In recent days, music consumption has gleefully lent itself to the internet’s automated impulse. Even listening to songs on YouTube—like 42% of people aged 18 to 24—is becoming an uninvited game of chess, as auto-playing suggestions bookend every stream and almost always fuck up the vibe. Still, human music selectors—or DJs, as they were known in an earlier time—are working online as if nothing has changed. Web radio stations operate in peaceful opposition to the Internet’s commercial forces, choosing simply not to participate in it. Much like the pirate radio stations of previous generations, online channels are finding ways to disturb the consumer-friendly model for music, replacing it with something human and unpredictable.
It’s easy to imagine the world slipping into some dystopia where decisions belong to an all-seeing algorithm. Listening to a real person over the internet has a way of calming that anxiety, so here are some of the best online radio shows for when those "next" recommendations are too off, or worse, too on.
East Village Radio, Saturdays 10:00p
Ballers Eve has been going strong in NYC for over a decade now, supplying the entire city with the southern twang it deserves. On EVR, newly revived for web radio app Dash Radio, J.Dirrt and the Ballers Eve collective resurrect their infamous mid-2000s show with the same carefree vibes that characterize an entire region's rap history.
The Phuture Perfect
Dublab, First Mondays 4:00p
Detroit’s Zøraya has been DJing and putting on club nights for nearly a decade, influenced by the utopian future identity of the '90s Detroit underground. The Phuture Perfect, on the experimental station Dublab, is a sonic trip through time, taking you to some sector of the music future we haven’t seen yet before gently returning to the present. The trip runs every month, no algorithms required.