[The Audiofiles] 2013 – A Year In Musical Review

Looking back at my posts from the last year, one that stands out the most to be is my 2012 Year in Musical Review.  Partially, because it’s catalyzed my writing career on multiple fronts – but mostly because music, especially kickass live music, is something I truly care about to my core.  Music influences our moods, our personalities and even our daily interactions.  Unless there’s something highly important and technical that I have a deadline for, I’m literally submersed in music 24/7 – from the time my alarm and I wake up, to my morning runs, to the drive to work, you get the picture: I more or less have provided myself with a soundtrack to my life.  With my attention span as short as it is (…squirrel!…), I constantly refresh my collection of original jams, remixes and singles and try to take in as much live music as I can.

I’ve been leafing through the ticket stubs and reminiscing about the excellent year in music that I just had.  From attempting to co-start a music forum site and to with The DJ List, my daily extra-curricular activities have always circled around new music, fresh artists and the latest and greatest they have to offer.  Somehow, even though I’ve managed to be busier than I’ve ever been I’ve definitely managed to fit in some quality R&R (Rave & Relaxation) into the mix. So, without further ado – here are my musical musings for 2013; enjoy!

Live Shows: Concerts and Festivals

Best Trance Show:

Above & Beyond @ Avila Beach,

Cosmic Gate @ Palladium (Runner Up)

Truth be told, I’m sitting here trying my hardest to even place Cosmic Gate in second place because Above & Beyond’s sunset at Avila Beach was just so spectacular!  It was a small crowd with unexpected surprises in store for everyone in my friend group – we each found someone at the event from out of town (LA, Riverside and SF) that we didn’t know was in attendance and were all simply wowed by the musical prowess the group possesses.  But Cosmic Gate is not a team to be underestimated, during the live show they brought out my favorite pixie blonde vocalist, Emma Hewitt, and Jonathan Mendelson who gave a phenomenal first live vocal performance during Nic Chagall’s ‘This Moment’.

Best D&B show: Modestep at the Nokia Club, High Contrast w. Camo & Krooked  at Dim Mak Studios

Best Deep / Tech House Show: Kaskade @ Focus OC’s 10 Year Anniversary

Best Progressive House Show: Eric Prydz / Pryda / Cirez D @ Create

Best Electro House Show: Gareth Emery @ XIV

Best Festival: Lightning in a Bottle

For the last six or seven years I’ve been a self-professed seasoned festival go-er and have a host of Insomniac, HARD and GoVentures events under my EDM belt (almost 40 if you want to get specific), but truth be told last year I only attended three festivals, one of them being Sea of Dreams on NYE. For as much as the lineup to  HARD Summer thrilled my pants off, the event didn’t…however, Lightning in a Bottle and Sea of Dreams surely did.  Each was musically right in their own right but on a more personal level, I truly felt bonded to the community that LIB and Burning Man cultivates and have actively been seeking out similar events ever since.

Best Festival Set: Keys n Krates, Dillon Francis, Alex Metric ((HARD Summer)) HeRObust, Pumpkin, Rusko, The Polish Ambassador,  Odeza, Andreilien ((LIB)), LowRIDERz, A-Trak, Thievery Corporation ((Sea of Dreams))

Best Venue: Sea of Dreams @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | NYE was one of the most amazing musical experiences I’ve ever had, everything about the night was golden and a lot of that is due to the venue and soundsystem that came with it; top notch.

Weird but Rad Venue: Lightning in a Bottle @ Lake Skinner, Temecula, CA | I was tempted to give LIB the gold star for ‘Best Venue’ but after the all of the shenanigans with the county and residents of Riverside, I’ll wait until next year to grant the festival that award.  Basically, I want to see it shine in all of its glory; not just in my personal experiences but for the greater community in attendance as well.

Best Pool Party: Daylight

Best Party: Sea of Dreams

Best Up and Coming Venue: Sound in Hollywood

Favorite Reopened VenueCreate (previously, known as Vanguard)

Best CrowdDoLab shows – Avalon | If you only remember one thing about the music scene in LA, let it be this: the Do Lab will always do you right.  I always look forward to the art infused musical events they throw.  Whether they’re at the Nokia Club, King King or out in the middle of nowhere Riverside – they make sure to cater to all of your senses and the people who show up are some of the nicest friends you hadn’t met you.

