It's time for a synth-filled summer, and Indie Discotheque is here to make it happen for you. So many amazing tracks this month, from heavyweights like Amtrac and Tycho, to longstanding synth legends like Timecop1983 and The Bad Dreamers, the music released in May is here to get the heat sizzling. Turn up the volume and enjoy the top synth songs of the month!
1. Moonlight Breakfast – Dance Moves
Sometimes a track is so good you just have to share it with everyone. “Dance Moves” falls in line with this, and while it’s more in tune with the Nu Disco movement, the thick, juicy synth serves as a foundation across the entire track. The whispy arpeggiation acts as a wonderful bridge between verse and chorus, with stunning vocal production that keeps you singing along.
2. Amtrac – Formal Disco
The synth work across this new piece from Amtrac has a versatile, new age moodiness to it that could be reimagined in a variety of styles. While I haven’t heard any remixes to date, it could have its beats stripped away and filtered into a modern chill synth piece, or even provided with a more aggressive percussion stance and transform into a trance banger.
3. Tycho – Pink & Blue feat. Saint Sinner
Tycho with vocals works really well. While there has been enough backlash toward Saint Sinner to trigger an official statement about it, you can call me a fan. At first listen, this track seems like simplified pop, and while it reads like a RAC remix in a way, it’s Tycho’s synth work that really makes this track what it is. There are multiple layers happening, all bringing their own moods and textures.
4. Timecop1983 – My Delorean feat. Primo
I’m not familiar with Primo, so this new track by Timecop1983 is acting as an introduction for me. While yet another 80s styles song about a Delorean with par for the course lyrics (time is just a highway and I’m taking a detour) can be eye-roll inducing, you can’t deny the quality of the production, arrangement, and performance on this track.
5. Hermitude – Every Day feat. Hoodlem (Com Truise Remix)
Every time I think there is no way a Com Truise remix is going to work on a song, I’m proven wrong. This track from Hermitude is a perfect example of that, where the original elements of the song have been stripped away and replaced with his unmistakable trademark sound including relentless, yet restrained percussion elements to the deep, pounding bass.
6. Kalax – Calling feat. Frankmusik
Frankmusik has really grown as a vocalist over the years, and I love how he pairs with a composition provided by Kalax. This is music that is on par with modern a-ha, both beautiful and uplifting. This track is appropriately named, not because you’re waiting for the call, but because you truly do feel a “Calling” while listening. Music arranged this way should become more commonplace.
7. Alex & Tokyo Rose – Rivals feat. Power Glove
Heavily influenced by the stylings of Kavinsky, this new banger from Alex & Tokyo Rose will transport you back to the Drive soundtrack era, conjuring images of cruising the city streets at night, rolling under the lights seeking or evading whatever it is you’re setting out for. This is a track that has the perfect weight to it, thick bass melodies with a warm arpeggiated plucking to accompany it.
8. ionnalee – Some Body
The music of ionnalee always brings a level of emotion and imagery with the performance and arrangement of her music. Some Body is one of those tracks that not only includes her always anticipated vocal with an ethereal touch, but great sound accents, percussive clicking, simple synth harmonies peppered throughout, and modern touches in sound layering.
9. Cassetter – Chased by the Hammerhead Robot
The latest speed zone by Cassetter is very impressive in its production and keeps me leaning forward and tense, anticipating the next moment of the track. This piece is all synth, layer upon layer, and fills that need for a song that has the momentum required to keep you dancing.
10. Blind Delon & HIV+ – Aldous Huxley
“Aldous Huxley” is an exercise in industrial roots and brilliant sound design, with samples that are used and paced in a way to compliment the music, not just show up for the sake of having a sample. This is how dark dance music should be. It’s brooding, thick, and well arranged. The synth is present and adamant, while the percussion is minimal and crisp.
11. The Bad Dreamers – New York Minute
The lyrics are so descriptive and really tell the story in “New York Minute,” the new synth ballad by The Bad Dreamers. It explores the thrill of finding an instant attraction, time spent over the course of a weekend, and the uncertainty that follows as one returns back to their home.
12. Froyo – Blue
The new single from Froyo is an uplifting synthpop track that argues the case against procrastination. You have to keep living, producing, doing what it is you need to do in your life, and the more you wait, the darker the skies seem to get. So don’t wait for that rippin’ sax solo to clear the skies for you, just get out there and get it done.
13. Ronika – Loved Up
There’s always room for an upbeat synth love song where you’re reminded of that feeling you can’t fight, and Ronika is here this month to remind us of that. I’ve lost count of how many songs tell us that we can’t fight the feeling, but this is another great one. Why fight the feeling when you’re all loved up, anyway? Enjoy the moment.
14. Skyepaint – Light Years Away
I included Skyepaint on my very first synth chart for Magnetic, and I’m so glad Amos is back with another beautifully arranged song. The emotion is in full force in this song, where we’re losing track of time but keeping our hearts full, pleading to be seen for not just what we are, but who we are.
15. Mecha Maiko – Bug (Troxum Remix)
I was caught off guard with Mecha Maiko’s most recent release, Okiya, because it was such a departure from 2018’s Mad but Soft. But with experimentation brings opportunities, and my opinion has been pulled forward with OK, H (I), YA!, a recent release of remixes, this by Troxum being particularly impressive.