🎧 Songs of the Week #11: You could be you. You could be free. You like to dance? Yeah, so do we.
📅 November 26-December 2, 2022: Featuring Coubo, Paraleven, Coastal, Koastle feat. DLG., and MEMBA
Welcome to week #11 of the Steel Orca Songs of the Week.
And just like that, it’s Friday again, and time for the Steel Orca. I hope everyone had a great week.
Like I said in last week’s post (and the post from the week before that), I’m barely getting over the illness plaguing the family and me for the previous three weeks 🤒. It doesn’t help that I’ve been staying up late working on this newsletter almost every night, but who cares? This is the only thing I have going on where I can reliably hit flow state and forget about what I’m doing for a few hours. As a result, that meant a little less sleep than I should have been getting, especially considering my battling a sickness. But it is what it is. The only time I have to write this is at night, and I’m enjoying myself, so I’m going to go with the flow. I want to ensure that I’m putting out a decent quality post and playlist every week at 10 am MT (noon ET, 9 am PT) every Friday, so if that means a little less sleep to ensure that, so be it. No one said that achieving my lifelong dream of becoming a music blogger would be easy.
I think anyone who starts a newsletter or any social media account has a tendency to get caught up in the numbers and how they’re trending. Am I trending up 📈? Trending down 📉? Staying the same? How can I improve my numbers?
That’s especially true this week now that Spotify Wrapped 🎁 has come out.
I love Spotify Wrapped and all the year-end summaries that come out for all the apps that do it. The first one I got into was Soundcloud in like 2017. I remember being blown away when the year-end list came out, which didn’t have anywhere near the fanciness of the new Spotify one.
On that note, I decided to log into Soundcloud and see what tunes I used to bump a ton before I switched to Spotify. This song, Trophies (Tim Gunter Remix) by Drake, was number one with a bullet. This is still one of my top ten (top five?) favourite songs of all time. Not an official remix, though, so not on Spotify, etc. This song absolutely slaps 👋, though.
So back to Spotify- the obvious question is, what was on my Spotify Wrapped this year? Well, I’m glad you asked! Here’s mine:
I don’t think anyone would be particularly surprised by that list if you’ve been reading this newsletter. Of particular note, Daktyl had two songs in my top 5 this year. Also, Homeskillet by Trickshott making the list, even though Trickshott apparently doesn’t make music anymore, proves how good that song is to me. Finally, as I noted in my tweet about this, despite being my top genre this year, I still have no idea what vapour twitch is.
The last bit of news before we get to the music: for the first time since the end of 2019, I’m travelling for work this upcoming weekend and getting on an airplane ✈️ and everything! It looks like the pandemic really is over. I’m excited as the flight will allow me a lot of writing time, so hopefully, that will mean more content next week than usual (I already have some solid plans). More to come on this. Stay tuned…
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Here are the songs for the week of December 2, 2022 ❄️.
Youtube Music ▶️: Songs of the Week #11 - Steel Orca
Before we start, here is one tip for the new people joining this week. If you’re reading this in your browser and would like the songs to play in their entirety within the playlist instead of giving you those 30-second previews, do the following:
Open a new tab in your browser.
Log into spotify.com.
Come back to this tab and refresh 🔄 this page.
If you do that, your browser will know that you’re logged into Spotify and, as a result, will play the whole song instead of the snippets. If you’re reading this as a proper email 📧 newsletter, then disregard all of this (click the link to open Spotify directly).
In terms of the music this week, it’s a bit of a varied selection, and it took me a bit to figure out what to include. However, one of the songs I didn’t include (it’s not super playlist-friendly), but that was very helpful to me psychologically this week, was Choose Yourself by Star Slinger. It’s basically a 21st-century version of Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrmann:
The line in this song that particularly resonated with me this week was the following:
One candle can light a thousand other candles
And still remain lit itself
Be that candle
So I suppose this newsletter is our attempt to be that candle 🕯️.
Coubo - Bubblehead
Release Date: July 1, 2021
Spotify Plays: 241,164
Origin: Krasnodar, Russia 🇷🇺
So I was attempting to research this song for the newsletter, and the first thing I found was that members of the r/trap subreddit had already posted about this song (and were seemingly excited about it). I’m not all that familiar with what constitutes trap music, and I think that, to the extent that this song would be considered trap, it would be sort of on the periphery. The only thing that I imagine makes it trap is the heavy/bouncy bass. I might feel differently if this song were played super loud in a bouncing lowrider.
Anyway, what do I say about this song? It’s subtle, a bit on the slow side. I like the production at the beginning- it’s a different sound that feels very Russian/Eastern Orthodox. It’s pretty unique, and I enjoy it.
From Bandcamp (circa 2015):
Coubo is an extremely talented 19 year-old producer from Southern Russia who has been making sensational vibes for quite a while now. There will be plenty of more Coubo to come, so we suggest that you all become familiar with the name.
He comes from an extremely musical family, and he himself has been involved with music since the age of eight. His uncle bought him a copy of FL Studio one day when he was younger and he started learning the program little by little each day until he got to the point where he is today.
His sounds captivate and hypnotize as well as mesmerize. Simple yet profoundly deep, heart-felt, soulful vibes are found resting at the center of each and every track. We highly suggest listening to this late at night when you are alone or when you are on the road driving. You will really feel the emotion of the music flow through you.
Paraleven - Align
Release Date: September 8, 2022
Label: Rose Avenue
Genre: Melodic House & Techno
Spotify Plays: 63,140
Origin: Atlanta, Georgia 🇺🇸
Recently discovered and signed to Rose Avenue by label heads Rüfüs Du Sol, Paraleven “[operates] at the intersection between deep spirituality, dance floor catharsis, and human experience.”
