D-d-d-drop the ball: Dubco’s Best of 2011 [+ TBMA // PAPER DIAMOND // MENDEZ // Run DMT // Bert on Beats]
On Saturday I woke up to a text from a friend:
“I’m on the bus to ny right now and some dude is talking about dubco.”
I asked him what they were saying:
“Its a guy talking to some girl and they’re going to a show tonight and he was like ‘the dubco crew is gonna be there!’”
My, how far we’ve come since that spontaneous moment in the beginning of April.
We’ve interviewed names like Tittsworth, Willy Joy, Hot Pink Delorean, DJ Sega, and DFace (of which the latter three are forthcoming). Our DJ’s like JD, Knoxbox, and SMRTRchild (formally ScrillaD), among others, have gone from spinnin’ at house parties to rocking clubs and festivals in DC, NYC, and Boston. We’ve gone from looking for new music to being sent unreleased tracks. We get all access passes to cover shows and festivals all along the Eastern seaboard. We were at the Mad Decent Block Parties and Fall Massive. We have a press residency at the legendary Webster Hall.
And it’s all because of you, the community of fans that gladly refer to themselves as the Dubco Fam. You can’t imagine how much that means to us. The artists, managers, and venues that reach out to us don’t care about our number of Facebook likes or our Twitter followers. Instead they cite the movement that you have chosen to become a part of, and for that we are eternally grateful.
We’ve made some noise in 2011. People recognize the name. They know who we, collectively, are. Now let’s make a statement in 2012. We need you now more than ever.
Coming up after the drop, our top posts, videos, and tracks of 2011, along with some hot new releases from the past week.
Top 5 Most Read Posts
5. Titts, Tats, and Octopi: The Tittsworth Story (Interview)
Top 5 Most Viewed Videos
5. Zeds Dead – Volcano @ Starscape 2011
Since ZD played earlier on in the day, they didn’t really have any other big names to compete with. The result was just about everyone at the festival being at their show, and an awe inspiring sea of people in this video. From the beach ball being bounced around to the alien crowd surfing right in your face, this video really makes you feel like you were there.
4. Flux Pavilion – Bass Cannon @ Starscape 2011
My roommate with the camera was a man on a mission that night, and somehow worked his way all the way to the front row. The first 10 rows at Starscape were a perpetual mosh pit. If you were there, you’d realize that him keeping the camera still for even five straight seconds is impressive.
3. Skerrit Bwoy – Pon De Floor @ The Middle East // 5/22/11 // Ladder Dagger
This is easily the single most ridiculous video that we ever got. Skerrit pulled up this chick who was right next to us, who was also there with her boyfriend, who had absolutely no fucking idea what she was getting into. She gets embarrassed off stage and the two of them ran out of the show, leading a disappoint Skerrit Bwoy to ask the crowd, “Does everyone in Massachusetts know what daggering is?” An excessively eager girl on stage chooses to take part in the infamous ladder dagger, and hilarity ensues. Check out the full review of the night for more.
2. Wolfgang Gartner – Ante Up Remix (M.O.P.) // Forever (feat. will.i.am) @ Middle East 4/25/11
Honestly, I have no idea why this has so many views. It’s really not that great. The show was great though, so check out the review.
1. Skrillex – Right In // Ruffneck Bass Live @ Camp Bisco X
I think we’re starting to realize that anything with “Skrillex” as a keyword will get mad views. My favorite comment on the video comes courtesy of “DaBLKM”, who says, “A man died from the bass at 0:12″.
Yes, he did, and that man is our very own Jules.
My Top 10 Tracks of 2011 (that are not named “Levels”)
I hate “Top 10″ lists like these, because I think they’re incredibly subjective and everyone always finds something wrong with them. So I’m really not sure how I got stuck putting this list together. That being said, these are my top ten tracks of the year, due to some sort of significance it had to me. If you disagree with this ranking, well, congratulations on having an opinion.
10. Porter Robinson – 100% In The Bitch
Though the term child prodigy is thrown around a lot lately, you’ll have a hard time making a case against it with Porter Robinson. His original productions are some of the best out there, and that he created most of his earlier work on basic laptop speakers is mind blowing.
While the moombahton movement is still very much in the underground (despite Dillon Francis’s best efforts), this moombahcore masterpiece has definitely helped bring a lot of exposure to the young genre. The bass is deeper than the Atlantic and no two measures are the same, so this choon kidnaps your attention and never lets it wander.
9. Hirshee – So Good (feat. Tonye Aganaba)
Tonye Aganaba’s soulful vocals over that ravey piano intro and a powerful drop define this insta-classic drumstep tune. A creative producer who features monstrous synths, Hirshee had a big year in 2011 and this Beatport topping track was the launching point. Press play, close your eyes, and enjoy.
8. Zeds Dead – 1975
After some underwhelming releases earlier in the year, “1975″ was a song that just screamed, “This is Zeds Dead”. It’s a track that you groove to at the beginning as it builds energy like a shaken bottle of Andre, before the cork pops and you absolutely lose your mind to a plethora of bass. It does this three times, and each one is different. No one exploits tracks’ peaks and valleys better than the duo from Toronto.
This video from the talented Karel Chladek pretty much explains what I just said visually:
The dopest dope.
7. Afrojack & Quintino – Selecta (Lazerdisk Party Sex Remix)
This might be a bit out of left field, but this is actually one of my favorite songs ever and let me tell you why. The duo from Burlington took what was frankly just another, somewhat boring, dutch house track, and then do their thing by turning it into an incredibly fun stick-your-tongue-out-and-rage banger.
