Can you believe it? Some lucky bastards are down in Mexico right now losing their minds on some pristine beach in Playa Del Carmen. Yes, you might say that this probably happens everyday, but this week is special. It's the annual BPM festival, and just about every major DJ in the world seems to be down there. If you're like most people on the West Coast, you can only think about it with jealous envy. But don't get too worked up: San Francisco has some pretty damn good parties to help keep your mind off it. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Thursday, Jan. 10, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
James Glass isn't a household name in the Bay Area, but he ought to be. A record collector who rarely makes appearances these days, he's one of the most on-point disco-oriented selectors we've ever heard. Pulling from a volumnious collection and using his precise skills, he's able to ride that rare line between technical brilliance and artistic song selection. Don't believe us? Read our glowing review of his recent set warming up a Monarch dancefloor at 6 a.m. on New Year's Eve. Outside of the world of DJing, he's also a sharp producer who makes edits with Garth as duo King & Hound. Check out this punky edit of The Unit's classic "High Pressure Days" and this website full of his mixes.
Saturday, Jan. 12, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
If you're looking for a fix of Latin-tinged, avant-garde dance music, few parties deliver like Tormenta Tropical. The long-running Mission-staple has, as its Facebook page states, "always been about exploring the latest sounds generated in the hazy zone [where] classic Latin and tropical rhythms meet modern technology." Now, with the first party of 2013, it doesn't seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. This month brings New York-based DJ/producer Dubbel Dutch, who just recently scored an internet hit with the dancehall-tinged "Self Help Riddim." Also on deck is EL G, the head of notable Argentine cumbia label ZZK. Get a feel for the sounds he's into by listening to his record label's recently released Future Sounds of Buenos Aires compilation.
Friday, Jan. 11, 10 p.m.-2a.m.
With deep roots in the German underground, few producers carry as much clout as Steve Bug. Throughout the '90s he was instrumental in developing and pushing the sounds that would one day become known as minimal (or "mnml" if you're into abbreviation). In particular it was his label, Poker Flat, that applied this scrubbed-down aesthetic to the more jumping rhythms of tech-house. Get acquainted with his early material by listening to "Loverboy" before stepping into the present with this mix, recorded last year at Fabric.
Saturday, Jan. 12, 10 p.m.-2 .am.
These days it's fairly rare for a party to get by on just the strength of its resident DJs. This is one of the many reasons that 2 Men Will Move You is such a recommendable party. Now a long-running affair at Amnesia, it's a fun exploration of italo, disco, and house courtesy of two of the city's most dedicated promoters. At the center of it is the duo of Primo and Jordan, the same "2 men" who've been at the controls since things began. Get into the spirit by listening to Rene's "Don't Hurt Me" and Kamar's "She's Crazy." As it says on its Facebook event page: this one's "a party for PEOPLE."
Friday, Jan. 11, 10 p.m.-2a.m.
When it comes to contemporary dance music, it would be hard to overstate the influence of Glaswegian DJ duo Slam. As co-founders of Scottish dance music label Soma, they've been behind some of the most enduring releases of the past 20 years -- not least of which was The New Wave, the EP that introduced the world to Daft Punk. But though their label looms large, it's really the duo's own productions that earned them a reputation as forerunners in the world of techno. Classic tracks like "Positive Education" and "Eterna" sound as fresh today as they did in the early '90s. It's been over a decade since Slam's last appearance in San Francisco, so be sure to catch the duo this Friday when they co-headline Public Works with H-Foundation.