Well, let’s begin at the obvious beginning. La Roux’s in town *FINALLY* tomorrow night at the 9:30 Club, and if there is an act that has benefited more from the fertile minds of the EDM underground in the past five years, I’d like to meet them. Eleanor Jackson’s vocals have been the playground for a plethora of top producers, so much so that their debut album, in comparison to the remixes, is nearly unlistenable. I’m not going to hold my breath for the Heroes and Villains remix of “I’m Not Your Toy” blended with Gucci Mane’s “Lemonade,” Skream’s phenomenal dubstep interpretation of “In For the Kill” or Nouveau Riche’s Nacey’s brilliant reworking of ”Bulletproof” with the excellent strings of BYT favorite Matthew Hemerlein. However, in the realm of 80s synth-pop reclamation acts, La Roux aren’t terrible, and have somehow sustained a buzz for nearly two years that for the capital city culminates on Wednesday night. Need some great La Roux remixes in your life? Check Diplo and Switch as Major Lazer spearheaded Lazerproof remix project containing every significant remix of La Roux of the past eighteen months.
- A perpetual favorite of the author, Benny Benassi is in town on Saturday night at Fur for Glow. Benassi is a yearly visitor to the area, and this year, his latest artist album Spaceship with lead single of the same name featuring Kelis and apl. de. ap of the Black Eyed Peas charted on the UK top 100 singles chart. The 43-year-old Italian electro producer is a household name of electronic dance music, and if you’re not aware of his recent work, the self proclaimed “King of Electro’s” finest moment is right here for your viewing pleasure (one of the most ubiquitous two minutes and thirty-eight seconds in dance music history).
- If you like disco in its purest and most unfettered form, you can’t go wrong with the unusually titled “The Whale” monthly at U Street Music Hall. The Beautiful Swimmers crew of Maximillion Dunbar and Ari Goldman exist on the fringes of the speeding-toward-top-underground relevance DC EDM scene. However, if it weren’t for guys like them touring internationally, keeping an extremely busy East coast schedule, and pushing progressive dance music from the DC area, the vacuum in which DC’s development occurred arguably would not exist. This Thursday, alongside the underrated Brian Billion, German disco producer and remixer Tensnake assumes the decks to bring his soulful edits to the people. Check Tensnake’s brilliant work with Aloe Blacc’s soulful ode to the 21st century economic downturn “I Need A Dollar” for proof of his excellence.
- Do you think that La Roux are REALLY overrated? UK dubstep heavyweight N-Type is at Ultrabar for their new 3D Promotions promoted “Ultra Bass” event. I will warn you beforehand though, if you found the scene at U Hall for Rusko to be a bit frightening, this may not be the event for you. N-Type is a dubstep veteran and a favorite of true dubstep heads, which are going to include a good number of hard-raving fanatics. If dubstep is your thing, or you’re on the fence with embracing the sound into your regular EDM diet, this is a more than worthwhile way to spend your Wednesday night. $15 beforehand, $20 at the door.
- Support your local ANC representative Gavin Holland and two of the hottest producers of the next generation of the international underground Nacey and Steve Starks at Nouveau Riche on Saturday night at U Hall. I don’t know if the fellas will take me up on doing a Baltimore club remix of “Hail to the Chief” for the newly elected 1A-11 politico/prog-house fanatic, but the Nouveau Riche guys all continue to improve at a rather rapid pace, and all three have forthcoming 2011 EP releases. The progression of the trio over the last three years is quite impressive. Check out Gavin’s latest “Throbcast” for new homies on the blogging block at Dirty Sweaty Nasty.
- Pay five dollars along with a packet of ramen noodles and hear Andy Butler play disco on Sunday night and support the soon-to-open Atlas District noodle shop Toki Underground. This marks Butler’s fourth trip to DC this year, and, after hearing the funkier house feel of his brand new lineup for Hercules and Love Affair, his new label concept pushing sounds in tune with house music circa 1985-1994 should be a fantastic breath of fresh air into the progressive underground.
THE DROP: Hot sounds for your listening pleasure
- DC’s own DJ Obeyah has been a longtime fixture as a DJ on the local scene. He’s shown a steadier improvement in 2010 than in any other year to date as a producer, in many ways spurred ahead, as many in the area are, by moombahton. He opened and closed for the far more well known and respected Harvard Bass and U Hall owner Tittsworth on Saturday and was a winner. His sets dipped into the well of funky deep house and hard breaking electro house as well. One of the highlights included a well placed drop of Foamo’s electro house edit of Baltimore club star Say Wut’s “Go,” alongside a number of other cuts that showed the selector’s depth and breadth of abilities. Check out his excellent moombahton edit “African Flute,” favored by noted selectors of the nascent genre DJ Sabo and Dave Nada.
- Are you familiar with Dillon Francis? Don’t worry if you’re not – that’s why I’m here. Francis is barely 21 and signed to legendary NYC DJ Stretch Armstrong’s Plant Music imprint. He’s a house and bass fanatic, erring more to the LA scene than to NY as he’s based there. His productions in 2010 were nothing short of unbelievable. Giant soundscapes dotted with synths that don’t race as much as they quickly and concussively pulverize, and bass drops that crush, he’s pretty much set to be in the lead, alongside folks like Munchi, as top international EDM producers of 2011. I’ll give you a taste of his track “Westside,” which was produced with Will I. Am’s DJ, DJ Ammo, and is arguably his best until his recent work with Chicago’s Willy Joy was released.
- Australian tandem Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP’s remix of Italian classic “We No Speak Americano,” much like Gramophonedzie’s 2009 smash “Why Don’t You,” is a house smash built off a classic standard sample. It’s been remixed to death this year because of its inherent pop sensibilities, and the latest and greatest remix of the track comes from Bmore Original Records affiliated Baltimore DJ James Nasty. Dipping the cut in the familiar Lyn Collins “Think” break, it’s rapidly spreading across the country like wildfire and is getting spins in every major market on the big room EDM underground. James, alongside recent moombahton noisemaker Cam Jus, are at Wonderland this Thursday night for their “World Champs” monthly. It’s absolutely worth your time to check it out as it’s one of the more routinely fun nights on the local EDM calendar.
As always, do use BYT ALL CITY for your planning, advertising and partying needs, and feel free to friend me on Twitter at @marcuskdowling or email me at dowling.marcus.k AT gmail.com for any further EDM conversation!