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Best of 2015: Chris Kennedy’s Picks

Posted on January 4 2016 by Blisspop
best
Best Remix
Way too many to pick from, but I think I’m going to go with Tom Demac’s remix of Maribou State and Pedestrian’s “The Clown”. Tom just has a way of taking a rough, raw sound and using it to create a beautiful song.
Best LP/EP
Ashworth’s “Money” EP on Pets Recordings just came out a couple weeks ago, but it’s a release that is quality all the way through.
Track of the Year
Memory Service’s “Whatchugot”, released on Black Butter, gets stuck in my head every tune I hear it, so this might be the track of the year for me. Still not even sure who Memory Service really is, as this seems to be their only track, but it’s a good one!
Honorable mentions: Golf Clap, “Recovery Room.”
Best New Artist
Billy Kenny isn’t brand new to the game, but 2015 was definitely his best year so far. With big releases on Dirtybird and Sweat It Out, he has also had released many artists himself through his label This Ain’t Bristol.
Artist of the Year
Detroit’s duo Golf Clap has got to be the one for me. Along with running their Country Club Disco label, they have been putting out tons of quality music (lots of it being free). They bring a classic brand of deep house to the scene but don’t take their selves too seriously, which is really refreshing these days.
 
Favorite Show of the Year
Nicolas Jaar at U Street Music Hall might have to take this one. He packed out the place for a very unique DJ set that was almost as experimental as his legendary BBC Essential Mix.
Label of the Year
It’s hard to not pick Main Course for this one. They have gained even more support this year for their unique business model: Every release is free for the first week. Ran by BOT, Astronmar, and Neoteric, they cover all sorts of sub-genres of club music and beyond.
Honorable mentions: Perfect Driver, Audiophile Deep
 
DC Artist to Watch
They’ve been around for a while, but Beautiful Swimmers just had the big year they deserved. They got tons of praise from Resident Advisor for their fantastic music selections as DJs and as label heads at Future Times. DC has been sort of sleeping on them over the years, but the rest of the world hasn’t. It’s time to wake up and fully appreciate the talent we have coming from the city.

Best of 2015: Shawn G’s Picks

Posted on January 4 2016 by Blisspop
best

Track of the Year

My criteria for “Track of the Year” is centrally focused around crossover appeal and what song can transcend genres, sub-genres, and sub-sub-genres to appeal to dance fans all over. So, with that being said, my selection goes to Oliver Heldens and Shaun Frank for “Shades of Grey” featuring Delaney Jane. It’s an awesome, energetic dance track with serious grooviness and deep house vibes – the ones that have declared supremacy in the game right now.

Honorable mentions: Airwolf, “Lose the Lazy”; Penthouse Penthouse, “69 Camaro.”

Artist of the Year

This has to go to JackLNDN. After dropping Summer Never Ends Volumes 1 and 2 as well as the Drop Out EP, this guy still has enough time to drop some of the best remixes and singles I’ve heard all year. 2014 was a break out year for him, he really stepped up in 2015, and stood as someone who was dropping fire nearly every week. Smooth nu disco and deep house vibes on top of superb production and live skills makes JackLNDN the top artist of 2015!

Honorable mentions: Blonde, Amtrac.

Best New Artist

This was a super tough decision. I’m blowing this one out to encompass the entire wave of indie dance producers in Australia that have redefined the entire nu disco genre. This includes Airwolf, Young Franco, Tyler Touché, etc. All of these guys have dropped masterful singles or innovative remixes that are absolutely funky and refreshing. Hard to pick just one of them, so they all deserve credit as “new” artists that I believe made a major impact in 2015.

Best Remix

2015′s best remix will go to The Magician for his remix of Blonde’s “All Cried Out” featuring Alex Newell. The original was a gem of a track: one that was not only energetic and danceable, but emotional and heartfelt. Yet, The Magician took his magic and created an absolutely beautiful touch up that put the song on fleck with deep, bass-heavy vibes and a filtered, French feel – a beauty!

