This Week in House Music: Kaleena Zanders, Party Pupils, Ōona Dahl, Class Action, Chris Wiltshire & Larry Levan
"Tonight it's party time, it's party time tonight!" Well, maybe not, depending when you're reading this. But, as we learned during the pandemic, we can get pretty creative with our "partying." Maybe it's just dancing around with our pets and roommates, or blasting upbeat tunes on a walk, run, or drive to clear our heads. However you choose to celebrate life for life's sake, I hope these tunes help you do so.
Best New Track: Kaleena Zanders & Party Pupils – ME WITHOUT U [Helix Records, Aug. 26]
Kaleena Zanders is here to keep the joyful energy of '80s / '90s diva house alive, and her latest single produced by Party Pupils, "ME WITHOUT U," is exactly that In just two-and-a-half minutes. Led by Zanders' powerhouse vocals, it packs a solid dose of energy and euphoria, the perfect track to pick you up or get you going.
"Whitney was one of my favorite singers and I always thought her voice married with dance and '80s pop so well," the Los Angeles-based artist said in a press release. "I drew inspiration from the goddess and Party Pupils laid down such an effervescent fresh disco pumping instrumental that blew me away and alas, we have this big baby banger.”
Best New Mix: Öona Dahl - Promise Cherry Beach Toronto 12.06.22
The ethereal fairy queen of the underground, Öona Dahl always brings witchy wonder and deft mixing to her sets. She just shared the recording of her set from Toronto's Promise Cherry Beach party she played in June. Tune in for an energetic two hours of deep, dark pulsing house and techno. Track IDs include her excellent Watergate release "Godtripper," "Slip n Slid (Acid Dub) from DNA Presents, "Prism" by John Digweed, Nick Muir and Jamie Stevens, "Hornstase" by Carsten Halm, and "Empire" from Stan Kolev and Matan Caspi.
Best Classic Track: Class Action feat. Chris Wiltshire – Weekend (Larry Levan Mix) [1983, Sleeping Bag Records]
"Tonight it's party time, it's party time tonight!" Chris Wiltshire playfully, convincingly implores on the dance classic "Weekend."
While house was birthed from disco's ashes, it's not like disco actually died. New York City's famed Paradise Garage, helmed by house forefather Larry Levan, was a magical place where both danced in harmony, alongside new wave and more. "Weekend" was a Levan favorite, a disco / house classic that understandably got the dance floor lit af.
Wiltshire is a powerhouse studio singer/songwriter who sang with many studio bands, including Class Action, a one-time studio band Levan gathered to record his version of Class Action. Levan also played the original "Weekend," which was recorded by Phreek, Patrick Adams' studio group that also included Wiltshire. The original was never commercially released, so William Socolov, co-owner of legendary (now-defunct) New York indie label Sleeping Bag Records, invited Levan to record a new version. It hit No. 9 on the Billboard Dance chart and No. 49 on the U.K. singles chart. The B-side includes the perfect, high energy "Larry Levan Mix" version.