The current social situation is one that is counterproductive to the synthetic dance scene as we know it. While there are uncountable bedroom producers, we also must consider those who have made it to the next level - the artists who rely on tour and merchandise revenues to maintain their ability to keep doing what they do. With parties cancelled and tours postponed, let’s all do our part and embrace the music we discover. Buy the albums, and tell your friends about the artists and music you find.
Since we can't get out to a synth show locally this month, we can still have virtual dance parties with our friends. That's why Indie Discotheque is here. We love listening to music with friends, it's what we've always done, and it's why we bring music to you monthly. Our collective curates new music lists though our non-stop virtual basement party, and the format we embrace is relevant now more than ever. While we’re all in quarantine, working from home, sheltering in place, or whatever you’d like to call it, please join us and play all of the synth-pop you love at the club while you’re uncharacteristically stuck at home.
Let's dive into this month's synth discoveries. We hope you'll enjoy and support these artists as much as we do.
Check out the rest of our synth charts here.
1. Tycho - Outer Sunset
There’s something about Tycho’s music that is so uplifting and pure. “Outer Sunset” is one of those tracks that draws you into memories of innocence, those days before you were aware of the evils and problems of the world. The imagery certainly helps, and there are times I wish I could be that boy on the beach again.
2. Cubicolor - Wake Me Up
“Wake Me Up” is a track that feels analog and has filtering in place that conveys an age greater than it is. In some ways I’d love for Cubicolor to release a version of more modern and rounded production, but the track is fantastic as it is, a testament to the songwriting.
See they explain how they made their recent album Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night.
3. Amtrac - Accountable
How “Accountable” is anyone nowadays? While you ponder that, I’ll simply mention how much I enjoy the songwriting in the latest from Amtrac. There is a lot of Matthew Dear influence in this one, with the synth leading the path across this journey of accountability.
4. A.L.I.S.O.N - Always In My Dreams
Not that I truly want to, but I can’t escape the chill synth tracks this year. Every month there are a few that really piqued my interest, this piece from A.L.I.S.O.N. taking the lead and guiding us through a fully enveloping, instrumental aural bliss that never seems to get old.
5. Forhill - Outlines
This track is so dreamy, Forhill really knows you to transport you into another world. A lot of us are looking for an escape right now, and “Outlines” is the song to take you there. Enjoy the textures and the rise and fall of the music.
6. Last Island - Dream On
I’m not always an instrumental guy, but this month I feel like there are more than usual. “Dream On” is so fast paced and takes you on a journey, mimicking the high we were on not too long ago. Last Island really brings us along on an epic journey with this one.
7. Mint Julep - No Regret
I have to push one last feature of the new Mint Julep album, already one of my favorites of the year. “No Regret” is an uptempo piece filled with beautiful vocals and an ethereal pop sensibility. We featured their home and how they make music recently; check it out here.
8. Perhopes - Not So Guilty
The SoundCloud tag says this one is [OUT], but I’m all in on this gritty synth anthem that has just the right amount of moodiness and synth arpeggiator. Perhopes slam us into a frenzy that is perfect for dancefloor bliss; if only we could do that in the current climate. I guess you’ll just have to turn it up wherever you might be right now.
9. Dash30 - What It Looks Like feat. Annika Brown
What does it look like? It looks dreamy to me; a song that is so smooth there is nothing I can say about it that would negate the talent involved in the production of this piece. Dash30's layering of the elements are fantastic, but I do wish the vocals would come forward just a tad.
10. Greta - Daughter
There is so much mood and smooth vibe happening in this new track from Greta. While the piece is heavily filtered, it doesn’t detract from the songwriting and the pacing of the piece. I love the dynamic jumping in portions of the vocal performance.
11. Chinaski & Curses - Forever
The simple nature of “Forever” by Chinaski & Curses is a selling point on this new track. I love the effects on the vocals and how minimalistic it all is. Simple chords on the synth with overlaid harmonies bring a darker texture deserving of a single strobe and smoke machine on the dancefloor.
12. Aristo G - Sunday Lovin'
The synth in “Sunday Lovin’” has such an intriguing, surrounding arpeggiation as a backing accent that I keep repeating sections of the song just to hear it over and over. While almost random, it really works. Aristo G has arranged a flow that keeps you moving forward and anticipating what's next.
13. Michael Elliot - No Sleep Tonight
While I'm going to rant for a second and tell June 87 Recordings they need to credit their artists in the song tags. I'll hope you'll overlook this oversight, click through, and be pleased to discover new music from Michael Elliot. “No Sleep Tonight” has a beautiful vocal arrangement over classic synth textures.
14. Keep Dancing Inc - Could U Stop
Pulsating and steady, “Could U Stop” has the vocal treatment I love and a structured variety across the track that keeps interest flowing. Merging pop sensibility with great synth textures, I’m excited to hear more from Keep Dancing Inc in the future.
15. Karp - Left Handed
The introduction of a song can make or break a song. It's an element that will determine if someone like me will skip or stay, and in the case of “Left Handed,” it’s what kept my interest. This isn’t the first time I’ve featured Karp, as I’m in full fandom of their music.
Let's listen to it all together in one overly convenient playlist: