🎧 Songs of the Week #14: I'm here for one night only.
📅 December 17-23, 2022: Featuring Ekali & ZHU, Ricky Remedy & Shayne, Nana The Shrimp & DZA, Cid Rim, and Mona San
Welcome to week #14 of the Steel Orca Songs of the Week.
Happy holidays 🎄 and merry Christmas 🎅 to everyone! I will have to make this issue of the newsletter quick, given that I have a lot of things to do like anyone (we’re hosting the holiday festivities this year, so there is added pressure).
Also, who wants to move to Canada? Ashley Joannou reports:
“Environment Canada says wind chill values across all of Alberta and more than half of Saskatchewan will make it feel like minus 40 or colder, while some areas of northern Alberta, the Yukon and Northwest Territories will endure wind chill of minus 50.”
-40 degrees is the point Fahrenheit and Celsius meet, by the way. This is meme-level cold Canadian weather. We just installed a new gas fireplace in our main living room (previously an unusable wood fireplace), and I’m not sure what I would be doing without it right now. I’m like a baby bird under a heat lamp.
Also, I’m not one to boast, but I called the Substack outage that occurred Wednesday (time below is in MT):
Less than 36 hours later:
Anyways I’m not going to write about that at length in this week’s newsletter, butresponded to me in the Substack Office Hours chat:
Re: the outage, I've worked at Substack for nearly 2 years, and I believe the one this week was the worst one I've experienced. And it was for just over an hour.
Two things are being said in that sentence that need to be broken down further. Neither is great. We plan to cover this in the next issue of Steel Orca Tech Support (bi-weekly Mondays at 10 pm PT).
Next issue January 2. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss it.
Finally, for the first time in, I think, 7-ish years, I’m off for a full (extended) holiday break (returning January 3rd). I’m hoping that it can be productive on the newsletter front. Clara Beth and I have some big plans for the new year that we're working on. Wherever you are, hopefully, you can get some time with family.
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Here are the songs for the week of December 23, 2022 🎄.
▶️ Youtube Music: Songs of the Week #14
As I said, I was as slammed as anyone typically is during these pre-holiday/holiday buffer zone weeks. This is especially true as we are hosting my family at my house this year, which is new. That comes with additional cleaning and preparation that I can usually impose on my parents or in-laws. Not this year.
To that end, Clara Beth helped me pick out some of the songs and also helped with some of the writing this week. I encourage her to get out from behind the camera and write something more regularly. As I said in last week’s post, in the new year, we’re going to begin releasing several new series (all under the fancy new Steel Orca banner). She has stories to go with all the incredible pictures. Maybe we should encourage her to share them.
Ekali, ZHU - Blame
Release Date: January 5, 2018
Spotify Plays: 22,178,183
Origin: Vancouver, British Columbia 🇨🇦, San Francisco, California 🇺🇸
So the deal with this song is that I typically dedicate at least a few hours a week (2+, ideally?) to listening to new music so I can figure out five songs I like for this newsletter. I didn't have time between preparing for Christmas and wrapping up work.
I mentioned that to Clara Beth, who said she had some songs for me to listen to. I’m going to admit they didn’t all do it for me. This one did, however.
Clara Beth writes:
“Tonight, we drove to the next town to do our annual Christmas lights tour. The Christmas lights in our town are always a bit of a letdown, especially considering it’s the “fancier” one. That meant I got 40 minutes total of driving time where I could blast some fun tunes, like this collaboration (I think it’s cooler to say “collab,” but I’m old(school)) between Ekali and Zhu. My 6-year-old likes to listen to music as loud as I, but his younger brother doesn’t share our fondness for loud volumes. Luckily, I’m the mom and the driver, and he’s strapped into a car seat in the back, so I win, and he tolerates it (we switched to Christmas music for the light tour). Luckily, we timed our tour when the local fire and rescue team was doing their “Santa Claus Cruise” through town. If you’ve never seen Santa Claus riding on top of a firetruck at -30 degrees celsius, throwing out full-size chocolate bars (we got 5!) to near hypothermic children, time to visit small town British Columbia.
But I digress. “Blame” has over 20 million plays on Spotify, so apparently, other people also like this song. ZHU (aka Steven Zhu) and Ekali (aka Nathan Shaw) are a treat to listen to. You know you’ll be dancing in your seat when the song starts with the sound of snapping fingers. This track is dark at times, and ethereal at others but jam-packed with sick (do people still say that?) staccato-style drops, big horns and an ever-changing beat. For some reason, I’m a fan of airy falsetto (à la Max Vehuni of Slenderbodies), and ZHU’s whispery vocals don’t disappoint. Fun fact, I found out that Ekali is based out of Vancouver, which is quite neat (Canadians like it when they find out other people are also Canadian).
