From hazy break-beats, to pumping acid techno, to hands-in-the-air Detroit diva house, 2018 was another great year for dance music. So many upstart labels shined and delivered great releases, countless new names floated to the top of lineups, and some of our favorite artists continued to bring the goods.
Bearing in mind that year-end lists tire everyone out and usually suck, here are forty tracks that heavily sound-tracked my radio show, club gigs, car stereo, and beyond — presented in alphabetical order because any ranking would be completely arbitrary.
Tune into WKDU one last time in 2018 for the ‘Resolutions Show’ from 8:30 – 10:30 pm, where we’ll read your resolutions on air, play some of the tracks below, and prepare you for a brand new year!
🎉 HAPPY NEW YEAR 🎉
The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2018 (in alphabetical order)
After You Left
DIRT TECH RECK
And So Do Eye
Asylum (Louie Vega Deep In The Underground)
Between Form & Matter
Bright Blue feat. ZSY
Deep State Riddim
Marquis Hawkes, Ursula Rucker
Don’t U (Dubbed Out Vocal)
Gennaro (Endian Remix)
Got Me Coming Back Rite Now
How I Learned
Omar S featuring Simon Black
I’ll Do It Again
Scott Richmond and John Selway
Keep On Climbing
Lose My Mind
is / was
BMG & Derek Plaslaiko
Rendezvous (NWB Mix)
These Things Take Time
Rules Meant to Be Broken
Sip & Savour
Speedn N Smokin
Steppin W Friends
Take Your Time (Universal Cave’s 909 Rubdown)
Omar S & Brian Kage
Thru The Madness
The Bunker NY
Villager (Luca Lozano Remix)
We Move…We Have To
Works On Paper
Cassy X Pete Moss
You Gotta Know (Ron Trent Remix)
Thank you to all the labels, artists, PRs, etc for the great music!!! See you next year — SPREAD LOVE <3 <3 <3
Catch the Hot Mix on Tuesday nights at 10 pm for a preview of The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2019 ; )
The week of August 13th was overwhelmingly busy from a music lover’s perspective. While every week contains a multitude of new releases and announcements of new music, this week was a dream for any fan in the indie and underground music world. In case you happened to miss anything, we’ve compiled a review of last […]
The week of August 13th was overwhelmingly busy from a music lover’s perspective. While every week contains a multitude of new releases and announcements of new music, this week was a dream for any fan in the indie and underground music world. In case you happened to miss anything, we’ve compiled a review of last week’s most relevant announcements and drops. Our review spans multiple genres and scenes, so chances are, you’ll find something new that you can bop to. Check it out below.
mewithoutYou – Untitled EP Mitski – Be The Cowboy Trevor Powers – Mulberry Violence
Cloud Nothings – Last Building Burning (October 19, 2018) Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want (October 26, 2018)
Ian Sweet – Crush Crusher (October 26, 2018) It Looks Sad – Sky Lake (November 2, 2018) Justus Proffit and Jay Som – Nobody’s Changed EP (September 28, 2018) mewithoutYou – Untitled LP (October 5, 2018) Saves The Day – 9 (October 26, 2018) Say Anything – Oliver Appropriate (October 12, 2018) Young Jesus – The Whole Thing Is Just There (October 12, 2018)
Just about to turn one year old, Pittsburgh-based label is / was has already made quite the impact with fresh and timeless releases from heavy hitters and new names alike. We had a chat with label boss Tony Fairchild after he turned in this bangin’ set for the Hot Mix.
Tell us a little about the mix — what was the idea behind it?
It’s a collection of records I’ve bought over the past month or two with maybe 3-4 that have been in my collection for some time. I think I’m starting to get to a point where my personal definition of house music is starting to congeal and define itself. This mix is another step in the distillation process.
You’re a new imprint — how’d this all get started? Is it “is / was” or “was / is” ?
