We all know the big news this week was the return of Swedish House Mafia. The superstar trio’s “It Gets Better” is a real departure from form, but it’s honestly fantastic. That being said, we already covered the group’s comeback energy with a big cover story, so let’s move on to new things!
This week brings brilliant tunes from Rüfüs Du Sol, Nina Kraviz, a mega-collab from Ookay and more. Here’s what we’re listening to on repeat.
Rüfüs Du Sol, “Alive”
Almost three years after the release of their Grammy-nominated album Solace, Australian band Rüfüs Du Sol have returned with a new single, “Alive” — which means a fourth LP can’t be too far behind.
At its start, “Alive” doesn’t welcome so much as loom. “There’s a pain in my chest that I can’t describe,” lead singer Tyrone Lindqvist drawls, “it takes me down and leaves me there.” The internal malaise of which he sings is a feeling relatable to many, especially given the past year: an unshakable burden; a bottomless pit. But rather than languish in sorrow, a look to the bright side: “At least I’m alive,” he repeats like a mantra. It cuts through the darkness like light through long-shuttered windows, propelled by spacious percussion, trance-like synths and a build to the high heavens. It’s as haunting as it is euphoric.
“It’s a heavier song in some ways,” writes Lindqvist in a press release, “but at its core it’s hopeful. We are — all of us — living in this transitional moment right now and we wanted to focus on the hope that the future holds for us all. To focus on the light at the end of this tunnel.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Tony Romero, “MS69”
You ever been so mad at a mail courier that you messed around and made an absolute banger? That’s the story behind French producer Tony Romero’s b-boy bass monster “MS69.” It’s got all kinds of mad swag, featuring screeching synths over a bumpin’ beat that’s pure ’90s-hip-hop-influenced electronica bliss. It’s exactly what you need to go struttin’ into your weekend.
“I was feeling heated the day I made ‘MS69,’” Romero is quoted in a press release. “It was originally called ‘UPS FDP,’ which translates to me cursing at UPS in French slang because they were late on delivering my new synths. Since I wasn’t able to get them in time, I decided to make a super-aggressive track with my Korg MS-20. I was playing with the filter, and it reminded me of one of my favorite records from Daft Punk, ‘Rollin’ & Scratchin’.’ With that in mind, ‘MS69’ was born! This song really defines my darker side. I’ve been impulsive since I was a kid, and I think that comes through in this track.”
“MS69” is the second single from Romero’s forthcoming Introspection album, due later this year on Monstercat. Bump this on your way to the mailbox. — KAT BEIN
Hard Feelings, “Dangerous”
Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, because Hard Feelings’ new song is nearly too hot to handle. Whereas Joe Goddard (Hot Chip) and vocalist Amy Douglas’ previous single “Holding On Too Long” was an exorcism of anger and sorrow due to heartbreak, “Dangerous” throbs with bold-red lust. A modern disco bop, it’s slinky, sexy and bass-heavy; at times Douglas’ drawn-out vocals mimic moans, and sharp breaths and syrupy production add an extra flush. The song stands on its own as is, but the music video — which picks up where “Holding On Too Long” left off — takes it to another level of drama and fantasy.
With “Dangerous,” Hard Feelings have also announced their self-titled debut album, due out November 5 on Domino. — K.R.
Nina Kraviz, “Skyscrapers”
They say “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” They also say “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Well, on her new subtle disco jammer “Skyscrapers,” Nina Kraviz says “Memories of you come through so true / Piling in my head.”
“I wrote ‘Skyscrapers”’ on one of my long trips to a far away country,” Kraviz writes in the song’s YouTube description box. “It is a love song. It is about missing someone very much even if you don’t always get along and agree on things. In moments like that, you just want to run away .. as fast as you can .. only to feel like you want to come back 5 minute later…”
Ah, yes, love is never easy, but the hard times can be incredibly inspiring, and “inspired” is certainly the right word for this soothing, shimmering tune. It’s soft and gentle, but the beat pulses with an energy that is pure dance floor heaven. “Skyscrapers” is the first single from a forthcoming EP, too, so stay tuned. — K. Bein
Ookay, Flux Pavilion & Elohim, “Be OK”
We had to make room for this triple threat. Ookay, Flux Pavilion and Elohim came together to craft a melodic gem with a feel-good(ish) message. “Be OK” glides smooth through a few different rhythms, tying it all together with electro-guitar riffs, sing-along hooks and dance-pop brightness.
“This song has gone on quite a journey,” Ookay is quoted in a press release. “Flux Pavilion stopped by my place in Los Angeles back in 2019, and we just bonded and worked on some ideas while playing around with midi, guitars and talked about life on my roof. Fast forward a year and a half later, and after about 10 different versions of the song, I sent it to the amazingly talented Elohim who sent back some awesome vocals, then we started writing back and forth. The song is about just wanting to be ok, which is a feeling most people can relate to. In your darkest moments, you want to find your way towards a more positive reality and this song is a yearning for that.”
“Be OK” is the fourth single from Ookay’s forthcoming sophomore album. We’re excited to hear what comes next. — K. Bein
Earlier this year, Logic1000 condensed a club night into four tracks on her Billboard Dance-recommended EP You’ve Got the Whole Night to Go. With her latest release, “Safe in My Arms” / “YourLove,” she offers a cozy soundtrack to start the day. “Safe in My Arms” sounds like its title, with atmospheric garage production that’s intimate, laidback and a little woozy; while “YourLove” picks up the energy with honeyed and rippling deep house that feels both balmy and refreshing, like taking a dip in the pool on a hot summer day.
“When I started working on this record,” Logic1000 writes in a statement, “I had initially planned to make something slamming — some peak time summer anthems. But through the process of making them, I found a different side of my production — the tracks ended up a lot deeper than I intended, and I’m happy for it. They give me the feeling of warmth and nostalgia. This is a mood I was excited to land on, and I’m looking forward to exploring it further.” — K. R.
Cloudnone, “U N Me”
We’re slowly emerging from COVID-19 quarantine, and all the music that artists crafted in an attempt to stay sane is also getting freed. Case in point: anonymous producer Cloudnone’s sumptuous, groove-laden EP Last Train Home.
“Last Train Home was a journey that I largely created through my personal Covid lockdown,” Cloudnone is quoted in a press release. “As time progressed, what unfolded was a story of my wishful exploration back out into a world that I longed to be a part of again, and I hope that each and every listener will be drawn into that sense of adventure.”
Previously-released singles “Flashlight” and “Dizzy Lifted” set a tone of introspective bops, but fourth track “U N Me” just might be our fave. Smooth and delightful, it reminds us of the best ambient-ish 2000s-era garage hits. Give it a spin, and dive into the full EP, out now on Monstercat. — K. Bein
soul, classic soul, motown,