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.
It’s another quarantine Friday, and with nowhere to go except the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and back again, we’re once again blessed that there’s so much new music to check out. This week sees the release of Steve Aoki‘s Neon Future IV album (read more about that over in FirstStream), the 100th release from Hot Since 82’s Knee Deep In Sound label and a casual 151 archived mixes from the one and only Seth Troxler.
Beyond that, the dance world kept turning this week, with Marshmello livestreaming for charity, the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas planning to postpone to October, Netksy announcing his return to drum & bass, and Burning Man postponing their ticket sale amidst the coronavirus uncertainty.
What is certain is that in these uncertain times, music still has the power to soothe and excite, so let’s dig in.
Dillon Francis & BabyJake, “You Do You”
A lot of things get better with age: The bottle of wine you’ve been nursing while self-quarantining this week, for example. And that pair of jeans you’ve had since high school that are kinda tattered but still make your backside look great. Put Dillon Francis on this esteemed list too, because the longstanding producer is back Friday (April 3) with one of his best tracks to date.
“You Do You” is an entirely catchy homage to disloyalty — whether it’s to your significant other or yourself — that’s built on a low simmer beat and a patchwork of chopped vocals forming the breakdown. “People will say they’re yours one day, but they’re with someone else the next; they struggle with commitment,” Florida vocalist BabyJake, who delivers the track’s smooth-as-silk vocals over Francis’ slinky production, says in a statement. “It’s like me with my juice cleanse — I can have a juice in the morning and for lunch, but then I order a pizza later and eat the whole thing … and repeat the next day.”
Out via Mad Decent, “You Do You” is Francis’ third release of 2020 — following his remix of Sofi Tukker’s “Purple Hat” and a collaboration with Ship Wrek “It’s My House” — with the video for “You Do You” and another single coming later this month. He continues his b2b Coronanight Fever livestreams with Diplo Saturday (April 4) and is also taking over Billboard Dance Instagram starting at 5:00 p.m PT that day. Watch for it. — KATIE BAIN
Illenium, Excision, I Prevail, “Feel Something”
The second collaborative single from Illenium and Excision, “Feel Something” rides the lines between emo and electronic, demonstrating Illenium’s large-scale emotiveness and — with the insanely hardcore drop — the signature ferocity of the Excision sound.
Out via Astralwerks, the track features vocals from Florida metalcore band I Prevail and extends the metal/EDM phenomenon that’s also been embraced by artists including Rezz, Kayzo and Marshmello. Made by three acts known for their intensity, “Feel Something” will no doubt make you. — K. Bain
Claude VonStroke feat. Barry Drift, “I’m Solo”
Self-isolation is in full effect for many parts of the world, and as a result, days are feeling like weeks, and weeks like months. It thus already seems like an eternity ago (although it was just in late February) that Claude VonStroke released his latest album, Freaks & Beaks, with plans to celebrate his Dirtybird label’s 15th anniversary around the world.
A lot has changed since then, but VonStroke is already back at it with a new single, “I’m Solo,” featuring vocalist Barry Drift. Despite its titular timeliness, CVS made it a few months ago as a demo for his private fan club, according to a press release. Still, “I’m Solo” is about as moody as we’ve ever heard him. Its heaviness hits differently, with drawn-out piano chords that seem to mirror the glacial passage of time, and though VonStroke’s signature quirky sonics are there, even they seem muted, perhaps even solemn. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Duke Dumont feat. Ry X, “Let Me Go”
For more than a decade, Duke Dumont has climbed the dance-music ladder from underground savant to production powerhouse with big hits and bigger sounds. Lately, his strength has been letting silence do the talking.
Two weeks out from the release of his debut album Duality, the Brit has shared a new single from the LP, “Let Me Go,” following on from “Therapy” and “Love Song.” Like its predecessors, “Let Me Go” is an emotional slow-burner, beginning quietly with featured vocalist Ry X, a piano and ghostly harmonies. It continues to build for over half of its six-minute run, climbing higher and higher and higher … and just when you feel like your feet can’t be any further from the ground, gravity kicks in, in the form of dark, blocky percussion and wind-rushing synths. The fall is brief, but intense and oh, so sweet. — K.R.
Yaeji, “What We Drew”
Since taking the scene by storm in 2017, Yaeji has dug her heels deep into a creative haze. The Korean-American artist built her own studio, wherein she’s conjured a free-spirited environment where friends and collaborators can come through and push their own imaginative boundaries.
Her experiments culminate today in What We Drew 우리가 그려왔던, a 12-track mixtape that plays like a stream of conscious dream flow. It’s moody, dark, minimal and raw, mixing between thumping club beats and moody ambient aesthetics. Yaeji whispers in her night voice about adult life’s constant hum, welcoming features from intimate friends who bring an endless well of inspiration.
It’s a great soundtrack for languishing on the living room floor, which you’re sure to do a lot of in quarantine. Listen with your headphones and enjoy each rich, textural layers. Also check out the title track, whose video celebrates her Korean roots, showcasing the friends and family that shower her life in love and gratitude, just as Yaeji does to the little onion, mirroring an at-home experiment she ran as a girl in grade school. It’ll fill your heart with all the happy feels. — KAT BEIN
Joyryde, “Fail Me”
Let us all give a standing ovation to Joyryde. Not only is he one of the most consistent producers on the club scene, he overcame years of depression, addiction and physical pain to bless us all with more than an hour of continuous bangers. His album, released Friday on Hard Records, is aptly titled Brave. The struggle began four years ago when he suffered a disc collapse in his lower back.
“After a successful surgery, I didn’t feel like myself at all,” he says in a press release. “I had to take a lot of opioid pills and nerve-damage meds to cope with the pain for five months, and it threw me into a spiral filled with hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and more.”
He had been in the middle of writing an EP, but all the mental madness left him completely unmotivated. He dropped the project, and after a lot of emotional wrestling, sat himself in in the studio and “just started writing.”
“I donʼt even remember making some of these ideas, to be honest,” he says. “After a certain point, I tried to get off the meds, which was super hard. After battling the shakes, withdrawals, insomnia, and overall pain, I finished one track, then a week later two more.”
Brave is complex, hard, beautiful, dreamy, bass-fueled, chaotic and crunchy as hell. This album is a monster, and we’re so happy to see Joyryde do his thing like the absolute master he is. Every track is flame. It’s hard to pick just one, but we’re going with “Fail Me” for its whiplash beats and inspirational message. It captures a lot of highs and lows, making it a good little taster for the LP. Seriously, though, give the whole release a listen. — K. Bein