Yes, the labels (is / was & was / is) will turn 1 in April and they are my first labels. It all started with my desire to present music from the 90’s that has maybe fallen out of the spotlight to dance floors of today. Currently the curatorial ethos is simply releasing whatever I feel is timeless and important music. It helps to have a kick drum too!
Looking across the state from Philly, Pittsburgh packs quite the punch with its scene / labels / parties. Tell me a little bit about the scene and what you think makes it special / different.
I think what makes Pittsburgh great is what makes Midwest techno great in general. Heads-down, no frills, hyper-devoted people who involve themselves in dance music simply for the love of it. It’s an example of the beautiful things that can happen to art and culture when you take money out of the equation. What I’m most proud about is how cohesive the scene is and how supportive everyone is of each other. All the contributors to our scene have their own hustle yet are able to come together to lift each other up and put wind in each other’s sails.
How do you come across some of these older projects and go about re-releasing them? What can we expect the rest of 2018 ?
Usually it starts with a record I have, or am aware of (and wish I had!), that I think has something to offer current dance floors. Often its just a matter of contacting the artist and asking if they are interested in working together. Facebook is a big help!
As far as what to expect from the label, there will be 4 more pairs of is / was & was / is records dropping between now and the end of the year. Expect tunes from Mark Ambrose, Archetype, BPMF, Dar Embarks, a couple of top secret surprises and the debut of the insanely talented Teakup. I am also launching a new label, “TerraFirm”, this spring via Subwax Distribution. Its a very conceptual project focusing on a melodic, utopian, futuristic strain of techno. Look for 2 releases or so this year on that imprint.
Tell me something distinctly Pittsburgh that I should know about.
I’ve only lived here for about 2.5 years so I’m not the most qualified cultural ambassador! Our museum has a sick gem room that should be one of the first stops on any tour of the city.
What’s your favorite / least favorite thing about electronic music right now?
Favorite: watching the DJ’s and producers of my generation evolve as they mature in the scene. I see my cohort getting more nuanced, skilled and discerning. We aren’t the ankle-biters anymore!
Founded in 2016 and based in Brooklyn, NEW YORK TRAX is an outlet for New York music, by New York artists, in New York city.
Ahead of the label’s seventh release, this one coming from techno icon John Selway under his Semblance Factor alias, we chatted with label boss Nicole about the state of electronic music, hype, and of course, New York.
Check out this mix of 100% NEW YORK TRAX releases and get a sneak peek at three upcoming releases from the label:
How did you get into electronic music? What were some of the first labels you loved?
I started going to events around the age of 18. I quickly became involved in the local scene by organizing my own events. My first big love when it comes to electronic music was hardcore techno (and it remains my favorite genre to this day). I spent a lot of time exploring the truly underground and obscure hardcore labels of the 1990s. One of my greatest discoveries was Fischkopf from Germany, Hangars Liquides from France, and, of course, New York’s Industrial Strength.
Why did you start the label? Have you done any other labels before? What’s the idea behind this label?
I started New York Trax to release music by New York producers only. The sound of New York is like its people: diverse and unique. Despite the common belief, New York Trax is not only a techno label. It releases electro, acid, hardcore, experimental, and will release even more genres in the future. What matters to me is creative sound with character. In the past, I did some work for other labels, but this is the first label that I run on my own.
What’s one thing you see a lot of labels doing wrong / right?
There is no formula for running a label and there are no limitations as to who can run a label and who cannot. As a result, concepts and sounds are constantly being recycled. I wish people asked themselves more often what is the purpose behind their projects, are they in any way original, are they contributing anything to the big picture, and so on.
What do you think is the state of New York nightlife?
New York nightlife is at its peak right now. There are a lot of venues, crews, labels, promoters etc. We have recently abolished the Cabaret Law and the office of Night Mayor was created. I hope we are off to a fresh start and an even brighter future.
What’s one thing in electronic music you wish you could change?
Less hype, more merit.
What’s your favorite post-rave snack / meal?
Sometimes I just don’t eat until Monday.
JohnSelway Pres. Semblance Factor EP is will be available in all fine outlets on March 19th.
