And we’re back, baby. As we ease into the new year, the dance world is coming hot out the gates with a week of action dominated by the Return of Skrillex via a pair of new tracks (more on that below) and the announcement of his first solo album in nine (NINE!) years. The one and only Sonny Moore also played a very hot, extremely sold out b2b2b last night in London with fellow greats Fred again.. and Four Tet.
Beyond that — there is, of course, always new music. Ready for 2023? Let’s dig in.
Tiësto, “Lay Low”
While most tech house producers mine ‘90s and 2000s R&B hits to craft killer club hooks, Dutch hero Tiêsto digs into the amber-hued harmonies of the ‘60s to bring a haunting bit of bass-driven atmosphere. “Lay Low” is both fiercely modern and nostalgic, pitting a deep vocoder against an angelic chorus that feels reminiscent of The Mamas & The Papas. It’s a song about having “a real good time” set in a minor key, pulling at your heartstrings while encouraging you to close your eyes and get lost on the dancefloor. It’s a real winter mood to kick off Tiësto’s 2023. Let it warm you to the bone. – KAT BEIN
Skrillex, “Way Back”
We’ve gotten more solo Skrillex action in the past seven days than the past few years combined, with the producer announcing his forthcoming album project on New Year’s Day, then stoking the fires of internet hype by following that news with the new Fred again.. and Flowdan collab “Rumble,” then a b2b2b set in London with Fred and former collaborator Four Tet. And now, we have another new single: “Way Back.” Clearly extremely comfortable working with collaborators, the track unites Skrill with viral electro-pop phenomenon PinkPantheress and star rapper Trippie Redd. But whereas “Rumble” explored the murkiest realms of the low end, this one is nearly effervescent, with a bouncy production evoking D&B and finishing with a warm sax solo that once again demonstrates there’s little Skrillex can’t do. — KATIE BAIN
Alex Lustig feat. Sølv, “Fade”
Alex Lustig had a pretty eventful 2022: Beyond releasing his debut album Fate, he co-produced tracks for Lil Wayne (“Anti-Hero” feat. Lil Tecca) and Gunna (“idk that b*tch” feat. G Herbo). He also helped guide Drake through his full-length dance-floor detour, Honestly, Nevermind, by co-producing five of the LP’s tracks, such as the Ibiza-transporting “Falling Back” and “Overdrive.”
For now, though, Lustig is ready to reassume his place in the spotlight. The Toronto-based producer has released a new single, “Fade,” as the first taste of his forthcoming album Fate (B-Sides). “Fade,” which features London singer Sølv, is slightly more upbeat than his usual fare, but it’s still the kind of music you want soundtracking a 2:00 a.m. joyride to clear your head: deep and driving, with atmospheric synths and elegantly enveloping bass that flip the haziness of your mind into a vibe.
“’I love warm analog pads,” says Lustig. “My goal is to always add depth to whatever sound I’m trying to create, to get lost in that world. ‘Fade’ is an introspective glimpse into the insecurities of a relationship and the way love makes you vulnerable. It encompasses the duality of fear and faith, two polar opposites which are both experienced simultaneously when you open your heart.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Buy Now x PARISI, “Church”
Last year Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso quietly relaunched their house/techno project Buy Now, which existed as Swedish House Mafia was forming back in 2008. Amidst The Great Swedish House Mafia Comeback of 2022, the duo also delivered some genuine Buy Now heat, most notably with the bright-as-hell, sleek-as-chrome Salvatore Ganacci house collab “Let You Do This.” Angello and Ingrosso this week get much darker with the techno-leaning single “Church,” a hypnotic four minutes of kick drum, looped vocal samples and some laser-like synths that altogether evoke 3:00 a.m. on a pitch dark dancefloor — indeed, a place so many of us go to worship. — K. Bain
RuPaul, “Black Butta”
Racers, start your engines: alongside a new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul is back with a new album, Black Butta. As previous singles “Show Me That You Festive,” “Star Baby” and “A.S.M.R Lover” show, Black Butta is a runway-ready, pop-R&B-dance confection coated in pastels and affirmations. (House fans especially will notice prolific producer Eric Kupper’s feature on closer “Courage to Love.”) Beyond the LP’s catchy lyrics and uplifting piano-house melodies, its title track trades in the runway for more rave-inspired sounds with a dreamy, drummy, bass-heavy ode to a hottie at the club: “gifted, slim, thick, thin waist, still got thickness, so blessed,” Ru sing-speaks. “Oh my gosh,” indeed. — K.R.
Manila Killa Feat. Nevve, “Everyday, Everyday” (Live Edit)
The start of a new year is the perfect time for forging ahead with new plans, but it’s also a great time to reflect on the past. After all, how can you know where you’re going if you don’t take stock of where you’ve been? At the turn of this fresh start, Manila Killa takes a moment to celebrate his own past with the official release of a live edit that’s been central to his career so far.
“Five years ago, I put out a little song called ‘Everyday, Everyday’ featuring Nevve. It changed my life,” Manila Killa says on Twitter. “I decided to make a live  of it that I’ve been playing out over the last year, and it’s finally coming out. So, so excited for you to have this!!”
The original is light and sweet, with hard-hitting synth drums and neon sounds, but the live edit wrings out every last drop of emotional weight from Nevve’s vocals with a slowed-down tempo, half-time beat and acoustic piano intro. It’s still got all the hands-in-the-air grandiosity fans know and love. It’s just even more epic and cinematic. Use it to soundtrack your own fresh start in 2023. – K. Bein