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.
This week saw new singles from Kygo and Major Lazer, the latest album from the ever-evocative Nicolas Jaar, a new Porter Robinson video and other fresh heat coming amidst a barrage of dance world livestreams as much of the world continues to shelter in place. Add all that to the six truly killer new tracks below. Let’s dig in.
Duck Sauce, “Captain Duck”
Get up off the couch and shake those quarantine blues. A-Trak and Armand Van Helden have ordered the whole world to disco-in-place with the third Duck Sauce single of 2020. This one samples Captain Sensible’s 1982 weirdo new-wave pop hit “Wot,” turning the cult-classic hook into a fast-paced funk boiler. The bass line is bossy and the vocals drip with snotty attitude. Don some oversized shoulder pads and do the duck walk — just stay a responsible six webbed-feet apart from your neighbors. “Captain Duck” is perfect for starting your own Italian-style balcony block party. Quack quack. — KAT BEIN
CamelPhat feat. Cari Golden, “Freak”
“Would you blame me if I was a freak?” Los Angeles vocalist Cari Golden deadpans on CamelPhat‘s new single, “Freak.” It’s a query to which we answer with a resounding “absolutely not,” as the force of the U.K. duo’s buzzy techno and chopped up vocals coalesce into a propulsive and undeniable uptempo banger that further demonstrates why CamelPhat has become one of the dance’s most relevant acts.
Golden’s spoken word delivery evokes “Vogue”-era Madonna as she repeats “this is what you did to me” and the track swells into a cacophony that drops into the pure peak-time catharsis that it sounds like she needs — and which we could all likely do with a bit of right now. “Freak” also comes with a hand percussion-heavy remix by Matthias Tanzmann, and both tracks are out now via Moon Harbour. — KATIE BAIN
Seven Lions with Haliene, “What’s Done Is Done”
The five-track EP blends hard-hitting synth hits with pulse-racing melodies and angelic vocals, taking influential cues from dubstep, hardstyle, trance and more. The production is clean and the mood is uplifting, exactly what the world needs in collection quarantine. “I put a lot of love and energy into each one of these songs,” Seven Lions tweets, “and I really hope they bring you some happiness in these crazy times.”
Find Another Way is an energetic experience with a bit of ballad for balance. We draw your attention to EP closer “What’s Done Is Done” featuring Haliene, a song that starts soft and easy before hitting an ecstatic high. It embodies all the EP’s spiritual colors, making it the perfect amuse-bouche for your full listening experience. — K. Bein
Bicep’s newest track, “Atlas,” was produced in the backlit glow of their extended live tour, which culminated in late 2018, but it feels eerily apt for today. “It would’ve been unthinkable to foresee the circumstances this track would be released in when we were making it,” the Irish duo state in a press release. Their first new music since 2018’s Rain EP, “Atlas” offers more of the sound that Bicep have made distinctly theirs in the last few years: melancholy in the form of brooding breaks, trance-y synth wisps that curl in the air and barely there vocals that seem to hover between two worlds. It’s a somber soundtrack to isolation, an introspective rave for one.
Despite the moody tone, Bicep go on to explain that through “Atlas,” they attempted to capture the “euphoric” moments from that live tour: “It feels like those moments are very far away for all of us right now, but we hope this serves as some form of distraction amidst all this chaos.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Classixx feat. Roosevelt, “One More Song”
Summer couldn’t feel any farther away at the moment, yet Classixx somehow nudge us closer into the sunshine with their new single, “One More Song” featuring Roosevelt. It’s the L.A. duo’s latest release since their last single, “Love Me No More” from October.
Whereas “Love Me No More” pays tribute to French Touch and the late Phillippe Zdar of Cassius, “One More Song,” according to the press release, was inspired in part by bassist Louis Johnson, who performed on Michael Jackson albums Off the Wall, Thriller and Dangerous. Like a barefoot walk on the beach, it’s relaxed and breezy, its funkiness sunbaked and breakdown simply swoon-worthy. Combined with Roosevelt’s vocals, “One More Song” is more than just feel-good — it’s maybe even hopeful. — K.R.
Take one part driving tropical salsa rhythm, one part xylophone and one part theremin and you’ve got “Firefly,” the latest output from the consistently excellent and ever-vibey Brooklyn duo Bedouin. The track comes from their thoroughly excellent new EP Whistleman, a release that marks the launch of their new imprint, Human By Default.
“The name of the label serves as a reminder that being human is the only choice in life we don’t have the privilege making,” Bedouin’s Tamer Malki & Rami Abou-Sabe say in a press release. “Every other choice in life we can make for ourselves, and we embrace this heavily as artists in our quest to challenge everything we currently understand musically.” Embrace this deep thought while you turn this one up loud for your weekend living room dance party. — K. Bain