This week in dance music: We ran down spring’s 15 most anticipated dance albums, we did a deep dive on how dance music is setting the tempo for NFTs, and we got lineups from Chicago’s ARC Music Festival, Elements Music Festival and the 10-year anniversary of Desert Hearts. Also: Alison Wonderland dropped out of an upcoming Mexico festival hosted by Brownies & Lemonade, we chatted with Black Coffee about his historic Grammy nomination, Diplo debuted at No. 2 on Top Dance/Electronic Albums with his recently released self-titled LP and we spoke with old pals Carl Cox and Nicole Moudaber about the state of techno and their show in Brooklyn this weekend.
New music? We’ve got that too. Let’s dig in.
NGHTMRE & SLANDER Feat. Dylan Matthews, “Fall Into Me”
Regular collaborators NGHTMRE & SLANDER return with a track that marries an emotive ballad made of strings and lovelorn vocals from Dylan Matthews with piercing, pitched up synths that transform the otherwise mellow track into a mainstage anthem. “Fall Into Me” is also the lead single from NGHTMRE’s forthcoming debut album, for which a name and release date have not yet been announced. The Los Angeles based NGHTMRE will play Ultra Music Festival in Miami next weekend and headline Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre on April 15 on a bill that also includes Kill The Noise, Dimension, Knock2 and Nitepunk. — KATIE BAIN
Mabel, Jax Jones & Galantis, “Good Luck”
The next time a breakup makes you want to hate-watch rom-coms and sob into your ice cream Elle-Woods style, Mabel has a sonic tonic for your blues. The U.K. pop artist has teamed up with producers Jax Jones and Galantis (whose recent combined crossover collabs include Charli XCX, Saweetie and Little Mix, NBD) on new single “Good Luck,” the ultimate kiss-off for wandering-eye exes.
The dance-pop production itself is a mood booster with its radiant piano melody, deep bassline and disco string-synth flourishes — but the actual healing lies within Mabel’s lyrics: “ He ain’t worth the drama/ In due time he’ll get his karma/ He gon’ found you happy ever after/ But he won’t find better/ So wish him good luck.” Sing this with your besties at the club and afterward you’ll find yourself wondering, “[Insert ex’s name] who?” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Vintage Culture, “Commotion”
Old school meets new with rising Brazilian producer Vintage Culture pairing with the legendary Maxi Jazz of U.K. outfit Faithless for a moody, out-of-the-box collab. On “Commotion,” Jazz’s soft, almost spoken word delivery creates a smart, spooky vibe under which Vintage Culture’s piles a swirl of darkly pummeling beats that simultaneously address our age of anxiety while also providing escape from it. “These lyrics arrived in the middle of the night while I was pondering the difference between the world I grew up in and where we are today,” Jazz says. “Like most people, I’m more than a little concerned over the future for generations to come and the words took 20 minutes to write. They poured out of me like a tap. And they come from a place of love, not fear.” — K. Bain
Joy Orbison, “pinky ring”
After last year gifting us a mixtape, still slipping vol. 1, that erred towards the more introspective side of electronic music, Joy Orbison is back to unraveling ravers on the dancefloor. New track “pinky ring,” he says, is “one of the first bits of music i made in the studio after still sipping, inspired in part by wanting to have new music for my club night but mostly by my lady dragging me to d’n’b parties again” (sic). It’s cool, crisp and heady as hell — with crackling, clicking and glitching textures and a dangerously rumbly bassline ready to tear itself from the ground and wreak havoc on our collective soul. The vocal sample clip is simple yet so catchy; at one point, it tap-tap-tap-taps on your brain, while the other sounds melt away and it feels like you and it are the only things in existence – until that rip-roaring low end says otherwise. — K.R.
Kasablanca — the duo who have yet to reveal much information about their actual identities — are nonetheless shoring up their reputation with a series of excellent progressive house releases that continue today with their Anjunabeats debut, Immunity. The three-song EP closes with “Phoenix,” a melodic slice of hypnotic synths stabs that crescendo with warmth and heft. The duo aced recent sets at prestige dance venues including San Diego’s CRSSD Festival, New York City’s Terminal 5 and the Echostage in Washington D.C. Kasablanca will also make their Bonnaroo debut this June with a set in the festival’s campground area. The stacked multi-genre lineup for which also includes Dillon Francis, Channel Tres, Jauz, NGHTMRE and many others. — K. Bain