Though we often wax a little poetic in these introductory blurbs, this time we're going to just cut to the chase: It's almost Friday. You want to have fun in a nightclub. But you don't know where to go. Relax. Here we are again with our ass-saving cheat sheet of this week's top picks. Yeah, yeah. Thank us later. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Thursday, June 20. 9 p.m. $15-$20
In their home country of Sweden, Rebecca & Fiona are superstars. Their music connects ABBA and the Swedish House Mafia by grafting glossy pop melodies onto thumping club drumbeats. Their persona has been honed: They're two likable party girls with a self-professed love for alcohol and a taste for fashion. It was the combination of all of the above that helped them beat both Avicii and Swedish House Mafia to win the "Best Electronic/Dance" category in the 2012 Swedish Grammy Awards. Together they offer a small female counterpoint to the male-dominated world of commercial EDM. They play Ruby Skye this Thursday.
The above reads like a whole bunch of boilerplate. And to be honest, that's because it is. Rebecca Scheja and Fiona Fitzpatrick are the product of a well-oiled machine, the same as any other number of pop musicians working in EDM. What's interesting about them is the way their mythology doesn't really try to hide this at all. It's a bit of a sea change amid the recent scramble for street cred (think Skrillex's Detroit techno documentary and Steve Angello's defense of his no-headphone mixing).
Though active since 2008, their popularity was assisted by the runaway success of Rebecca & Fiona, a reality show broadcast by Swedish Television in 2010. It focused on the day-to-day tribulations of the young duo as they worked their way towards dancefloor celebrity. It was a natural aspiration, as both enjoyed some level of fame prior: Fitzpatrick was a champion rock climber and Scheja was child actress. Both have families that run deep in the culture industry in both Sweden and America. That show established them not only as DJs but also as pop stars with a large public persona.
Naturally, music followed. "Luminary Ones" opened the volley in 2010 with a slice of guitar-driven indie-dance. That was quickly followed by their debut LP, I Love You Man!, in 2011, and "Turn it Down," a 2012 collaboration with Kaskade (who single-handedly introduced them to the American mainstream). Along the way, some cried foul, arguing that their music sounded remarkably similar to the output of their more experienced DJ boyfriends Adrian Lux and Carli, whom the duo admitted to working with early on. But that issue seems to be missing the point, for the same reason that nobody ought to be surprised or outraged when they play a pre-rehearsed set: Their realm, like much of EDM, is dance music produced amid the spectacle of celebrity. There's not much that anyone can do to change that, and to be honest, we could probably use a few more female celebrities working in the American mass-market festival scene.
Thursday, June 20. 9 p.m. $20-$40
As a club music producer, you either court underground cred or mainstream success, rarely both. Boys Noize's Alexander Ridha, however, is an edge case that's managed to bridge the gap. The reason? He takes the gritty boom of electro-house (à la DJ Hell and Felix Da Housecat) and adds a cutting-edge light show inspired by Deadmau5 and Daft Punk. Listen to his BBC Essential Mix.
Friday, June 21. 10 p.m. $10
Mixing two songs together is great and all, but sometimes DJs leave something to be desired. That won't be a problem at Icee Hot's latest bash -- it's dispensing with selectors to focus on Innerspace Halflife (check out this Boiler Room) and Ital (hear "Pulsed"), two retro house acts who specialize in live-with-hardware performances. Expect esoteric gear, rough edges, and tripped-out, old-school fun.
Friday, June 21. 9:30 p.m. $13-$20; publicsf.com
"Neurofunk": What is that? If you've ever pondered such a thing, then your answer lies in the music of U.K. artists Ed Rush and Optical. They pioneered the genre in the late '90s by infusing the hyperactive skitter of drum 'n' bass with dense jazz and a heavy dose of backbeat-driven funk. Head over to Youtube to stream their 1998 masterpiece Wormhole.
Saturday, June 22. 10 p.m. $10-$20
It's hardly a secret that the '90s are back in a big way. One party that's championed the revival from the very beginning is 1994, a roving event now situated at the Rickshaw Stop. There, you can join in on the nostalgia with a revolving cast of fluorescent club kids and a soundtrack straight from the golden days of MTV2.