First Spin: The Week’s Best New Dance Tracks From Love Regenerator, Justin Martin & More

Hey there, dance fanatics. It’s been another week, and with it comes a slew of hot new tunes to get us through the weekend. There’s noise from Tiesto as well as Dua Lipa and the icon Elton John, plus we took a close look at the new album from UK house stars Jungle — but wait! There’s more.

Here are six more saucy singles that’ll light up your life.

Love Regenerator & Eli Brown, “We Can Come Together”

Now that Calvin Harris has given us his annual summer dance-pop jam (“By Your Side”), he’s heading back to the club. The Scottish super-producer launched his new, rave-ready Love Regenerator alias in January 2020, releasing 10 original tracks in six months, including the adrenaline-rushing Moving EP with UK up-and-comer Eli Brown. After a yearlong hiatus, Love Regenerator is back and reunited with Brown on new single “We Can Come Together.” A club and festival anthem in waiting as ravers slowly return to once-empty dance floors, “We Can Come Together” swells with pure piano house euphoria that could breach tear ducts with its vocal call for unity: “I feel the time has come for us to come together/ I realize that only we can make it better.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ

Justin Martin – “Eye of the Storm”

Harp house is so 2021 — at least, that’s how we feel after diving headfirst into Justin Martin’s latest groove. “Eye of the Storm” is a bass-fueled boiler; a real churning hurricane of cool. A trudging synth slowly builds in pitch, creating a mad sense of anticipation, then a woman’s voice claims to be “changing the cultural DNA.” It’s a big statement, but it all comes into place when the center hits, and that gorgeous, funkadelic melody breaks the dam.

“There is a serene beauty that always takes place in the eye of a storm, amidst all the violent chaos that surrounds it,” Martin is quoted in a press release. “Capturing that extreme juxtaposition was my goal.”

“Eye of the Storm” is Martin’s sixth release from his new label What To Do. Catch the left-of-center icon dropping it on tour as he makes his way from San Francisco this Saturday to Houston, Miami, Vegas and back to SF by the start of 2022. — KAT BEIN

Brux, “Covet”

“Your Rolodex, your partner, your followers, your chakra; your Fitbit, your lipstick, your friendship with the Carters”: Everything has monetary and/or social value, and Brux wants it all on her latest single “Covet.” The Australian producer, singer-songwriter and Billboard Dance February 2020 Emerging Artist has a knack for combining social commentary with club sonics — think less after-school special and more afterhours. On “Covet,” Brux’s debut on Zeds Dead’s Deadbeats label, she captures the foreboding energy behind status obsession with textured production that broods, sparkles and spirals, reciting over it anything and everything that could up her clout game. Brux’s off-kilter sounds feel especially significant here, showing how something that at first seems innocent, fun and alluring can turn darkly obsessive.

“‘Covet’ is all about materialism,” Brux writes in a statement, “being blinded and ruled by it in these unhealthy times of social media…now more than ever.” — K.R.

DJ Seinfeld – “She Loves Me”

Some songs put you in a different place and time, and some bring you to a deep space within yourself. DJ Seinfeld’s latest “She Loves Me” feels like all that combined, a dark yet whimsical journey through inner space. Hanging synth chords and dreamy vocals from Swedish artist Stella Explorer conjure emotions as wide as the ocean and still as the night. It’s a vibe.

“The fine line between self affirmation and paranoia is alluring to me, and in music it’s always present,” Explorer is quoted in a press release. “It’s deceptive, and lyrics can change meaning at any time. I think the fewer words you use, the more they shift, and by combining that with different intentions like you do when you collaborate with someone (like this), it makes the outcome exciting.”

“I was connected with Stella by my friend Oskar who runs the label Year0001,” Seinfeld adds. “He had sent me some of her stuff, I loved it, and so he put us in contact … Stella and I mailed some music back and forth, and one day I received the beautiful vocal that is in the piece today. I hold this song extremely close to my heart.”

