Can you feel it? The world is back on and humming.
With the dance scene finally getting into full swing after a crippling two years of pandemic — and the first complete festival season since 2019 currently launching — it’s a smart, and special, moment to release new music. An A-list collection of dance producers are seizing this opportunity by dropping albums this spring, which in the Northern Hemisphere officially begins this Sunday, March 20.
In fact it’s already been a sizable year for new dance music, with the collection of albums below following a string of previously released marquee LPs — including Tinlicker’s Anjundadeep debut In Another Lifetime (released in February), Bob Moses‘ predictably excellent The Silence In Between (out earlier this month via Astralwerks), and Stromae‘s hotly anticipated Multitude, the early March followup out via the Belgian artist’s own Moseart label and his first LP since 2013’s Racine Carrée.
To this bounty, we add more gifts still to come. Here are the 15 most hotly anticipated albums dropping this spring.
March 25: Kavinsky, Reborn (Astralwerks)
Christmas came early for synthwave fans when “Renegade” arrived last November. The cinematic single off of Kavinsky’s forthcoming album, Reborn, features a superb Cautious Clay on vocals and guitar, and was the French producer’s first jam in nearly a decade. It will be hard to top his 2013 classic OutRun, but Kavinsky himself described the following release, “Zenith,” (out last month) as “the part 2 of “Nightcall.” “Part one” required patience, too – with the era-defining track arriving on the Drive soundtrack two years before it drifted onto the official album. — MEGAN VENZIN
March 25: Max Cooper, Unspoken Words (Mesh)
U.K. producer Max Cooper approaches each new album with a big idea in mind. His last LP, 2019’s Yearning For the Infinite, aimed to boil down “the whole idea of human progress, growth in technology and the data explosion” into 14 tracks. On the forthcoming Unspoken Words, Cooper has turned his attention to the voices in his head. “I find existing inside my mind to be a sometimes beautiful, sometimes intense, sometimes abrasive, messy, baffling, relentless experience, and I’ve tried to put as much of that feeling and form as I could into the album,” the producer explained in a statement. Unspoken Words drops March 25 through Cooper’s own label, Mesh. Cooper has made 13 videos for the album’s 13 songs, beginning with the emotive, swelling lead single, “Everything.” That’s how he rolls. — J.T.
April 15: Swedish House Mafia, Paradise Again (Republic Records)
After 12 years, six genre-defining singles, one archetypal run as apex EDM superstars, a messy breakup, a globally sold out farewell tour, years of relative silence and a scene-shaking comeback announcement, Swedish House Mafia is now, finally, ready to release its debut album. Stacked with a string of previously released singles including the Sting-starring sweat-fest rager “Redlight” and The Weeknd collab “Moth to a Flame” (currently in its 20th week on Hot Dance/Electronic songs), the LP, Paradise Again, marks a sharp left from the fist-pump EDM that made this trio stars, with their new sound veering more into dark-edged house and techno. Out via Republic Records on April 15 (consequently the same day the trio will make their first appearance at Coachella since headlining the mainstage in 2012), Paradise Again is named in homage to Swedish House Mafia’s return to the scene, the scene’s return to life after the pandemic — and, presumably, how we can all except to feel while listening to this new music. — KATIE BAIN
In 2018, The Crystal Method’s founding member, Scott Kirkland, took the project solo with The Trip Home, a 12-track LP offering a modern take on the high-octane breakbeats that put his production duo on the map back in the ’90s. Now Kirkland’s continuing this thematic narrative with The Trip Out, a rocktronica journey featuring percussive cuts and high-profile names like Naz Tokio and the legendary Iggy Pop. This heart-racing collection is set to drop on March 25th, so go easy on the coffee that morning. –– M.V.
April 29: The Knocks, HISTORY (Big Beat Records)
“Keep your head above water”: The Knocks and Parson James broadcasted this uplifting message via their single “River” last fall, right before the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world for yet another loop. The track is lush, energetic and bursting with hope — it’s the pick me up listeners needed to get them through to safer times. When those do finally arrive (hopefully), The Knocks’ third studio album will also be in tow. On April 29, Big Beat Records will unveil HISTORY, the duo’s first long player since 2018’s New York Narcotic. — M.V.
