In a recent interview, Bayonne said of Perfect – one of the stand-out tracks from his gorgeous new synth-pop album Temporary Time – “at the end of the day, it’s really about trying to see the best in yourself and just having one of those good days” . There are probably quite a few tracks you could apply this maxim to, but Perfect is definitely up there as the most buoyant. His last LP Drastic Measures was one of my favourite of 2019, and so far this new one is doing a solid job of following in its footsteps.
Tag: synth pop
Jonathan Bree – Destiny
Post-Drive analogue synth-a-thon Destiny is a duet with Bree’s long-time collaborator Princess Chelsea, with its release marking the 20th anniversary of Lil’ Chief Records, the New Zealand based record label Bree formed with friend and musical collaborator Scott Mannion. For Xanax-fulled days and nihilistic nights.
System Olympia – Give Me
I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a track more than this in the last few months. Just listen those pads! Ridiculous. Taken from her new “mini-album” (EP?) Racing Heart, which is also great.
Harkin – Body Clock
I loved Harkin’s self-titled 2020 album, so it’s fantastic to hear new music from her – especially when it’s this good – alongside the announcement of a new LP Honeymoon Suite, due out in June. Leaning heavily into the synths and self-producing for the first time, Body Clock is full-blooded and evocative, its glacial electronics exploding into life in its final third. Also, the video is ace, with a 90s video-game aesthetic that makes me want to go and play the original version of Flashback all over again.
Read our interview with Harkin here.
Fatamorgana – Primavera
If you kind of like Boy Harsher but don’t think they’re quite 80s enough for your tastes, I have a treat for you. Imagine the kind of glamorous New York party Bret Easton Ellis and the rest of the literary brat pack pretty much lived at a few decades ago: it’s on a rooftop, there’s a pool, everyone is tan(ned) and beautiful, it’s sunny as fuck, you’re getting stuck into your third Manhattan and you’ve just made the call. Fatamorgana is being played at this party, even though neither of the people in the band had been born at this point.
Ian Abel – All I Want Is You
The latest single from NYC alternative pop craftsman Ian Abel sees him indulging a “Wild Queer Stalker” fantasy, casually tossing off lines like “Well you’ve got a hunger / and I’m serving you dessert” over a dark synthy backdrop which squelches and squirms in a thoroughly enjoyable fashion before building to a noisy, overdriven climax. In short: exactly the kind of joyous pulp you needed to kick start your week.
ttypes – For Robert Downey Jr. Pt 1
ttypes is the solo project of Michigan-based songwriter Tim Krauss whose music ranges from ambient instrumental, to piano pop, rock, electronic pop and various other styles. His latest – as the title suggests – is an ode to Hollywood icon, (former) cocaine enthusiast and everyone’s favourite irreverent cyborg, Robert Downey Jr.. Not that you’d necessarily be able to tell from the record itself which is a frantic rush of syrupy bleeps and washed out vocals, but check out the video for one of the purest hits of RDJ you’re likely to find outside of a Marvel set.
Small Black – Duplex
Keeping this brief today cos reasons but this is some really amazing synthpop from Small Black’s forthcoming LP. So stop wasting my/your time and go and listen to it.
Nation of Language may well be my favourite musical discovery of 2020. Their album Introduction, Presence is a toweringly brilliant record, and their latest single A Different Kind of Life is equally strong. Like a lot of their music it has a yearning, nostalgic quality to it that gets me right in the feels every time, and reminds me of emotional, synthy 80s bangers like When In Rome’s The Promise. In fact, stick A Different Kind of Life at the end of Napoleon Dynamite when they’re walloping that swingball around, and I’d be a very happy chap indeed.
Ela Minus – dominique
There’s a lot to enjoy on Ela Minus’s debut album acts of rebellion, which moves from the expansive experimental electronica of its opener through moody synth-pop and glassy ambient, all within its first few tracks. And then you get to dominique, which is a towering presence at around the album’s midpoint; one of those ‘woah’ moments that makes you double check what you’re listening to, knowing before it’s even finished that’s it’s going to be on hard repeat for quite some time to come.