You can see both ZHU and Ekali at Insomniac’s New Year’s Countdown in SoCal.”
Ricky Remedy, Shayne - One Night
Release Date: January 14, 2022
Label: Ricky Remedy
Spotify Plays: 163,192
Origin: Cuba 🇨🇺, Ireland 🇮🇪
This is a straight-up techno club banger, self-released by Ricky Remedy. I’m surprised that this song has as few plays as it does. This is where social media marketing promotion comes in, I guess. Of course, the volume has to be turned up to do this song justice. Techno 🤷.
From Ricky’s website:
“Known for his masterful precision of 808s, Ricky ‘Remedy’ Duran was brought up on the sounds & varied cultural styles of his Cuban heritage and a range of musical genres…
From hip-hop to dubstep to house, Remedy has mastered crossbreeding multiple styles and genres to create a unique sound that today defines him as a whole.”
SHAYNE (nee Shayne Mulrooney) from Shannon, Ireland, describes himself on his Soundcloud as follows:
SHAYNE is an Irish House & electronic music producer, radio presenter and DJ.
First bursting onto the music scene at the age of 14 , SHAYNE has established himself as a highly sought after DJ booking slots at some of the biggest clubs and events in Ireland.
At the time of writing, neither artist was on tour (it’s the holidays, what do you expect?)
Nana The Shrimp, DZA - Fireworks
Release Date: August 3, 2018
Genre: Electro House
Spotify Plays: 1,110,850
Origin: Los Angeles, California / Miami, Florida 🇺🇸
This is a hard song for me to write about as it has no lyrics, I don’t know anything about Nana The Shrimp or DZA, and this is one of those songs that just randomly popped up in my Discover Weekly playlist. I did have a nana growing up though, so I’ll do my best.
Interestingly, Nana The Shrimp made this album Fake ID audiovisual, meaning this is effectively a concept album with gif-style music videos corresponding to each song. That is a brilliant idea (more electronic musicians seem to be picking up on this trend with Spotify). Check her page out on Youtube for more.
DZA is verified on Spotify but isn’t a huge act and only has a handful of songs listed there. Not much to say there.
We’re not in danger of seeing this performed anytime soon (with all this spare time I have to see live music, ha ha ha).
Cid Rim - He Who Runs With The Flock Inevitably Follows Asses
Release Date: March 9, 2022
Spotify Plays: 186,659
Origin: Austria 🇦🇹
One of the things I’ve realized writing this newsletter, beyond how many French DJs there are, is how much good music comes out of Austria. I had no idea. Austria? I think skiing, that’s it.
But no, we had Volant and Punker in this spot (both Austrian) last week, and this week, we have Cid Rim. I wonder if they’ve ever crossed paths.
This song is from his EP Songs for Vienna, which Cid describes on his Bandcamp as follows:
A lament to his city, the songs all have a sense of movement: running with the flock, 4 am walks, riding the underground. Music for the liminal spaces that naturally draw out our thoughts. As Carl Jung once wrote: “who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes”.
The meaning of this song’s lyrics feels relatively self-evident. That’s not really why I like the music.
I think it’s the production, especially near the end, that I like. He does a pretty good breakdown for about the last 45 seconds, but it’s subtle, so you don’t notice how well done it is, though it’s good enough that it made this list.
Cid Rim is not currently on tour.
Song of the Week 🙌
Mona San - Mama Always Told Me
Release Date: July 2, 2021
Label: Sans Huile de Palme
Genre: Electro House
Spotify Plays: 1,463,112
Origin: France 🇫🇷
The name of his label translates to “Palm Oil Free.”
This song is fantastic. Short (not even two minutes) but perfectly produced, super hype, and fun. Mona San is also just a great name.
This is from Mona San’s EP Brain Child, which despite having seven songs on it to this playlist’s five, comes in shorter at 13 minutes 29 seconds. Nevertheless, it is worth a listen, and obviously, you can get through the whole thing in the time you take a shower. Regarding the album, Mona San said the following in an interview with fuxwithit.com:
“I wanted them to look like demos, sketches, notebooks that were a little rough around the edges, hence their rather particular length. What was important for me was to get in the mindset of a child that isn’t really aware of any codes or creative restrictions because they haven’t been submerged by the culture entirely. So I wanted to do a little bit as I saw fit.”
The songs on this album are bite-sized, and the album itself is an appetizer. Though he’s come out with a few other singles and another three-song EP since this came out, it feels like we’re still awaiting the main course.
He doesn’t have any tour dates listed anywhere that I could tell, but if you want to keep track of him, it looks like your best bet is either his Soundcloud or Instagram.
That’s it for this week from all of us here at the Steel Orca.✔️👋
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