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Eau Claire, All The Wonder This year Eau Claire flaunted her bubbly blend of disco and house productions to the District and beyond through her bustling Feed Me Disco parties at U Street Music Hall, a bi-weekly residency on The Lab on Dash Radio, and a supporting role on Autograf and Goldroom’s fall U.S. tour.  But her debut EP,All The Wonder—the first release on her own label, Feed Me Disco—features her own radiant vocals and irresistibly danceable nu-disco grooves to secure her role as a total goddess in the indie dance scene. —Casey Embert

Flash Frequency, Escape Theory (Instrumental)” As a visionary digital artist who creates inspired album artwork for artists like Will Eastman, Tyler Wrighteous, and Parkway, Flash Frequency understands how good design can create an entire universe within itself.  That same ethos lies at the core of his own productions in which every tiny detail has its own beautiful purpose and amalgamates into intricate and nebulous soundscapes.  His 2016 single, “Escape Theory,” exemplifies the artistry of his extraordinary design as it permeates space with futuristic synths, haunting echoes of distant chatter, and the gentle pitter-patter of claps and chimes. —Casey Embert

Julius Jetson, “Came To Get It” Leave it to Julius Jetsonenergetic house producer and co-founder of the wildly successful Nu Androids party crew, to create an instant party-starter with his 2016 G-house single, “Came To Get It.”  Featuring a nostalgic sample of Joe Budden’s 2003 hip-hop hit, “Pump It Up,” amongst a backdrop of shuffling, undulating waves of energy, “Came To Get It” makes it impossible to stand still in the club.  While Jetson likes to flirt with signature elements of house and techno, “Came To Get It” remains a unique sound of his own, a testament to his evolution as an artist in 2016. —Casey Embert

Manila Killa, “Youth”Manila Killa, co-founder of the global Moving Castle collective, made some incredible memories in 2016—like DJing at L.A.’s Hard Summer Music Festival and playing Coachella with Candle Weather under their super popular production alias, Hotel Garuda. But it was his 2016 indie dance single, “Youth” that sent him on his own worldwide headlining tour from Australia to his homeland of the Philippines.  “Youth,” featuring dreamy vocals from Long Beach’s Satica, combines lively synths and adorable twinkling to create a blissful indie dance tune, perfect for a breezy summer night. —Casey Embert

Swan Meat, “St. Cecilia”Representing the dark corners of D.C.’s underground is Swan Meat, a globally inspired producer with a penchant for creating creepy scores and haunting melodies. “St. Cecilia,” one of her most recent soundscapes, feels more like an enthralling physical experience than a typical easy listen with some superficial bass. A deeply orchestrated nightmare, “St. Cecilia” clobbers its listeners with layered percussion as frenzied glitches buzz amidst the atmosphere and a sweet serenade ominously echoes in the distance. Swan Meat might thrive in darkness, but she illuminates a whole new world of bass music. —Casey Embert

When DJ Trayze Won the 2016 Red Bull Thre3style Championship Spinning genres like old school hip-hop, Top 40, club music, and everything in between, DJ Trayze has been flexing his versatility behind the decks to get feet moving and asses shaking on District dance floors for years.  A proven party rocker in D.C., DJ Trayze leveled up this summer by winning the Red Bull Thre3style USA Championship in Philadelphia, a highly coveted award by skilled DJs around the globe.  His brilliantly imaginative 15-minute live set—featuring artists like Kaytranada, Sade, and Travis Scott—awarded him the winning title and the opportunity to represent the USA in the World Championship. —Casey Embert

Moombahton Massive Reunion at U Street Music Hall, Aug. 13 After more than a year, Moombahton Massive—and its pioneers, Nadastrom and Sabo—finally returned for a highly anticipated reunion. During its intense five-year run, Moombahton Massive became the ultimate destination to hear the homegrown genre while eating Mama Nada’s empanadas and grinding with fellow partygoers. But something weird happened during the party’s hiatus: Mainstream superstars like Drake, Justin Bieber, and Major Lazer popularized moombahton. And so, increased demand for the original sound brought its founders back to D.C. for one more night of hot and sweaty hometown love. —Casey Embert

Closed SessionsThe D.C.-based event series, Closed Sessions, spent 2016 hosting a myriad of dance parties and concerts at venues all around the District.  Closed Sessions played a pivotal role in ensuring the city’s nightlife enjoyed a superior selection of multifarious genres, like the French R&B-influenced house music of Club cheval; the back-to-back energy of club and bass music with DJ Sliink and Brenmar; and most recently, the classic hip-hop bangers of Cam’ron.  It’s no small feat to unite the interests of mainstream party people with the unique exclusivity of the fringe underground, but Closed Sessions accomplished that with grace this year. —Casey Embert

Fête Records D.C.-based record label, Fête Records, exhibited a keen ear for avant-garde sounds this year, releasing dozens of addictive groovers from forward-thinking indie artists all around the globe.   With sounds ranging from the feel-good flow of Maryland rapper Innanet James to the twinkly, synth-heavy future R&B of Boston’s Rilla Force to the jazzy beats of Toronto producer The Kount, Fête Records brilliantly intuited the ever-changing mood of the world and hustled at break-neck speed to provide a solid year’s worth of much-needed good vibes. —Casey Embert

