This week in dance music: Kah-Lo wrote about the sometimes rocky path that led to the release of her debut album, Calvin Harris got hitched, we spoke with Peggy Gou about her viral hit “It Goes Like (Nanana),” Alesso signed with CAA, Gou signed with WME, on the 10-year anniversary of Avicii’s True we talked to the label exec who signed the album, and Splash House shared nine hours worth of sets from its August editions.
The week marks some big releases as well. These are the best new dance tracks of the week.
RL Grime, Play
The Label: Sable Valley
The Spiel: RL Grime returns with a mic drop of a new project, his third LP PLAY. His first album since 2019, PLAY is actually made up of three mini-albums: APEX, GRID and RUSH. Each contains seven tracks highlighting different sound styles, with APEX delivering the same peak-time body-pummeling bass we’ve known and loved the producer (born Henry Steinway) for since the Void days; GRID being comprised largely of slick, smart collabs with artists including 070 Shake and Baauer; and RUSH delving into more experimental “headphones” music that demonstrate the producer’s efficacy with what is for him a newer type of sound. RL Grime will tour the album starting in October, with 17 dates across the U.S. and Canada.
The Artist Says: “Currently sitting in a park reflecting on the last few years and wanted to get some random thoughts down,” the producer wrote this week on Instagram. “From feeling completely stuck and sitting at home with no drive to make music whatsoever, to where we are today, hours away from releasing my third album is something I’m still trying to wrap my head around. It’s hard not to get caught up in the relentless and ever impending content/virality race of the current music industry .. for a long time it weighed down on my creativity and ultimately pushed me away from engaging at all with social media. thankfully this album process set me on a trajectory to regain my confidence not only as a producer but more importantly as a person…want to extended an eternal thank you to everyone involved in this project.”
The Vibe: Three to choose from
TSHA, Ellie Goulding & Gregory Porter, “Somebody”
The Label: Ninja Tune
The Spiel: TSHA checks in with a somber but resolute, and also resonant, collab with Ellie Goulding and Grammy-winning soul singer Gregory Porter. Over the London producer’s shuffling, tinny beat, Goulding references post-pandemic anxieties in singing “Feelin’ older than my years/ But ain’t it so when you’ve been staying home?” with her genuinely contemplative-sounding delivery juxtaposed with Porter’s earnest plea that “I really need somebody.”
The Artist Says: “The idea for this collaboration was sparked by Ellie sliding into my DM’s last year to reach out about a session. I of course jumped at the opportunity in a heartbeat – she’s someone that I’ve admired and respected for a long time, so to have the opportunity to work together was a complete no brainer for me. It’s been an absolute pleasure working together on ‘Somebody’, Ellie’s a real sweetheart and I’m so pleased with how the track has come together. The icing on the cake is the vocals that Gregory Porter has added, which for me really elevate the track and add another dimension to the music. Having a living legend like Gregory featuring on my music is a huge milestone moment for me.“
The Vibe: Lonely and pretty
Camelphat, Spiritual Milk
The Label: When Stars Align
The Spiel: The Liverpool duo, Dave Whelan and Mike Di Scala, have always been adept at making music that’s simultaneously deep, complex and pristinely produced, and that fingerprint is all over their sophomore album, Spiritual Milk. Out via the pair’s own When Stars Align label, the 16-track LP features loads of guests, including Kölsch, Delilah Montague, Shimza, Jake Bugg, London Grammar and Anyma, who all bring different moods to an album that nonetheless feels cohesive and fundamentally Camelphat.
The Artists Say: “We’ve felt a lot less pressure delivering this record possibly due to the fact it’s on our label, but also we’re at a point in our career where we can possibly afford to be more expressive and less fearful about what other people think,” the duo say in a joint statement. “It has definitely come from the heart and feels honest both as writers and musicians. We’ve had fun with it, we’ve made music less with the dance floor in mind and more with our emotions. The whole thing came together surprisingly very easily.”
The Vibe: Raw, whole and yes, in moments kind of creamy
Diplo & Walker & Royce Feat. Channel Tres, “Diamond Therapy”
The Label: Higher Ground
The Spiel: “See me as a ticket to foreign lands, I’m the pathway,” Channel Tres beckons on “Diamond Therapy,” three minutes of pure uncut tech house from Diplo and Walker & Royce. Together, the production trio lay a thumping, sometimes spare foundation for Tres to deliver lyrics about “diamond therapy, carat clarity” in his signature purr, with the hypnotic build leading to a crescendo of thick synth.
The Vibe: An actual gem
Chris Lake & Aluna, “More Baby”
The Label: Astralwerks/Black Book Records
The Spiel: We know Chris Lake and Aluna work well together, with their recently released “Beggin’” currently sitting at No. 11 on Dance Mix Show/Airplay. Today, the duo double down with “More Baby,” which Lake previewed during his massive b2b set with FISHER at Coachella this past April, and on which Aluna repeats the titular demand over a bouncy, elastic track co-produced by her, Lake and the duo Parisi, known for their work with Swedish House Mafia, Fred Again… and Black Eyed Peas.
The Vibe: Yes please, more please