New Music Friday is intense. Hundreds of songs drop from artists around the world, and you’re supposed to somehow find the best ones. It’s fun work, but it’s time-consuming — so we at Billboard Dance want to give you a hand. Each week, we sift through the streams and dig in the digital crates to present the absolute must-hears from the wide breadth of jams.
This week saw The Chainsmokers making international headlines with a charity show gone wrong, Marshmello revealing that he’s got a bundle of unreleased Juice WRLD collabs, MK telling us about his youth in the late ’80s Detroit dance scene, Gareth Emery sharing a chapter of his forthcoming memoir and Aria Stark making an appearance in the new Madeon video.
And that’s not all. In the realm of new music, we got a pair of new singles from trance titans, Ferry Corsten and Paul van Dyk, a collab from Deorro and Los Dutis, a complex, melodically resonant and very pretty new single from Kasbo and a fresh take on an old classic from Star.One and Trillary Banks.
To that we add these six major tracks out this week. Let’s dig in.
Disclosure Feat. Fatoumata Diawara, “Douha (Mali Mali)”
The brothers Lawrence reunite with Fatoumata Diawara, the Malian vocalist from their 2018 hit “Ultimatum,” for the genuinely effervescent “Douha (Mali Mali). The song was first teased during the duo’s April quarantine Boiler Room set and is the second single from their forthcoming LP, Energy, which drops August 28 via Capitol.
A celebration of Diawara’s home country and continent, lyrics translate to “there are people of dignity in Africa, There are great people of trust in Africa…Mali Mali, Malians in Mali should send their blessings to those living abroad.” Shot in New York, Como, Italy and Johannesburg, South Africa. the stylish video follows the socially distanced mold of others shot during the pandemic — including Major Lazer’s “Lay Your Head On Me” and the R3hab remix of For King & Country’s “Together” — with dancers around the world all grooving to the tune that we cannot currently enjoy together.
Gryffin Feat. John Martin, “Cry”
Fresh off of his Tomorrowland Around the World set, Gryffin drops “Cry” with vocalist John Martin — most famous for belting “heaven has a plan for youuuuu!” to the rafters on Swedish House Mafia’s all-time classic “Don’t You Worry Child.” Thematically appropriate for this current moment in human history, the track finds the producer layering his own acoustic and electric guitar work to the bright beats and big-ass chord progressions that have delivered him to the top of the dance world. On Twitter, Gryffin called the track “an idea that John Martin and I started in a studio session with the intention of making a timeless dance record” and now it’s here, complete with its very own Snapchat and Instagram filters which you can find via Gryffin’s page.
Kenneth Bager Feat. Jez Phunk, “Farmacia (Homage To Frankfurt)” (Carl Cox Remix)
Look, it doesn’t matter that clubs are closed, Carl Cox is still going to make sure we have techno. In this case, the genre icon has remixed “‘Farmacia (Homage to Frankfurt)” by Danish legend Kenneth Bager, jacking up the BPM, adding a harder kick drum and transforming the more ambient original into exactly what we’d want to hear around 4 a.m. at Burning Man, if next month we were going there instead of nowhere at all. Oh well. Instead we’ll just say “c’est la vie”, throw it on our exercise playlist and keep it moving.
“Kenneth Bager’s ‘Farmacia (Homage to Frankfurt)’ was already a work of art when it came to me,” Cox says in a press release. “All I could do was paint a picture that I believe would complement the original track. I added in strings and built on the drums and emotion of the track to bring out the best of what was already there. I wanted to turn it into something classic and techno-ish, but I also wanted it to be the most beautiful thing I could construct out of something that was already beautiful. I hope I did a good job, and I am happy and proud to be a part of this mix.”
Lastlings, “No Time” (Rüfüs du Sol Remix)
Here, Australian sibling duo Lastlings get the remix treatment from their Rose Avenue label bosses, Rüfüs du Sol. The trio takes the already excellent vocal house track “No Time” and dials up just about everything on it, making the song longer, darker, deeper and even more hypnotic. (Also hypnotic is the never-ending voyage through train cars and underground tunnels in the corresponding video.)
The bond between these two acts runs deep, with Lastlings (a 2019 Billboard Dance emerging artist) editing the title track on Rüfüs’ 2018 album Solace and Rüfüs having the duo open for them on the tour behind that same album. “A few years ago when we first met Josh and Amy, they played us the demo for ‘No Time’ among others,” the trio are quoted in a statement. “We loved it – that bunch of demos was one of the things that pushed us to start the label we’d been talking about for a long time.”
Honey Dijon Feat. Hadiya George, “Not About You”
Featuring vocalist Hadiya George, the saucy house track “Not About You” is the first single from Honey Dijon’s forthcoming sophomore LP Black Girl Magic. Its video celebrating the queer people of color who inhabit clubland and according to a press release, “the importance of safe spaces for QPOC and the very real threat they face.” This message is doubled down on with the lyrics, which emphasize that it is neither about you, nor is it about me, but that it is in fact about us.
Paul Kalkbrenner, “Parachute”
While Paul Kalkbrenner’s latest single “Parachute” technically dropped late last week, the song didn’t get a lot of major play until this past Sunday, when the German techno veteran closed his Tomorrowland Around the World set with it. (We’re telling you, it’s worth a watch.) While the song uses a galloping kick drum, “Parachute” definitely ain’t techno, with Kalkbrenner instead leaning into a soft, soaring sweetness reminiscent of 2013’s “Sky and Sound” for something emotive, but not without heft. While the term “vocal crossover” might be anathema to a lot of techno heads, Kalkbrenner manages to strip away the cheesiness often associated with that genre for a genuinely mature mainstage anthem.