What really makes it special, however, is the long bridge after the first drop that creates a 128 to 110 bpm transition. The result? A second drop that catches you off guard with some nasty moombahcore. If you’re a DJ, play this shit out and it will quickly become your best friend.
Thanks Lazerdisk, because this track single-handedly made me fall in love with moombahton.
6. Wolfgang Gartner – The Champ
Wolf, perhaps the most musically talented producer in the game, dropped one of the best albums of the year in Weekend In America, and “The Champ” was its crown jewel. It starts off strong before pretty much doubling back and being like, “oh wait, let’s chill out for a second.” That simple melody is the moment at a live show where you and your friends turn to each other and play maestro to Wolf’s virtuoso with your hands. It hooks you and draws you in, before the track blows up in a carefully arranged clusterfuck of grungy and distorted synths.
5. Paper Diamond – Can We Go Up
I really don’t think I can describe this track any better than when I wrote about the leaked version, dubbed “Freeze” at the time, back in August:
The intro and build up is fantastic. To put it in terms you might understand, it’s like running through a meadow of daffodils, naked, covered in honey; while the melodic gongshow that is the drop can be likened to the swarm of bees that come and chase you.
Like I said then, if you’re some weirdo who’s never experienced that, give this song a listen.
4. Pretty Lights – I Know The Truth
This song got exponentially better and better every time I listened to it, so I needed to pick and choose my “I Know The Truth” sessions very carefully as to avoid letting it take over the world.
You could tell this was gonna be a big one after it debuted in the epic Bonnaroo recap video (below), and the internet went crazy waiting for its release. I love the duality as the spooky intro pleads, “Have mercy,” while the drop responds with an unsympathetic, “No mercy,” before blowing your brains out.
This track highlights the qualities that make Derek Smith such a talent — it’s emotional, intricately structured, and features well designed sounds. The duality I mentioned earlier goes beyond just the vocal samples too. Each bar is made up of a measure of prolonged wubs followed by measure of quicker hitting wobbles, which are then washed, rinsed, and repeated.
Glitch, dubstep, country, whatever: it doesn’t matter, Smith will kill it.
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Otherside (Third Party Remix)
Fuck this song. You know why? I first heard this while I was taking in Swedish House Mafia at Pacha Ibiza. I was stupid drunk and, coupled with the atmosphere of it all, this song just moved me.
Too bad that, since it’s STILL officially unreleased, it took me forever to figure out who’s remix it was, and then even longer still to find a proper 320 version. But I did. Thanks for giving me fits for months, Third Party.
This is the perfect club song, and everything about it is just so right. Leaving the original “Otherside” verse essentially untouched was a brilliant idea, because when this is dropped late in the DJ’s set, you and all the other drunkies around you croon it like you life depends on it. It’s an amazing feeling. Followed by the awesome big room house riff that makes up the drop, I don’t think there is anything that could make this track better.
2. Benny Benassi – Cinema (Skrillex Remix)
Okay, if you want to be a stickler, this was released actually on December 20th, 2010. But unless this was the greatest song since the dawn of history and somehow gained enough popularity in ten days to make it onto a “Best of 2010″ list, I think that makes it fair game for 2011.
Say what you will about Sonny Moore. Chirp him, call him names, and give him shit even though I doubt you’ve actually met the guy. But this song is a fucking masterpiece and there’s no way around it. Any denial of that is dripping in bias.
When John Cusack stood outside that biddie’s window in that immortal scene from Say Anything, blasting that Peter Gabriel tune, they would have replaced the song with “Cinema” if it was filmed today. It is the modern power ballad, and it would make the guys from Poison proud. If I ever make the mistake of getting married, they’ll be playing “Cinema” at my wedding as Alex Ovechkin walks down the aisle (wait, what?).
This would have been the song of the year if this next guy didn’t go and mess it all up…
1. Dillon Francis – I.D.G.A.F.O.S.
This probably doesn’t help his already enormous ego, but congrats DFran, on encompassing everything that EDM is about in this track.
The intro and breakdowns are all flowers and daisies and rainbows and shit, which represents all the good that comes with electro. The friendship and camaraderie that is built as you go to shows and party with your friends. The joy when your favorite track is dropped. The bass that rattles your entire body. The laughs you share as you and your fellow bassheads reminisce on the night back at your place.
However, the drops are noticeably darker. They’re the hangover the day after. They’re all the money you spent at the bar. They’re the dingy, grimy basement venues that you find yourself at for most of these events. They’re the inescapable connection to drugs and overdoses that raves stereotypically, but unfortunately fairly, have attributed to them.
As Rocky Balboa once said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.”
Francis captures these two faces in a track that was the culmination of his meteoric rise to stardom. Musically, it’s ridiculously detailed, from the “ah”s accentuating each beat of the drop, to the chopped up vocals he uses as a melody, even to the claps that are present in the second drop. This isn’t a track that you throw together overnight. Instead, it’s something that was clearly obsessed over for weeks.
This probably wasn’t the track that you thought would be the best of 2011 when you started reading this post. Well, I don’t give a fuck or shit. It really was.
Woohoo Free Stuff
Jermaine Dupri – Welcome to Atlanta (TBMA Remix)
Major Lazer – Original Don (Bert on Beats Don Dada Remix)
Sebastian feat. Mayer Hawthorne – Love in Motion (Skrillex vs. Mendez Edit)
SBTRKT – Wildfire (Paper Diamond Remix)
RJD2 – The Glow (Run DMT Remix)
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