First Spin: The Week's Best New Dance Tracks From David Guetta, Major Lazer, Ekali & Illenium & More

David Guetta
Guerin Blask

David Guetta

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. 

This week we've got loads of new music from some of dance music's biggest stars including David Guetta, Major Lazer and A-Trak, along with fresh music from upstarts like Nicola Cruz and Ku?ka. There's a lot to get through this week, so let's dig in. 

Confidence Man, “Does It Make You Feel Good?”

“Feelings are in right now and we’ve got some for you,” Confidence Man writes in a statement about their new single, “Does It Make You Feel Good?” The Australian quartet’s first new music in nearly a year is an infectious slice of dance-pop that sounds simultaneously retro and futuristic with its oscillating synth lines and dramatic disco strings.

The lyrics, belted by frontwoman Janet Planet, are catchy as hell, the kind you’ll catch yourself singing under your breath when you least expect it. The single’s accompanying video is also a must-watch with its cultish vibes, quirky choreography and a laser-strobing cone bra that Madonna would totally wear today. They’ll have no problem warming up the dancefloor when they open for New Order on the Australian leg of their tour in March. -- KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ

David Guetta & Morten with Raye, "Make It to Heaven"

Hit machine David Guetta and frequent collaborator Morten continue their sonic bromance with their newest single, "Make It to Heaven." Guetta has called their work together an effort to bridge the gap between mainstage EDM and underground house and techno, and this new song -- featuring vocalist Raye -- does achieve an aural middleground with its darkly pulsing synths and build-and-release format, which together offer the allure of the more experimental end of the dance music spectrum and the thrillride of the maximalist approach Guetta has made his name on. -- KATIE BAIN

i_o, "Rave 444"

Mau5trap affiliate i_o (short for "infinite one") has been making some of our favorite techno of 2019, and the Los Angeles-based producer's hot streak continues today with "Rave 444" a pummeling, laser-infused joyride through outer space, or at least the darkest corners of that late-night warehouse rave. "Rave 444" is the title track of a four-song project that serves as the first of a three-part project that together will make up i_o's debut album, 444. We're ready for it. -- K. Bain

Tennyson, “You”

Songs about love are a dime a dozen, but when Tennyson's Luke Pretty sings “I'm happy brushing my teeth with you,” our entire bodies melt. Those endearing lines are from his song “You,” one of six luscious tunes on his Telescope EP, out today on Counter Records. Indeed, no one conjures worlds of complex beauty quite like Tennyson. The Canadian-bred producer was raised by artistic eccentrics and grew up playing jazz in cafes with his sister, Tess. Now, he feeds sideways rhythms and slinky grooves through a childlike kaleidoscope of sound to create overwhelming compositions under the name Tennyson. For the new EP, he teamed with pixel artist Waneella to bring his sonic universe to life. Check it all out, and don't say we didn't warn “You.” -- KAT BEIN

Nicola Cruz, Siku Reworks

Nicola Cruz, the Ecuadorian producer and one of Billboard’s Latin Artists to Watch in 2019, started this year big by releasing his second album, Siku, which gets its name from a sacred Andean wind instrument used in ancestral rituals. To end it, he’s released Siku Reworks, a carefully curated collection of album-track reimaginations from an international cast of producers.

Among them, Japan’s Peter Power turns “Okami” into haunting and syrupy ambient, Paris’ El Búho gives “Arka” an extra human layer via hand-clapping rhythms and the mysterious Makedub Steppers gives “Obsidiana” a dark and dubby sheen befitting of the igneous rock for which it’s named. Cruz also re-recorded live versions of two tracks, “Siete” and “Señor de las Piedras.” Stateside, fans can catch him in May 2020 on his biggest U.S. headline tour yet, with dates spanning Los Angeles, New York, Boston and more. -- K. Rodriguez

Get Real (Claude VonStroke & Green Velvet), "Jolean"

The dance world's coolest odd couple return today with "Jolean." The sonic lovechild of Green Velvet and Claude VonStroke, who've long produced and performed together as Get Real, the track an entirely accurate representation of both producers' aural aesthetic, with the Dirtybird bossman's signature squiggly synths laying the foundation for Green Velvet's deadpan vocal delivery. -- K. Bain

Ekali & Illenium feat. Chloe Angelides, “Hard to Say Goodbye” 

Who's in the mood for an emotional ballad with a trap-infused beat? Dance-pop favorite Illenium teams up with Canadian producer on a not-quite break-up burner, out now on Big Beat Records. “Hard to Say Goodbye” is one that begs for cellphone flashes and lighters in the air. Vocalist Chloe Angelides sings truth to airy pain, talkin' about how she's okay with her doomed relationship because it's easier to stay with someone who's so-good-but-no-good than it is to sleep alone. The slinky post-chorus vocal-tweak hooks make it hard to accept the end of this one, so play it loud and hold your loved one's close as long as this one lasts. -- K. Bein

Major Lazer, “Que Calor” Feat. J Balvin (Saweetie Remix)

When Major Lazer goes and samples Toto La Momposina’s classic cumbia anthem “Curara,” the whole world wants to jump on board. Released in October, the original track started with drippy verses from Colombian native J Balvin, but today, things get even tastier with an added verse from California rapper Saweetie. You may recognize her breakout tunes “Icy Girl” and “My Type” from the High Maintenance EP, but even if not, this is a rousing introduction. There's also a colorful lyric video to go along with it, so you don't miss a single bilingual syllable. -- K. Bein

A-Trak & Loods, “What Can I Do”

“What Can I Do” is a meeting of two worlds: A-Trak, Canadian turntablist prodigy turned veteran producer, one-half of the beloved duo Duck Sauce and founder of the popular Fool’s Gold label, and Loods, the Australian newcomer who since last year has been emerging from the underground with releases on Steel City Dance Discs (co-run by Mall Grab) and Luke Solomon’s Classic Music Company.

What do they have in common? They make a mean house record. Today, they join forces on “What Can I Do,” which errs on the genre’s mellower side. Its titular refrain seems almost cradled by the soft yet funky bassline, pensive piano keys and a wistful acid synth line that dips like petals under the weight of a raindrop, making this feel less like a record for dancing and more for soundtracking a search for clarity in the expansive horizon. ‎-- K. Rodriguez

Ku?ka, “Real”

After sharing her first solo single in three years in September, Ku?ka is back with a new one, “Real,” and it’s a beauty. Co-produced by Nosaj Thing, “Real” is delicate and crystalline in its production -- a perfect bed for Ku?ka’s own ethereal vocals -- juxtaposing ruminating, minimal percussion with meditative synths and a gentle twinkle. It’s the kind of track that makes you want to close your eyes and escape to your own world for a few minutes. Maybe that’s the point.

In a statement, Ku?ka says “Real” is about the importance of imagination for healing and human connection, both of which can be overlooked in today’s technology-dominated environment: “I want to encourage people to lose themselves in their ideas, to really go deep, no matter how weird or unusual they think they are, and see how it affects their physical body and gives way to even more potent thoughts.” -- K. Rodriguez


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