Electronic Beats Readers’ Poll: One Good Reason To Visit Your Hometown

You know when mishaps happen and the victims say, “Well, yes, but I was asking for it?” This time, it’s literal.

When we asked you for the best reason to visit your hometown, we were deluged with comments that ran generally along the lines of, “bars, pubs, cheap booze,” and the like. We’re not ones to judge; after all, we live in Berlin, home to most any vice you’d care to name (including pizza with corn and tuna on it). Still, amongst all the not-so-subtle pleas for AA sponsorship, there were a number of comments we really liked. Whether they touched us in sweet ways, resonated from personal experience, or just contained the most amount of coherency, here’s five people from five different cities, expressing their love for something other than drink.


1. Toronto: “Hometown of Purity Ring, Kuhrye-oo, Born Gold, and a small but very tight scene of smart people.”

Canada’s largest city may not be a patch on Montreal (sorry, true) but it often gets an undeserved rap as being the vanilla to Montreal’s artisanal chocolate. Aside from those aforementioned excellent bands (new Purity Ring album in 2014, please!) there’s…well, you can…hmn. The Kids In The Hall made it seem pretty cool…ok, wait! There’s Double Double Land, an amazing DIY venue that has played host to a variety of great underground bands including Angels In America, Extreme Animals, and Russian Tsarlag. The guy who runs it, Daniel Vila, also does a series of secret shows called AGAINST LIFE in weird areas like abandoned, flooded cinemas, trashed greenhouses, and random bridges. Not to mention the bizarrely wonderful, genderfucking SHIT FUN parties run by ϟ†Nϟ, the music of Petra Glynt, the excellent Pleasence Records, the dance pleasures of MansionDrake… Toronto, man.


2. Warsaw: “A fantastic music underground.”

Having visited the Polish capital several times, we can say for certainty that this is true. Aside from a variety of cutting-edge music parties like Brutaż and Vatican Vibes, the city also hosts DIY fashion labels like HAZZ and wonderful venues such as Cafe Kulturalna and Eufemia. Oh, and the world’s thinnest house.


3. Milan: “My grandma’s pumpkin risotto with beans and parmigiano.”

Italy, of course, is hardly bereft of grandmothers who are handy in this kitchen—this editor learned to love cooking from his own, in fact. She had a similar recipe, only she used maple-smoked bacon instead of beans and a pinch of chili seed to give it a kick. If you prefer the vegetarian option, thickly-sliced portobello mushrooms brushed with maple syrup and caramelized until crisp on both sides is pretty tasty too. Welcome to Electronic Eats.


4. Amsterdam: “There’s a good cross-section of cutting-edge music and a great deal of new and exciting parties and initiatives starting.”

Aside from the booze thing, this sort of statement was the most common answer our readers gave. We were busy with *ahem* other things when we were in Amsterdam, but we did meet some wonderful and inspiring people there ourselves. Our favorite? Musician and artist Kristy Fenton, who—aside from her work as Modern Witch—co-runs the underground publishing company Drippy Bone Books.


5. Halle: “To be bored and leave.”

We chose this one mainly because this is the answer we would have given ourselves. After all, isn’t that what hometowns are for? ~


Click here for more results from our 2013 Readers’ Poll.

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Electronic Beats Readers’ Poll: Your Favorite Non-Musical Happening of 2013


2013 heralded some of the most significant news stories in recent years, including mass tragedies and remarkable leaps forward in technology and science. The 3D printing of a human ear led to scientists working toward making it possible to print just about any organ imaginable, leading to a rise in hope for maimed victims and people tired of pretending that peeled grapes are “the dead man’s eyes” on Halloween. Former CIA employee and NSA contractor Edward Snowden released around two hundred thousand classified reports documenting the mass surveillance programs carried out by the NSA, and a new pope with a much better PR agent was elected after everyone decided the old one was too creepy. War, as always, marches on. Oh yes, and the universe might be a holographic simulation. May Holo-Tupac help us all.

On that cheery note, let’s see a few of the events that captured the attention of our readers over the course of a year!


Banksy-NYC1. Banksy’s New York residency

The world’s most infamous graffiti marketeer broadcasted a cloud of mystery around his month-long NYC residency, which included a slaughterhouse truck full of stuffed animals and in-disguise artwork sales in Central Park. The real mystery, though, is how long his murals will last before someone adds funny mustaches and boners to all of them.



Wrecking Ball copyright http://miguelmartin.co.uk2. Miley Cyrus twerks

“Miley Cyrus must have done something really offensive this time because the media who stand to profit from our interest in her are talking about her again.” Illustration by Miguel Martin.




