First Spin: The Week’s Best New Dance Music From Hot Chip, Alesso, Kerri Chandler & More
This week in dance music: We were on the ground for Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd’s headlining set at Coachella, Apple debuted its high-tech Spatial audio with an indeed very spatial mix from Jeff Mills, NorCal’s Northern Nights festival announced that it will be the first U.S fest to feature multiple on-site cannabis dispensaries, Calvin Harris announced this summer we’ll all be funking, waving and bouncing once more, David Guetta made it clear that he will just never stop putting numbers on the board, Aloe Blacc sang “Wake Me Up” in three languages on the fourth anniversary of Avicii’s death, Kaskade and Deadmau5 hit the apex of DanceMix Show Airplay chart with their song “Escape,” and Galantis graced us with their remix of Roxette’s 1991 classic “Fading Like a Flower.”
Is there more? There’s lots more! Let’s dig in to the week’s best new dance music.
Hot Chip, “Down”
Who’s in the mood for some classic Hot Chip funk? The English synth-pop band just cannot miss, and its latest single is a jangly, sweat-drippin’ jammer that’ll have everyone from your quiet uncle to your over-excited seven-year-old cousin busting their best moves. Even more enticing? It’s the lead single from their confirmed upcoming eighth studio album titled Freakout/Release. The song drops betwixt the group’s performance at Coachella, where they basically lit the Mojave stage on fire during their set this past Saturday with new music, old classics and a cover of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.”
“We were living through a period where it was very easy to feel like people were losing control of their lives in different ways,” Hot Chip co-founder Joe Goddard says. “There’s a darkness that runs through a lot of those tracks.” Get ready to freak out and break it right down right to the ground when the album drops this August 19. – KAT BEIN
Kerri Chandler feat. Sunchilde, “Never Thought (Main Vocal Mix) [Printworks]”
Before DJ/producers play out their biggest hits in the club, they first make them in the studio, a space that’s small, quiet and often solitary — a stark contrast from the dance floors on which songs come to life. But what if producers produced while out in the field? That’s exactly what house legend Kerri Chandler did with his upcoming album Spaces and Places, his first album in 14 years. Each of the LP’s 24 tracks was written, recorded and performed on dancefloors at various clubs over a four-year period. Lead single “Never Thought [Printworks],” named for the London printing plant turned nightclub, is exactly the kind of house music we’ve come to know and love from Chandler: radiant and soulful, with tightly packed percussion that hits the ears like speckles of sweat and a piano-led groove that could go on forever.
“I wanted to express the love of what could be possible in capturing my productions in the venue, from the heart of each space, right on the dance floor,” Chandler says. Spaces And Places will be released in October on Chandler’s Kaoz Theory label. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Alesso Feat. Zara Larsson, “Words”
Still riding high on his Katy Perry collab “When I’m Gone” (which is currently clocking its 16th week on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs), Alesso is back with another pop star featuring dance/pop track. This time, the producer is working with fellow Swede Zara Larsson, who sings about everything she can’t tell her lover (primarily those three most special words: “I love you”) over sultry choruses and a bouncy chorus. (“Words” co-writers Karen Poole (known for her work with Kylie Minogue) and recent Brit-award winning singer Becky Hill add extra star power to the mix.) Alesso’s hot streak — which also includes his recent contribution to the soundtrack to The Batman — continues with the producer’s opening slot on 16 North American dates on the Bad Bunny tour. — KATIE BAIN
Flux Pavilion, “Lore”
In January of 2021 Flux Pavilion released his second studio album .wav, which found the producer veering far from the womping bass that made him a longstanding name in the electronic scene. Now, the English artist born Josh Steele is again doing a 180 back to his signature sound. Out via Flux’s own Circus Records, “Lore” is a cinematic, fantasy-flavored epic with lyrics about “the four fundamental wave forms of the universe” that we can definitely imagine as the frenzy-inducing opening track of a Flux live show. Hitting as hard as you want it to, “Lore” is an epic reminder of why Flux Pavilion will always be a king of bass, regardless of where his other artistic ventures lead him.
“I remember when I was first starting out as Flux Pavillion, and it felt like you had to make a choice. You either write a heavy hitting track or an emotional, beautiful track. You can’t do both,” Steele says. “And that was where my driving force behind Flux really came from. And I realized I could do both. You can make a record that hits hard and feels huge but also is very listenable and has emotional and beautiful elements to it. And I think that’s the thing that I felt like I wasn’t hearing, it felt like it had gone back into the camp of one or the other, and what I did in the first place that made me excited about the music was to blend the two. And now I’m back to doing that again.” — K. Bain
Duck Sauce, “Put the Sauce on It”
Two years ago, Duck Sauce’s comeback celebration—complete with a Coachella 2020 booking—was cut short in the wake of global lockdown. A handful of new tracks later, the duo of A-Trak and Armand Van Helden finally graced the famed festival this past weekend with a set that put the “fun” in “funky.” They opened with a new song, “Put the Sauce on It,” which they officially released earlier this week as part of their EP of the same name, which also includes past Billboard First Spin favorite “Ask Me.”) Perhaps a close relative of Duck Sauce’s 2014 song “Calamari (Put the Sauce on It),” this version has a more of a bold club energy, with an emphasis on jacking hi-hats and tightly wound builds that feel more geared towards packed festival crowds than a casual pool party. Regardless of where it plays, its sassy vocal and vibrant energy will put a dopey smile on your face. — K.R.
Giolì & Assia, “Fire, Hell & Holy Water”
The Italian duo’s lead single from their forthcoming album brings maximum vibes, with a stomping beat and an otherwordly hangdrum giving “Fire, Hell & Holy Water” a mood as heavy, and mystical, as its name. The song follows Giolì & Assia’s 2021 steamy single with Pabllo Vittar “Quedate” and proves the duo — singers, multi instrumentalists and label owners — are poised for stardom. — K. Bain
Daniel Johns feat. Moxie Raia, “I Feel Electric”
You know those days when you just feel a tickle in your stomach? When something big is about to go down, because your skin is on fire? That’s the kind of vibe Daniel Johns and Moxie Raia want you to tap into with the sensual, cheeky lil synth groove they call “I Feel Electric.” It’s got the kind of beat that you can really bop to, the kind of rhythm that’ll have you slow walking through the streets with your chin held high.
If you’re feeling it, we’ve got good news: “I Feel Electric” is just one of 13 tracks on the artist’s new album FutureNever, which happens to feature cameos from Peking Duk, What So Not and more. If Johns’ voice sounds familiar at all, you might know him as the former lead singer of ‘90s alt rockers Silverchair. Yes, you read that right. Crazy! – K. Bein
Gentelmens Club, “Policia”
Picking up where Disclosure’s “My High” left off, U.K. trio Gentlemens Club deliver a hectic, happily woozy and bass-laden U.K. garage heater that marks the group’s first single of the year and is out on their own ClubFriendly imprint. Having amassed 450,000 views on their quarantine livestreams, the group is one to watch when they return to the festival scene this season. — K. Bain