The dance world was rocked this week with the news that Daft Punk has officially disbanded, after 28 years and four studio albums together. Musicians around the world reacted, everyone selling Daft Punk-related merch on the resale market was doin’ it right, the duo’s streaming numbers were harder, better faster and stronger than ever before, and the scene collectively lamented that we won’t get one more time with the act many consider to be the most influential act in the history of dance music.
But while the Daft Punk era is over, the scene they so deeply influenced just keeps churning out new sounds. This week’s best new dance music includes a house track (from a historically non-house artist), disco pop, dance pop, futuristic R&B and more. Wanna lose yourself to dance? Let’s dig in.
Carnage & Gordo, “KTM”
After sharing a mellower side to his music with the Martinez Brothers collaboration “Together” last August, Carnage (alongside his Gordo alias) is ready to rage once more with new single “KTM.” Shifting gears to party-hard tech house, the Guatemalan producer jumps on the mic to name-drop a cocktail of party drugs over a grinding bass line, scuffling metallic synths and a build/release sequence that evokes images of CO2 cannon blasts and liquor hurled across the dance floor through sheer force of ecstasy. It’s the kind of track that in almost any other year could be a surprise highlight of Miami Music Week, and though officially released Friday, “KTM” has been something of a long-kept secret weapon within tight DJ circles, with A-Trak and Diplo both having rinsed it as far back as 2018. “Every label wanted to sign it,” claimed Carnage on Twitter, “but no one knew it was me.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Pusher, “I Could Give It Up”
Sorry, repeat what you just said? I got distracted by this hilarious meme on Instagram. It’s so funny, look at this. Wait, are you mad?
If you’ve ever absentmindedly uttered any of these statements before swearing to a short-lived social media detox, Pusher’s debut single from his forthcoming Stay-At-Home Popstar album is your anthem. The Canadian producer sings all our woes in “I Could Give It Up,” a disco-pop cautionary tale for the tech-obsessed generation.
“This is a song about being on my phone too much – about how we all are – and just like coffee or junk food, it’s totally normal,” Pusher tells Billboard. “It’s scary how tech is designed to be so addictive, so I’ve done the same thing, employing all the little songwriting devices that make pop songs addictive; repeating the title in the chorus, using the ‘millennial whoop’ melody as the first hook, tried-and-true pop song form, and other such tricks. It’s also about how capitalism drives us to come up with psychological tricks to manipulate each other for individual profit instead of just exploring our uniqueness. Hopefully, using these devices transparently can make us all more aware of their prevalence, but also make me some royalties to pay my bills and create more music.” — KAT BEIN
Joel Corry, Raye & David Guetta, “Bed”
Joel Corry has been a fast-emerging source of dance-pop bops for burning hearts. On the heels of his biggest track yet, “Head & Heart” with MNEK, Corry has teamed up with David Guetta and singer-songwriter Raye for “Bed,” which reaches beyond its predecessor’s butterflies-in-stomach crushing right into lustful, late-night yearning. “I got a bed, but I’d rather be in yours tonight,” Raye sings, the bouncing house beat beneath deceptively bright, even hopeful, despite her loneliness, as if the mere suggestion could manifest her desire. Catchy and entirely relatable, “Bed” has summer 2021 written all over it. — K.R.
Danny L Harle, “Car Song” Feat. MC Boing
PC Music member Danne L Harle has a serious case of split-personality disorder – and we are loving it. The famed producer behind tunes for Charli XCX, Clairo and others just dropped a 13-track album called Harlecore. The catch? Each song is credited to one of four different artists.
DJ Danny represents solo Harle tracks in a pounding hardcore pop style. MC Boing marks breakneck beats from Harle alongside lightning shout-raps from Lil Data. DJ Ocean sees Harle get with Caroline Polachek for an ambient vibe, and DJ Mayhem is what you get when Harle teams with Hudson Mohawke for a take on bass-heavy gabber. “This is Harlecore,” the producer is quoted in a press release. “This music sounds the way I feel.”
The entire album is a head-trip that we recommend you experience first hand, but we chose to highlight MC Boing’s “Car Song” because of its utterly insane beat, childish lyrics and undeniably feel-good absurdity. Also because, like, playing music in our car is the closest thing to a club we’ve experienced in a year. — K. Bein
Kaivon, “Whole Life” Feat. Nevve
The Insomniac family just welcomed a new addition. Say hello to Lost In Dreams, a new label specializing in future bass, melodic dubstep and electronic pop. The brand kicks off with a dreamy love song from Kaivon featuring frequent dance vocalist Nevve. “Whole Life” is full of euphoric grandeur and pounding drums, pairing a festival-sized build with a heavy melodic hook in pastel colors. Nevve brings a wispy but powerful performance, celebrating a night when she’s finally found that soul mate. (Soul mates can be friends, too, so don’t get too misty-eyed over the romantics.)
And don’t we all miss finding our friends on the dance floor? To that end, Lost in Dreams will also host live events, when the time is right. Study up on the music now, and get ready for a cool night out down the road. — K. Bein
R3ll, Fantasy EP
Jersey club stalwart R3ll has made the genre his own by continuously pushing his creative limits, and his new Fantasy EP goes positively galactic with its futuristic R&B lean. Out today on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak, Fantasy delivers five tracks for jamming and slow-jamming, featuring collaborations with The Oshi, Bok Nero, Visionnaire, Bleszt, West End Tricks, Shurland Ayers and Harrison Clayton. Its title track is an immediate highlight thanks to its gliding synthwork, twinkling keys and The Oshi’s come-hither vocals, while “Ringz” sounds like the soundtrack to a strobe-filled club set inside a space station. The EP hits its adrenal peak in “Wave (I’m Rockin’),” which has major puffed-chest energy, then catches a mellow, contemplative vibe on ”Flashing Lights,” the perfect closer to gently drop you back down to Earth. — K.R