UkraineACAB 20133. Protests in the Ukraine

Anti-government dissent is something growing worldwide (though sadly less so from the US or the UK, both of which could use it). Currently many eyes are turned toward Kiev as more and more Ukrainian citizens and international supporters gather, police violence escalates, and government officials seek loans from Russia to temporarily alleviate the country’s crippling economic crisis. Since it doesn’t involve a celebrity doing a sexy dance move with arbitrary racial restrictions placed upon it, however, it’s number three material.


guardians-of-time4. Venice Biennale

Both a showcase for social/political commentary, visual beauty and sheer intellectual indulgence, the Biennale consistently delivers one thing well: spectacle. For our money, we loved (among others) Ai Wei Wie‘s “Sacred“—a grim reconstruction of his time in a Chinese prison—and the occult-tinged somberness of Manfred Kielnhofer’s “Guardians of Time” (pictured).



Marriage5. Gay marriage bill passed in the UK

In a year of great change, the slow shift toward equal marriage laws is gaining speed, even as LGBT rights continue to face opposition and backlash. It took decades for many lawmakers to realize that making a union of love between two people illegal was morally hideous. If only they’d make the same conclusion about reality TV. ~


Click here for more results from our 2013 Readers’ Poll.

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Electronic Beats Readers’ Poll: Your Favorite Festival of 2013

Music festivals can be some of the most life-changing experiences in the world.

To be surrounded by so many people, many of them just as much in love with the band you’re watching as you are, feeling the music and the psychic vibrations of happiness (or beautiful melancholy, depending on your taste) wash over you… there’s not much like it. So we weren’t surprised when our Readers’ Poll this year gave us some very passionate votes numbering in the hundreds. There were quite a few we attended as well, so if you saw any of us there then we’d like to apologize for our behavior. We’re just really into Hunter S. Thompson.

What were your favorite festivals this year? Read on…


melt-festival-20131. Melt!

One of Germany’s most celebrated annual festivals, Melt! always presents a very diverse lineup—no matter your taste, you’ll find something to make your ears smile. This year saw them hosting, among many others, Diamond VersionZebra KatzTrickyThe Knife, and  Mykki Blanco.



electronic-beats-festival_20132. EB Festival 

Hey, you voted for it, not us! Thank you, by the way—we love that you love it, and we’re glad that we have a whole new year soon to deliver you even more of the bands we love. We think you’re going to be very happy with the surprises we have in store for you…




sziget_20133. Sziget 

Hungary’s Sziget festival takes place entirely on an island encompassed by the Danube and Budapest’s downtown. From stages and tents hosting world music and electro-bass party tents to heart-tugging performances by groups like Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Bat For Lashes, it’s a vacation holiday and a multi-sensory experience rolled into one.



unsound-20134. Unsound 

If most music festivals are for people who like to get drunk and scream in a large crowd, then Unsound is for music insiders—heads, musicians, industry, and the sort of people for whom music is straight-up a way of life. Between the beautiful setting of Krakow, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, and insane lineups, Unsound remains one of the most exciting and intelligent festival experiences we know—trust us, we were there.



sonar-20135. Sonar 

There’s always a vast amount of things to discover at Sonar, but it’s the reliability that brings people back year after year: the stunning city of Barcelona, vast line-ups, consistently good sound, and—at night—what must be the largest rave on earth. After so many years and so many big names, Sonar is a festival that knows how to deliver. ~




Click here for more results from our 2013 Readers’ Poll.

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Electronic Beats Readers’ Poll: Your Favorite Artist of 2013


Picking your favorite artist of the year can be difficult. You pore over variables like singles, live show, EPs, possible stupid/clever things said over Twitter, and by the time you put out your list it’s rendered totally irrelevant in the face of new Burial and Beyoncé’ albums. So it goes. Even so, there were plenty of artists making our ears happy this year, and yours as well according to your 2013 Readers’ Poll entries. Sorting through the results was interesting; lots of fantastic names from Tim Hecker and The Haxan Cloak to Vår and even Lady Gaga, though we’re not sure if that was serious or not, as her album was written as “ARTFLAP”. In the end, though, there can be only five.

Last year, you chose Trust, Mykki Blanco, Grimes, Death Grips, and Azealia Banks as your favorites. Who do you like for 2013? Read on…


Moderat 20131. Moderat 

With the success of their new album II, the Apparat/Modeselektor collaboration is on the lips (and headphones) of many a citizen in their homebase of Berlin and beyond. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve been twice-voted as one of the best live electronic acts of two consecutive years.



