This week in dance music: Swedish House Mafia dropped the video for their “Heaven Takes You Home,” Calvin Harris, Halsey, Justin Timberlake and Halsey gifted us with a shimmering disco banger, Tiësto and Charli XCX’s “Hot In It” made moves on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs, noted gamer Porter Robinson talked to us about the track he made for the League Of Legends world, Diplo was announced was part of the investment group who raised $12 million for streaming radio app Stationhaed, Chromeo and TroyBoi lead the lineup for Denver’s September fest High Ground and we caught up with king of the 2022 Ibiza season Michael Bibi.
Is there more? There is so much more. Let’s dig in.
More from Billboard
CamelPhat & Mathame, “Believe”
Few acts do darkly propulsive melodic techno better than Camelphat, and today the U.K. duo return with another epic to remind us of that point. “Believe” is a months-in-the-making collaboration with Italian brother duo Mathame, who are equally adept in the genre and who altogether gift us a track with beauty, drama and cinematic build that releases like a warp speed trip through all of those never before seen galaxies the James Webb telescope just revealed. — KATIE BAIN
St. Lucia, “Touch”
Stranger Things may have the whole world stuck in a Kate Bush loop, but there are other shades of ‘80s greatness worth exploring. Today, St. Lucia brings a bit of the ol’ Hall & Oates mixed with some a-ha and Michael McDonald. “Touch” is an instantly-loveable sing-along that’ll have you hitting your best falsetto and striking a pose in the shower.
“To me, ‘Touch’ feels like all my favorite yacht rock tracks distilled to their essence and sent through the St. Lucia filter,” the duo’s Jean-Philip Grobler says. “I’ve always felt that a song like this would suit us, because we’re so associated with sunshine — it just took a few years to arrive. Thematically, the song is about how even when you’ve broken up with someone you were in a relationship with, you can still desire them, which is a strange but very human predicament to be in. It also speaks to our deep need for human contact after we were so deprived of it for the last few years. So go ahead, tell someone you need their touch.”
Need more St. Lucia in your life? “Touch” is just the first single from the band’s forthcoming fourth LP Utopia, and a North American tour has already been announced, so get on out there and grab some of this funk. – KAT BEIN
ODESZA, “Light Of Day”
The final single dropping before their hotly anticipated album The Last Goodbye drops next week, “Light of Day” is ODESZA’s collab with Icelandic composer and 2022 Grammy nominee Ólafur Arnalds. Built around a sample from Stephen Ambrose’s 1972 folk song “Mary,” the song swells with power while still maintaining the emotion of the sample at its center and the emotion ODESZA has always been so good at injecting into their work. The guys launch a North American tour on July 29 with a trio of sold out hometown shows at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena and stops at amphitheaters through the U.S. and Canada.
“The fact that people seemed as excited as we were was extremely overwhelming,” ODESZA’s Harrison Mills recently told Billboard of the success of this upcoming tour. “I didn’t even know if we were relevant anymore.” — K. Bain
Yotto, Erased Dreams
If over the past two years you noticed your home-listening playlists decreasing in drops and increasing in zen, you weren’t the only one. Yotto, the Finnish producer who’s known for his deeply reverberating melodic techno and progressive house, had started making his familiar club music during lockdown. But the music that would end up comprising his next album was totally beat-less and decidedly un-clubby. Erased Dreams, out now on Above & Beyond’s new Reflections imprint, brings a chill kind of comfort in its ambient soundscapes.
The lead sounds, from the vast strings and crooning vocals to the echoing guitar riffs, feel full and soothing to the ears on their own, but it’s the subtle accents — the faint field recording of what sounds like children playing, chirping crickets, rain hitting the pavement, the voicemail-like vocal saying “I miss you” — that give the album its soul and make it feel lived in. With each track flowing seamlessly into the next, Erased Dreams is an easy, meditative listen from beginning to end. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Ren Zukii, “Deadman”
Bass fans, there’s a new kids in town, and she’s come to play — hard. This week Australian producer Ren Zukii releases her debut EP, Monarch, via Liquid Stranger’s label, WAKAAN. The EP’s four tracks mark her first ever official releases and establish her as a serious contender in the bass scene, with productions spanning the harder ends of the electronic spectrum while still maintaining a sophistication and playfulness. We particularly dig opening track “Deadman,” but the whole EP is worth your time.
“The Monarch EP is a culmination of six years of my journey in music,” Ren Zukii says. “I realized I could never really just write one style of music so I set off to combine everything I love about the experimental bass music scene. A lot of the inspiration for this EP came from listening to a lot of metal and watching Quentin Tarantino movies. It’s chaotic, emotional and visceral and is the first of many to come.” — K.Bain
Giolì & Assia, “I’ll Be Fine”
Following recent singles “Fire Hell and Holy Water” and “Silence,” electronic duo Giolì & Assia have announced their third album, Fire Hell and Holy Water, alongside a new single, “I’ll Be Fine.” A series of contrasts — light and dark, loud and quiet, love and loss — the song rolls through hills and valleys via stripped-back, melancholic piano keys and looming walls of driving percussion, brooding synth melodies, and orchestral strings as Assia sings: “I never thought I could ever miss someone like I miss you/ So I broke my heart up close.”
What sounds like it initially began as a song of resilience after heartbreak seemingly took on a new layer of meaning: “We wrote “I’ll Be Fine” as a mantra during lockdown,” Giolì & Assia write, “almost like a call to arms for survival when so much was going wrong around us. We started playing it on our tour last year, and already our fans sing it back to us. Whenever we play this track live, it seems to connect so strongly with our fans.” — K.R.
Phantoms, “Only You”
If you’ve never found bliss in a repetitive house beat, now’s your chance. Los Angeles-based electro-pop duo just came through strong with a bittersweet summer groove that’ll wash your cares away like a sunset dip in the Pacific Ocean. It’s called “Only You,” and it’s the latest single from the group’s forthcoming album This Can’t Be Everything.
“‘Only You’ was written on a trip to London where we got to work with the amazing Jem Cooke,” Phantoms says. “This was the first song we ever wrote together. It’s about feeling safe with someone amongst chaos and uncertainty.”
“This song was written [about] wanting to fling your arms around the person you love the most,” Cooke adds. “It was about expressing being with that one person who can make you feel amazing and keep you safe inside the chaos when it’s all raging around you.”
Let this one linger from Friday to Sunday, then get ready for Phantom’s full album release on Aug. 12, via Odesza’s label, Foreign Family Collective. – K. Bein
Softest Hard & T Pain, “I’m Blue”
Today in gifts we didn’t know we needed but are grateful to have: The one and only T-Pain interpolating Eiffel 95’s enduring 1998 earworm, “Blue.” In the hands of producer Softest Hard, the track’s production amps up the house aspect, with a playful bridge and inventive, bass-y final flourish providing the foundation for T-Pain’s vocals, which are, of course, Auto-Tuned to perfection. “Working with Softest Hard on recreating this ’90s classic has been a blast,” says T Pain. “I’m a longtime dance music enthusiast so this collaboration is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Hope you all enjoy!”
“‘I’m Blue’ is one of the biggest dance records on my album,” adds Softest Hard. “It was an honor to work with the super talented legend, T-Pain. It’s a refreshing twist to such a feel-good, nostalgic record. It’s the perfect middle ground between soft and hard.” The song is out now via HARD Records. — K. Bain