Honorable mention: Lianna Le Havas, “What You Don’t Do (Grades Remix).” 

Best LP/EP

There weren’t to many full-length LPs that stuck out to me in 2015, however there were a number of EPs. My favorite would be Page One is Love by Aeroplane. All three tracks on it are remarkable and could be singles if he really wanted. This Belgian is a genius and truly is one of the best in the dance game.

Favorite Show of the Year

My favorite show of 2015 was Bit Funk and JackLNDN’s visit to U Street Music Hall in May. It was a sold out monstrosity of an evening. I’ve never danced so much in my life. They ripped up the venue in a way I’ve never seen before, dropping new tracks and rare remixes that were beyond blissful. Truly awesome.

Label of the Year

To be honest, no label stuck out to me. The internet has changed the game and I’m not a huge fan of the major EDM labels signing independent artists. So, with that, I say a big ol’ N/A.

DC Artist to Watch

I saw her opening for a couple of awesome artists in 2015, and I think its time she breaks out with her particular brand of the ‘French Touch’ and indie dance, thus my vote goes to Eau Claire. In 2015, we saw her drop some visible bangers and mixes in her remix of Golden Coast’s “Futurist” and her MOARRR mix. I’m a  big fan and I think she has a unique offering that enthusiasts of nu disco will adore. Looking forward to her Feed Me Disco series in 2016!

Honorable mention: Julius Jetson

Best of 2015: zacheser’s Picks

Posted on December 29 2015 by Blisspop
best

Best Remix

For me, it was all about Four Tet’s remix of Eric Prydz’s “Opus.” A late arrival in 2015, Four Tet managed to take an anthemic marvel and churned it into a surreal epic that felt like a stormy sea of synths – lifting higher and higher until you could literally feel your heart bursting out of your chest. Very few tracks have actually brought tears to my eyes, but this has turned me into an emotional mess time and time again.

Honorable mentions: Dominica, “Gotta Let You Go (Bicep Edit)”; Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, “Omen (Jonas Rathsman Remix)”; KDA, “Rumble (Shadow Child Re-Edit).”

Best LP/EP

Disclosure’s Caracal. By far. To be completely honest, when it initially dropped in September, I was pretty disappointed. But after multiple listens all the way through, from beginning to end, one thing became incredibly clear to me. While their freshman effort, Settle, had more radio friendly and club ready tracks, Caracal stands out as a more unified body of work with a very specific through line which shows an incredible level of restraint and maturity not just for a sophomore album, but for any album period. Like Daft Punk’s Discovery, I think Caracal will be the album that people talk about when someone mentions Disclosure 10 years from now.

Honorable Mention: Duke Dumont, “Blasé Boys Club, Pt. 1″ [Virgin]; Lane 8, “RISE” [Anjunadeep]; Various Artists, “Dirtybird 10″ [Dirtybird].

Track of the Year

When the summer happened, I always whipped out Melé’s “Ambience” during my sets. It’s undeniably one of the fiercest records of 2015 and really gave my other favorite track, Jess Glynne’s poppy dance sing-a-long “Hold My Hand,” a real run for its money. The tribal attitude, the crazy vocal sample that howls into the sky; all of it, to me, is 100% summer and I will absolutely throw it down during the summers – and late night jam sessions – to come.

Honorable Mention: Jess Glynne, “Hold My Hand”; Claude VonStroke, “Barrump”; DJ Haus, “Make It Hot;” Jamie XX, “Loud Places.”

Best New Artist

Kiwi. He was the first signee on Duke Dumont’s Blasé Boys Club imprint, he’s been making waves with many of his remixes (including one he did of Petite Meller’s “Baby Love” which I played during multiple rooftop sets in the summer season this year), and he has been featured as one of Annie Mac’s big up-and-comers from 2015.

Honorable Mentions: Fono; Sam Feldt; Jess Glynne.