Douche-iest CrowdXIV by Hyde, Greystone Manor, Sutra | I still hold by last year’s statement about Sutra, but now that I’ve finally attended events at Greystone and XIV I can easily bump those two to the top of the list.  Maybe it goes hand-in-hand with my appetite for all things Do Lab and underground, but I can’t wrap my head around wearing 3″+ heals to a club and cozy-ing up to people just snag an extra drink (or five).  I prefer the let-your-freak-flag-fly mentality of other events and prefer stomping around in flats to trying to maintain a proper demeanor in an outfit that’s definitely not meant for dancing.

Best Lasers: Create and Exchange have most definitely stepped their laser game up in the last year, far surpassing anything that Avalon has ever done (sorry guys – not knocking the place (it’s still rad!) but it’s true).

Ferry Corsten @ Exchange
Hit us with those laser beams
*pew pew pew*


Favorite Set/Act of 2013: Above & Beyond in Avila Beach

Best Surprise of 2013: Crywolf, Mitis, Kill Paris, Disclosure, Keys n Krates, Flume

So Glad I (Re-)Discovered: Bonobo, Emancipator, Shpongle, The Magician, 

Remixes So Nicely:  SubFocus, Flume

Best Remix-er: Boy Noize, Dillon Francis, Cazzette

Favorite Vocalists: Jonathan Mendelson, Alex Clare, Annabel Englund, MNEK, Chet Faker, Florence Welch, Emma Hewitt

Most Disappointing: Daft Punk everything; maybe because it was directly juxtaposed to Keys’n’Krates with their live instruments, but Duke Dumont was also pretty underwhelming live and looked like he was just pressing a button; last but not least, Cedric Gervais did absolutely nothing for me.

Vocalists Who Shouldn’t Perform Live with DJs: Danny Brown

People Who Should Be Reminded They’re Not DJs: Will.i.Am, Paris Hilton


My Top 10 Songs of the Year

  1. Depeche Mode – Soothe My Soul (Steve Angello + Jaques Lu Cont Remix)
  2. Darkside – Papertrails
  3. Oliver – Night is On My Mind (Dillon Francis Remix)
  4. Disclosure – You & Me (Baauer Remix)
  5. Seven Lions + Myon & Shane 54 – Strangers
  6. Minnesota – Stardust Redux (Crywolf Remix)
  7. Maya Jane Coles ft Karin Park – Everything
  8. Thomas Jack – Booka Shake
  9. Flume ft Freddie Gibbs – Holdin’ On (LKids Remix)
  10. Lane 8 – Be Mine
  11. Mat Zo – Lucid Dreams – (M Machine Remix) [runner up]

Favorite Soundcloud Sets:

Show and Tell:

Best Hosted Web Show: BBC Radio 1 Diplo + Friends, Above & Beyond Group Therapy

Best Site for Discovering New Music: Hypem

Best Sites for Shows: MetroWize LA,Resident Advisor, The DJ List

XP Points:

Festivals Attended: Lightning in a Bottle, HARD Summer, Sea of Dreams

Shows Attended: All Day I Dream (/Lee Burridge), Donald Glaude, Richard Vission, Porter Robinson, Seven Lions(x2), Ferry Corsten, Krewella (x3), Modestep, Mimosa, Kill Paris, Crywolf, Markus Schulz, KhoMha, Jamie Jones, Jack Beats, Style of Eye, Gareth Emery, Kaskade, Skrillex, Bauuer, Eric Prydz (x2), Above & Beyond, Cosmic Gate, Candyland.

Parties Frequented: None (weird!)

Strobelight Seduction: Kaskade + Focus’ 10 Year Anniversary

I’d been waiting two months for last night to come to fruition.

Back in April, a good friend of mine gave me a very valid heads up that one of my favorite DJs would be playing a secret show at an intimate Southern California venue; since then, the interwebs have seen ample speculation about who this Mystery DJ would be. 