Beatport describes this song as melodic house/techno, but it seems pretty glitchy-sounding compared to other songs in that same category, so there is probably a better sub-genre that this could be described as. I wouldn’t have any idea what that would be, however. Does this count as vapor twitch 🤷?
If you want to learn more about Paraleven, Mauricio Viana did an excellent interview with him last month. Check it out here on Electric Groove.
Coastal - Hydroplane
Release Date: June 17, 2022
Spotify Plays: 507,185
Origin: Leeds, England 🇬🇧
Ok, the first thing I want to say about this song is that while the music is really great and quite catchy, I’m not sure these guys could have picked a worse name for their band and album.
First, the band’s name is Coastal, and the album this is from is titled Sea (Deluxe). Now, let’s think about that in terms of an internet search. Look up Sea by Coastal. What kind of results do you get? This album doesn’t even make the first page. However, when you look up the song using the search term “Hydroplane by Coastal,” you will have more success. But still!
Now I get that bands’ priorities when selecting their names aren’t how Google’s algorithm will rank their sites based on the search terms, but if I were their manager, I probably would have advised them to go with something else. But that’s just me. This is the 21st-century internet age, after all 👨💻.
In terms of the music, it’s a synth-heavy song with a bass line that sounds like someone is banging on an electronic tympani. From Bandcamp:
Coastal are Aaron Hetherington and Jonathan Fletcher. Hailing from Leeds in the United Kingdom, the duo’s journey has took them from fronting a Hardcore inspired metal band to now taking a leap into the 80s synthwave aesthetic - taking inspiration from their past exploits to make the genre their own.
Koastle, DLG. - Stay Close (Live Edit)
Release Date: July 21, 2022
Label: Koast to Koast Records
Spotify Plays: 60,240
Origin: Orange County, California / Austin, Texas 🇺🇸
First, I swear it’s just a coincidence that I picked two musical acts with variations on the name coastal. I’m assuming that’s how Koastle is pronounced, as opposed to “coast-lee,” but I honestly haven’t bothered to check. Rachel Gutman of sheeshmedia.com writes:
California-based electronic duo, Koastle, is making their mark on the EDM scene with their fresh take on pop-electronic music… The duo, which consists of Andy Mueller and Brett Beaudette, are transforming the electronic music space with their one-of-a-kind artistic abilities in terms of both music and visuals. The visionaries are pushing boundaries creatively and are unquestionably putting Koastle on the map…
According to their Instagram, Koastle made this song with DLG. (another musician who could have picked a more algorithm-friendly handle) over Zoom. From DLG.’s website (which, honestly, needs a bit of work):
DLG. is a 24-year-old Tejano musician, born and raised in Austin, Texas. Completely self-sufficient in his writing, recording, and engineering process, DLG. creates intricate sonic worlds with satisfying hooks and a wide appeal. Tom Misch meets Mac Miller, but with his own flair, DLG. is quickly becoming a force in the Indie and Alternative R&B space.
This is the live edit version of this song, which they made to be a little more conducive to, duh, playing live. According to their Instagram, they’re also quite active on TikTok (which I am entirely not on and not planning to embrace).
This song leans a bit more towards the pop/Chainsmokers side of EDM, which I’m not as much of a fan of, but this song is an exception. I like the last minute of the song, mainly the phaser synths. Gimmicks easily sway me.
Song of the Week 🙌🎵
MEMBA - Sun Sala
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Label: Foreign Family Collective
Spotify Plays: 2,572,761
Origin: New York City, New York 🇺🇸
Honestly, this song has been in my rotation for a few months now (since late summer), but there didn’t seem to be a great playlist to include this in where it would have made sense. I’m not sure it even makes sense here for this playlist, but the song is such a jam I figured, why the hell not?
A śālā (shala) is a Sanskrit term that means any "house, space, covered pavilion or enclosure" in Indian architecture. In the early Buddhist literature of India, śālā means a "hut, cell, hall, pavilion or shed" as in Vedic śālā (pavilion for Vedic recitation), Aggiśālā (hall with a fire), Paniyaśālā (water room).
So based on that definition and MEMBA’s official visualizer for the song (which is worth checking out), sun sala can be roughly translated to “sun pavilion.”
Based out of New York City (which is unexpected, given the sound), MEMBA debuted in 2018. Ryan Hayes of DJ Mag writes:
New York artists Ishaan Chaudhary and Will Curry are on a mission to bring fusion and individuality to their corner of dance music. The unlikely duo met by kismet in the forests of India. “We were at an archaeological dig. It was pouring rain and we were digging,” the pair tell DJ Mag, writing together via email. “Our shovels touched and that was it.”
From that point forward they have endeavored to fuse divergent styles and world rhythms. Curry formerly played in a Zimbabwean-style marimba band, and Chaudhary has always been inspired by the rhythms of Bollywood and Sufi music. Their goal is simple: to combine diverse elements in unexpected ways. From their perspective, globalization has created fragmented ethnically diverse communities begging to be brought together through music. “We want our shows to be a place to remedy the loss of connection in modern society — a place for everyone to share a moment of presence and hear a melting pot of sounds,” they say.
That’s it for this week from all of us here at the Steel Orca.✔️👋
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really love your format of breaking down each song in detail, subscribed! i also write music content on my Substack, would love if you could check it out and let me know if you'd be interested in a cross-feature!