A monthly feature in which we move out of the live space and into the club, handpicking a handful of parties and releases worth your attention.
The London in Stereo clubs guide has been running since April 2017. I remember Jess, our brilliant editor-in-chief, doing a call-out for someone that wanted to write something about dance music each month. I hadn’t been writing for very long at all at that point, but sent over a pitch, and the first feature (here, for your throwback pleasure) ran on March 31st 2017.
This should be the beginning of a fourth year highlighting the London parties we’re most excited to dance at over the coming weeks. Granted, I don’t always make it to all five, but I give it my best shot. And yet, the world is in a serious state of flux. Who knows when we will be on a dance floor again? It feels a bit strange to be writing a dance music-focused feature at this time for all manner of reasons. But also because, to be honest, I haven’t been listening to much dance music at all. Save for attempts at running which (still! why!) feel futile, I find myself primarily turning to records that fall into one of four categories; breezy (TOPS, Japanese Breakfast), gladly drowning in the dramatics (Angel Olsen, Anna Calvi), comfort in the familiar (Kelela, Charlotte Gainsbourg), and, well, Dua Lipa.
And yet, though music for the club hits different when you’re stuck indoors and separated from your best rave pals, it still hits, and it hits good. Here are five records (some old, some new) and five mixes I’ve been enjoying since lockdown.
Stay safe, stay home, dance in your slippers.
Finn – Trick Trick (Ruf Kutz)
Finn’s latest is tagged #ClubHymn on SoundCloud and it’s just that, a bright club cut with a fuzzy and warm organ line.
Deee-Lite – What is Love? (Elektra Entertainment)
Thanks to Charlie Bones and someone on the Doyoukebox, I’ve been revisiting Deee-Lite’s amazing debut, 1990’s World Clique. ‘What is Love?’ is a masterclass in sultry groove.
Ariel Zetina – Channel (femme culture)
Smart Bar resident Ariel Zetina’s latest EP – MUA’s at the End of the World – is inspired by putting on makeup. Remember that? Putting on makeup? Anyway, the EP bangs, and the acid-flecked hardcore ‘Channel’ is a highlight.
JASSS – Turbo Olé (Whities)
Described as “an unapologetic ode to rave”, this track from JASSS’s recent EP on Whities is going to go OFF when we’re allowed back in the club – there’s growling synths, huge breaksy drums, and soaring trance melodies.
The Blapps Posse – It Can Only Get Better (Ruff Lick Records)
Also courtesy of Finn is this hardcore banger from Blapps Posse, an aptly-named tune that ended Finn’s recent NTS interview with Ruf Dug.
Octo Octa – Love Hypnosis (T4T003 Mixtape)
Lift yourself out of even the greyest lockdown days with Octo Octa’s latest, a gorgeous “narrative for personal empowerment”. 50% of the profits from this mix will be donated to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, buy here.
RA.720 – Joe
A showcase of all that makes Joe brilliant, there’s some weird and wonderful twists and turns in his RA podcast.
Eclair Fifi – A Love Letter To Italy
Eclair Fifi’s latest NTS show saw her play exclusively (bar one, she says) Italian records. In her words, “it’s a love letter to everyone having a hard time rn, these tracks make me happy & I hope they bring some joy to u too.”
DISCWOMAN 90 x ketia
One for my sorry attempts at running! Old school rave bangers, piano riffs, catchy pop cuts, ketia’s Discwoman mix is, in her words, “something in between pretty and bitchy.”
VF Mix 173: Björk by Stellar OM Source
In her 83-minute Björk mix for Vinyl Factory, recorded during quarantine, French producer Christelle Gauldi aka Stellar OM Source found great comfort in the warmth and humanity of Björk’s vast collection. There’s a grand total of 37 Björk tracks in here, spanning rarer releases, remixes, interviews, and some new edits that Gauldi couldn’t resist putting together for the occasion.