First Spin: The Week's Best New Dance Tracks From Elax, Skream & More

Shane McCauley
Alex Ridha (Boys Noize)

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 into the digital crates to present absolute must-hears from the wide breadth of fresh jams. 

It was a massive week for dance music. We saw a monster collab from Skrillex, new albums from Yacht and !!!, a real club classic from Wax Motif & Diddy, and an altrustic bass behemoth from Siberian-born Volac (seriously, help save those people from the wildfires). Dillon Francis announced an album, Diplo announced a new house music label - and that's not even taking into consideration the dank tracks we've compiled today.

Here, we celebrate Skream's new baby girl with an effervescent song, give Boys Noize even more props for his Elax alter ego, catch an ambient wave with Floating Points, welcome Anamanaguchi back from a break, and honor the memory of the late-great Keith Flint with Anna & Kittin. Plus tunes from Four Tet, Caravan Palace, plus a hardstyle collab from Luca Lush and Lil Texas. What more could you ask for? Get to poppin' and lockin' below.

Elax - “Bescio”

It’s been a good week for producer Alex Ridha. His Boys Noize moniker enjoyed two huge releases in A$AP Rocky’s “Babushka Boi” (which he co-penned) and the much-hyped collaboration with Skrillex and Ty Dolla $ign, “Midnight Hour.” His Elax side project is lesser known by the masses but equally worthy of attention. After dropping a debut EP last November, Elax is back on Solomun’s Diynamic imprint with a new two-tracker, Bescio, on which the titular A-side sounds the way dog days of summer feel. It's sun-baked synths perched on the crumbling edge of heat-induced delirium; festival-primed peaktime energy that Pete Tong brought to his BBC Radio 1 Essential Selection show and his own set at Creamfields last week. No doubt your favorite DJs will follow. -- Krystal Rodriguez

Skream - "Song for Olivia"

When he was a snot-nosed teen, Skream invented dubstep, but that's not his most cherished creation. UK stalwart Oliver Jones took a turn to his house and techno roots in the early 2010s, and he's most likely to boast about his bouncing young boy and bright-eyed baby girl. "Song For Olivia" is dedicated to the newest member of the Jones family. It's hopeful, '80s-disco synths give Olivia and her clan an upbeat soundtrack on the spotty road of life. "Anything is possible," this melody seems to say, and you don't have to be the Olivia to ride that vibe. It's out now on Ministry of Sound imprint Of Unsound Mind. Check it. -- Kat Bein

Four Tet - “Anna Painting”

I once heard Four Tet’s music described as the equivalent of hearing color. It’s an accurate description of his overall sound: a palette of sonic hues with which he paints intricate soundscapes that stretch into infinity. It’s also the best metaphor to explain his new Anna Painting EP, a three-track release in collaboration with painter and longtime friend, Anna Liber Lewis. The months-in-the-making project paired the two artists “in tandem from conversation and correspondence,” Four Tet explained in a statement posted on Bandcamp. “I made music and Anna responded to it with drawings and paintings, apart from the last track, which I made after having seen her work.” The new music comprising Anna Painting, originally available exclusively as part of Lewis’ recent exhibition in a London gallery earlier this year, unfolds like an art museum soundtrack, with the title track serving as its colorful masterpiece. -- John Ochoa

Anna & Kittin - “Forever Ravers”

When The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint passed away earlier this year, it left a crater-sized void in the dance music community. From the untimely tragedy, an incendiary pairing between emergent techno producer Anna and veteran artist Miss Kittin was born. “Forever Ravers,” off their Speicher 112 release on Kompakt, celebrates the “freedom and empowerment” of the rave culture that Flint helped pioneer. Anna has documented the track’s multiple test runs throughout this festival season, and no surprise, it’s a hit. Her unrelenting production simultaneously fills and shreds the space to ribbons with its jagged synths while Miss Kittin shouts, “We're f***ing ravers! Forever ravers!” Such a looming, disembodied voice would normally sound terrifying, but here it’s a shining, wide-eyed rallying cry. More than a sweat-filled anthem, it’s proof that these two make a great team with hopefully more to come. -- K. Rodriguez

