Your Apartment Is Now a Nightclub
Here are all of the best DJ sets and live music streams to quietly boogie to from the comfort of your own home.
Still from Floating Points featuring KDV Dance Ensemble & Friends via YouTube
Despite the fact that it is currently literally impossible to see live music in the flesh, there are now (and always have been) great ways to see both DJ sets and live performances online. The excellent thing about the Internet is that there are still plenty of ways to access the things that are the most joyful about every day life, it's all a matter of rewiring your brain. It can definitely be little jarring at first to get into the noble art of watching someone play a live music from your computer screen—the other night I watched a little bit of a set by the DJ Deep Creep, which was curated by New York’s Nowadays. I streamed the set on my laptop while sitting in my pajamas, and felt an insatiable need to boogie but regrettably did not. A few minutes into the set, I realized that it’s kind of nice to watch these DJs around the world play live music from their homes. It felt like the very essence of the phrase “alone together.” Experiencing music doesn't have to disappear as a pastime or social outlet. Watching live streams of sets can also be a really fun rabbit hole to fall down. There is such an incredible breadth of music to watch in the vast corridors of online—you just need to know where to look.
Whether you flock to live music to dance, relax, or attempt to find any normalcy in your day to day, here are a few places to check out music from the comfort of your own home, as recommended by me, and two extremely knowledgable friends. Pour yourself a drink (could be coffee, could be tea, could be wine), put on a CFH (club from home) outfit, FaceTime your best friend, and make sure your laptop is powered up. It's time to dance... your downstairs neighbors can deal with it.
The Lot Radio
Usually based in a shipping container on an empty lot in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the Lot is an online radio station that features live streams of amazingly curated DJ sets. It’s the perfect thing to listen to if you like your techno with a side of slightly obscure disco tracks and new wave bangers. During non quar times you can sit outside on the lot and have a beer while you sway in your seat. During current quar times you can sway in your seat with a beer in hand from wherever you are currently located. These days in the evenings, the nightclub Nowadays streams sets that are engineered to make you dance via the Lot’s website.
Initially based out of London, Boiler Room now curates parties around the world and uploads thousands of said performances to their website. All of the parties and events have been canceled, but you can still stream both old sets and brand new ones that take place in the homes of all of your favorite DJs. The musician Noah Prebish of Psymon Spine and Secret Friend recommends one particularly great set by the artist Floating Points. It features modern dancers performing in apartments wearing swimsuits and face masks, at the kitchen table, in empty fields, and amongst virtual backgrounds of cityscapes.
A really excellent rabbit hole to fall down is that of the iconic New Jersey based freeform radio station WMFU. I started listening to WFMU when I was a young and impressionable college radio DJ, and to this day find it to be one of my favorite ways to learn about music. I love tuning into DJ Faye’s show, “Domestic Partner,” which focuses on experimental pop music and often involves guest appearances from fellows DJs, artists and more. It’s the kind of heady and groovy stuff that makes me freak out every time.
Based out of Hackney in London, online radio station NTS offers an eclectic mix of DJ sets that represent all sorts of diverse sounds across genres. Writer Michelle Kim recommends an extremely soothing set curated by the composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and the artist Emily Sprague called “Touch the Plants,” which came out in the fall of 2018. It might not make you dance but it will certainly make you quietly vibe from your desk. Outside of NTS, Kim also recommends watching live stream vinyl sets from a small independent record store in Seoul.
This stream calls itself a television show and features not only DJ sets and live music performances but also segments called “Cat ASMR,” and yoga classes. Also recommended to me by Prebish, I watched a very dreamy acoustic set by the Beck Zegans of the band Goo on a Wednesday morning with a cup of coffee in hand and felt it was the perfect start to my day.