Artist of the Year

2015 was a crazy year for Claude VonStroke. His label turned 10 years old. He threw down multiple cookouts and a campout weekend. The Dirtybird Don traveled to Ibiza for the summer season, played multiple major festivals, and had enough time to make orange juice from the trees that grow in his backyard. In addition to his massive singles “Barrump” and “Make a Cake,” he slaughtered the remix game with his edit of Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” which effectively shit on every trap artist’s take on possibly the biggest white girl song of the year. And don’t even get me started on his opening duties for Disclosure during their North American tour (here’s a hint: FIRE).

Honorable Mentions: Eau Claire; Michael Calfan; Jess Glynne; Four Tet; Lane 8.

Favorite Show of the Year

This past September, Will Eastman threw his final BLISS party ever at U Street Music Hall. It was a night of revelry, melancholy, joy, and reflection as he worked his way through 15 years of music. It also didn’t hurt that he waited to play Soulwax’s remix of The Gossip’s “Standing in the Way of Control” until I was in the building. God – I love that fucking record.

Honorable Mentions: Jess Glynne [U Street Music Hall]; Above & Beyond [Echostage]; Blisspop presents SLICE: H Street Festival Edition [Rock & Roll Hotel]; The 2 Bears [Flash]; ROAM IX [Undisclosed location].

Label of the Year

This is going to feel like beating a dead horse. Dirtybird Records. Aside from celebrating their ten year anniversary and the multiple releases from artists like Justin Martin, Claude VonStroke, Kill Frenzy, and Justin Jay over the past year, the craziest parties I attended in 2015 happened to be Dirtybird related. Their fanbase not only came out in droves, but they showed a real hunger for weird, zany, original content that hit incredibly hard. And fortunately for us, Dirtybird delivered on that promise in 2015. Every. Damn. Time.

Honorable Mentions: Anjunadeep; Rinse; Hot Creations.

DC Artist to Watch

He’s a hometown homey who knows his shit and I love him to death for it. Phil Hafner, the quiet guy in the booth who people see on the setlist as Philco, has been steadily making his mark by supporting the scene and working the grind while showing a very loving nod to the house heroes who came before him like Masters at Work, Simon Dunmore, and just about anyone from Chicago. With phenomenal remixes in 2015 and a slew of new content planned for the new year in conjunction with multiple shared bills with massive artists (*cough* Catz ‘n’ Dogz *cough*), Philco’s status in D.C. is only going to get bigger and bigger. Watch him. I’m telling you. Don’t let the calm demeanor fool you. He’s a beast.

Best of 2015: Blinkhorn’s Picks

Posted on December 29 2015 by Blisspop
best

Best Remix 

Tale of Us turned Plastikman’s “EXpand” into a dark, deliberate, and contemplative techno track with their remix. They emphasized the piano, created a perfect breakdown, and demonstrated a masterful understanding of how to create intricate rhythms with percussion. For these reasons, Plastikman – “EXpand (Tale of Us Remix)” wins best remix of 2015 in my book.

Honorable mentions: Kaiserdisco, “Jet Stream (H.O.S.H. Remix)”; Solomon Grey, “Miradors (Lane 8 Remix)”; Mister Woo, “Black Eyes (Alan Fitzpatrick’s Loft Rocker Rework).”

Best LP/EP 

Toolroom Records’ Rhythm Distrikt 12 compilation earns best LP/EP of the year. Rhythm Distrikt 12 features ten heavy hitting and occasionally melodic tracks – each one warrants high praise.

Honorable Mention: Various Artists, “Kitties on Trance (Sample) [Suara].”

Track of the Year

Scuba’s “Glacial” is my favorite track of 2015. With exquisite effects, automation, and a perfect track structure, Scuba demonstrates the merit in keeping melodic and other elements of music simple.

Honorable Mention: KMLN, “Walam.”

