This week in dance music: Beyoncé made history in more than one way when she won the Grammy for best dance/electronic album, Diplo had some thoughts on the matter, we talked to the fast-rising RAYE, P!nk scored her first top 10 on dance/electronic songs and we got the backstory of a new study exploring the prevalence of neurodiversity in dance music.
Is there more? You betcha. Let’s dig in.
Jessie Ware, “Pearls”
Albums heavily featuring house and disco sounds are winning Grammys? Jessie Ware has logged into the chat. After winning our hearts (and the title of Billboard’s top dance album of 2020) with her most-excellent album What’s Your Pleasure?, the sultry club chanteuse is back again with a new single, “Pearls” — and the announcement of her next album, That! Feels! Good!, due April 28 via PMR / EMI. (Ware previously released another of the album’s tracks, “Free Yourself,” last summer.)
Like its namesake, “Pearls” brings luxury to the disco, with gilded keys and elegant strings that soar with Ware as she belts the euphoric chorus: “Let me go! Let me dance!” Like her iconic inspirations for the song, Donna Summer, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Teena Marie and Chaka Khan, Ware delivers eyes-closed, disco-diva bliss in a song she says “doesn’t take itself too seriously, but demands you to have a dance.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Flume, “Things Don’t Always Go The Way You Plan 1.2 [2020 Export Wav]”
Seeing Flume live on stage is cool and all, but there’s no better Flume-fan feeling than pressing play on a newly released Flume production. His tunes are the type you need to absorb by putting on those headphones, turning off the lights and exploring every nook and cranny of textured sound. In that regard, this week was stellar, because the Australian envelope-pusher dropped a surprise 10-track mixtape of previously unreleased bits and bops. The vibes are varied — from gritty rumblin’-bass rap growlers to tweaked and freaked romantic ballads to side-winding sonic sound tunnels and every shade of strange, surreal and superfly in between. There’s even a song with Panda Bear of Animal Collective! For whatever reason, these tunes never made it onto any other official Flume releases. I guess that’s because they were destined for this. Hey, Things Don’t Always Go The Way You Plan, but they do always go — especially when it comes to Flume. – KAT BEIN
BLOND:ISH, Eran Hersh & Darmon, “Sorry (With Madonna)”
Madonna’s “Sorry” — the second single from her 2005 Confessions On a Dancefloor — gets an official edit today from BLOND:ISH and L.A.-based producer pals Eran Hersh and Darmon. With their rework, Madonna’s vocals get pitched way down “so the vocal was recognizable but not obvious,” says BLOND:ISH. “We really wanted the person listening to this to be like ‘Oh f–k, wait, I totally know this song!’”
Indeed we do, with the sleek as chrome original here taking on a tougher edge that pays homage to the dancefloor-centric ethos of the original and has the nod of approval from Madonna herself. “We soon started playing ‘Sorry’ at our shows, and the response was overwhelming,” BLOND:ISH continues. “So much so that I said, ‘You know, we must be only one degree of separation, let me try and get a hold of Madonna.’ As they say, ‘You’ll never know if you don’t ask’, so I knew I had to at least reach out to see if she would be interested in formally collaborating on this with us. A good friend of mine sent her a message directly and we made it happen just like that.” This fresh version for “Sorry” is out via Insomniac Records. — KATIE BAIN
Floorplan, “We Give Thee Honor”
Worship is back in session. Floorplan, the father-daughter duo of Robert and Lyric Hood, have returned to Luke Solomon’s Classic Music Company with their latest EP, We Give Thee Honor / Makes Me Wanna. It’s a high-energy showcase of their gospel roots with two tracks that summon a higher power to the dancefloor. A-side “We Give Thee Honor” is a stomper right out the gate, with driving percussion, organ stabs and piercing synth strings seemingly designed to bring you to the edge of sensory overload. Powerful yet soothing gospel-choir vocals and a looming, earth-swallowing wail—be it human or machine—takes listeners over the edge in the best way. Even when the club hits peaktime, “We Give Thee Honor” leads the way to a new level of house heaven. — K.R.
Chloé Caillet Feat. Poté, “Know Now”
If you’re looking to slink into the weekend with a vibe that’s equal parts runway model and shadowy figure in the back of the club, French DJ and producer Chloé Caillet’s “Know Now” is the dark and mysterious groove that can get you there. From her upcoming EP on CircoLoco Records, this absolute mood is hitting parts of our brain that haven’t been stimulated since The Knife dropped Silent Shout. It’s a little bit haunting, a little bit sexy, and definitely all the way stuck in our heads for the next few months. The song features a delicately cool vocal from her friend Poté. Look out for the rest of this EP coming in the spring. – K. Bein
Francis Mercier, Nitefreak & Idd Aziz, “Kamili”
New York-based producer Francis Mercier is poised for his biggest year to date, with the Deep Root Records founder making his Coachella debut in April in the midst of a world tour powered by a string of excellent releases. That streak continues with today’s dreamy “Kamili.” Out via Diplo’s Higher Ground, the house track is a collaboration with Zimbabwean producer Nitefreak and Kenyan singer Idd Aziz, who delivers soulful lyrics in Swahili about his brother, who’s been missing for more than two decades.
“Kamili is undoubtedly my most exciting release to date. It is such an honor to be collaborating with the talented Nitefreak, Idd Aziz, and Higher Ground on this very emotional and powerful record,” says Mercier. “Bringing African musical excellence to the United States’ dance music community is truly exciting.” — K. Bain