NEW YORK TRAX Promo mix track list:
1. Lot.te – Graft (NYT05)
2. Richard Hinge – Changes (NYT01)
3. Dawid Dahl – Gehenna (NYT Imports 01)
4. Brenecki – The Oven (NYT02)
5. Another Alias – Craic Fiend (NYT Imports 01)
6. Alex Alben – Irin (NYT03)
7. TBA – NYT08
8. Steve Stoll – She rises up (NYT04)
9. TBA – NYT Imports 03
10. Endlec – Rhythm 387_1 (NYT Imports 02)
11. Steve Stoll – No questions please (NYT04)
12. Lot.te – Ultra Vires (NYT05)
13. Liquid Asset – Contact (NYT06)
14. John Selway – Jack the Void (Raw) (NYT07)
15. Endlec – Rhythm 401_Mix 1 (NYT Imports 02)
16. TBA – NYT Imports 04
17. John Selway – Defiance (NYT07)
18. Liquid Asset – Forgetmenot (NYT06)
Last week, we had the honor and pleasure of hosting the ever-RAD Dave P in our studios to help him celebrate FIFTEEN YEARS of legendary Making Time parties. Our station actually goes way back with Dave, as he made his FIRST EVER RADio appearance on WKDU to promote the VERY FIRST Making Time in 2000.
Rich Medina is a straight up legend. He’s one of the few DJs out there that can bring crowds to a frenzy with literally any style of music. We were blessed to have him come through our studio with a bag stuffed full of soul, funk, psych and African vinyl on a seriously cold and chilly Thursday night (that also was the NBA trade deadline).
DJ Sega is one of the most unique and groundbreaking artists to come out of Philly. He was one of the original artists signed to Mad Decent and has remixed the craziest variety of songs with the Philly club sound that he helped pioneer (e.g. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Theme – DJ Sega remix). His set at the EMM was absolutely INSANE. My jaw was on the floor as he pulled out track after track of unexpected / WTF goodness. Sit back and listen to his set and read our chat about the start of his career, current projects and the original Mad Decent HQ.Yeah, we talked about the Diplo beef too…
DJ Sega: I’m alive…that’s what counts. Right now, I’m in my hometown Philly. I’ve been staying in South Philly lately.
CB: How did you first start getting into music?
Sega: I was born into music. My parents were choir directors and my father was a DJ in the Nicetown area for almost 40 years, playing classic soul, funk, hip hop and other feel good music. My little sister and I grew up being a little competitive when it came to the music we collected. We competed on who would get an album first. My first tape was James Brown 20 All-Time Greatest Hits and the first album I had was Bad by Michael Jackson.
CB: Were you DJing before you started producing?
Sega: My production came before I took DJing seriously as a career. I received an email survey asking for feedback on this music production software called Acoustica Beatcraft. I gave my ideas and then received an email saying that not only did they use my ideas, but that they were giving me the software for free also. I cut and edited samples in a wave editor and made music for my own entertainment. I was going through a lot in that year and needed an escape. That’s where my imagination and the producing came in. This is my 10 year anniversary of producing!
CB: What was some of the first club music you listened to?
Sega: Baltimore club of course. I first heard it in my Dad’s car. He ran into the bar and left me with the radio on for a few minutes, and that’s when I first heard “Doo Doo Brown” by 2 Hyped Brothers & A Dog. I must’ve been about eight! Later, I was in disbelief when I went to a teen night at an arcade up by Erie Ave and they were playing club music. They had the events in the laser tag area – so it was neon paint and black light all over the place.
I knew the sound, but to experience it in a club for the first time with a sound system was incredible! The bass under my feet, the breaks in my face, the girls on my lap – but we won’t talk about that. I still remember the songs that were played that night but I had no idea I’d be making it myself.
CB: Then you started spinning gigs? How did you learn to DJ?
