Best Subversive DJ Who Plays Top 40 Pop

Teen Witch

Critics' Picks

Chicago is a major center for artsy twenty­somethings reinventing underground club culture by recombining 90s signifiers (club kids, riot grrrl, hyper-Photoshopped pop stars) in ways informed by social-media platforms (especially Tumblr). Zain Curtis, aka Teen Witch, has contributed as much or more than anyone in town, thanks largely to a long-running night at Berlin called CULT that until January provided this Internet-­based tribe a physical home. (He recently launched its successor, Total Therapy, also at Berlin.) Curtis is not only the scene's most influential curator (and one of its guiding sartorial figures) but also one of its better DJs. Lately his mixes have relied extensively on Top 40 bubblegum songs (Taylor Swift and One Direction are particular favorites), which he and other similarly obscure Soundcloud producers tear apart and reassemble into aggressively strange but highly danceable remixes, deconstructing the originals in a way that's entirely irony free.