This week in dance music: The first full-fledged Amsterdam Dance Event kicked off in the Dutch capital on Tuesday (watch for our full recap early next week), Claude VonStroke’s iconic Dirtybird label was acquired by the San Francisco-based EMPIRE, Oliver Tree and Robin Schulz hit the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart, and we went deep with one of the actual inventors of electronic music Jean-Michel Jarre.
And bangerz with a Z? We’ve got those too. Let’s dig in.
Before Bonobo completes his North American tour this weekend, he’s leaving a parting gift. New single “Defender,” out on his Outlier label in partnership with Ninja Tune, is another surprise drop following previous loosie “ATK.” Both deliver on the producer’s rich, textural electronica, but whereas “ATK” was bouncy and more straightforwardly upbeat in its approach, “Defender” sees the return of his tender touch. Floating above propulsive drums, the crystalline thumb-piano melody is light as a lullaby, joined by a gentle vocal scat. Even when blaring foghorn synths add heaviness, Bonobo keeps the magic alive with swirling synths and accents that twinkle like stars at midnight. “Defender” might not be your first thought when it comes to club tracks, but we’d still rave to this any day (or night). — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Fred again.., “Delilah (Pull Me Out Of This)”
If you don’t know about Fred Again.. by now, you probably just won’t ever. That said, to quote Drake, if you’re reading this, it’s too late and you have now been bitten with the collective Fred-a-mania. Much like aforementioned hip-hop superstar, the pop-hit producer-turned-hypest act in electronic dance loves to turn bits of voicemails, samples and IRL recordings into divine slices of melodic funk, and he names these tracks after the friends and artists he folds into the music. His latest portrait is dubbed “Delilah (pull me out of this),” and he paired the video with a recording his buddy nabbed at a festival in Los Angeles.
“So a few days ago I played a show in LA and my friend theo was filming stuff in the crowd,” Fred tweets. “He stumbled across this absolutely beauuutiful moment right at the back of it all.
To me this song is about a time I sorta had a panic attack in a club and needing your person to pull you out of it, so the moment at the end when they both stand up and jump away feels particularly muchhh to me. There’s obviously a whole story that’s goin on for them too, you can see on their friends faces at the end! I’ve spoken to them about it, i think it’s maybe better not to explain that, cos like different people think different stuff when they watch it, n that’s always great to me.”
He also had some good news to share in the YouTube description box: “Okayyyy,” Fred writes on YouTube. “SO I am so so really very VERY happy to say that Actual Life 3 will be out on October 28th!!!!!” After months of hype, we can confidently say we’re very happy, too. – KAT BEIN
Gorgon City feat. Flirta D, “Sidewindah”
Gorgon City lean deeper into their U.K. roots on new single “Sidewindah.” The track has been a frequent fixture and requested ID in the duo’s live dates for a hot minute, and it’s clear why. Their dancefloor-friendly house music gets a grime infusion courtesy of veteran MC Flirta D, whose altered vocals stutter and skid with short-circuiting delirium. Add some serpentine synths, hyperspeed shakers and gigantic, gelatinous bass wobbles, and you’ve got a good time. In addition to releasing “Sidewindah,” Gorgon City have just announced their return to Colorado’s famed Red Rocks next April for a Realm label showcase. — K.R.
Lastlings, “Get What You Want”
Getting up off the couch and getting after your dreams is hard, but music can help. The Rocky theme is a bit played, and while it’s great and all, “Get What You Want” from sibling duo Lastlings has a sultry motivational groove that can move your body, heart and mind toward your greatest self with a bit more electronic edge.
“We spent a week writing in 2021 and this was one of the first songs that came from the session,” the group’s Josh Dowdle says. “We had two rooms. One writing room for Amy with a piano, and one for me where I made the instrumental.”
“It explores mental health and the relationship that I have with myself,” Amy Dowdle adds. “It’s about putting myself out there and not letting doubt get in the way of what I truly want. ‘I’ve got a lot of enemies that live inside my head.’ This song isn’t about love for another person, it’s about my relationship with myself. ‘You’ refers to a darker version of myself that I am trying to fight and overcome.”
The brother and sister band are signed to RÜFÜS DU SOL’s label Rose Avenue, and this single marks the first bit of original material since its debut album First Contact, which dropped in 2020. – K. Bein
Tiësto’s DJ Mix
Our mainstage main man Tiësto is taking himself on, via a flurry of edits of his own tracks. Produced exclusively for Spotify, the playlist includes edits of hits including “The Business” and “The Motto,” and comes as part of a series that includes similar packages from Aluna, Yung Bae and BLOND:ISH. All of these acts have released these edits in conjunction with the Amsterdam Dance Event, which is wrapping up today in The Netherlands. To celebrate, Spotify is tonight hosting a release party at ADE, during which each act will unveil their edits with an accompanying drone show.
“When playing my mix I hope listeners can feel the energy of my live set,” Tiësto says. “Play it while you workout, while gaming, in your car, anywhere – wherever you play it, it should feel like the soundtrack to the best day or night of your life!” — KATIE BAIN