This week gave us a double dose of Avicii news, with the sisters of Nervo clarifying that while they are working on their decade-old Avicii collab “Let Me Show You Love (Don’t Give Up On Us),” they’re actually entirely revamping the song’s composition, as they only own rights to its topline. Additionally, Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe has been officially renamed Avicii Arena, with the 15,000-person venue to also serve as a hub for initiatives by the Tim Bergling Foundation. “For us, the possibility of taking the Foundation into the arena for longterm activity is a very unique opportunity,” Avicii’s father, Klas Bergling, told Billboard.
Meanwhile, we talked about quarantine and the connotations of EDM with Afrojack, who’s performing during the Eurovision Grand Final on Saturday (May 22) in Rotterdam; saw Marshmello announced as headliner for the opening ceremony of the UEFA Champions League Final match later this month in Portugal; learned the cause of i_o’s sudden death this past November; and saw Illenium deliver another top 10 hit to Dance/Electronic Songs.
Beyond that, we’ve course also got the best new dance music of the week. Let’s dig in.
Duke Dumont & Channel Tres, “Alter Ego”
Duke Dumont staked his claim in the EDM age with chart-topping, radio-friendly jams like “Need U (100%),” “I Got U” and “Ocean Drive,” but the British producer has always kept one foot on the dance floor. Since 2012, he has released six installments of his singles release series, For Club Play Only. Today, nine years since the series’ launch, he’s back with Part 7. Its A-side, “Alter Ego,” features producer and vocalist of the moment Channel Tres, who in the last few months has guest-starred on tracks by Zhu, Flight Facilities, Kito and SG Lewis. Channel is nonchalant and ready to party on “Alter Ego,” his distinct baritone sliding smoothly across Dumont’s strutting production. His measured delivery, a mood-setter, ends up playing double-duty as an anchor once the beat careens into peaktime territory with a raucous acid synth line that’s just begging for a flurry of lasers. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Wave Racer, “What Are We Waiting For?”
If you find yourself in a creative rut, try taking your options away. That’s what Australian producer Wave Racer did for his latest single, “What Are We Waiting For?” Quirky, upbeat and full of textural noise, the two-and-a-half-minute melody marks his first instrumental in years and a bright nod to his past, as the artist transitions into a dance-pop direction.
“I limited my sound sources so I would have to be more creative with how I used them, kind of like playing a guitar with only two strings instead of six,” Wave Racer is quoted in his new newsletter. “Every drum sound was crafted from the same tiny piece of non-musical noise. The result is this really dense, noisey, shuffling drum groove that I would never normally come up with. Composing this ended up challenging my own hesitations surrounding my creative process, hence the title.”
“What Are We Waiting For” follows vocal-pop single “Left Behind,” and the producer also just announced his first headline shows in five years. — KAT BEIN
On his latest single, house mainstay MK makes a toxic relationship sound downright delightful, with a brightly peppy production serving as the base layer for lyrics about the type of chemical dependency one develops in a partnership that you know isn’t good for you, but which you really, really want to engage with anyways. While the producer typically works with female vocalists (Anabel Englund, Carla Monroe, etc.) the male voices delivering lyrics like “I’ve combined with you, it feels way too chemical” serve as an interesting, aurally satisfying twist.
Also slightly twisted is the song’s video, in which the lyrics are delivered by a broad-shouldered person in a dirty apron and animatronic dog mask, who reminds us that despite our humanity, animal instincts can often get the better of us. Speaking of animals, MK also recently starred in a campaign for Jaguar! He also has a grip of upcoming European dates that include Creamfields and Reeding Festival. — KATIE BAIN
On the heels of launching their D’Eaupe label with single “Boyz N Da Club,” Dutch-Caribbean duo Shermanology are back (this time on Lee Foss’s Repopulate Mars) with their Calle EP. A triple-course serving of vocal-focused tracks, B-side “Rain” takes the cake with its sampling of R&B group SWV’s 1997 song of the same name. While sampling ‘90s hip-hop and R&B is nothing new in dance music, Shermanology’s take is #TBTechHouse done right, giving these sisters’ sweet, angelic harmonies room to breathe against its tougher drum-heavy groove. While rain in a club would normally indicate a leak, this is the kind of weather event we’ll happily invite anytime, anywhere. — K.R.
Rezz Feat. Dove Cameron, “Taste Of You”
Rezz’s sound has not ever been, and will likely not ever be, explicitly associated with glittery pop crossover bombast, but she might have gotten as close as ever on her latest single, “Taste Of You.” Vocals come from Disney star Dove Cameron, who earns bass scene cred while delivering Rezz to the more pop-inclined masses. Their combined efforts make for a catchy, fairly traditionally structured but nonetheless punch-packing track that demonstrates the skills of each artist, who, clearly, are fans of each other. “When she asked me to collaborate,” Cameron is quoted in a statement, “I lost my s—.” — K. Bain
Felix Cartal Feat. Hanne Mjøen, “My Last Song”
Everyone wants a song written about them — but then they date a real musician and they’re like, “I don’t need another song, I need you to tell me you love me.” At least, that’s the picture we gather from Felix Cartal’s latest single, “My Last Song.” Norwegian singer Hanne Mjøen brings the argument to life, insisting that all those unsaid sentiments lie between each emotive melody and tortured beat. Cartal, meanwhile, twists all that pain and honesty into the production with beautiful technique.
“‘My Last Song’ is one of the most honest songs on my upcoming album,” Cartal is quoted in a press release. “It’s always been tricky for me to put into words how I may be feeling. On one hand, I feel grateful that I have this outlet to express myself, but on the other hand, I feel sort of guilty that I then no longer have a desire to express those feelings after it’s put into a song. Part of me will always protest openness in relationships to some degree because, hey it’s in the song now… Isn’t that enough? Is this why I’m single still?”
Don’t worry, Cartal fans. This is not actually his “last” song. Indeed, it’s the latest from his forthcoming LP Expensive Sounds For Nice People, set for full release June 25 via Physical Presents. — K. Bein