Dark dance music that says quarter life crisis
March 21, 2014 3:31 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for modern, dark, forward thinking, dance music which preferably somehow reflects on the theme of a quarter life crisis. Overly exacting specifications inside.

I'm trying to make a themed mix based around a character who is a 20 something DJ failing to make it in the New York underground scene. Unfortunately I don't know enough about dance music to actually find the tracks.

I'm looking for music that could conceivably be played in a modern club or radio DJ mix. The themes I'm trying to hit are the feelings of loneliness, listlessness, failure and falseness arising from your typical American quarter life crisis episode.

Bonus points for:
- Very specifically hitting the themes in lyrics. Suggestions which just 'sound like' or produce the same emotions also fine.
- Club music but forward thinking/progressive/underground.
- A diverse range of genres (i.e. not all techno).
- A range of tempos.
- New York references.
- But a strongly London influenced sound. Think Fade To Mind.

The kind of artists I'm considering:
Burial (maybe NYC or Loner)
Kelela (can't decide which track really fits though)
Ilum Sphere
Laurel Halo
posted by Erberus to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Soundsystem's All My Friends is basically the single-song anthem of every dissatisfied 20something I know.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:44 PM on March 21, 2014

Best answer: Phantogram (NY) or maybe She Wants Revenge (dark)? You Lov Her Coz She's Dead is definitely London (essentially the British cousin of Crystal Castles), though maybe too aggressive... maybe Sunday Best from them would be a fit.

You might also try using TuneGlue to explore from some of your starting points above?
posted by axiom at 4:09 PM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Echo Friendly - Same Mistakes is a softer selection that evokes those feelings.

Or the Diplo Remix of Peter , Bjorn, and John's Young Folks is more dancey on the same theme.

Edited to add: Icona Pop - I love it
posted by cakebatter at 4:11 PM on March 21, 2014

For some reason I'm thinking any group that incorporates a lot of dubstep might be what you're after.

Plan B (Ft. Chase and Status) might be a group to consider. Their song 'Pieces' fits.
posted by stubbehtail at 4:11 PM on March 21, 2014

Best answer: Maybe Trahision by Vitalic? There's a few other Vitalic songs that might apply too.

Mercury Tears by Chromeo, if you think it's dance-y enough.

depressing electronica not about lost love and something you can dance to is quite the challenge...

Semi-sarcastically, but it's not overly happy so it works... The Prime Time of Your Life by Daft Punk. Also Fragile by Daft Punk.

I want I want by Digitalism.

Organ Donor by DJ Shadow

Find some indie rock music that fits the bill and then find good remixes of them to truly flesh out the mix.
posted by lizbunny at 4:48 PM on March 21, 2014

Yeah LCD Soundsystem seems like an obvious choice here. Losing My Edge might even be too on the nose, but there you go.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:23 PM on March 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I was going with LCD Soundsystem here too, but with All I Want
posted by shortyJBot at 5:51 PM on March 21, 2014

Best answer: What year is this set in? DJing tends to be very 'of the moment' unless you're taking some liberties with the story (which can often be a good thing).

Here are some artists that may fit. I'll leave it up to you to find specific tracks that say what you want them to. I know when I'm feeling in that mood I don't always listen to stuff that is specifically about that mood.

try these artists first:
La Roux

these artists' songs may not all be lyrically what you're looking for, but I think they fit the mood:
The Knife
Miss Kittin

and for a more upbeat take on your themes:
Freezepop (this is mostly goofy but also has songs about lying in relationships)

There's a lot of 80's stuff that fits the mood you're looking for too. If I was a DJ I'd probably try throwing it in the mix, but maybe that's just me.

You could probably find set lists for some NY or UK DJ's online somewhere. That might be a good source.

Thanks for mentioning Fade To Mind, btw. I'm going to check out the other stuff too.
posted by the big lizard at 10:39 PM on March 21, 2014

Best answer: Venetian Snares - Gloomy Sunday.
posted by empath at 6:00 AM on March 22, 2014

This Kids and Explosions record Shit Computer is more of a mash-up album but it re-contextualizes rap and pop lyrics to make them sound more like they're actually about melancholy. But it still bangs.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:05 AM on March 22, 2014

Response by poster: What year is this set in? DJing tends to be very 'of the moment' unless you're taking some liberties with the story (which can often be a good thing).

Let's just say now - March 2014. I'm up for taking some liberties though as long as things sound plausibly 'correct.'

Not to thread sit I feel I should mention this includes anything an electric DJ could play in a radio mix - so hip hop and reggae are definitely in, even jazz and some classical (I seem to remember James Blake started his essential mix with Satie).

Thanks for all the suggestions so far.
posted by Erberus at 12:41 PM on March 23, 2014

Anything by Trust, but here's this corker 'Bulbform' for starters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pqgv65j3uBo&feature=kp
posted by stevedawg at 3:58 PM on March 23, 2014

Response by poster: I thought I would post what I ended up with in case it's useful for future readers. I've actually ended up splitting it into two mixes.

The first very specifically hits all the themes but it's mostly all indie (as in sort of sounds like indie music) dance music which I've realised isn't the sound palette I was aiming for at first.

LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends
ADULT. – Idle (Second Thoughts)
willie isz – Loner
Bullion – The Age of Self
Phantogram – Celebrating Nothing
Fischerspooner – In A Modern World
ADULT. – Nothing Lasts
Actress – Image
Legowelt – Are you really so Deep
Das Ding – Take Me Away
DJ Shadow – Mutual Slump

The second hits the right sound for me (forward thinking club music) but only really touches on the loneliness part of the theme. This one isn't finished since I would like to make it into a continuous mix and it's also currently too long. However since I don't know the first thing about DJing this might get kicked into the long grass.

Black Rain – Night City.Tokyo - London Version
Om Unit – Drift Interlude
Om Unit – Reverse Logic
Kate Tempest – Lonely Daze
Danny Daze – When The Freaks Come Out
Factory Floor – Fall Back
Randomer – Curtains
Helix – Linn Jam (No Synth)
Pinch & Mumdance – Turbo Mitzi
Casisdead – Seein' Double
NGUZUNGUZU – Tumultuous
Bok Bok – Melba's Call (feat. Kelela)
Visionist – Lost
Zomby – Vast Emptiness
John Holt – Strange Things
Prince Rapid – Prince
Tessela – Hackney Parrot
Kinetic & Mark Recoil – Cold Streets
Quadrant – Mayday
Djrum – The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn - Undercoat Pt. 2
Burial – NYC
Brock Van Wey – Forever A Stranger
posted by Erberus at 10:21 AM on May 16, 2014

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