “Kakee” is the second single from the duo’s upcoming album. wet tennis, released April 29 via Ultra Records. The video was filmed in humid Hawaii, and it’s about as fun and hot as it gets. – K.Bein
Barry can’t swim feat. Taite Imogen, “God Is the Space Between Us”
After debuting on Ninja Tune’s Technicolor imprint last year with Anish Kumar’s “Blackpool Boulevard” collab, Barry Can’t Swim – one of Billboardof 10 dance artists to watch in 2022 – shared his first solo single for the label, “God is the Space Between Us”, ahead of a new EP, More content (out June 24). Steps away from Barry’s usual jazzy, sunny house, this track is wittily heavier, more melancholic and introspective, with wintry breakbeats and crackling percussion as vocalist Taite Imogen’s voice cuts through the production like strong bursts of wind.
Barry calls “God Is the Space Between Us” a continuation of his 2021 track “Lone Raver”, having written both during lockdown isolation. A more direct inspiration for the song, he adds, is a quote from the 1995 film before sunrise“You know, I believe that if there is any kind of God, it wouldn’t be in any of us. Not you or me, but just, that little space in between. Barry says, “I love that quote. I think what she’s saying is that God and love is not something you can own or acquire, but something that exists in an empty space that connects people. It has always been there, and we draw from it at different times in our lives. It was something that I really wanted to articulate with the sound of this song”. — KR
Flume feat. Caroline Polachek, “Mermaids”
Let’s all hail the return of the mighty Flume. This time, the Aussie king is joined by his friends Caroline Polachek and Danny L. Harle on a haunting and harrowing track of ghostly sounds that’s somehow delicate and horrifying all at once. “I was living alone in London, and it was the darkest time of the pandemic,” says Polachek. “I was really going through it, feeling so small, unable to control anything in the world, and the lyrical ‘sirens’ referenced the constant ambulances I heard.”
“Caroline and I had known each other for years, but she had just moved to Los Angeles and we bumped into each other living on the streets,” Flume says. “We started playing weekly games of Magic: The Gathering with AG Cook and some friends. We started doing a session, and Danny L Harle showed me a vocal note from Caroline with some early voice steps. Loved it and went back during the pandemic.
“Sirens” is the second single from an upcoming Flume album, Palace, which will be released on May 20 and will feature collaborations with Damon Albarn, Vergen Maria, Oklou and Kučka. – K.Bein
Confidence Man, “Luvin U is Easy”
“Luvin U is Easy”, the new song from Australian band Confidence Man’s second album Tilt (out now on I Oh You), is the type of song that will make you fall in love with your partner all over again. It’s a complete house music serenade: Amid the dynamic bassline, swirling synth chords and gleaming piano keys, vocalist Janet Planet delivers lyrical nuggets that strike the sweet spot between adoring someone and being adored. : “Don’t expect me in paradise , too beautiful for that / If you do well with me, I will make you right back. The chorus, in which she sings of feeling their love growing day by day, overflows with ‘a contagious puppy love type energy punctuated with punches of “Yeah!throughout. “It’s so real,” Janet sings, as if such love could only be a dream. Who said the honeymoon period had to end? — KR
Liquid Stranger, “DOWN”
In this age of anxiety, it’s important to participate in the simple pleasures of life, like letting it go. Crank up Swedish bass Don Liquid Stranger’s latest and do it, letting the world beats and edgy basses ring through your brain like the Ativan sound. The track is the third single from the producer’s forthcoming LP, BALANCE. “When I created ‘LOW’, I wanted to create something unique in the soundscape,” explains the producer. “It’s one of my favorite songs to play on the BALANCE Tour because of the energy it creates on the dance floor, it hits.” Find an opportunity to let it hit you at upcoming Liquid Stranger tour stops, including Sunset Music Festival, Summer Camp, Imagine Festival, Elements and the second edition of its own flagship festival, WAKAAN Music Festival, which will take place in September in Arkanas. — KATIE BATH