The largest electronic dance music festival in LA returns to downtown's Los Angeles Historic Park this weekend on Saturday, August 3rd and Sunday, August 4th. The sold out sixth annual installment of HARD Summer will feature performances from today's leading EDM artist and hip-hop performers such as, Knife Party, Justice (DJ Set), a Duck Sauce reunion, Dog Blood, Bassnectar, Empire of the Sun live performance, 2 Chainz, Green Lantern, Zedd, Crystal Castles, Baauer, and Dillon Francis. Thousands of festival goers sporting their freshest festival steeze, favorite DJ shirts and little to no clothing will invade downtown as they indulge in their favorite music while overlooking the majestic LA skyline.
Accompanying the festival is the official after party held at Exchange LA, the former Los Angeles Stock Exchange Building turned nightclub for those wanting to keep the party going past midnight. The 21-and-over event will also feature sounds by Destructo (aka Gary Richards the festival founder) and friends. This years festival line-up features one of the most stacked ever, with everything from electro, house, dubstep, trap, deep house and techno to satisfy your EDM pallet. In an effort to get you pumped for the weekend we put together a short playlist of tracks and artist you may not be as familiar with, but we recommend should be on your radar this weekend. So crank up your speakers and groove along with us because we can't wait to party HARD with you!
5. Keys N Krates - "Treat Me Right"
Though the Toronto-based group Keys N Krates has a new single "Dum Dee Dum" which makes you want to twerk it on the dance floor, we're still hypnotized by "Treat Me Right" which was released on Dim Mak Records this Spring. The first single off their forthcoming Solow EP was premiered on the infamous BBC Radio 1 Annie Mac show and Diplo's "Diplo & Friends." The video features a trip through space, time and romance novels as they blend a mix of trap, electronic hip-hop. The group is most notably known for creating a live electronic experience as Adam Tune plays the drums, David Matisse shows his mastery on the keyboard and internationally award-winning DJ Jr. Flo rocks it on the turntables. With gigs at Lollapaolooza, Center of Gravity Festival and HARD Summer this weekend alone, Keys N Krates are proving their blend of rap beats and electronic sounds is quickly catching on.
4. Destructo - "Higher"
The HARD Events founder Gary Richards responsible for HARD Summer, Day of the Dead, Holy Ship!!! and more released his Higher EP on Boys Noize Records last month. As Destructo (his DJ moniker), Richards showcases his veteran DJ skills and --with the help of co-producer U-Tern--created two new tracks "Higher" and "2112," mixing dirty bass and euphoric synths. The "Higher" video brings back that '90s feel of the Grand Master Flash sample used in the song of sex and addiction while giving it a modern spin. Peaking at No.1 in the Beatport tech house new releases, it's no wonder the song has been supported by everyone from BBC Radio 1's Pete Tong to Skrillex. With remixes by Brodinski which gives the track a techno feel and Tommy Trash who adds his trademark electro sound, we don't doubt this is a track that will be added to various sets throughout the weekend.
3. Claude VonStroke - "Can't Wait"
After a decade of throwing legendary parties in San Francisco, original Dirtybird labelmates Claude VonStroke, Christian Martin, Justin Martin and Worthy are basking in the dance music spotlight. They host their own stage at HARD Summer on Sunday featuring artist like Justin Jay, J. Phlip, Breach and Eats Everything. Expect the Dirtybird Records label head to bring his signature groovy house sound for a nearly two-hour set. With his third full-length album Urban Animal slated to be released September 17th and the first singles "Can't Wait" and "The Clapping Track" due out August 5th, you can expect tons of new music and bass heavy deep house that will make all the booties clap. (Why aren't they throwing their own underground party after?!) With sound bites taken from urban settings and live recorded samples, there's no telling what kind of musical journey this mastermind will take us on.
2. Paper Diamond & Christian Rich - "XIX" feat. Angela McCluskey
Following the release of his Paragon EP, Paper Diamond became a house hold name in the bass community and regular on the festival circuit. With appearances everywhere from Movement Electronic Music Festival, Bonnaroo, Lighting in a Bottle, HARD Summer, Shambhla, Tomorrowworld, and North Coast, Paper Diamond has proven his energetic shows are the perfect medley of breaks, dubstep, electro house and even glitch hop. Born Alex Botwin, he's worked with artist like Pretty Lights and Diplo and his recent 11-track EP featuring Protohype, Gavin Turke and Cherub further solidifying his cross genre appeal. Though we are fans of the grimy dubstep, his track with Christian Rich "XIX" showcases Angela McCluskey's enticing vocals with the melodies of the bass heavy beats. It's no wonder Zed's Dead enlisted him to join his "Altered States" tour which features an eclectic array of artist including rap legend Green Lantern.
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1. Gesaffelstein - "Pursuit"
Gesaffelstein's latest release, "Pursuit," on his new home EMI France proves why the sultry sounds of techno are making their way stateside again. Leaving his French posse and Ed Banger crew for a live set at the HARD main stage, we hope this brings back nostalgia from the days of Justice and Daft Punk conquering festival dance floors. The "Pursuit" video was censored by YouTube and we're thinking it's for more reason than the hot ass at the past minute mark. The semi-disturbing images go along with the synths and almost mysterious allure of the artist. Along with his bromance label mate Brodinski, they have brought the spotlight back to techno with a new onset of electro and electronica. The duo most recently co-produced two tracks on Kanye West's Yeezus album--"Black Skinhead" and "Send It." With a debut album due out October 28th, we expect plenty of new music from Gesaffelstein this weekend.