Classical Trax Events In a city whose nightlife makes its bread and butter from long nights of cookie-cutter pop hits and deep house blends, passionate devotees of bass-driven underground sounds are often marginalized to warehouses and gritty dive bars.  As it turns out, that’s exactly where the scene thrives, especially thanks to club music label, Classical Trax, and its collaboration with D.C. DJs The Borrowers and Panch.  930 Club’s tiny basement club, Backbar, has become a nurturing home for their charismatic monthly party, Guestlist, where they showcase global bass music artists like U.K. grime rapper, NoLay, underground club advocate, GRRL, and frenetic footwork producer, Swisha. —Casey Embert

Future TimesFuture Times again proved to be the backbone of D.C.’s ever-expanding electronic scene with a stellar 2016. Motion Graphics’ intricate, minimalist “Brass Mechanics” was one of the year’s best 7-inch records; house-and-techno explorers Magic Mountain High lived up to their moniker with the helium-and-pixie dust “Spacepod;” and label boss Max D held it down and zoned out on his third album, “Boost.” As always, Future Times is the weird and wonderful pride of Washington. —Chris Kelly

1432 R For D.C. label 1432 R, “all killer, no filler” seems to be an unofficial motto. The brainchild of Joyce Lim, Sami Yenigun, and Dawit Eklund continued to shine a light on Ethiopiyawi electronic music with the latest—and most provocative—dispatch from label original E.R. The crew also released debut efforts by Protect-U’s psychedelic side project Ocobaya and RBCHMBRS, a New York newcomer who crafts refracted rave tracks. Onward and upward, y’all. —Chris Kelly

Will Eastman, Free FallThere would be no electronic scene in D.C. without Will Eastman, the producer-club owner that has been a nightlife staple for the entirety of the millennium (wow, we feel old!). In 2016, Eastman released Free Fall, four tracks of dramatic house music both immediate and insistent. The EP was more than just dancefloor material, however—it was a musical interpretation of a real-life identity crisis, one that Eastman has used as an opportunity to raise awareness about mental illness and substance abuse in the dance music community and beyond. —Chris Kelly

The Coven DCInspired by the American Horror Story season of the same name, The Coven began as a club night designed to fill a void in D.C.’s queer nightlife scene—specifically, a safe space for queer women in a fractured clubscape. In addition to bringing female DJs like Louisahhh and Gun$ Garcia to D.C., co-founders Kate Ross and Marissa D. Barrera have taken The Coven out of the club, launching a book club, panel discussions, and theater outings, recognizing that a club community still has work to do when the lights come on. —Chris Kelly

Tropixxx Labor Day Party at The Velvet Lounge, Sept. 4For the last five years, Tropixxx has been the best D.C. party to hear club music as it’s intended: in a dark, sweaty bar where shots of cheap liquor loosen inhibitions. The formerly monthly party is now only thrown on special occasions and nothing was more special than their nine-hour Labor Day Party. While residents Mathias, The Lothario, and The Clown Prince set the tone, Brooklyn DJ-producer Rizzla – of the Fade to Mind label and queer club collective KUNQ – stole the show with his high-energy, globe-trotting tracks. —Chris Kelly

Vices DCSince 2012, Trillectro has brought together the biggest names in hip-hop and electronic music at their annual festival. But why limit partying at the fertile intersection of the two genres to one day of the year? In 2016, Trillectro launched Vices, a monthly party that saw D.C. club music purveyors like Mista Selecta, Native Sun, and Ayes Cold takeover the decks at Flash, a nightclub better known for hosting house and techno luminaries. Like Trillectro before it, Vices proved that there’s nothing wrong with genre-less dance parties. —Chris Kelly

ROAMIn 2016, ROAM continued to live up to its name, hosting its roving party across the city, from warehouses to bathhouses to public parks, and—most importantly— providing a safe space for revelers of all stripes in which to enjoy dance music that is both fathoms deep and light years away. In the wake of Oakland’s Ghost Ship tragedy, artistic communities across the country are under siege, and supporting ROAM is the best way to ensure that D.C.’s non-conformists can celebrate music in non-traditional spaces. —Chris Kelly

MaracuyeahFor the fifth year running, D.C.’s best celebrations of everything that really makes America  great were thrown in the back of a pupusa restaurant. Bridging the gaps between races, countries of origin, sexualities and genders, Maracuyeah—a DJ collective, talent booker, and party all in one—is the pinnacle of inclusivity. There are no guest lists or velvet rope lines here, just pan-everything ecstasy, or as co-founder DJ Mafe describes it, “the original Latin underground tropical love party.” —Chris Kelly

Forward FestivalFor electronic music fans, Forward Fest always has a little something for everyone, and its 2016 edition did not disappoint in that regard. Now in its ninth year, Forward brought new sounds to new places, including an audio-visual adventure from Purple Tape Pedigree boss Geng at record store-coffee shop Bump ‘n Grind; low-end explorations by Sully and Copout in the candlelit Zeba Bar; and a closing night party featuring footworker Jlin at D.C.’s foremost dance music temple, U Street Music Hall. —Chris Kelly

Nu Androids Of all the promoters and collectives looking to expand the boundaries of the D.C. music scene, no one showed more hustle and determination in 2016 than the Nu Androids crew. Across dozens of events, Nu Androids delivered a wide range of DJs, whether international favorites like Brodinski and Ryan Hemsworth or local EDMers Manila Killa and Julius Jetson. Their finest moment? Unleashing the frazzled pop of SOPHIE and Danny L Harle at a.i., their “pop-up auditory experience” that turned a downtown club into a synesthetic adventure. —Chris Kelly