The 50 Best Tracks Of 2014…So Far
Six months in, 2014’s shaping up to be an excellent year for dance music. Producers at home and abroad have given us a huge catalogue of superb tracks to keep busy with, from festival-ready anthems to heads-down underground gear.
Picking 50 gems out of half a year’s worth of music is no mean feat, but that’s what we’ve set out to do. To take stock of the year so far, inthemix writers Angus Paterson, Andrew Wowk, Christopher Kevin Au, Dave Ruby Howe, Katie Cunningham, Krystal Rodriguez, Jack Tregoning, Jim Poe and Nick Jarvis picked their highlights of 2014, covering trance, techno, mainstage-EDM, deep house and many shades in-between.
#50 Nicky Night Time – Everybody Together
Nicky Van She is back with a new moniker and a massive piano house banger to go with it, just in time for the Ibizan summer (where it’s been getting thoroughly thrashed). Everybody Together is tailor made for euphoric Balaeric outdoor vibes, with piano stabs and a hook straight out of the ‘90s – we dare you not to throw your hands up within the first ten seconds. [Nick Jarvis]
#49 Ilan Bluestone – Spheres
Spheres was the first release of the year for Anjunabeats, and it was a solid start to 2014 indeed. A record to rival Ilan Bluestone’s killer Sinai from 2013, Spheres is pretty much modern trance perfection. Beginning with an exciting twinkle of melody, before long it’s slammed into one of the heaviest basslines ever heard in a tune that’s also liable to make you put your hands in the air. Which is the key here; alongside all that electro grunt, Spheres comes packing a breakdown that’s euphoric enough to seduce even the most hardened trance hater. Primo mainroom power that’s impossible to fault. [Angus Paterson]
#48 Anna Lunoe – Bass Drum Dealer
Anna Lunoe’s various productions have seen the Australian export go down a few different paths. Over the past 12-odd months, Lunoe’s given us the rave-happy Breathe, her new pop-leaning Ultra Records release All Out, and All Night, the joint cover with Treasure Fingers that came with just one Soundcloud tag: #house. But we like Anna best when the beat is simple and she’s channeling a Louisahhh-esque spoken word vibe, just as she does so well on Bass Drum Dealer. Wrap your ears around BDD and you’ll understand why Skrillex had to have it for his Nest label. [Katie Cunningham]
#47 Alison Wonderland – I Want U (Hoodboi remix)
This year, homegrown star Alison Wonderland completed her transformation from She Can DJ-scouted mixing talent to polished producer with an EP to prove it. The lead single from her Calm Down EP was solid on its own, but when Jersey Club name DJ Hoodboi (or is it just Hoodboi now?) put his spin on things, I Want U went from a festival-ready banger to a tune better suited to the early hours comedown. With Hoodboi at the helm, that’s a good place to be. [Katie Cunningham]
#46 Chromeo – Jealous (I Ain’t With It)
After ten years of plying their electro-funk trade, Chromeo has finally cracked the mainstream US radio stations with this catchy, subversive pop-funk number that Dave 1 told inthemix is all about challenging, “the macho predatory norms most often used in pop…[it’s] about the impotence of a castrated repressed male; that was something new for a love song… The idea was to take those relationships and give them a new twist.” Ideology aside, Jealous is also what Chromeo does best: ridiculously catchy ‘80s electro-funk with self-aware, self-deprecating lyrics that take the ‘guilty’ out of its pleasure. [Nick Jarvis]
#45 Point Point – Life in Grey
Parisian collective Point Point came out of nowhere three months ago with four members, a handful of snappy B&W press shots, and a few tunes on their SoundCloud, amongst which is this ‘Australian Sound-esque’ exercise in trap-lite beauty: heavy bass, pitched-up vocals and an elegantly simple refrain that’s racked up over 600,000 SoundCloud plays already. As one SoundCloud commenter over shared: “I feel like Jesus just jizzed on my face.” Experience that for yourself below. [Nick Jarvis]
#44 Guy J – Dizzy Moments
Guy J intimated to inthemix before his June tour this year that Dizzy Moments was among his more personal musical efforts, inspired by difficult events around the sickness of a family member. Listening to the sadness and emotional grandeur of what’s possibly the most perfectly-realised record yet from the Israeli producer, that backstory’s not hard to believe. Beginning on a note of stripped-back techno, it blossoms into one of the most luxurious melodies ever heard in a progressive house tune. [Angus Paterson]
#43 Hercules & Love Affair – I Try To Talk To You (Seth Troxler Extended NYC mix)
Andy Butler’s back with the third outing on his mission to legitimise disco music, led by first single I Try To Talk To You, this time with the vocal talents of alt-rock legend John Grand, who uses his beautiful baritone to relay the (autobiographical) story of a man telling a former lover that he’s HIV positive. Heavy subject matter, but with a dramatic disco-backing that Giorgio Moroder would be proud of. Underground house champion Seth Troxler uses a gentle touch in his remix, stretching out the hypnotic beat and giving the track time to build towards and ebb away from its choir and strings crescendo. [Nick Jarvis]
#42 Lancelot – Ain’t Nothin’ Goin On But The Rent
We dubbed him one of the top ten local producers to watch this year, and Sydney local Lance Gurisik has more than delivered, following up the deep house future-classic Givin’ It Up with this slice of beauty. Sydney soul singer Ngaiire lends her considerable vocal talents to a classic deep house template: body-moving house with lyrics that tell a story. “No romance without finance…got to have a J.O.B if you want to be with me,” Ngaiire sings. If the lyrics come from personal experience, then Lancelot’s lovers won’t need to worry for too much longer. [Nick Jarvis]
#41 LDRU & Yahtzel – The Only One
The Australian electronic scene has become pretty rife with bromances recently and you can notch up another with the inspired pairing of Future Classic big dog L D R U and Ulladulla’s finest beatmaker Yahtzel.
Like a banger-making Riggs and Murtaugh, the two seem to bring out the best in each other – particularly Yahtzel’s knack for bright tropical rainforest sounds that here is mushed with the thumping drops that have made L D R U so well-loved locally. It’s remarkably well balanced in that it’d sit easily in either dudes’ set. At the end of the day it’s exactly what you’d expect from a meeting of these two swarthy local producers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a hugely enjoyable hit. [Dave Ruby Howe]