What can we say about this month's synth chart? Like usual, Indie Discotheque has brought you some heavy hitters and some relative unknowns, but it's all amazing music. Let's jump right into this mid-summer collection of heat and see what's on the menu.
1. Hot Chip - Spell
I am fully in love with all of this new music from Hot Chip. The synth used as a foundation in this track is like butter, and the textures and effects used throughout the track are wonderful. Give yourself up to the spell that is this song, you’ll be glad you went under it.
2. Above & Beyond - Is It Love? (Grum Remix)
I keep wanting Grum to return to his classic form, and I know it’ll never happen, but this remix comes close. I don’t usually include trance in this chart, as synth-filled as it is, because there are so many venues for trance elsewhere, but this one was too good to overlook.
3. Chela - Losing Belief
Chela is one of those artists that can be all over the musical map, but "Losing Belief" is one of her songs that we can believe in. The plucking of the synthetic strings and the chords that back her amazing vocal are entrancing and the pacing and production of the music are fulfilling.
4. The Weeknd - Starboy (Bestrack Remix)
Did I ever think I’d have a track from The Weeknd in this list? No. I didn’t. But Bestrack has outshined the original, giving us a visionary side of a song that wasn’t in focus before. Between the foundation synth, guitar textures, and flute accents, this is a version I can get behind.
5. Goth Babe - The Kingdom
This song has an atmosphere. The droning textures and the drawl of the vocal combined give the listener a reason to embrace a name like Goth Babe. As unsure I was at first, I’m sold, and I am excited to hear more from this project as time progresses.
6. Le Rubrique - Children of the 80s
Cheeky and filled with what’s already been done? Yes. But its one of those simple synth-pop tracks that you can just dance to and feel good about while you’re doing it. The classic arpeggio and the vocal are what make the track, lean back and smile with this one.
7. Forhill - Closer
This is the year of atmospheric chill synth and how could I possibly ignore this amazing composition by Forhill? The Stratford Ct. label has its niche and it’s running toward cult status. Every release this year has been top-notch. Ears glued! Keep up these releases.
8. Sunmantra - Boney Man
This month’s Nein Records banger, a track that embraces momentum with enveloping synth texture and a driving, aggressive acoustic beat to serve as a foundation. I love the way this track progresses across its over 6-minute running time, the adventure keeps moving.
9. Luke Million - Heard It on the Radio
I haven’t seen a lot of press for this new track from Luke Million outside of his native Australia, but the legendary synth master deserves all of the attention he can get. His latest synth-pop masterpiece, "Heard It on the Radio," has fantastic production with an ear-catching vocal.
10. The New Division - Fascination
We’re welcomed with the warm, dark textures we’re used to from The New Division and their fascinating music that has more of a subdued trance structure this time around. If you can’t seem to get it right, just close your eyes and dream with this track. It’ll take you on a journey.
11. Arcade High - The Last Picture Show
How can this be the last picture show? It’s so dreamy, with a twinkling, multi-layered texture washing over us before Arcade High’s crystal clear vocals bring reality back into the scene.
12. Lost Lights - Electricity
Simple and minimalistic, wonderfully produced synth-pop with a male-female vocal duet sung in a parallel melody. The synth serves its purpose and doesn’t overpower, maintaining musical clarity.
13. Lost Outrider - After Dark Rituals feat. Preston Knight
Fans of the synth scene love to complain about vocals. These days the instrumental seems to be where it's at. But for me, it’s almost always the vocal that makes the track. Where would this track be without Preston Knight?
14. Marsheaux - Alone (All Alone)
The introduction of this track has a subtle Knight Rider feel to it, but once the vocals kick in we’re transported to a whole new world. I love the steady synth stabs across the song that maintains momentum. Once the main chorus of the song hits, you’ll close your eyes with your hands in the air.
15. Grace Lightman - Repair Repair
There are so many good tracks released in this new Grace Lightman album. Why it isn't getting more love is a mystery to me. Repair Repair has some beautiful layering in the vocal, and a song arrangement with a number of textural elements that you hear on repeated listens.
Listen to the whole thing on a playlist below.