The venue in question is Orange County’s hub of House – Focus OC.  Once a week, a Tapas of Newport Beach is transformed into a mecca of music and an escape for everyone wishing they could time travel from Monday to Friday with the snap of their fingers. They’ve gotten some incredible DJs over the last few years and totally too many for me to list off – but of the ones I’ve actually seen there, I’ve yet to be disappointed.

Mark Farina and Collette both gave phenomenal shows last year at Focus’ 9th Anniversary Party and the gentlemen of Dusky proved that they’ve mastered moving the dancefloor.  So, when it came time to purchase tickets for this year’s 10th anniversary show – who was I kidding? So in!  I’ve tried to pay little to no mind to the rumors but come the fuck on, how could you not be the least bit enticed?! So, I did what any rational EDM maven would do – buy two tickets and hope for the best; life’s more fun with a partner in crime, and going to concerts? Doubly so.

From the moment we arrived, we were greeted with both fresh and familiar faces; Focus has a knack for attracting some of the most down to earth, friendly, music loving people to the west of the 405 and last night was definitely no different.  I mobbed down with two of my favorite partners-in-crime – just add them to my collection of attractive, intelligent blondes if you will – and we were beyond stoked to bounce around to the tunes of Wobs, Josh Billings and Non-Fiction while everyone was getting settled.

Then, at midnight – it was time for the man, the myth, the legend:


 For the last few months, Kaskade has been on his ‘Redux’ tour around the United States, hitting his favorite major cities for some intimate gigs – and last night was certainly no different.  I’ve seen Kaskade a handful of times – each has been energetic, lively and entrancing; last night at Focus I got something completely different and it’s precisely what I’ve been craving from him: seductive basslines, delicate transitions and the bass – so much bass!  His next tour, titled ‘Atmospheres: Big Rooms, Small Tour‘ is set to follow a similar format to his Redux tour, bringing him back to his true deep house roots.  Pre-sales went up today at noon in each time zone – LA, Chicago, New York and Miami – and tickets formally go on sale this Friday – if this sounds up your ally, grab your tickets now or you’ll be walking those empty streets alone at 4am.

Music Monday: Mixin’ It Up

One of the unfortunately side effects of a stellar weekend – or in my case, past week – is something I like to call “Hot Mess Mondays”: your  brain might be functioning, you might’ve had enough sleep; but chances are that it’s not, you didn’t and you’re currently paying for it handsomely. Though the weather wasn’t as stellar as we would like, we realize that living in LA beggars certainly can’t be choosers; and spoiled weather brats can’t expect it to be sunny all the time!  There’s a great quote that says that you can’t get a rainbow without a little rain and I more than ascribe to that train of thought.  This past weekend turned into a typical, friend fueled, debauchery filled weekend for me and just for y’all, I’ll let the kitten out of the bag – I’m definitely having one of those days!


On Tuesday night I cruised down to Orange County to hang with my good friends and Beatnet co-founders and hit up some Dusky action at Focus.

For a Tuesday night in the OC that little place can get pretty rockin’!

Apparently Dusky is two guys? The more you know! Lol.

Dusky’s Essential Mix:

The best thing about the Dusky show was that I took Wednesday off so I could enjoy the show in it’s entirety – and a week later found out that one of my closest and dearest friends and her home crew from Portland were flying into San Diego that same week and had a few days free; serendipity, indeed! Every time I kick it with these kids I have the absolute time of my life, and Wednesday was no different.  We drank, frolicked, caught up and got weird: success!

My bitch =)

Breakfast of champions 😉


And that was just the mid-week festivities: over the weekend, there was definitely some bottomless brunching and boozing going down during the day, Blond:ish that night and Culrpit’s Season Opener at the Standard yesterday with Miguel Campbell.  So yeah, I’m wiped out!

We don’t fuck around.

The lovely Blond:ish

Blond:ish from Playa Del Carmen:

And yesterday, we braved some rain at the Standard to kick off the Culprit Pool Parties – the weather was beyond lame but we tried to make the best of it!  Popped some bottles, caught up with some friendly and familiar faces and made some new cabana friends!

A little mix from the main man of the day, Miguel Campbell:

Making it rain > rain.