Anamanaguchi - "Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)"

Yes, these lyrics are the gobbledy-gook designers use as standard text filler, but did you know the phrase is derived from the work of one Cicero of 45 BC who wrote, in more complete ancient Latin, "there is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain." "Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)" is the first single from the New York-based, J-pop influenced band in more than five years, and it signals the coming of a new album called [USA], due for release Oct. 29. “This song deals with environmental forces so immense as to be beyond our control, but not our ability to notice and grasp the effects they bear on us," Anamanaguchi's Peter Berkman is quoted in a press release. "There’s a lot more in the album about these unavoidable realities — conditions, names, identities, labels — that none of us chose, but have to learn to live with.” A tour for [USA] follows in fall. -- K. Bein

Luca Lush & Lil Texas - “Sucker Punch”

Hard dance, the umbrella term comprising the more aggressive sides of electronic music like hard house, hard trance and hardstyle, has resurfaced in the States in a major way thanks to rising artists like SAYMYNAME and Lil Texas, both of whom are mutating the sound in their own way. The latter, Dallas-born producer/DJ Lil Texas, is one of the more exciting acts bubbling up in the scene. His self-described TEXCORE sound is frenetic, furious and just plain fun: heavy enough for hard-heads yet accessible for hard dance newbies. “Sucker Punch,” his new collab with fellow genre renegade Luca Lush, stacks hard-hitting gabber elements atop savage basslines and rapid-fire productions. It’s like a roller coaster of bass with no end. The track is out on Carnage’s Heavyweight Records, which has been pushing the hard bass movement since its launch in 2017. -- J. Ochoa

Floating Points - “Last Bloom”

After releasing his Les Alpx / Coorabell EP in July -- his first new music in two years -- Floating Points announced his forthcoming album Crush, scheduled for release Oct. 18 via Ninja Tune. Accompanying the news is a single from the LP, “Last Bloom,” a delightful oddball of a tune that bleeps and bloops, zips, pitter-patters and flashes like a firefly in the dark. It’s atmospheric, sweet yet haunting and entirely cerebral -- something you can easily spend an hour trying to dissect on your headphones. When it comes to visuals, Hamill Industries nailed it with the video above; a psychedelic spectacle of nature filmed over the course of 30 days. As for the rest of the album? The producer describes Crush as “some of the most obtuse and aggressive music I’ve ever made.” -- K. Rodriguez

Caravan Palace - "Moonshine"

Following on the success of debut album <I°_°I>, Parisian duo Caravan Palace drop Chronologic, an 11-track sophomore LP that plays golden and warm as the rays of summer sun through dusty window panes. Lead single "Miracle" has nearly 9 million streams on Spotify, but recently released "Moonshine" has the catchy upbeat funk your Labor Day weekend needs. Acoustic guitar licks, stacked horn hooks, a chorus of kid vocals, and the band's own hopeful but lovelorn lyrics push "Moonshine" into glorious light. The full Chronologic album just dropped on Le Plan Records. Give it a spin in full while you're barbecueing. -- K. Bein

Moody Good - “Walkin Stoopid”

Mainstream bass music has warped over the past five years, slowly moving away from brostep-centric drops and aggressive, festival-friendly builds toward weirder, avant-garde sounds. That’s a good thing, as it allows bass experimentalists like UK artist Moody Good to flex on the low end. Moody Good, née Eddie Jefferys, is known for his surreal bass soundscapes, a sonic trait largely credited to his sound engineer background. His new one, “Walkin Stoopid,” is a prime example of his approach to sound design. Released on Slander’s and Nghtmre’ Gud Vibrations label, the track skillfully walks the line between brain-melting experimentalism and head-banging dubstep, mixing tripped-out melodies into bass-heavy subs. Grade-A stuff. -- J. Ochoa

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.