First Spin: The Week’s Best New Dance Tracks From Phantogram, Cashmere Cat & More

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 into the digital crates to present absolute must-hears from the wide breadth of fresh jams. 

This week’s batch features a big return to the scene from Norwegian dance-pop wonder Cashmere Cat. After collaborations with Benny Blanco and Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s hit “Señorita,” the shy guy is back with a lead single for his sophomore album. Phantogram, too, have a new single, though no new album there has been announced. We’ve also got a revamped “Warp 1.9” and upbeat jams from Marie Davidson, Duke Dumont, Tchami and more. 

Cashmere Cat – “Emotions”

Cashy is back, and he’s brought a cool, new friend. Everybody, meet Princess Catgirl, not just a cool anime sidekick, but a strengthening force and, not coincidentally, the name of Cashmere Cat’s forthcoming sophomore album, due out Sept. 20. “She’s very cute and powerful,” the producer says in a press release. “I’ve always been shy – Since the beginning of being an artist, I would hide my face, not want to do interviews, hide behind other artists. I guess you could say I was scared. So I created Princess Catgirl to be the face of my music. She makes me feel safe.”

The sweet but tangy tune is melodic and adorable, but still packs a classic Cashy experimental punch. “I find it very hard to express my emotions sometimes,” Cashmere Cat writes on the video. “Music has always been the best way to get my feelings across. I’m a little nervous but even more excited for you to see my first song with Princess Catgirl.” The Princess Catgirl character is a Zelda-esque royal in a verdant generated world, played by Margaret Qualley who makes a humanistic cameo in the end. Try not to cry a little bit. — KAT BEIN

Phantogram – “Mister Impossible”

Esteemed duo Phantogram continues rolling out new tracks with the dually cinematic and scintillating “Mister Impossible.” Out via Republic Records and coming on the heels of May’s “Into Happiness,” the new song was recorded in the duo’s Laurel Canyon studio in Los Angeles and the musical mecca Rancho de Luna in the desert enclave of Joshua Tree.

In a press release the duo’s Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter say these desert sessions are where the track fully gelled and were also “some of the most fun we’ve had making music in a long time.” Phantogram kicks off its headlining tour on August 16 in Reno, NV, with support from Bob Moses and cross-country dates extending into late November. — KATIE BAIN

Tchami – “Rainforest”

When you close your eyes and picture a lush, tropical rainforest, the last thing you probably imagine are bright, piercing synths. To be fair, though, rainforests are probably loud as hell. So many bugs and birds and mammals in one place? It’s got to be beautiful chaos. Confessions label master Tchami’s second single of the year captures this vibrance with an energetic house tune that bangs its bass low and its textures dense and wild, though throughout, there’s an almost spiritual kind of lightness. Even the lyrics go “mysterious vibes, that we share, God’s love is in the air.” The song’s unique and instantly infectious, and it’s got a pretty exotic music video to go with it. — K. BEIN

Duke Dumont – “The Power”

Duke Dumont has always managed to cultivate a sound that balances hands-in the-air effervescence and that dark club mood, and the case is no different on his latest single “The Power.” Co-produced by Camelphat and featuring vocals from Moroccan-English singer Zak Abel, the track is a sexy, sophisticated and fully anthemic club banger with a topline melody that will linger in your head long after you’ve left the party. 

“The Power” comes amidst the London-based producer’s final two sets of his Las Vegas residency at Daylight Beach Club and ahead of his big gig at the UK’s massive Creamfields festival on Saturday, August 24. — K. BAIN

The Bloody Beetroots & Steve Aoki – “Warp 1.9” (Otira Remix)

In 2009, a fresh-faced Steve Aoki and a couple masked Italians let loose a screaming roar that became a generational anthem. “Warp 1.9” is a punk-fueled, headbanging electro spasm that tapped into the zeitgeist of an international underground, an energy that would one day open the doors for “EDM” in the United States and beyond. Today, the single’s 10-year anniversary is celebrated with a four remix package, our favorite offering from which is Otira’s drum’n’bass-tinged explosion. Dance fans may recognize Otira’s name as a recent collaborator on Skrillex and Boys Noize’s Dog Blood tune “KOKOE.” Look out for more rowdiness from this producer, and listen to all four “Warp 1.9” remixes when you get a chance, out now on Aoki’s Dim Mak Records. — K. BEIN

IZNiiK – “Alone”

The mysterious producer IZNiiK returns with his second single of 2019 “Alone,” a woozy slow jam that sounds like Major Lazer on acid and builds into one of those bumping dancefloor tracks that transports you to the dancefloor during the afterparty even after you thought you were all out of energy. 

But “Alone” connects more to solitude than socializing, with the song’s title reflecting the two years IZNiiK spent in the woods away from our deeply, often overwhelmingly, connected world. According to a press release “he’s now prepared to reenter society with a collection of new music.” To this we say welcome back, and we’re here for it.  — K. BAIN

Marie Davidson – “Chasing The Light”

If you’ve been in Ibiza this summer, or possibly around any house dance floors with hip streaks, you’ve more than likely heard Marie Davidson’s “Work It,” as remixed by aught-electro icons Soulwax. The song appears consistently on Shazam’s weekly Ibiza dance charts, and Davidson capitalizes on that momentum with a three-track EP on Ninja Tune, led by a six-minute title track called “Chasing The Light.” It’s an epic journey of arpeggiated synths and driving techno darkness. If you were running inside the Tron computer program, this is what might play in the background. The second half of the song is a sweaty, vigorous push through the darkest hours of night – and as Davidson says, you’ve got to “sweat, sweat to be a winner.” — K. Bein

Marbs, Evan Casey & Rinzen – “Ark”

Dark and urgent, “Ark” is an eight-minute techno epic coming from the three track Torus EP, a collective effort from Desert Hearts’ Marbs, Evan Casey and Los Angeles producer Rinzen, one of Billboard Dance’s newly appointed emerging artists. 

The fully excellent Torus is the first release from the Desert Hearts sub-label Desert Hearts Black, created to deliver the heavier and darker sounds present during the festival and label events. The DH crew says the project has been “set in motion to project the endless internal journey onto all of those willing to dig deeper” and brings that seeker vibe nationwide with a release party in Los Angeles tonight and a string of cross-country Desert Hearts events extending into October.– K. BAIN

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