Smalltown DJs know a good song when they hear it. The trendsetters behind The Hifi Club in Calgary have been picking chart toppers and underground favourites out of the crowd for a decade. Diplo, Dillon Francis, A-Trak, Jamie xx, and Chromeo all took The Hifi Club stage before they became household names. With a track record like that, you can bet the artists on Smalltown Pete’s playlist will be streaming in your headphones in 2017. Here’s his picks for the top tracks to come out of Calgary in 2016.
Want to hear these tracks as a playlist? Listen here.
Overxtra - Dominic Pierce
This is my favourite thing to come out of the city in 2016. The whole thing, start to finish. It sounds futuristic and classic at the same time, aka the best balance. Not only is Dom Calgarian but the Close to Modern and Inner Ocean record labels are based here as well so it's basically a trifecta of local goodness. This release was definitely slept on, although it was limited to 25 hard copies so maybe that's why?
VHS Pop - Hero
Hero is making waves and I know this because friends from outside the city have called me to ask about him. I expect to see him on some big commercial tunes in 2017 and onward. It's like Kanye meets Chromatics. Can't wait to hear more from this up and comer. Listen to “The Juice” it’s so good! Not all heroes wear capes.
Chuurch I - Chuurch
Calgary duo Chuurch released this one on Perfect Driver out of Los Angeles. Chuurch are like darkrave cowboys, and PD are one of the best labels out there for forward thinking but fun bass heavy house music. The Chuurch guys killed it with a break infused EP that takes you on a journey to whatever planet they were on while making it. So dope.
Breathe EP - OAK
Oak is a great dude and super creative musically, finding his sound and releasing great tunes while doing it. I really like the trap/wave/space/house vibes on this EP, and it was released via Noctilux who are a hardworking positive force in the local scene. It's hard to totally pigeonhole his sound - there's a definite Clams Casino influence in there. Bottom line is that it's a great debut release.
Libra Year - Beach Season
Pink Room - These guys are local celebs now, but maintaining a humble vibe. We worked with them on a remix for Laser and will hopefully collab again. At the show we played with them late last year there were a bunch of girls in the front row (and they definitely weren't there for Mike & I). Can't wait to see what kind of booty wave pop madness they cook up in 2017. Pink Room is such a tune.
The Rise feat. Piper Davis - Esette
Esette is a great Calgary house producer with a sound all her own. Producing, promoting and involved with Substation Recordings; she's a bit of a renaissance girl, & I know she can sing too which is cool. She is quietly amassing a great catalog of releases. More female electronic producers is one thing I'm excited for in 2017.
Preoccupations - Preoccupations
Preoccupations are my favourite band from here. Their music is dark and new wave in all the right ways. It’s got elements of Joy Division obviously but there’s also psychedelic Phil Spector wall of sound thing going on. Plus they write great songs.
Intimate venues, headlining festivals and local talent have put the world on notice that Calgary is a hub for electronic music in Canada. Local club goers and legendary DJs have already discovered what makes this growing scene so special. Get on the dance floor and see who takes the stage as The Hifi Club enters its second decade of trendsetting in Calgary, take a DJ class at Beat Drop, or check out Western Canada’s largest EDM festival as Chasing Summer takes over Calgary every summer.