Even though my taste in music is pretty diverse, over the past month I’ve had more than my share of Deep, Tech and Minimal house shows – which are great for enjoying the atmosphere and breathing in the music, but going out to Exchange to see Ferry Corsten and Dim Mak studios for some Drum & Bass Hospital Records style I realized how much I miss the thumping bass, sick drops and the electric energy coming from the dance floor.

What do you get when you put three of the top Trance DJs and Producers in the world in one room?  You get Markus Schulz and Ferry Corsten, New World Punx at Armin van Buuren’s ASOT 600 in Madison Square Garden.   Their name, which is a play on Schulz’s “New World” and Corsten’s “Punk’d” is like a 3 on the scale of 1 to awesome DJ names but that’s besides the point; I watched a bit of the live stream and was hooked immediately.

SubFocus rocking the stage at Ultra:

This new track from Boys Noise is hauntingly gorgeous:

Swedish House Mafia might be done for* but that doesn’t mean they’re done individually; Steve Angello graced the BBC Radio 1 decks this past week with an epic essential mix:

Duke Dumont is one of my favorite new Deep House producers (yeah, I tried being over the genre but some stuff it just stays with you…) and his last two hits “The Giver” and “Need U 100%” are phenomenally produced and expertly mastered.  This remix is no different:

Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy Radio is a surefire way to get me through my Fridays, and this past week they had the House legend Sasha as their guest:

The Audiofiles: 2012 – A Year in Musical Review

When I moved to Los Angeles in the Summer of 2008, I had a pretty good idea of the things I wanted to accomplish but little to no idea of the journey that I was literally right about to undertake.  From living in a small city where everyone more or less knows your name and who you live with to living alone in a enormous city where you blend into the masses, I had a considerable amount of adjusting to do.  So I sat down with myself and I made some lists – things I wanted to accomplish before my time in Los Angeles had past and personal benchmarks that I thought would guarantee my sanity, both short term and long term. What started out as a brainstorming session, turned into several binders of ideas – things scratched off and scribbled on; intentions, desires, dreams, passions, places to live, things I wanted to avoid and types of people I wanted to meet; you name it – I had a list for it.

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this before, but I have a strong affinity for lists – I love making lists to the point that I have lists for my lists; my friends that are Virgo’s seem to be convinced that I should have been born under a different star sign but – as usual – I digress.  This year has been more than I could have ever imagined or asked for – and trust me when I say there will be at least few more posts chronicling my crazy antics of this past year; including best weekend vacation, least favorite month, darkest dive bars and best places for hipster watching. But first things first, I gotta bring it on home – and if home is where the heart is, then home is living in some Funktion 1 speakers and being played at full volume.  Let’s get real for a millisecond, and fun fact to boot: all of my photo albums on Facebook are from songs by DJs that I love! So without further ado, this is my 2012 Musical Year in Review =)

Coachella 2k12

Live Shows: Concerts and Festivals

Favorite Event: Cosmic Gate + W&W at the Hollywood Palladium, Coachella Day 2

Worst Event: Coachella Day 1 bad weather, boo!

Best Venue: LA State Historic Park – I had an absolute blast at HARD’s Day of the Dead and Summer Festivals; and to boot, perfect venue for those of us taking the metro in lieu of driving!

Weird but Rad Venue: On top of a parking garage in Downtown Los Angeles for All Day I Dream

Best Pool Party: Standard Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles; Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel is a close runner up

Best Party: All Day I Dream

Douche-iest Pool Party: Drai’s Hollywood; just shoot me.

Rockstar Studios: All Day I Dream

Douche-iest Venue: Sutra.  I cruised through for an Infected Mushroom DJ Set and some girl asked me if “I knew anywhere around that wasn’t so nasty.” Hello, did you realize that we’re here for a group called INFECTED MUSHROOM and their fans are some of the smelliest, sweatiest, music appreciating-ist fans around? Ugh, STFU and choke on your sugar-free Red Bull with Vodka that tastes like shit.