Kanye West 20132. Kanye West 

When we beheld Yeezy on Saturday Night Live, leaping around and screaming to the thudding, minimalist industrial of the Marilyn Manson-sampling “Black Skinhead“, we knew we were seeing something special take place. The way Kanye treats pop music traditions—and the idea of celebrity in general—ensure that, love him or hate him, you’ll definitely be talking about him.



Disclosure 20133. Disclosure 

If only all siblings got along so well. Since you voted for them during our previous year’s Reader Poll, we know you certainly have a happy relationship with the duo’s dance-ready electronics—as does much of the rest of the world, seeing as how they’re one of the hottest names to come out of the UK in years.



DJ Koze 20134. DJ Koze 

What makes Koze so cool is not just how catchy his music is (and it’s quite catchy) but also how much work goes into his productions. When your tracks are this layered, it can be easy to sound cluttered or overly busy. Koze’s clever hands ensure this never happens, leaving the listener with a plethora of intricately dense dance beauty.



James Blake 20135. James Blake 

Speaking of UK acts in high demand, Blake has made himself almost a household name in the last year. Between his emotion-rich vocals, beautiful bass beats and powerful live show, it’s no wonder. Shows like this prove that, even with the voice of an angel, you can still be a sonic beast onstage. ~




Click here for more results from our 2013 Readers’ Poll.

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Electronic Beats Readers’ Poll: Your Most Exciting New Artist of 2013


Every year brings the promise of Your New Favorite Band (or Artist, or Production Duo, you get the picture…) Some of the contenders may have been gestating for months, sweated over by strategists at major labels before being plonked fresh-faced and wide-eyed into the first stage of their buzz cycle. Others seemingly come out of nowhere—or, more accurately, the Internet, leaving a trail of of think pieces, and the odd backlash, in their wake. However, what really matters is how their music affects you. Music is meant to change your life, and in an age where new music is so abundant as to be overwhelming, few things beat the feeling you get when a new artist arrives who suddenly makes your musical landscape that much richer by their presence within it.

Your Most Exciting New Artist 2013 crowns those newcomers who have shaken up your musical worlds. Last year’s winners included Trust, Mykki Blanco, Grimes, Death Grips, and Azealia Banks. But who were your game-changers this year?



1. Darkside

The brainchild of Nicolas Jaar and guitarist Dave Harrington, Darkside first surfaced back in 2011. However, this year saw the band settle into their sound with the release of Psychic, their critically praised LP and the somewhat unexpected conceptual reformatting of Random Access Memories (released as Daftside) which prefaced it. Their dubbed out sound pairs Jaar’s intricate production with bluesy licks of guitar and a scoopful of transcendence, and marks them out as the ones to watch. Photo by Tim Jones




2. FKA Twigs

The Gloucestershire-born artist spent the end of 2012 on the cover i-D, an early warning that we’d be hearing a lot more from her in ’13. And boy, did we, with fashion mags and respected music magazines alike falling hard. The hype was justified—EP2 was a stark, desolate take on the R&B confessional that roped in underground producer-of-the-minute Arca. It made our contributors’ top ten—and pretty much everyone else’s.




3. Banks

The elevator pitch may have been the female The Weeknd, but there was more to the LA singer than the comparison suggested. Her debut single, the TEED-produced “Warm Water” and the excellent London EP demonstrated what made her special: sweet, yearning vocals which revealed a vulnerability, but also a complex tangle of emotions rarely expressed within the two-dimensional world of pop. The claustrophobic, oh-so-2013 alt-R&B production helped too.




4. Savages

The affected sternness may have irked the odd journo, but you’d expect nothing less from a band whose song titles include “Shut Up” and “Hit Me” and who cite post-hardcore band Converge as an influence. Silence Yourself may have been held up as proof that guitar music was still relevant in 2013, but what’s really still relevant is anger and furious, bristling punk noise. You wouldn’t want to mess with ’em or get your mobile out at a gig but hell, we love them all the more for it.




5. Jessy Lanza

Jessy Lanza’s debut EP Pull My Hair Back dropped, intriguingly, on Hyperdub in early autumn. Produced by Junior Boys‘ Jeremy Greenspan and released on Hyperdub, it signaled the arrival of an exciting new artist whose references (like, say, childhood obsessions with Mariah and Janet) were bang on point in a year that saw nineties R&B classicism cool again. Pull My Hair Back is number six in our contributors’ poll—all eyes are on her for 2014, then. ~




Click here for more results from our 2013 Readers’ Poll.

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