“She Loves Me” is the third single from DJ Seinfeld’s forthcoming sophomore album Mirrors. Wade into its luscious mood and prepare your body for more. — K. Bein

Joel Corry & Jax Jones feat. Charli XCX & Saweetie, “Out Out”

More than a decade after its release, “Alors On Danse” — Belgian artist Stromae’s breakout hit from 2009 — is experiencing a revival. Just last month, a slowed version of the song went viral on TikTok along with an equally laid-back dance routine. Now, it gets a caffeine boost as the sampled backbone of “Out Out,” the new super-collaboration from Jax Jones, Joel Corry, Charli XCX and Saweetie. “Out Out” radiates strong pre-game energy with a hint of FOMO: “Why am I on my own on a Friday night?” Charli begins. The following saga of hopping in an Uber and meeting your friends at the club is downright nostalgic, and when Charli sings in the chorus, “Just watch me dance” followed by those horn blasts, it’s an invitation to watch her live her best life… and maybe a challenge to live your own. — K.R.

Wave Point – “Higher Dimension”

Catch a slick groove and surf the sweet sounds of a “Higher Dimension.” Wave Point is the new project from former Golf Clap member Bryan Jones. It’s a smooth, organic trip through nostalgic house melodies and pulsing club rhythms, a truly shimmering slice of space lounge delight. “Higher Dimension” is the titular track from Wave Point’s debut album, which just dropped in full via self release.

“This album was made with a lot of session musicians from around the world,” Jones is quoted in a press release. “Since I couldn’t meet up with people physically, I went on places like fiverr.com and found musicians to work with that way. I would send them parts and tell them what I want and go back and forth until we had something…This album was made in a COVID world where parties weren’t happening, so these are made a little more for listening while still applicable on a dancefloor. ”

“Higher Dimension” feels like a familiar favorite already. Listen to it and the full album, for sure. — K. Bein

11 Times Aretha Franklin Made Awards Show History

The Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, opens this weekend — following weeks of buildup. Much of Franklin’s life played out at awards shows, where she was a frequent nominee, winner and performer and even an occasional host.

Franklin died in 2018, but her presence has continued to be felt at awards shows. Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul, which aired in 2019, was nominated for two Emmys (winning one). Cynthia Erivo is a current Emmy nominee for playing Franklin in the limited series Genius: Aretha. Hudson, the star of Respect, has a good chance of becoming an Oscar nominee for best actress.

Here are 11 times the Queen of Soul made awards show history.

Feb. 29, 1968 – Won the first Grammy ever awarded for best rhythm & blues solo vocal performance, female for the immortal “Respect.”  The classic hit brought Franklin  a second award that year: best rhythm & blues recording.

March 16, 1971 – Performed her gospel-imbued cover version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” on the first live Grammy telecast. Franklin’s single, newly released at the time, would go on to win best R&B vocal performance, female the following year. (The Temptations presented her with the award.)

March 1, 1975 – Won the Grammy for best R&B vocal performance, female for the eighth consecutive year for her cover version of the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell hit “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.” That eight-year streak is, to this day, the longest Grammy winning streak by any artist in any category. The award was presented by another icon, David Bowie, who Franklin excitedly kissed when she got to the stage. Franklin blurted out, “Wow, this is so good, I could kiss David Bowie.” Realizing some might interpret that as a dis at the gender-bending star, Franklin interrupted herself mid-sentence and said: “I mean that in a beautiful way, because we did.” The fact that she felt compelled to correct such a relatively minor gaffe says a lot about her.

Jan. 27, 1986 — Won favorite soul/R&B female vocalist at the American Music Awards for a record fourth time. She stood alone as the category leader until Mariah Carey tied her in 2005. (The current category champ is Rihanna, with seven wins.) Franklin also co-hosted the AMAs in 1976 and 1983. Franklin accepted the 1986 award, one of two she won that night, live via satellite from Detroit. The most striking thing about her 1986 acceptance speech is that she choked up when she accepted the award in memory of her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, who had died 18 months previously.

