It’s a new year, so that means its time for new synth-based music. Indie Discotheque has found the winners for you this month, a collection of songs that feature a variety of influences but all with great synth elements in common. Let’s dive into what we’ve found for you!
Check out all of the other synth charts here.
1. Amtrac - Radical feat. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
The immediate swell of the synth draws you in, but it’s always the voice of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs that makes you absolutely melt into the track, pulling you into the bliss that isn’t found in very many songs. The beat is classic Amtrac, and the low brass that carries through as a connecting foundation stands as one of my favorite elements of the composition.
2. Jai Wolf - Moon Rider feat. Wrabel
I’m not always a fan up up-pitched repetitive vocal samples, but the pacing and warmth of “Moon Rider” make it work. The synths build and maintain a twinkling wall of sound in all the right places, with steady bass chords and soothing piano, carry us through Wrabel’s falsetto verses. The power chords that Jai Wolf attacks during the chorus provide a satisfying intensity.
3. Georgia - 24 Hours
The new album from Georgia is a great record from top to bottom. I put another of her new tracks over on the indie dance chart, but I couldn’t ignore “24 Hours,” a synth-filled pop song that clearly draws inspiration from artists like Robyn. Come on party people, it’s time to dance!
4. Magdalena Bay - How to Get Physical
The new single from Magdalena Bay, “How to Get Physical,” is a catchy piece of pop music with some ear-catching synth elements. The bounce of the bassline is most noticeable, but there are twinkles and chords that flow in the background that really take control as the song progresses.
5. Mint Julep - Stray Fantasies
Mint Julep might already have one of the top albums of the year in Stray Fantasies, and the title track speaks wholeheartedly to the complexity, layering, and beauty inherent in the songwriting taking place in this project. Also, read about how it was made in Keith and Hollie’s home studio.
6. Prins Thomas - Anything for You (Eagles & Butterflies Remix)
Minimalism has its place, too, and that’s what we have with this Eagles & Butterflies remix of Prins Thomas. “Anything for You” features a steady, continuous beat of acoustic percussion overlaid with simple synth melodies that at times have me daydreaming about theremins.
7. The Hacker - Passion
It’s a song that’s dark and simple, but “Passion,” the new single from The Hacker, brings droning synth backgrounds and a simple harmonic repetition to the forefront, and backed by minimalistic drum patterns. Classic sounding synthetic tom-tom drums play along with whispers of passion.
8. Wild Nothing - Foyer
I love a song with a good, slow build, and that’s what Wild Nothing brings us in the first 45 seconds of this track. We are awash in the atmosphere while the bass guitar sets the table. The effects throughout “Foyer” keep you in dreamland, a beautifully paced song that’s well written.
9. WhoMadeWho - Obstacle
The subdued twinkle of the synth in the opening of “Obstacle” sets the stage for the marathon of this over eight-minute beauty. WhoMadeWho paces the song wonderfully, with lyrical phrasing peppered across a largely instrumental track of synth stabs, cowbell, and simple percussion.
10. Thoma Cher - Full Moon Riot
Another track with an extended length, “Full Moon Riot” is largely nu-disco in its percussion arrangement and pacing, but the simple synth textures Thoma Cher masterfully laid upon this foundation are mesmerizing. A beautifully produced instrumental that sets an amazing vibe.
11. Ric Piccolo - Android Lover feat. Furor Exotica
With a title like “Android Lover,” you would expect a mechanical sound, and Ric Piccolo pulls this off spectacularly with Furor Exotica, who did a fantastic job bringing that aesthetic into the vocal.
12. Morgan Willis - Dark Before the Dream feat. Parallels
13. Kraver - Million Like Me feat. Colin Lee
Kraver's layering of synth in this piece is just right, but it’s the vocal performance from Colin Lee, the effects and the mix applied, and integration thereof that set “Million Like Me” apart from others.
14. Black Boiler - Bordure 19
Dark and atmospheric, the effects applied to individual sounds of “Bordure 19” and how these layers pull forward and backward in the mix are an impressive element of Black Boiler’s songwriting.
15. Nicolaas - Neon Legacy
Vrooom! The slam of the synths in the opening of this track throws you back and opens your eyes. Nicolaas does it again with the attention to detail in “Neon Legacy,” a stunning instrumental of synth.
Here's everything in a convenient playlist: