🎧 Songs of the Week #13: Always we try to bring ourselves ease, relaxation, and peace of mind through a material goal, which is impossible. Nothing really satisfies.
📅 December 10-16, 2022: Featuring Daily Bread, The Caracal Project, Cruel Youth (BKAYE Remix), Volant & Punker, and Oliver Smith feat. Amy J Pryce (Meramek Remix)
Welcome to week #13 of the Steel Orca Songs of the Week.
Well, we’re on the cusp of the holiday season now, and as a result, I’m super busy and getting to this relatively late on a Thursday night (8:30 pm!). So, as a result, I think this post will probably be a bit lighter in the meme department.
If you want memes, check out last week’s post. I am realizing now that including a bunch of random links in a newsletter or blog seems like I’m inviting malice from unknown internet actors 🤖, but hey, this is the 21st century. They’re just jokes, people 🤷.
Here are a couple of updates for this week:
I had some technical issues with Chrome after Substack made the latest update, but I didn’t get anywhere with Substack’s ticketing system or Twitter, so I switched to Edge. A bit disappointing, but the platform is free (beyond my paying for the domain, which was a one-time deal). I’m getting what I pay for, and other people were at least not reporting the problem, so maybe it’s all my fault. Irregardless, I checked out Ghost, but that platform is relatively expensive. Maybe when I become more professional, I’ll pay for it.
Traffic is way down, but subscribers are way up. So that’s a pretty good sign, I’d say. I also got some pretty good feedback from a few other writers (shout out to FRESH by wing and Songletter) who write along similar lines to us here at the Steel Orca, so that’s awesome. Every bit of encouragement helps 🙏.
The last thing before the music - in the new year, we’ll start releasing more personal stuff by other writers now that I know we can consistently produce material we can be proud of each week. Grammarly has been the most significant help for that thus far, despite its relatively high price. It helps me not make mistakes, rewrite stuff for clarity, and improve my writing overall. Songs of the Week seems like a sort of silly idea, but the point is whether I can produce something I’m proud of consistently at the same time each week. And my writing has improved.
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Here are the songs for the week of December 16, 2022 🐇.
Youtube Music ▶️: Songs of the Week #13 - Steel Orca
I picked the songs on Monday this week, so I’ve been listening to them consistently (probably too much) for about four days. I probably have to find a better balance, so I don’t end up listening to the same five songs non-stop for almost a week. On the other hand, that’s probably a good indicator of how good this playlist is. I recommend blasting these songs in your car (assuming you have a decent car with a decent stereo). If you don’t, I don’t know. You’re on the internet, you’ve found the newsletter, and you’re seemingly an adult. I’m sure you can figure it out.
Also, random aside, rumours are swirling that Apple Music has better-quality audio than Spotify. I’m not about to switch to Apple Music anytime soon, but many reputable sources have mentioned that. Something to consider now that my tastes are becoming more refined.
Daily Bread - Meditate
Release Date: March 27, 2020
Label: Philos Records
Spotify Plays: 165,758
Origin: Atlanta, Georgia 🇺🇸
My co-contributor, in charge of our Instagram and all of the fancy photography on each post, has meditated each night for the last several years. She uses Sam Harris’ Waking Up app. She has been pushing me to get into it for a year now. I haven’t. Instead, I have an anger problem that I’m just barely keeping a lid on.
Daily Bread (née Rhett Whatley) has a lot of great songs, this is just the one that showed up in my Discover Weekly playlist this week, so it’s the one that ended up here. The other one I love is Next Level Style or any of the songs he did with Artifakts. The irony is that I can’t listen to that song while I write this because it’s too catchy and distracting. Time to switch to lo-fi so I can get this done by a reasonable time and go to bed like a responsible adult.
Daily Bread has less than a handful of shows on his current calendar. Check out when you can see him next and buy tickets here.
The Caracal Project - Modern Intimate, Pt. II
Release Date: October 15, 2020
Label: The Caracal Project
Spotify Plays: 654,386
Origin: France 🇫🇷
When I looked up The Caracal Project, they are described as a drum and bass project from France. Originally a duo, founding member Maxime Engel left the group in 2019, leaving Felix Burnod as the lone member. This song came out well after that.
