This week in dance music: we got the down-low from Tucson’s longstanding Gem & Jam festival, DFA Records announced a 20th anniversary party with a white-hot lineup featuring James Murphy; The Juan MacLean, Optimo and many more happening in Brooklyn next month; Alok and Luis Fonsi’s “Un Ratito” was returned to YouTube amidst an ongoing copyright dispute; Lady Gaga’s Dawn Of Chromatica remix album returned to the top of the Dance/Electronic Albums chart following its vinyl release; a gaggle of EDM stars were announced on the lineup for the Indianapolis 500’s infamous Snake Pit party, and deep house mainstay Lee Burridge dropped the lineup for the debut of his All Day I Dream Festival, happening in California this May.
And new music? Yah! Let’s dig in.
Alesso & Katy Perry, “When I’m Gone” (VIP Remix)
As Alesso and Katy Perry enjoy their first week on the Hot 100 with their January single “When I’m Gone,” they also breathe new life into the dance/pop collab with the new “VIP Remix.” Alesso’s edit gets the original all dressed up for the club, making it thicker with slabs of dark synth and a significantly harder, percussion-forward drop that delivers pop fans to the festival mainstage and demands they dance. The track is also currently holding steady at No. 5 on Dance/Electronic Songs. Also: check out the duo’s shroomy performance of the original on Saturday Night Live last month. — KATIE BAIN
Lewis OfMan feat. Coco & Clair Clair, “Misbehave”
If Ke$ha made “Tik Tok” inside the Emily In Paris universe, it would probably sound like “Misbehave,” Lewis OfMan’s new song featuring Atlanta pop duo Coco & Clair Clair. Like much of the French singer/songwriter, musician and producer’s work, “Misbehave” is luminescent dance-pop lounging luxuriously at the intersection of cute, cheeky and whimsy. “Got a bottle of vodka on my way to the city/ Gonna link, have a drink and bring some cute girls with me,” Coco & Clair sing-speak over the quirky disco beat. Though we can’t see them, we can sense the mischievous twinkle in their eyes as they describe a night of blowing off steam at the club by drinking from the bottle, dancing with the DJ and ignoring an ex’s calls. “Misbehave” is part of Lewis OfMan’s debut album Sonic Poems, out today (February 18) on Profil de Face. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Mr. Oizo x Phra, “Hot in Her”
Take one of the founding members of Crookers, take him out from behind the decks and put him in front of the mic, then have him rap in Italian over some glitchy loops the color of ‘70s film intro sequences. That’s what you’ve always wanted, right? Either way, it’s what you get with Phra and Mr. Oizo’s new album — or “generous EP,” according Ed Banger label boss Busy P. Voila is a delicious plate of disparate influences coming together in a mountain of grooves.
It’s not a total surprise: The surrealist producer and movie director has frequently collaborated with the producer-turned-rapper on previous Mr. Oizo and Phra tracks including “No Tony,” “Dolce Vita” and “Ed Rec 100.” The full-length release was inspired by the late MF Doom’s Madlib collab Madvillainy, which makes it even cooler. Hip-hop fans will find references to Wu-Tang and Nelly within, and Beastie Boys graphic artist Eric Haze designed the cover art. Voila! An off-kilter classic is born. – KAT BEIN
Obskür feat. Bklava, “The Dark”
Two of the northern Europe’s rising stars, Obskür and Bklava, unite on shadowy new single “The Dark” for FFRR. The prestigious imprint has been a launchpad for artists such as Dublin duo Obskür, who turned heads with their 2020 label debut “Bayside.” On “The Dark,” they bring raw, hard-hitting house with aggressive cymbals and a kick so deep it’d probably feel like a punch to the chest with a proper sound system. Meanwhile, Bklava (one of Billboard’s dance artists to watch in 2022) interpolates Blondie’s 1981 Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Rapture” with an eerily ethereal interpretation. Her vocals emerge and hover like fog, a swirling contrast to the blunt, bold production. –– K.R.
Snakehips x Tchami, “Tonight”
U.K. funk meets Parisian bass on this slick and slinky beauty of a tune. “Tonight” sees electro-R&B lovers Snakehips team with the high priest of house, aka Tchami, for a match made in house heaven. A freaked-up vocal sample creates a soulful hook over bright and poppy synths before the counter-melody kicks in heavy with brooding club bass and dark vibes. It’s a fun tete-a-tete between masterful music makers, and a groovy counter argument for anyone who’s ever said the French and English can’t get along. – K. Bein
Bob Moses, “Never Ending”
The Los Angeles-based duo continue firing up the cylinders for the March release of their forthcoming LP, The Silence in Between, with the album’s second single “Never Ending.” As with much of Bob Moses’ output, this track explores the many heavy moods of romantic love, with lyrics about never having enough time with the one you’re lusting over playing over a low simmer production that builds into a sleekly galloping melodic house jam. Altogether, it falls squarely into the Bob Moses wheelhouse we’ve known and loved for the last decade. “We have all had moments we wanted to stay in forever,” the duo’s Jimmy Vallance and Tom Howie say of “Never Ending.” “This song indulges the impulse and revels in that possibility.” The track’s stylish, slightly ominous music video adds another layer of meaning and mood. — K. Bain
While L.A.-based producer Ghastly has long excelled in the bass realm, today he shifts gears and delivers some of his best work to date with the experimental house track, “Smoke.” The sound is both feathery and decisive, with lilting vocals from Madalen Duke leading to a remarkable chorus production that shifts, floats and then evaporates like smoke itself. The track is the lead single from Ghastly’s forthcoming album, the followup to his 2018 debut The Mystifying Oracle and one of three LPs the producer born David Lee Crow is releasing in 2022. “’Smoke’ is indicative of one of the most common struggles all humans encounter at one time or another,” he says, “the loss of love and how its ghost tends to haunt us in the hallway of our minds.” That’s eerie, evocative material, indeed. — K. Bain