Best New Artist

Chicago based band MONAKR is my pick for the best new artists of 2015. Founded in February, MONAKR quickly came out with the melodically intoxicating “Diamond.” They followed up “Diamond” with “Calling Out” and a brilliant cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop.” Watch out for MONAKR in 2016.

Artist of the Year

Matteo Milleri and Carmine Conte of Tale of Us are hands down my favorite artists of 2015. I wrote up every single Tale of Us release this year for one reason: each of their productions is a unique stroke of genius. Expect big things from these Berlin based techno superstars in 2016.

Favorite Show of the Year

BLISS: Last Call was a very special night in every way and it was my favorite show of the year. September 26, 2015 marked the 15 year anniversary of Will Eastman’s BLISS party, and Will sent the party off well with a memorable 6 hour set at U St Music Hall. For his solo set at this last BLISS party, Will played his favorite tracks from 2000-2015, roughly sequentially. Listen to the set here:

Label of the Year 

As their slogan goes, Suara is “all about music and cats.” We also adore felines here at Blisspop, but that’s not why Suara is my favorite label of the year. Over the past 12 months months, Suara has consistently released a diverse selection of top underground tunes. Check out these highlights:

https://soundcloud.com/prettypink/pretty-pink-what-is-love

https://soundcloud.com/bastianbuxmusic/bastian-bux-tempus-fugit

https://soundcloud.com/arjun-jalebee/arjun-vagale-black-strobe-suara

DC Artist to Watch

DC is filled with talented artists. Often when people think of culture and the arts, they look to New York. But if you travel a few hours down I-95 to our nation’s capital, you will find a noteworthy concentration of artists. I know many talented artists in DC, and each of them deserves an honorable mention. But for the sake of brevity, I am naming one DC artist who I think you should watch: DJ Lisa Frank (a.k.a. Morgan Tepper). I had the chance to hear Morgan play multiple times this year and each time she floored me. Her ability to read a room and select tracks based on that reading is impeccable. As a techno enthusiast, my taste in music aligns closely with hers. Watch for DJ Lisa Frank in 2016.

 

Blisspop Daily News, 9/8/15

Posted on September 8 2015 by Zach
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 4.52.20 PM

We hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. Unless your name is Kim Davis. Seriously, girl. You got some issues. This is your dose of Blisspop Daily News for today, Tuesday, September 8, 2015.

  1. L.A. producer Spazzkid announced today that he will be going by his birth name, Mark Redito, from here on out. Kygo can continue to go by the name Kygo because Americans are dumb and we can’t pronounce Norwegian for shit.
  2. Ed Banger label head Busy P is embarking on a 12-week residency at London’s XOYO beginning on October 3. The full line-up has been announced and so far it features Justice, Gesaffelstein, and Basement Jaxx among others with a rumor circulating that Daft Punk could make a surprise appearance. That is, of course, if the robotic duo manages to escape Nile Rodgers’ basement where they’re currently being held Misery style.
  3. Paper Gods, the 14th album by 80′s new wave royalty Duran Duran, is currently available to stream prior to its release this Friday. The album, which features collabs with Kiesza and Janelle Monaé, does not come with a jar of “Ironic Lonely Goth Tears” as we had hoped (even if you get the deluxe 2xLP vinyl edition).
  4. The CW is developing a series called The Drop about EDM in Miami. The series, which will have Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafia fame on board as a consultant, will apparently be about ‘a hotshot DJ on the edge of ruin who finds a new lease on life when he discovers a protégé who is both female and African-American.’ The show will be aimed towards the normal CW demographic of 14-18 year old girls who don’t understand the idea of ‘diversity’ and guys who are killing time before Flash comes on.
  5. Dubai will be hosting a music conference in February 2016 similar to the one in Miami that leads up to Ultra Music Festival each year in the states. The Dubai Music Conference, or the DMC, will showcase all of the world’s leading DJs and workshops to the general public i.e. Arab royalty with enough money to blow up gold plated Lamborghinis with rocket launchers for fun.