First Spin: The Week's Best New Dance Tracks From Four Tet and Caribou, Pat Lok & More

Four Tet Caribou
Courtesy of Four Tet and Caribou

Archival image of Four Tet and Caribou.

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 the absolute must-hears from the wide breadth of jams.

Some weeks, the new music rains down like manna from heaven -- or at least like loads of fresh links in your inbox. The point is that there's a ton of musical heat this week, with sounds ranging from progressive house to techno to electro-pop and beyond.

The six picks below come in addition to this week's house remix of Kelly Clarkson's April single "I Dare You", moments to relive from Porter Robinson's Secret Sky Festival and a nature-based playlist from Justin Martin. Let's dig in.-

Caribou,"Never Come Back" (Four Tet Remix)

First, please look at the photo accompanying this article, taken in the early 2000s and depicting Dan Snaith (Caribou) and Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) locked in on their now-vintage laptops, Snaith amusedly gazing at something on the screen and Hebden casually lounging in his bathrobe. This is friendship, folks, and between the two producers, it is real.

That relationship continues today with the Four Tet remix of Caribou's "Never Come Back" from the latter artist's recently released LP, Suddenly. The edit thickens and toughens up the the track, transforming the effervescent original into a nearly eight-minute techno weapon.

"Kieran is already part of my music before he remixes it," Caribou says in a statement about the track. "He spent hours listening to drafts of tracks from Suddenly and giving me feedback, as he has done with my previous albums. I love that when people think of us as musical allies that they are seeing something real and genuine, not music industry artifice. We are the closest friends -- so much so that I feel like we are family -- and I love that people who listen to our music can feel that. So of course I thought of Kieran as the person to take on remixing 'Never Come Back.'

"Needless to say he has smashed it -- creating a warped and beautiful techno banger that, as its inclusion in his recent Boiler Room stream showed, will get people dancing whatever the circumstances." -- KATIE BAIN

Sofi Tukker and Gorgon City, "House Arrest"

Last summer, Sofi Tukker's Sophie Hawley-Weld broke her foot while on tour. Thus off then road and holed up at home recuperating, she wrote a song called "House Arrest" about being unable to leave your place of residence.

Little did Hawley-Weld know that nearly a year later, the theme would be applicable to roughly every single person on earth. In the context of quarantine, the melodic house collab (with the always excellent UK duo Gorgon City) is not only apt, but slinky and transportive enough to make you momentarily forget that many of us are still not allowed to leave the house. -- K. Bain

DJ Boring, “Like Water”

Two years after his last release, DJ Boring is back. The producer earlier this week shared a new single, “Like Water,” his first on Ninja Tune’s Technicolour imprint and the first from his forthcoming EP of the same name. At over nine minutes long, “Like Water” forms at a gradual pace, blooming from a brisk, barebones groove into a lush ecosystem thick with swirling atmospheric haze, glitched-out sonics and synth lines that pierce the air. According to a press release, Like Water was created with the live show in mind; its tracks came out of DJ Boring’s own live show from last year. Appropriately, the title track comes accompanied by delightfully trippy visuals designed by Amir Jahanbin. The EP is scheduled for release on June 12. -- KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ

Leftwing:Kody feat. Leo Stannard, “Purple Sunshine”

For nearly a decade, Leftwing:Kody have been flying the flag high for house music and its tech-ier sibling through releases on labels like Toolroom, Armada Subjekt and Moon Harbour, but since signing to Columbia Records last summer, the UK duo seem to be drawn to a different sound. Like previous singles “Missing (Should’ve Known It)” and “Without You,” their latest, “Purple Sunshine” featuring Leo Stannard, is a blast of moody progressive house meant for filling big, strobe-y rooms. Stannard seems to sing about reaching the apex of a long journey and finally seeing the light ahead, his raspy timbre ringing with weary joy. Leftwing:Kody’s melodic production sets the stage for an emotional build and release that’s unexpectedly resonant and hopeful. -- K.R.

Pat Lok, “No One (No One)”

Days, weeks and months are no longer relevant. Quarantine’s inside-world living has us singing zen gems like “I am now and now is me” with a special kind of resonance. We ripped those lyrics straight from singer Chu’s performance on LA-based producer Pat Lok’s “No One (No One),” the intro track from his new EP Gone is Yesterday, out now on Kitsune. The track was written during a trip to Berlin, specifically at an old airport called Tempelhof built in the ‘30s by the Nazi regime.

“While the grounds have since been redone, the old building remains, all brick and stone with a couple of small studios retrofitted inside,” Pat Loks says in an emailed statement. “We thought it would be special, if not ironic to write something with a confident, positive message. [It’s] very much inspired by the uplifting tone of classic house records.”

“No One (No One)” is a funky, bouncy, introspective cut that just may lead you to Nirvana. Indeed, Gone is Yesterday pulls great influence from Pat Lok’s Singapore roots, using percussion and melodies inspired by the broader regions of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. You can’t really go outside, but you can close your eyes and take this trip. -- KAT BEIN

Ford., “Living, Breathing”

And now, we invite you to close your eyes and float down a lazy river of sound. Ford. is a member of Odesza’s Foreign Family Collective, and we’ve had our eye on his rainy-day style since November of 2018. Our suspicions of greatness were confirmed earlier this year when the 20 year old’s remix of Mild Mind’s “Swim” was nominated for a Best Remixed Recording Grammy.

This week, he expands his sampled sound with lush percussion, vinyl crackles and layers of synthy sounds. “Living, Breathing” is part of a greater progression to explore new depth while maintaining his lo-fi roots. We can’t say much, but we will say he’s up to something exciting later this year. Don’t worry about tomorrow, though. Just enjoy the pitter-patter romance of “Living, Breathing” today. -- K. Bein

First Spin Honorable Mentions 


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