April 29: Sofi Tukker, Wet Tennis (Ultra Records)
May 6: Hermitude, Mirror Mountain (Elefant Traks/Nettwerk Records)
Australian dance duo Hermitude made the most of the country’s closed borders by heading to the Blue Mountains (west of Sydney) with a Moog Matriarch, one other synth, a laptop and a desire to reconnect with their reason for making music in the first place: to escape, and have fun doing so. The outcome of their pandemic experiment is Mirror Mountain, an eight-track collection of vibrant melodies, progressive breakbeats and crystalline toplines that shine in their sterling simplicity. The collective’s first LP since 2019’s Polyanarchy arrives May 6th – perfect timing for a long-player best enjoyed in nature on a warm, spring day. — M.V.
May 6: Alison Wonderland, Loner (Astralwerks)
Australian favorite Alison Wonderland returns with her first album since 2018 with Loner, which glides in on a stream of excellent singles — including “Fear of Dying,” “FUCK U LOVE U,” “Bad Things” and the most recent (and Western-inspired) “New Day.” Each track has found the producer on top of her game, with the tight, sleek, richly layered productions woven with her ever-vulnerable, and often relatable, lyrics. The dozen tracks on Loner demonstrate a new level of self-empowerment for the powerhouse producer, and the album comes amidst a spring tour that includes dates at Ultra Music Festival, BUKU and Ubbi Dubbi. — K.B
May 13: Moderat, MORE D4TA (Monkeytown Records)
Apparat and Modeselektor have reunited as their long running, and much-beloved, supergroup side project Moderat, with their fourth album dropping via Modeselektor’s own Berlin-based Monkeytown Records this May. The LP features a pair of already-released singles in the lush, woozy “FAST LAND” and “Easy Prey,” and focuses on the themes of isolation and information overload that are likely familiar to us all. MORE D4TA is the trio’s first album since 2016, with the group taking an extended break following a 2017 show in their hometown of Berlin, where they played for 17,000 people and wrapped up the tour for their 2016 album, III. — K.B.
May 20: Subjective, The Start of No Regret (Three Six Zero Recordings/Sony Music)
Few producers live and breathe drum & bass like U.K. veteran Goldie. Starting out in the early ‘90s, the DJ and producer has given us one of dance music’s landmark albums, Timeless, and a barrage of classic rollers via his Metalheadz label. Not for nothing, the Queen also deemed him a worthy Member of the Order of the British Empire. In 2022, Goldie is back to school us again with the album The Start of No Regret, this time as part of the duo Subjective with the lesser-known engineer and producer James Davidson. In January, the duo released the single, “Lost,” featuring Tom Misch and Frida Touray, setting an uplifting tone for what’s to come. With other guests including neo-soul newcomer Greentea Peng and L.A. dynamo Lady Blackbird, The Start of No Regret lands March 25 on Three Six Zero Recordings/Sony Music. — JACK TREGONING
June: Moore Kismet, Universe (Thrive Music/Virgin)
Color bass breakout star Moore Kismet has a debut album on the brain. Their deeply personal 2021 track “Rumor” — about a brush with suicide — tore at our emotions, and the beats have erupted with power ever since. A collaboration with laxcity, “Flourish,” saw two sound design masters join forces, while “Call of the Unicorn” served as a victorious anthem about radical self-love. January’s “Parallel Heartbreak” is the newest future-pop melter under Moore’s belt, and its highly textured style has us wondering how to best prepare our ears for Universe, which ThriveMusic will release on an as yet unannounced day this June. — M.V.
June: Party Favor, Title TBA, (Ultra Records)
Artists evolve, and as Dylan Ragland ventured into house and chillwave during the pandemic, it was a beautiful thing to behold. This spring, fans will get the next chapter of Party Favor – one that’s dynamic, melodic and elevated by a renewed focus on songwriting. “Losing My Mind” with Elohim and “Superhuman” with K.Flay are two stunners that bear a stark contrast to the instrumental grooves heard on 2020’s The Isolation Album and set the tone for what’s still to come from the West Coast chameleon. — M.V.
Release Date TBA: Authentically Plastic, debut solo album
“I like to treat genres in the same way I look at gender,” non-binary Ugandan artist Authentically Plastic explains. “Corrupting and connecting disparate things is political.” Their banging productions incorporate African genres like Tanzanian singeli and South African gqom with industrial techno. They launched a queer artist collective and inclusive party, ANTI-MASS, in 2018, and self-released a collab EP, DOXA, last October with fellow collective residents Nsasi and Turkana. ANTI-MASS also has a collaborative album with the Never Normal Soundsystem, coming soon on Suzi Analog’s New York-based Never Normal Records. Authentically Plastic will have collaborations on that EP, with the debut Authentically Plastic solo album coming later this year. – ANA MONROY YGLESIAS