Electronic dance music fans tend to have a special affinity for the freedom of the summertime. Trips to the beach with Discovery blasting from the stereo, late-night outdoor raves to Tiesto and Justice—there’s something about the season that just makes EDM that much better. Luckily, there are some hot new EDM albums dropping this summer, so we won’t be lacking for new music. Here are three to snatch up on release day:
Daft Punk, ‘Random Access Memories’
This one is the elephant in the room. The first official studio album from the duo since “Human After All” (not counting the “Tron 2” soundtrack) hearkens back to the duo’s classic “Discovery” album, with an emphasis on live instruments and little noticeable sampling. “R.A.M.” is as close to disco and ’80s’ dance music as it is to the EDM genre that exploded in the ’90s and ’00s. Daft Punk is one of the most influential acts in the genre, but it remains to be seen whether future EDM artists—in an era of producing an album entirely on a laptop with a built-in microphone—will pick up on the idea of introducing more live instruments into their work. They may simply continue in the more purely electronic direction that the genre has been moving in.
The streaming version of the album has received mixed reviews, due in part to the high expectations surrounding the duo’s comeback. Rolling Stone gave it a positive four stars, and we agree; it’s a good summer dance album.
James Blake, ‘Overgrown’
Maybe dubstep isn’t for you. Maybe it all sounds the same and lacks the groove that defines the more conventional EDM sounds. Longtime fans of EDM have certainly had mixed reactions to the noisy subgenre, but it’s definitely resonated with younger fans and artists like James Blake, who’ve taken that influence and, in some cases, transcended the label. Blake’s trademark is creating music that boasts a dubstep influence as well as a melodic, atmospheric approach that’s often missing in the dubstep scene.
Blake’s single “Retrograde” is a great, subtle example of this unique blend of influences, opening up with a solitary voice and slowly introducing an eerie electronic buzzing track that adds just the right amount of edge to the soulful vocals. The recently announced “Overgrown” promises to be exactly the kind of album EDM fans love to put on at the end of the night, when it’s time to chill out.
Tiësto, ‘Club Life Volume 2’
Can an EDM listener really enjoy summer without some hot new tracks from Tiësto? The artist is as essential to the summer rave scene as glowsticks, neon shades, LED lights and the rave outfits at ravewear.com. Tiësto defines the big-room sound that dominates these summer parties: the slow-build, epic-breakdown structure of classic tracks like “Chasing Summers,” with those Miami Vice drums and bone-rattling synth basslines.
“Club Life Volume 1” was the very definition of music that you might as well not even bother listening to without a great set of speakers, so it’s no wonder “Club Life Volume 2” has fans frothing at the mouth.