This week in the scene, we learned how the viral success of Slander’s “Love Is Gone” led to a heavyweight remix package, saw “Do It To It” phenom ACRAZE get signed to UTA, saw the announcement of the first Avicii-related programming ata Stockholm’s Avicii Arena, heard from the organizers of the Amsterdam Dance Event, which is happening this weekend in the Dutch capital, got Robyn’s take on the Red Sox using one of her biggest hits to celebrate a win, got the update on where Tommy Trash has been and how he’s changed since the EDM heyday, saw Jax Jones, Joel Corry, Saweetie and Charli XCX make moves on the Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart and got the invite into a new digital world from Deadmau5.
And new music from scene stars and up-and-comers? We’ve got that too.
Illenium & 30 Seconds to Mars, “Wouldn’t Change a Thing”
Have you ever dared to love another person, only to have that love crash and burn? It’s painful, but there are still so many happy memories that shape the person you’ve become, and those moments will be with you forever. In the end, you’ll be glad you lived it, ups and downs and everything between, and when that moment hits, Illenium’s new tune “Wouldn’t Chance a Thing” provides the perfect soundtrack.
The upbeat, pop-rock song was made in collaboration with 30 Seconds to Mars, blending Illenium’s signature brand of euphoric electronic melodies with the band’s hit-making melodies. It’s a ballad of sorts, with a catchy chorus fans will certainly belt at the next possible opportunity. “Wouldn’t Change a Thing” is released as part of the deluxe edition of Illenium’s fourth studio album, Fallen Embers. Catch him dropping it on tour now, with performances in Detroit and Chicago this weekend, and North American dates running through the end of the year. — KAT BEIN
Anz, “Last Before Lights”
April 2021 Billboard Dance Emerging Artist Anz describes her new All Hours EP (out today on Ninja Tune) as a “soundtrack for 24 hours, from sunrise to the next. Dance music for people who are up all hours — through the day to the club and onwards.” New single “Last Before Lights” presumably places listeners at a warehouse afterhours, when closing is imminent, but the vibes are still high. There’s no easing into this track. The drums come fast and hard, with stuttering rave sonics circling overhead.
Just when you think you can finally catch your breath, the vocal sample “You can’t stop me now!” whoops through the air like a battle cry before rushing into deep bodies of bass, nose-diving synths and unruly jungle breaks. The jubilant piano riffs near the end bring joy and lightness after equally fun heaviness — “I can see the sun,” another vocal squeaks. “Last Before Lights” is a surefire way to send ravers home with smiles on their faces. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Purple Disco Machine, Exotica
While he’s got a long list of exceptional edits to his name (for stars including Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson, Calvin Harris, Fatboy Slim, Elton John, Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande, Duke Dumont, and Diplo & SIDEPIECE and more), German producer Purple Disco Machine demonstrates that he’s more than a remix machine on his sophomore album, Exotica. Resplendent in all things ’80s, the album is soaked in Moroder synths, disco funk, vocoder, and some serious Daft Punk homages. While tracks like “Hypnotized” and “Fireworks” lean into the pop realm with sophistication (and the same deep ’80s vibes that artists like Dua Lipa, The Weeknd and others have been scoring big time hits with in recent years), deeper cuts like the ecstatic “Money Money” — which evokes Purple Rain-era Prince — demonstrates that this artist is first and foremost a creature of the club. — KATIE BAIN
Claptone Feat. Like Mike & Mansionair, “Right Into You”
When masked German producer Claptone decided to shift in a more pop direction, he got a few experts to help him make the turn. Claptone’s new third album, Closer was produced by Stuart Price, known for his work with Madonna, Dua Lipa, The Killers and New Order, with the LP featuring a disparate but equally wonderful group of guest vocalists including Seal, Barry Manilow (!), Peter Bjorn & John and Mayer Hawthorne. The final single before the album’s October 29th release is “Right Into You” which features Australian indie electronic trio Mansionair, and dance world mainstay Like Mike who appears here without his regular collaborator (and his brother) Dimitri Vegas.