I originally had this song as the song of the week before I switched up the order. There are a lot of things I like about this song - this is perfectly produced, layered, catchy, subtle, and danceable, but it’s also got a couple of great string breakdowns in the middle and at the end that make it seem sophisticated. This is a song that I need to be a better writer to do justice. It’s definitely not drum and bass; I at least know that much.
Similar to Daily Bread, The Caracal Project only has a handful of dates on the calendar (it’s the holidays). Check them out here.
Cruel Youth - Mr. Watson (BKAYE Remix)
Release Date: June 17, 2016
Spotify Plays: 3,521,062
Origin: New Zealand 🇳🇿 & England 🇬🇧 (Menlo Park, California 🇺🇸)
Ok, this song should, in theory, be easy for me to write about as this is a certified Steel Orca Classic (there’s no award for that currently, but there will be in the future, you can bet). This one was on repeat when I was deep in my pandemic running phase.
Cruel Youth has a relatively intriguing backstory. Lead singer Teddy Sinclair (who previously recorded two solo albums under the name Natalia Kills) started the band with her husband Willy Moon after they were removed as judges on the New Zealand version of The X Factor in 2015. I’m sure everyone already knows that story.
Cruel Youth is not currently touring. According to Songkick, their last show was in 2016. Most recently, Teddy Sinclair has been credited as a composer and lyricist on K-pop supergroup Blackpink’s latest album, BORN PINK.
Volant, Punker - Godwave
Release Date: March 29, 2019
Spotify Plays: 1,428,772
Origin: Austria 🇦🇹
It sounds cool even when you say the name of this song - Godwave by Volant and Punker. I like that this song takes so long to kick in (more than a minute before the early Justice-sounding synth kicks in), and I like the weird echoey seagull sounds they start everything with.
I tried to look up Volant, and the only thing I could find was that they’re from Austria. I couldn’t find anything. This album (and everything else I could find on short notice) is self-released. Suppose this is just some random person making music this awesome in their basement; well, great work. I would encourage everyone to check out Volant’s album One, which is basically a concept album based on 2001: A Space Oddysey. It’s excellent. A song like this, and an album like this, is the reward I’m looking for each week for writing this newsletter.
I can’t even find a website for this person, much less a list of tour dates. If you want to see them live, I assume step one is to buy a plane ticket to Austria. If anyone has any insight beyond that, leave a comment below.
Song of the Week 🙌
Oliver Smith, Amy J. Pryce - Lovingly (Meramek Remix)
Release Date: July 6, 2018
Spotify Plays: 1,463,112
Origin: London, United Kingdom 🇬🇧
Wow, I’ve successfully made it to the song of the week, and I’m not even falling asleep on my couch yet. The reason for that, however, is simple. I drank a Red Bull earlier. It works, to be honest.
This song, to me, is almost the song of the year at this point, especially given that I only started this newsletter 13 weeks ago, and there are only two weeks left. I love this song and feel like it will be hard to beat this late in the game.
With the original song released on March 23, 2018, this remix came on Anjunabeats Worldwide 08, a compilation album mixed by, and with a significant number of songs by, Oliver Smith. For reference and context, Anjunabeats is Above & Beyond’s label.
Meramek remixed this song, but here’s the thing about that: Meramek is the deep-house alias of Oliver Smith himself, so he’s remixing his own music. I sort of like that move. Further, Oliver Smith was the first signing (other than Above & Beyond) to Anjunabeats, and Meramek (it’s the same person) was one of the first signings to Anjunadeep (Anjunabeats corresponding deep trance/progressive house label). Oliver Smith is over-employed.
Meramek doesn’t have any tour dates listed since 2016, so maybe maintaining two identities playing live was too much. Oliver Smith, however, has a handful of shows on his calendar. At posting time, he actually has a show tonight at Anjunabeats Brisbane.
That’s it for this week from all of us here at the Steel Orca.✔️👋
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happy to be supporting fellow music writers, thanks a lot for the shoutout! had to do a little happy dance seeing Meramek on your list this week! worldwide 08 remains my favorite worldwide compilation to date - he may be over-employed but i'd love to see him return and do another one haha.