First Spin: The Week’s Best New Dance Tracks From Elkka, GRiZ, Jamie xx & More

This week in dance music: We broke down the eight Latin producers to watch during Hispanic Heritage Month 2022, Diplo was awarded $1.2 million in a ruling amidst an ongoing harassment case, Kygo, Gryffin and Calum Scott made moves on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs, we spoke with the creator of this weekend’s Portola festival in San Francisco and we posed 20 questions to Scottish producer Sam Gellaitry.

Beyond that, there’s just so much excellent new music out this week. Let’s dig in.

Elkka, “I Just Want To Love You”

Cuffing season is almost here, and who better to warm up your rom-com-type-of-love-aesthetic playlist than Elkka? Following on from last year’s excellent Euphoric Melodies and Harmonic Frequencies EPs, the producer is back with her first solo release in 2022, “I Just Want To Love You,” a track brimming with warmth and tenderness. Among a tapestry of crystalline percussion, gossamer melodies and samples from “Small Hours” by U.K. folk hero John Martyn, Martyn and Elkka’s love-stricken vocals loop and layer between themselves, as if mimicking the soft murmurs you and your partner trade before drifting off to sleep side-by-side — cozy, intimate and safe.

“At the heart of it,” Elkka says, “I hope it will be a soundtrack for everyone and anyone to have the freedom to express their love – whether it’s romantic, between friends or a mother and daughter. Everyone deserves to be loved.” North American fans can catch her live starting this weekend, with upcoming dates at San Francisco’s Portola Festival, San Diego’s CRSSD After Dark, Denver’s Bar Standard and more. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ

GRiZ, “Carry On”

Summer is officially over, as far as the turning of the Earth is concerned, but if you press play on GRiZ’ new LP, you can hold on to a little more of its soulful warmth and lazy smiles for at least the time it takes to play these nine groovy tracks.

Chasing the Golden Hour 4 is the freshest installment of the producer’s funk-laced, melodic mission. The series is all about wearing his blues and jazz influences on his sleeve, writing songs that are meant to soundtrack those perfect moments in your life when things are easy, your loved ones are close and the things that stress ya are just nowhere to be found. 

“I wanted to recreate the carefree good vibes you feel when it’s just about sunset on the perfect summer evening and everything is the most beautiful shimmering tint of gold,” he says. “Chasing the Golden Hour is that magical moment, it is the cool breeze against your back, it is sweet summer swagger in music form.”

We’re highlighting the intro track “Carry On” because it’s got a really sweet message and a loving vibe, but we recommend you listen to the entire album to appreciate its full rainbow of sound. – KAT BEIN

Jamie xx, “Kill Dem

After resurfacing this past April with his first solo track since 2020, “Let’s Do It Again,” Jamie xx is back again with some new heat. “Kill Dem,” like its predecessor, feels as meant for sunshine and block parties as it is a shadowy warehouse set aglow by a beaming disco ball. According to a press release, the song was “created with Notting Hill Carnival in mind, inspired by the energy of the parties and soundsystems Jamie experienced there since first attending as a teenager.” There’s a vibrancy in the chopped vocals, springy steel drums and frenetic pace; it captures the spontaneous yet euphoric energy of a crowd ready to party until it’s time to go home. “Kill Dem” is a joyful cap to summer and kick-off for fall, which Jamie will soundtrack with U.S. dates through the rest of the month. — K.R.

SG Lewis, Ty Dolla $ign & Lucky Daye, “Vibe Like This”

Discerning is the listener who suspected July’s double release “Missing You” / “Something About Your Love” to be the first piece of a follow-up to SG Lewis’ 2021 LP, Times.

Indeed, it was, and now we know the album will arrive via Astralwerks on January 27, 2023. The news of Lewis’ second studio album, AudioLust & HigherLove, arrives in tandem with another twofer, on which he unites with friends both old (Lucky Daye) and new (Ty Dolla $ign) for a chilled-out moment called “Vibe Like This.” Its accompanying number, “Infatuation,” uses Lewis’ own vocals to tell a story of complete and total engrossment, of the inability to get someone off your mind. For us, that someone is SG Lewis himself, whose soul-stirring double A-side sends expectations for what’s to come soaring. (Spoiler alert: this is gonna be good). It’s also worth remembering that his debut LP, times, was included among Billboard’s list of the best albums of 2021.

“The album is clearly split into two worlds,” explains Lewis. “AudioLust is the darker, lusty, infatuated, short-lived, and ego-driven version of love. The second half represents a much deeper, actualized, and fulfilled version of love. Songs fall on either half of the record.” — RACHEL NAROZNIAK

Malaa feat. DJ Snake & Yung Felix,“Deep”

Pardon my French, but the new house track from Malaa, DJ Snake and Dutch rapper Yung Felix — c’est trop de la balle. (It’s too much of a ball!) The Parisian set know a thing or two about dark and mysterious grooves, and the masked producer did not miss with this minimal-but-bumpin’ face-full of rhythm and bass. It just sounds like stalking the lantern-lit streets of an ancient city that’s been covered in graffiti tags, which, naturally, is pretty much what you do when you’re in Paris. – K. Bein

Floating Points, “Problems”

The title of “Problems” is antithetical to its sound, with Floating Points’ latest serving a soulful salve for an addled mind. Built around a power-lunged vocal sample, the lo-fi garage production builds steadily over the course of four-plus minutes, offering moments of both arms-in-the-air exultation and head-nodding, eyes-closed interior dancefloor euphoria. The U.K. producer’s third single of the year comes with a genuinely mesmerizing video, featuring a pair of dancers and a lot of lasers.

“‘Problems’ is meant to agitate every single room that its ecstatic sound waves reach”, Floating Points’ longtime visual collaborators Hamill Industries says of the clip. “We wanted to celebrate it with movement and dance and reshape it through sound, by using techniques that allow the sonification of images. We have used lasers that spin and move with the music, making visible their sinuous shapes. It was important that this video shaped the electrical feeling you get when being on a dancefloor, the urge of dancing when sound waves reach your ears.” Mission accomplished. — KATIE BAIN

Aqua, “Barbie Girl”

Yes folks, “Barbie Girl”! The 1997 life in plastic classic is reissued this week in conjunction with its 25-year anniversary. The earworm from Danish quartet aqua marked a peak moment for Eurodance in the U.S., with the song hitting No. 7 on the Hot 100 in September of 1997 and ultimately spending 16 weeks on the chart. Whether you loved it, secretly loved it or loved to hate it, the track is firmly ensconced in the dance/pop canon, and the album from whence it came, Aquarium, is this week re-released digitally and on vinyl that, naturally, comes in pink and white. Now come on Barbie, let’s go party. — K. Bain