Best of 2018 | Jonathan Sherman’s Picks
The first time I heard this track, I was into it. The force of the kick, the power of the strings, the syncopation on the hi-hats, and the varicosity of the piano chords have made this an instant dancefloor hit that I think will have a strong impact for years to come.
DJ Koze, Pick Up EP
This year had a lot of highlights, but also a lot of challenges, and for a year that seemed full of “goodbyes,” this track and its accompanying EP became the parting soundtrack to each of those moments. DJ Koze is so talented at capturing emotion through art, and the tension built throughout this EP truly emulates how one feels when they say “goodbye.” I definitely couldn’t have gotten through this year without this track.
Best New Artist
Earlier this year, I was doing some crate-digging for a show, and as I was trying to find some modern funky tunes to pair with my nu disco tracks, I came across these edits from this Portland-based artist named “Yung Bae.” His “Future Funk” sound really hooked me, and I became a massive follower of his music.
Track of the Year
Disclosure, “Funky Sensation”
The first time I saw Disclosure was at the 2015 Firefly Music Festival. Sadly, it was shortly after that show that I heard they were taking a break from touring and production. In the two years since their departure, the EDM world has been long-awaiting their return, and this summer they came back with a riveting recreation of Gwen McCrae’s “Funky Sensation” that has become one of the biggest tracks of the year for me.
Artist of the Year
Purple Disco Machine
One of the artists that inspired me was Purple Disco Machine. Usually when people would hear his tracks in previous years, they might say something like “oh, this track sounds nice.” Yet, this year in particular, almost every one of his releases reached the top of the Beatport charts and hits like “Body Funk,” “Love for Days,” and “Dished (Male Stripper)” became essential dancefloor anthems. PDM hosted one of my favorite BBC Essential Mixes this year and was one of this year’s headliners for the Defected Croatia Festival. He played to a sold out crowd at Flash this fall and I hope to see him headline the Blisspop Disco Fest next year.
Favorite Show of the Year
The Blisspop Disco Festival was one of the city’s best events this year and one of my favorite shows to come from those three days over Labor Day Weekend was Horse Meat Disco’s set at U Street Music Hall. It was by far one of the largest crowds that I’d seen at the U Hall, and the atmosphere really brought you back. Their incredible blend of classic disco hits with nu disco and French house anthems displayed their notable versatility as both DJs and tastemakers, and it was so cool to see everyone so entrenched in the disco scene that night.
Label of the Year
There’s no question that the legendary Defected Records, now into their 19th year, is arriving to some of its best years. The year started with a Grammy nomination for Camelphat’s mega hit “Cola,” and just rolling with numerous number-one Beatport Records, a label tour, a sold out festival in Croatia, and a massive release from David Guetta’s alias Jack Back.
DC Artist to Watch
Saad Ashraf, Michael Khalifeh, Kori Fogle, Rawle Becerril, Zach Esher
Something really special is happening in the dance music scene in DC. For a city known for its transience and politics, DC has always been an inception point for many great DJs’ careers, but has always struggled to build an organic dance music culture for itself. A few local tech house DJs and Producers got together and started an online community called “DMV Deep” that quickly grew into a widely popular residency at Backbar and now a quarterly destination for the DC music scene at U Street Music Hall. Armed with impressive design and marketing talent, the crew has built a culture within the DC music scene, and I could see 2019 being the year they go beyond DC.