7 Tracks that Explore Justin Martin's Expansive Sound

Mar 17, 2023

Ana Monroy Yglesias

4 min read

Justin Martin grew up in San Francisco and brings that Northern California eclecticism, creativity, and laid-back vibe to his fun-loving, left-field brand of dance music. He played a big role in Dirtybird Records' birth and rise, and put out the first release on the beloved label when Claude VonStroke launched it in 2005.

He was an integral member of Dirtybird for over a decade, releasing a wide range of house, tech house, and electro heaters on the label, including "Don't Go," "Let Go," and "Beat That Bird," along with his sophomore album Hello Clouds. He's since stepped out on his own and focused his energies on his own What To Do imprint.

His sound is never one thing. He's always pushing boundaries and experimenting with different ways to excite himself and the dance floor. Although it's hard to summarize Martin's expansive sound in just a handful of tracks, here are seven of his from across the years that give a taste.

1. Justin Martin & Sammy D - The Southern Draw (2005)

The Southern Draw EP was Martin's second release, and the debut release for Dirtybird. It's a collab with Sammy D, who he also paired up with on his first EP, Honey, Where's The Remote? "The Southern Draw" is a perfectly weird and groovy acid house-tinged track featuring a wacky spoken word dance instructional of sorts and a robotic moo. The EP also features a VonStroke edit of the title track.

2. Justin Martin - Don't Go (2012)

"Don't Go" is one of those tracks that was endlessly rinsed by DJs but never got old, and, in fact, still slaps. It's a massive, unforgettable JMart track showcasing the dreamier side of his sound, with simple yet enchanting vocals, a chill yet driving beat, and vibrant sonic flourishes, like the airplane taking off at the end (but she said "Don't go!"). Released by Dirtybird on his 2012 debut album Ghettos & Gardens, it's a classic that always sounds fresh.

3. Justin Martin & Eats Everything - The Gettup (2013)

"The Gettup" is another massive JMart Dirtybird track, a collab with Eats Everything, dropped in June 2013. This eight-minute heater has looped vocals, melodic piano stabs, handclaps, and a Dirtybird-certified bouncing beat. It's a slow burner that keeps you enticed as the elements build on top of each other. "The Gettup" fits in with other big Dirtybird tracks at the time from the likes of Shiba San and VonStroke, but still feels unique and distinct from the rest of the pack.

4. Justin Martin & FEMME - Hello Clouds (2016)

The title track of Justin Martin's second album, released on Dirtybird in 2016 is a dreamy, electro-tinged poolside bop. It features sweet and enchanting vocals from FEMME and plenty of Martin's signature unexpected sonic flourishes. "Hello Clouds" is like being gifted a free popsicle at a sunny rave.

5. Christian Martin & Justin Martin - Belter (2020)

Real ones are also fans of JMart's brother, Christian Martin, who has also played an active role in Dirtybird and the San Francisco electronic scene. And when the Martin brothers get together, its magic and its fun. Their March 2020 collab, the deep and sexy "Belter" was sure to be a summer rave anthem, until the coronavirus had other plans for us. It was dropped on Christian's amazingly titled Trippy Ass Technologies imprint, which " specializ[es] in joyful electronic music tailored for large scale soundsystems."

6. DRAMA - Give No Fucks (Justin Martin Remix) [2021]

In addition to being a great producer, JMart is also a stellar DJ and remixer, so we have to include one of his remixes on this list. His edit of Chicago duo DRAMA's "Give No Fucks" is seriously perfect, upping the tempo to make the sassy number even more apt to move the dance floor into a frenzy. You hear his touch and flair on the already-stellar track, but he still allows the original to shine, especially singer Via Rosa's warm voice.

7. Justin Martin & Claire George - Let's (2022)

"It feels so good to be in your arms, but I need you to let me go," Claire George's distorted voice announces at the beginning of "Let's." This track is chilled, deep, moody, and cathartic, with a cornucopia of sonic wonderments, including George's dreamy voice. Martin dropped it in 2022 on What To Do as the lead single to the Let's EP, which showcases a melancholic-yet-uplifting sound. What can't JMart do?

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