First Spin: The Week’s Best New Dance Tracks From Fred again.., Alison Wonderland, CamelPhat & More
This week in dance music: we recapped the whirlwind that was ADE 2022, the dance world mourned the loss of producer Mighty Mouse, we went inside the Kyiv club that opened for one night amidst the ongoing war, we got exclusive Dirtybird Campout West 2022 sets from a trifecta of acts, we met the production wizards behind Porter Robinson’s Second Sky festival this weekend, David Guetta and Bebe Rexha hit the apex position of Dance Mix/Show Airplay and the CW Network announced that it will air the U.S.’s first ever all electronic awards show in May.
As for new music, we’ve got that too. Let’s dig in.
Fred again.., Actual Life 3 (January 1-September 9 2022)
It’s here. After months of waiting and what’s felt like an open faucet of singles — including scene-uniting collaborations with Four Tet and Swedish House Mafia — Fred again..’s Actual Life 3 is out today. AFter becoming the moment’s most relevant electronic producer following a post-pandemic run of buzzy, teary sets including Coachella and record-setting Boiler Room performance, Fred Again..’s latest album makes good on the considerable hype, providing 13 sonically and emotionally nuanced tracks cobbled together from digital ephemera, pulling off the rare achievement of being as rich in meaning as they are effective on the dancefloor. — KATIE BAIN
Alison Wonderland, “Down the Line”
When you’re feeling low and the future looks dark, one of the best forms of medicine is a scream-along anthem about being down in the pits. Alison Wonderland is a magician when it comes to moody lyrics and spirited drops, and her latest single “Down the Line” is exactly the sort of re-energizing depression candy any good “I can’t get off of the couch because life sucks” moment requires.
“We need the dark times in order to get to the light,” the artist says. “We need that experience to know that it’s going to be okay one day. The track is me acknowledging that I was alone during a difficult time but knew that I was going to get through it and be okay, down the line. We’re all going through a dark time right now, and sometimes we need to be reminded that it’s going to be okay. No matter what happens, we will be okay.” – KAT BEIN
Jimmy Edgar Feat. LIZ, “EUPHORIA”
With his new single “EUPHORIA,” Detroit producer Jimmy Edgar shares another preview of his forthcoming album LIQUIDS HEAVEN, out on November 11 via Innovative Leisure. The track is a concentrated dose of ear candy, made of pastel synths that swirl with the richness and silkiness of milk chocolate, and bright background melodies that sparkle like sonic Pop Rocks. And like how eating sweets leads to a woozy sugar rush, “EUPHORIA” too is about chasing that buzzy peak in love. Through the track’s chest-swelling builds, vocalist LIZ declares: “I’ll keep looking for you / I’ll keep looking for euphoria.” Edgar’s latest is all confectionary goodness without the risk of cavities. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Anyma & CamelPhat, “The Sign”
CamelPhat make their debut on Tale of Us’ Afterlife Recordings with “The Sign,” a collaboration with producer Anyma. A moody, multi-movement progressive house soundscape made for that moment late night turns to early morning, “The Sign” delivers a lot of head nodding deep in the dancefloor moments along with a few satisfyingly crunchy synths, all over an urgent beat that sounds like it’s being beamed to your earholes from deep space. — K. Bain
Ten City, “Love Is Love”
When you know, you know, and true love can’t be stopped by parents or friends or ne’er-do-well of any kind — not when it feels this silky smooth. True Chicago house and R&B legends Ten City come through with a jazzy, feel-good number that’ll get you real cozy on the dance floor with your favorite cuddle buddy, and remind you that “Love Is Love,” no matter what form is takes. In the words of Ten City co-founder and vocalist Byron Stingly, it’s a “modern Romeo and Juliet meets West Side Story!” This is for the grown and sexy among us, but it’s a message that will resonate with anyone who’s found themself enamored or thinks they’ve found the one, and certainly those among us who have been told their choice in partner isn’t “right,” even though nothing about it could ever feel wrong. It’s the second and titular single from Ten City’s forthcoming album Love Is Love, due out in 2023. – K. Bein
J. Worra feat. Nathan Nicholson, “Lightning to Strike”
From opposite sides of the Atlantic, Los Angeles’ Insomniac Records and London’s D4 D4NCE—Defected Records’ imprint for rising stars—have joined together in a new collaborative venture. Their first joint release, the single “Lightning to Strike,” comes from J. Worra, who’s previously graced both labels with her modern house sound. On “Lightning to Strike,” J. Worra dips into a bolder palette with a bouncy, retro-futuristic bassline; melodic keys and laser-beam synths which balance out Nathan Nicholson’s breezy croons and wispy vocals. Altogether, they create a song that’s as mellow and melancholic as it is hopeful. — K.R.