New Music Friday is intense. Hundreds of songs drop from artists around the world, and you’re supposed to somehow find the best ones. It’s fun work, but it’s time-consuming — so we at Billboard Dance want to give you a hand. Each week, we sift through the streams and dig in the digital crates to present the absolute must-hears from the wide breadth of jams.
Raise your hand if music is helping you survive quarantine. Yeah, us too. While the live events sector of the dance scene is shut down amidst the pandemic, there are still loads of new releases to lift you up during this distinctly weird time. This week we got a slinky new release and a new album announcement from Aluna (formerly of AlunaGeorge) and a collab from pop elite Halsey and Marshmello.
To these we humbly add the fresh tunes below. Pick one out, turn it up loud, close your eyes and let it transport you. Or better yet, get up offa that thing and dance ’til you feel better. Let’s dig in.
Hayden James and Icona Pop, “Right Time”
Hayden James and Icona Pop are a pairing so perfect on paper, we have no idea how it hasn’t already happened — but better now than never. The Australian producer, in his first release since his 2019 album Between Us, has teamed up with the Swedish electro-pop duo on a new, aptly titled single, “Right Time,” which already feels like a summer bop. Both parties are pros at balancing dance sonics with catchy-as-hell hooks, and “Right Time” captures that with its ‘90s-house-inspired rhythm and coquettish lyrics.
It radiates a bubbliness and joie de vivre that conjures images of blurry house parties and beach bonfire hangouts. Near its end, a siren-like synth takes the song to a new level, brilliantly soaring and falling like fireworks against the night sky. This week, the Icona Pop camp also saw the release of the Armin van Buuren & Avian Grays remix of the Icona Pop & Steve Aoki collab, “I Love My Friends.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Jessy Lanza, “Face”
Have you ever sat down and watched people walk by, wondering where they’re going or what they’re thinking? Sonder, as it’s called, is the experience of realizing others around you lead a life as complex as your own. Jessy Lanza’s new single “Face,” according to a press release, was inspired by watching and attempting to interpret people’s expressions on the subway.
“I found myself projecting my own feelings onto the strangers I was looking at,” Lanza says. “I went home and wrote the lyrics imagining that the commuters were having telepathic conversations with each other.” The result is a footwork track that is, in Lanza fashion, sweet and frothy yet frenetic, maybe even urgent in its production and clipped vocal delivery.
“Face,” is the second single (following “Lick in Heaven”) from Lanza’s just-announced new album, All The Time, out July 24 on Hyperdub. — K. Rodriguez
Party Favor, “Happee” Feat. Runn
Life in quarantine is a little bipolar. One day, you’re languishing on the couch with one breast out like a Renaissance painting, the next you’re throwing a light-switch Zoom rave in the kitchen. Party Favor gets it, and his five-track EP Fresh Laundry brings a vibe for all your vacillations. There’s moody bass, wavy jump offs, mind-boggling glitch beats and catchy sing alongs.
Previously released single “Once More” with Georgia Ku is a certified banger, but today, we bring your attention to the “Happee” Feat. Runn. It perfectly encapsulates the social distance dynamic of deeply emotional heaviness mixed with anxious energy. It’s got some really great distant guitar wails and Zhu desert party feels. Also, to be perfectly honest, the instrumental hook. You just have to hear it. Let’s get some “crazy face” and “head explosion” emojis in the chat. — KAT BEIN
Boys Noize, “Moonsrad”
Boys Noize once told me, “It’s always easier to make something hard and banging, but making it funky is a challenge.” Challenge freaking accepted. The Berlin-based producer and DJ makes all our quarantines look lazy with his latest surprise EP, released exclusively on Bandcamp. Strictly Bunker is seven devilish tracks composed and recorded during daily Twitch stream sessions. He doesn’t have his DJ gear, but he’s got analog synths for days.
This stomping collection of apocalyptic groove will grease your gears and tickle your ears. It’s dark and delightful — and there’s even a watery ballad — but “Moosrad” is definitely funk king. A freestyle beat meets fat synth growls and bizarro vocal samples to create a totally untamed roller rink jammer. Turn your living room into a rave bunker and get this freakin’ weekend started. — K. Bein
Illenium & X Ambassadors, “In Your Arms” Stripped
They say that you can really tell the quality of a song by stripping it down to its barest elements to see if the songwriting and melodies resonate on their own. Today, Illenium and X Ambassadors test that theory on their hit “In Your Arms,” from Illenium’s 2019 album, Ascend, which hit No. 1 on Billboard‘s Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart last August.
While the original was outfitted in pitched-up EDM flourishes, this new “stripped” version, out today via Astralwerks/Capitol Records, is pure balladry outfitted in strings and piano — with the slight twang of X Ambassadors’ Sam Harris giving the song just a ‘lil hint of country. It’s a different sound indeed, but reveals that at the core of the original lies a full-fledged wedding anthem. — KATIE BAIN
Diplo & Sidepiece, “On My Mind” (Purple Disco Machine Remix)
We love the Diplo & Sidepiece December 2019 house collab “On My Mind” (which just last week got a supremely goofy must-watch video treatment.) But we really love the just-released edit of the track by German remix specialist Purple Disco Machine, who always manages to make any given thing he remixes an unabashedly fun but artistically serious endeavor. T
o this one he adds a load of heavy disco funk, turning the already funky original into a full-on disco essential that would have played perfectly at Studio 54. If you really are having all of those living room dance parties everyone is talking about, add this one to your playlist asap. — K. Bain