First Spin: The Week’s Best New Dance Tracks From Jamie xx, The Crystal Method, VNSSA & More
This week in dance music: Former Bassnectar collaborator Mimi Page launched an initiative promoting consent culture in dance music, Spotify launched its Spotify Live feature, which will debut tonight with Swedish House Mafia’s album release party, Create Music Group acquired a majority stake in influential YouTube network The Nations, Madonna and Sickick’s “Frozen” remix hit the top 10 on Dance/Electronic Songs, Flume dropped a video for “Sirens” and Swedish House Mafia — 15 years into their storied career, finally dropped their debut album.
More new music? We’ve got that too. Let’s dig in.
Jamie xx, “Let’s Do It Again”
The title of Jamie xx’s latest track isn’t simply figurative, with “Let’s Do It Again” marking the first release from the producer in two long years. With the melodic house anthem, the U.K. favorite bounces back onto dancefloors with serious pep, giving three minutes and 45 seconds of pure uplift that’s spiritually reminiscent of Caribou’s late pandemic banger “You Can Do It.” (“I started making this tune last year, just as it felt like we might all be able to start doing the things we love again,” Jamie xx says.) “Let’s Do It Again” is certainly a sentiment many of us can relate to as we also return to to clubs and festivals after the forced exodus of the pandemic — with many about to cross paths with Jamie xx this Sunday (April 17) when he plays at Coachella, a set during which he’s promised to unveil more new music. — KATIE BAIN
With recent releases from Ewan McVicar, Navos and J. Worra, Higher Ground — Diplo’s imprint for all sounds house music — remains a goldmine of dance music up-and-comers. Next up: Southern California native VNSSA, who brings raw edge, hard drums and disorienting textures in her two-track solo debut for the label, Music4TheMasses. (She previously appeared on Walker & Royce’s 2019 track “Rave Grave” and remixed Jaded’s “Bounce” in 2020.) As its name suggests, the title track is made for enjoying with big crowds and a bigger soundsystem.
“The idea behind these tracks,” says VNSSA, “was that I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and make something I wasn’t hearing in the clubs. I wanted to make something different and unexpected that still worked on the dancefloor…” A transcendent vocal guiding you through your trip, a surging acid synth lead, piercing whoops and overall rave euphoria are all ingredients for a damn good time for peak-time at an L.A. all-nighter — or mid-day in the desert as she takes Coachella’s Sahara stage this weekend and next. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
The Crystal Method feat. King Green, “Let’s Trip Out”
The Vegas rave king is back, and bringing an explosion of energy big enough to set the sky on fire. The Trip Out is The Crystal Method’s seventh album, and its eight tracks pack metric tons of booming bass, ravey synths, stomping beats and rock’n’roll attitude. It comes fresh off the heels of an electrifying performance representing for his home state of Nevada on NBC’s American Song Contest. That set saw The Crystal Method joined by a full band, to bring new dimension to an already outstanding track — and while you should definitely give that a spin, we’re highlighting the album’s title track because it’s got that gritty rave sound we crave. – KAT BEIN
Little Snake feat. Flying Lotus, “To Find Love Is to Seek the End” (Ivy Lab remix)
In its original form, Little Snake’s “To Find Love is to Seek the End” is a dream dipped in acid. The Flying Lotus-featuring song, taken from his 2021 debut album on Brainfeeder, A Fragmented Love Story, Written By The Infinite Helix Architect, is dreamy and free-floating in a way where up is down, down is up and the pretty flowers all of sudden sprout into thorny, looming monsters. This new remix from Ivy Lab is equally cerebral, but more grounding and brooding with tight, deep drums and chugging cymbals that drive the track to its heady conclusion.
“Ivy Lab has remained one of the most sacred acts within electronic music for me for several years,” says Little Snake. “Everything they do is carried out with such meticulous attention and style. When I asked them to remix something from my album with no stems, files, or really anything to offer I wasn’t expecting them to bite. But I’m beyond flattered they took it and did what they do best.” — K.R.
Manila Killa feat. Fknsyd, “Take Me Higher”
“Drum and bass is coming back” is a promise often spoken by baseball cap wearing, skank-dancing d’n’b heads, ever since the frenetic genre was overshadowed by explosive EDM and half-time dubstep. In truth, drum and bass has always been here — but it really does feel like a shift has arrived. Take for instance Manila Killa’s latest banger: The producer is best known for dream-like synthscapes and chill-touch house, but on “Take Me Higher,” he reaches new energetic peaks.
“’Take Me Higher’ is a song about harnessing the raw energy experienced at live shows,” Manila Killa says. ‘It was actually after watching the Instagram stories of a Brownies & Lemonade party where they brought in some drum and bass acts like Netsky and Dimension that I started digging deeper into the genre. There’s something so alluring about the genre that I wanted to explore in my own music, and it was the eve of my New Years festival show that I started this song. It grew into something bigger than just a show edit, and recruiting Fknsyd just brought the song to the next level.”
This rowdy release follows the intoxicating textures of “Dark Places” with Kwesi, marking the second single from his forthcoming debut album, Dusk. All things considered, it feels like the dawn of a new chapter for the project. – K. Bein
Rising producer DJ_Dave delivers her first single of the year with “Castles,” a propulsive, gently hypnotic synth-pop opus reminiscent of Robyn and Icona Pop. Written, produced and sung entirely by Dave — who specializes in algorave live coding during her performances — the ’80s-influenced song will be featured on Dave’s forthcoming debut EP, which is set for release this summer. (Her summer season also includes a set at Electric Forest in Michigan in June.) Having opened for stars like Dillon Francis, SG Lewis, Boyz Noise, Remi Wolf, Tokimonsta, and Pussy Riot and recently called the “most exciting thing that I’ve seen in the industry” by her management team, Dave is definitely one to watch, and “Castles” nimbly demonstrates why. – K. Bain
First Spin: The Week’s Best New Dance Tracks From Jamie xx, The Crystal Method, VNSSA & More This week in dance music: Former Bassnectar collaborator Mimi Page launched an initiative promoting consent culture in dance music, Spotify launched its Spotify Live feature, which will debut tonight with Swedish House Mafia’s album release party, Create Music Group…