Jan. 21, 1987 – Became first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Keith Richards did the honors. Franklin was coming off a big hit with a cover version of The Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Richards had produced and played lead guitar on Franklin’s recording.

Feb. 22, 1989 – Became the first female artist to amass 15 Grammys in competition when she won best soul gospel performance, female for One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. Franklin went on to win three more Grammys in competition. Her tally of 18 awards currently puts her in third place among female artists, behind Beyoncé (28) and Alison Krauss (27).

Dec. 3, 1994 – Received the Kennedy Center Honors at age 52, making her the youngest recipient to that point. Stevie Wonder, LL Cool J and violinist Midori currently share that distinction (as individual honorees); they were all honored at age 49. Franklin was also one of the first artists primarily known for R&B to receive the honor. (Ray Charles had received the award in 1986.)

Feb. 25, 1998 – Filled in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti to sing “Nessun Dorma” from the Puccini opera Turandot at the 40th annual Grammy Awards. Franklin had sung the piece at the MusiCares person of the year gala two nights earlier, but until Pavarotti’s throat problems caused him to cancel, she had no idea she’d be performing it on TV. Her performance, on a night she also sang “Respect,” doubtless prompted millions of TV viewers to say, “That woman can sing anything.”

Feb. 8, 2008 – Honored as MusiCares’ person of the year, having already received a Grammy legend award and a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy. Franklin and Streisand are the only artists to have received all three of these honors. (Quincy Jones received a Grammy legend award, the person of the year honor and a trustees award, which is equivalent to a lifetime achievement award for people whose contributions are primarily behind-the-scenes.)

Feb. 14, 2008 – Six days later, while out in California, Franklin receives the rarely given vanguard award at the 39th annual NAACP Image Awards, which was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The Sounds of Blackness and reigning American Idol champ Jordin Sparks performed her songs in tribute. (Franklin had received their Hall of Fame award in 1997.)

Dec. 6, 2015 – Franklin, 73, made President Obama teary-eyed and honoree Carole King ecstatic when she performed her 1967 classic “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (which King co-wrote) at the Kennedy Center Honors.

Shuttered Indie Venues Grant Deadline Approaches

Independent live entertainment businesses have until Aug. 20 to submit or resubmit to receive federal assistance under the $16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. And although over 15,000 applications have been submitted already with millions distributed, eligible applications are still rolling in with only a week left to go.

“A lot of people could probably still apply, either they didn’t know about it or it was too complicated, or both,” says Joshua Pollack, co-founder of the newly launched firm MySVOG, which is currently advising more than 100 clients whose work go beyond the concert venues and promoters often associated with the program. Comedy clubs, dance studios, universities, museums, movie theaters and local arts organizations may be eligible for grants up to $10 million too. “Anything with a stage that would take a ticket qualifies on facility side,” he says. “There’s also promoters, talent managers, agents and the people that put acts on the stage that qualify on the presenting side.”

Pollack and his partner Schuyler Hoversten charge a “small success fee” for their services that’s “variable based upon how much work is involved and how organized or not they are,” says Hoversten. It’s similar to how other consultants have helped small businesses apply for other government-sponsored COVID-19 aid programs like the Payroll Protection Program and the SBA’s restaurant grant program during the pandemic. And with the SVOG deadline approaching, they want to encourage businesses not to give up, even if the process seems complicated.

“It’s so complex. It’s so convoluted,” Hoversten says. “They’re asking for a lot of information and I think if you’re not completely telling the story or showing that you’re eligible, then you’re going to have some issues…. It’s not a process geared toward getting a lot of people approved and I think that frustrates some people.”

But, he adds, “This money was authorized Congress and there is a real desire to get it into the right hands.”