Sega: I’ve always played in front of a live audience and never really “practiced” before. Not because I’m on some Allen Iverson stuff – I’ve just never owned equipment to practice on. You have DJs out there that have all the equipment and only want to look good having it – they don’t really love this stuff.
CB: How did you take your career to the next level?
Sega: I always heard my mixtapes being blasted out of cars and houses, but they were only being sold at one location, one day a week. I started getting my mixtapes into some stores downtown like Armand’s. That’s where I met Dirty South Joe. He introduced me to Diplo and we talked about this new label he was starting at the time (Mad Decent). I became one of first artists signed to Mad Decent and invited their crew to come check out my regular party. Diplo, Switch, Joe and his girl all came to check it out. Switch bought all of my mixtapes that night.
CB: What were those initial vibes like at Mad Decent?
Sega: It was a big creative family – Diplo, Derek (DJA), Paul Devro, Blaqstarr, Rye Rye and me. It was fun and productive and we all shared ideas and helped each other out. Those initial block parties were crazy – 2010 in particular. It was the first year the block party was on tour and also the last time it was at the mausoleum at 12th and Spring Garden. I guess my set ran a little over my allotted 20/25 minutes and I was told to cut the music off. The crowd was in a frenzy, chanting my name and wanting an encore. After that show, I was put on the lineup for NYC.
CB: What do you think it is that drives people wild for SEGA?
Sega: I think that I’m reaching into a part of people that they forget all about. For example, I flipped the Power Rangers theme and when I’d play it out, I’d just see the smiles come on people’s faces. That theme song was how I got into rock and metal. In 7th grade, I caught Headbanger’s Ball one morning and saw the video for Mudvayne’s “Dig”. I ended up remixing that track and when I met Dirty South Joe, that was the song that motivated him to partner up so fast. People couldn’t believe my rock and metal remixes because of the way that the sound was manipulated and even more so that it was coming from a black kid from Philly. That’s what my latest HellaSonix project is about. I decided that since I’m in my 10th year producing, I would go back to my roots and remix everything from Yes to Aphex Twin.
CB: Let’s talk about ‘the tweet’ from Diplo – give me the context around that whole thing.
Sega: I take care of my disabled family members and have been doing so for years. My mother was in two car accidents and my uncle is deaf and mute. I used to come to the mausoleum late and Diplo would ask me why wasn’t I there earlier or more often. I would tell him there’s some shit going on at home. Recently, the city condemned the house my family was living in and I had to move everything out, literally overnight. I was raising money to help – didn’t ask Diplo for any money – and then he tweeted at me what he did. I didn’t even know he had a problem with me. I was just trying to take care of my family with a crazy situation.
CB: And you’ve heard nothing from him since the tweet, correct?
Sega: There was a little bit of back and forth and talks from people telling me he’s contacted them for my number. I got contacted by everybody except from him. People asked what happened so much that I got sick of it and posted everything on a blog in chronological order. I wanted to get past it, but at the same time I refuse to be in that long list of people that bow down or fold to someone, no matter how much power they have. However, I don’t want people to think that everybody at Mad Decent is evil because they aren’t. In fact, some of the crew that works for Mad Decent donated to my GoFundMe page to help my family.
CB: I’m sorry to hear about the whole situation.
Sega: I feel like I had to show that people that no matter how low you think you may be, you still can fight. I’m just glad for the experience. I’ve always been on the DIY tip as far as my career and I can only imagine what will come next. Me going from being Diplo’s first “protege” to a “bum” is an achievement in itself. But why would somebody that high up on the power ladder come at me in front of millions? All while I’m going through shit? There must be something he knows that I don’t…
CB: So what do you currently have in the works?
Sega: I’m always working on music. I have three projects I’m working on right now: the next volume to my Sixer series, a special edition of HellaSonix and my second EP of all original material called, “Is That Your EP Too?” I also play big events and last minute gigs. You have to stay tuned to catch me out because anything can happen at the drop of a hat. One minute I could be here in Philly and the next I could get a call to come out to Tokyo. I love Japan. STAY TUNED!