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This is the Future Times ethic: Rep your city hard, but find your crew wherever. The D.C. record label can count on grassroots support in U Street clubs and uptown house parties, but flagship duos Protect-U and Beautiful Swimmers draw much of their energy and attention from an international archipelago of autodidactic house DJs, offbeat electronic-music heads, and discerning fans. In 2013 the Swimmers were particularly busy, releasing the wildly creative Son LP and regularly jetting off to Europe to spin records in places where 3 a.m. is when the party might be peaking. The music they play, create, and remix is fundamentally inviting—as long as you can appreciate a well-dropped 4/4 groove—and it’s also sneakily cerebral. Tastemaker sites like Juno Plus, Test Pressing, and Fact find plenty to chew on; like-minded labels like L.I.E.S. and RVNG Intl. ensure that the musical conversation continually expands; and radio sites like NTS and Red Bull Music Academy push the sounds globally. For anybody reared on scene-oriented indie or punk music, it all might seem a bit nebulous. But there’s no doubt that this crew is thriving.