As of Monday, about 68% of applicants — 10,826 out of 15,872 total — had so far received $8.4 billion in funding. But there are more than 3,200 businesses who had their applications rejected — roughly one quarter of all the SBA’s decisions. Of these, Pollack says, it’s part of the process and “this isn’t the SBA trying to be mean — it’s a situation where they’re stating to the people that need funding, ‘Let us try to help you,'” adding that the SBA will begin reaching out to applicants via telephone to close out any backlog appeals.

Rejections commonly come down to small clerical mistakes and missing paperwork, says Pollack. Or it can be a larger issue with how a company presents its financial reporting or describes its events and business. “You want to think about why you may have been declined,” he says, “You should study which people got approved and see if you can fit into one of those buckets.”

After Aug. 20, the SBA will open up its grant supplemental funding awards, for which businesses will not need to reapply, distributing grants for up to half of what was received in the first round.

Nicki Minaj & Husband Kenneth Petty Sued for Harassing His Attempted Rape Victim

Nicki Minaj and her husband, Kenneth Petty, are facing a lawsuit by a woman who accused Petty of rape in 1994 in New York.

The woman, Jennifer Hough, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Eastern New York on Friday (Aug. 13) and alleges that Petty “intimidated” and “harassed” “Plaintiff [Hough] not to speak out concerning the rape she experienced at the hands of Defendant Petty,” while claiming Minaj (real name Onika Tanya Maraj) also “threatened” “Plaintiff [Hough] to recant her legitimate claim that Defendant Petty raped her.”

In the filing, Hough also accuses the married couple of “witness intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, harassment, assault, battery, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.”

The lawsuit, obtained by Billboard, details how on Sept. 16, 1994, when Hough and Petty were both 16 years old living in Jamaica, Queens, in New York, that she ran into him on her way to school when he later held her at knifepoint, led her into a nearby house and raped her. He was arrested that day for first-degree rape and later pleaded guilty to attempted rape. He was sentenced to 18 to 54 months in prison.

He later pleaded guilty in an unrelated case to a manslaughter charge in 2006, spending seven years behind bars out of his 10-year sentence and let out in 2013 on supervised release.

Petty was charged Feb. 25, 2020, for failing to register as a sex offender, which is a requirement under the 2006 Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). He was later added to the California Megan’s Law database, which tracks sex offenders in the state of California, where Petty and Minaj reside with their son, whom the rapper gave birth to last year. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced in March 2020 that the charges were dropped against Petty, but if he were to be convicted of the same felony charge, he would face up to 10 years in prison, which is the statutory maximum.

The New York State department labels Petty as a level-two sex offender, which deems him of having a moderate risk of a repeat offense, all stemming from the 1994 attempted rape conviction.

In the lawsuit, Hough recounts the years after the alleged rape, claiming she felt “mentally and emotionally destroyed” and moved around a lot out of fear of returning to New York. But beginning in 2018, interest in her identity surged following Minaj’s viral comments about the case. Underneath a 2018 Instagram post, Minaj, 38, clapped back at those who continued to criticize Petty’s criminal past. “He was 15, she was 16… in a relationship. But go awf Internet.” In a 2019 episode of Minaj’s Queen Radio show on Apple Music, she told her fans, “You’ve gotta cover your husband in prayer” before saying that he was wrongfully accused of rape by Hough, whom she said wrote a letter recanting her statement, which Hough denies. “But white is right,” Minaj said later on in the episode (The filing states that Hough is biracial.)

In 2020, shortly after Petty was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender, the suit alleges that Hough’s brother told her over the phone that “two people reached out to a family member stating an offer of $500,000.00 from Defendant Minaj if Plaintiff wrote a letter recanting her rape claim against Defendant Petty.” At one point, Hough’s childhood friend, who acted as a liasion between the married couple and Hough, also presented another $20,000 from Minaj, who proposed to “send birthday videos to Plaintiff’s Daughter for her sweet 16 as a bonus” if she would sign a prepared recanted statement.

“Plaintiff has not worked since May of 2020 due to severe depression, paranoia, constant moving, harassment, and threats from the Defendants and their associates. She is currently living in isolation out of fear of retaliation,” the filing states.