The result is a slice of ebullient dance pop, on which airy vocals build and swell into a singalong chorus that sounds a lot like that delicious feeling of having a huge crush on someone. As Claptone tells it, that’s by design. “Charmer was merely an introduction from a mystic being coming out of the shadows,” he says of his 2015 debut LP. “On Fantast, I tried to find my roots in nature, and it was more of an escapist album, whereas Closer embraces people and the universe inside them.” — K. Bain
Snbrn & Cavin Scott, “Home”
You know that quirky little ‘20s motif currently ruling the charts in Dua Lipa’s “Love Again?” You might know it as the sonic hook from White Town’s ‘90s anthem “Your Woman,” but it actually originated in 1932 in a song called ”My Woman” by Lew Stone & the Monseigneur Band Feat. Al Bowlly. It’s a swingin’ little ditty that lives forever, and it just got more life in Snbrn’s latest house-pop jam, made in collaboration with LA-based producer Cavin Scott. Here, the sample dances over a Justice-esque synth beat, growling bass lines and some catchy robotic vocals.
“Home is a pretty defining moment for both Cavin and myself,” Snbrn says. “We wrote and sang all of the lyrics, sampled all kinds of old records and designed all the sounds with analog gear. We really challenged ourselves to try and do everything. Took us about a week to get decent at the talk box.” Fresh, uplifting and instantly likable, “Home” sets the stage for Snbrn’s sophomore album The Old Days, set for release in 2022. — K. Bein
Kygo Feat. X Ambassadors, “Undeniable”
The Kygo chorus — a brightly chopped amalgamation of the vocals from the verses — is a staple of modern mainstream dance music, and a trademark the Norwegian producer has perfected over high-profile releases like his edit of Whitney Houston’s “Higher Love” cover and his take on Donna Summer’s forever scintillating “Hot Stuff.” On his latest single, Kygo is working with original material co-created with pop trio X Ambassadors, with vocals by the group’s singer Sam Harris getting that signature touch. The song has a heavy pop lean, a distinct twang and that undeniable quality present in just about everything Kygo does. Does it work here? Absolutely. — K. Bain
Anna Lunoe feat. Genesis Owusu, “Back Seat”
When you invoke the name of music icon Rick James on a track, you best have the funk and attitude to back it. Safe to say, Anna Lunoe delivers on her new single “Back Seat” featuring Canberra vocalist-songwriter Genesis Owusu. “Back Seat” (out now on NLV Records) is the kind of track you play at max volume at a house party, with piercing whistle synths and a bassline that drips heavy with acidic funk. That Owusu raps at a soft near-whisper, only amplifies the smirking cockiness of lines like “Why you here if your sh*t don’t bump? / Their sh*t never run, all my tracks like Forrest Gump.” The floating harmonies and “Oh! Oh! Oh!” falsettos add a sweet and utterly catchy touch.
Per the track’s description on bandcamp, there are a few friendly cameos including Touch Sensitive on bass, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs on writing/production and Channel Tres on writing. “Some songs I can finish alone in 2 days and some can take 2 years! This one was the latter,” Lunoe writes in a press release. “I worked on it in 3 different houses across 2 continents, 4 studios (at least), I worked on parts of it with a few good friends and learned endless amounts while making it…. it unlocked a whole new layer in my production capabilities and everything I’ve made has been easier and better since.” — K.R.
Didi & Ping, “Pathfinder”
Emerging artist Didi & Ping stakes his claim in the melodic house terrain with “Pathfinder,” the lead single on the Asian-Canadian producer’s new two-track EP. Proving that there should really just be more flutes in dance music all around, the artist born Kristian Wang delivers an energetic, sometimes spare and sonically rich production with those deep-in-the-set-and-dancing-with-your-eyes-closed-vibes. One to watch, Wang takes his name “Didi” from the word for “younger brother” in his family’s native Mandarin language, as he’s long made music with his sibling. Meanwhile, “Ping” is Wang’s Chinese family name, and an homage to his grandparents who fled war in China to find a better life. — K. Bain