In an effort to help you navigate the many many choices you have at CMJ, we’ve gathered up a list of the best and brightest experimental producers and DJs this week has to offer. Whether they’re combining live instruments with the endless possibilities of Ableton, crafting progressive, vocal-driven alt-pop, or touring their West Coast-flavored trip-hop with Skrillex, these CMJ artists are exploring the trenches of various flavors of dance music and pushing the boundaries. If you’re looking for the best vibes on the dance floor, your search has ended—and if you’re not scouring the world for the perfect beat, you’re missing out.
The Brooklyn-based trio Archie Pelago has become something of a staple in New York, with regular gigs at local club nights like Mr. Saturday Night and Turrbotax. The group recently released an EP with Mr. Saturday Night, which showcased Archie’s inventive, string-based approach to the dance floor. The band combines the talents of a live programmer and two classically-trained musicians, one on the saxophone and one on the cello, which lends the trio’s productions an organic and hard-to-come-by personal flare.
Archie Pelago is playing the BEAM – Bristol to Brooklyn showcase at the Knitting Factory on Tuesday, October 16.
Maria Minerva’s songs might lean toward pop, but they’re far from conventional. Although the Estonian-born singer and producer started in 2011, she’s already caught the attention of lo-fi house outposts Not Not Fun and 100% Silk, joining the ranks of blossoming producers like Fort Romeau and Ital. She recently delivered a debut LP with Not Not Fun titled Will Happiness Find Me?, which finds Minerva exploring chunky beats, bubbling rhythms, otherworldly vocal performances and barren, experimental soundscapes.
Maria Minerva is playing the Panache showcase at Public Assembly on Wednesday, October 17 and the Underwater Peoples/New Images Limited showcase at the Delancey on Saturday, October 20.
Dubstep is one of the most divisive genres, but the winds of change are blowing towards trap. Baauer is one of the artists at the forefront of the rising dance floor trend, which involves huge banging 808s and lots of snare rolls, much like in Baauer’s breakthrough single “Harlem Shake.” No matter how you feel about trap, Baauer is bound to deliver an energetic performance, and you can’t deny that he has his finger on the pulse of evolving club trends.
Baauer is playing the AM Only showcase at DROM on Wednesday October 17.
A few weeks ago, rising star Tokimonsta revealed to us some big news: She’ll be leaving Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label to release her sophomore album with Ultra, which means she’ll be joining the ranks of DJ heavyweights like Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, and Kaskade. Although Tokimonsta’s sounds are quite a bit more left-field than her contemporaries at Ultra, the change should come as no surprise, as Lee has had big things in the works for the past few years. Since the explosion of the LA beat scene, Tokimonsta has been touring worldwide and regularly causing blogosphere starbursts when she casually drops remixes on her Soundcloud page. She recently returned from traversing Canada on Skrillex’s Full Flex Express tour with big names like Diplo, Pretty Lights, and Grimes. Despite her growing name and reputation, Lee has stayed true to her wonky, psychedelic niche of twisted boom-bap rhythms.
Tokimonsta is playing the Ultra showcase at CMJ Union on Thursday, October 18 and the AM Only/Elektro showcase at Webster Hall on Friday, October 19.
A few months ago, LA’s Jerome Potter announced the sad news that he and Markus Garcia would be putting their LOL Boys project on hiatus, but at least he had some good news to sweeten the pot. Jerome reappeared as Jerome LOL, and so far he’s unleashed a handful of solid, plink-plonking house numbers that tap into part of the youthful energy that drew crowds to the LOL Boys. If you see a guy walking around New York City in a brightly-colored, goofy shirt, and if he appears to be crafting a stream of silly Tweets, you’re probably looking at Jerome LOL.
Jerome LOL is playing the dubFrequency showcase at Tammany Hall on Friday, October 19 .