Best Up and Coming Venue: Exchange in Downtown Los Angeles

Best Crowd: Avalon until 4am – the people and vibe is hands down the best; you’ll probably meet your next best friend in line for drinks or the bathroom; Incognito after 2am

W0rst Crowd: Avalon after 4am –  the Mt Fuji Swing is in full force and most likely headed straight for your face; also, that girl you’ve been checking out has a really sexy adam’s apple….

Best Lasers: Avalon – according to a few friends who assist with the lighting and making us all go “Ooooh, LAZERS!”, they change things up at Avalon quite a bit and it shows – every time I’m there the lighting effects are stunning and unlike the last show I went to.

Group Therapy with Above & Beyond


Favorite Set/Act: Maya Jane Coles at Hard Festival: Day of the Dead,  Snoop Dogg + Friends at Coachella

Best Surprise of 2012: W&W

So Glad I Discovered: Finnebassen, Jessie Ware, Cyril Hahn, Climbers, Infinity Ink, Art Department, Jamie Jones, Lee Burridge,

Remixes So Nicely: Rihanna, Adele,

Best Remix-er: Finnebassen + Cyril Hahn; the remixes – or rather, reworksthey produce sound very little like the original and give me everything I didn’t have before.  They’re stunners and I can’t wait for more.

Most Disappointing: Afrojack – his noises used to sound more like music, now they sound more like broken horns fighting each other. Also, way to teach Paris Hilton how to DJ; apocalypse meow….

DJ who should stick to one DJ name: Avicii. Just stop it already. Tim Berg remixed by Avicii with the Tim Berg vocal remix on the Avicii instrumental….and shut the front door already. If you have two DJ monikers, you’d think you’d produce twice as much good music….wrong.

Most Sold Out: Swedish House Mafia – with your “ONE LAST TOUR” and your jumping around while you press a button and then blame it on the “really skilled pyrotechnics” that are going on behind you. Shut up and go learn how to spin vinyl; there are plenty of First Class DJs who would rather give a great musical performance than dazzle with lights…

Vocalists Who Shouldn’t Perform Live with DJs: Rihanna, Wynter Gordon

People Who Should Be Reminded They’re Not DJs: Paris Hilton, “DJ” Pauly D, Kim Kardashian



My Top 10 Songs of the Year:

  1. Gareth Emery – Concrete Angel
  2. Nero – Crush on You (Knife Party Remix)
  3. Above & Beyond – Love Is Not Enough
  4. Finnebassen – Go Slow
  5. Eric Prydz (Pryda) – Shadows
  6. DEVolution – Good Love
  7. Jessie Ware – Sweet Talk (Joe Goddard Remix)
  8. Kamelion – Confetti
  9. Boys Noize – What You Want (Chromeo Remix)
  10. Alex Clare – Too Close

Worst Popular Groups: Gotye, One Direction

5 Songs that DJs need to stop remixing:

  1. Avicii – Levels
  2. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
  3. Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know
  4. Avicii – Levels (Skrillex Remix)
  5. Alesso – Calling

Show and Tell:

Best Hosted Web Show: BBC Radio 1 Fridays with Annie Mac, Above & Beyond Group Therapy

Best Site for Discovering New Music: Hypem

Most Annoying Site to Discover Music: Spotify – did I really need to know that you still like Nickleback? Probably not.  It is, however, wonderful for helping clear out your friends lists…..

Best Recommended Shows: MetroWize LA, Resident Advisor

Hottest Tickets: Flavorus – http://www.flavorus.com/

XP Points:

Festivals Attended: Coachella Weekend 1, HARD Summer, HARD Day of the Dead

Shows Attended: Skrillex, Lucent Dossier Experience, Ferry Corsten ft Aruna and Kristina Sky, Tommy Trash & Fegulk, Norin & Rad, Sander Van Doorn, Emancipator, Pendulum DJ Set, Group Therapy with Above & Beyond, Andrew Bayer, Gui Boratto & IV Legend, Mark Farina & Colette @ Focus 9 Year Anniversary, Eric Prydz, Overboard // Incognito Presents: Moonlight, Get LOST: Art Department, Infinity Ink, etc, Beats Antique, Max Graham & Rank1, Cosmic Gate + W&W

Parties Frequented: Incognito, Harmonic Productions, Reset