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 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.
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.
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.
Canadian synth-pop for you today courtesy of Le Couleur, who released their third LP Concorde last week. It’s an album inspired by the rise and fall of the aircraft of the same name – punctuated at one point by the sound of an engine exploding: a stark reminder of the Air France tragedy in 2000 that left no survivors. Singer and keyboardist Laurence Giroux-Do told Âught last month that the band “were fascinated by the Concorde: its symbolism, its sexy look, its crash”. Comme une fin du monde itself is a slow-burner, gradually building to an intense, disorientating climax.
Il Quadro di Troisi is a new project by Andrea Noce (Eva Geist) and Donato Scaramuzzi aka Donato Dozzy aka one of the greatest electronic producers of all time, and one half of Voices From The Lake, who are responsible for the best mix ever. If you’ve come here expecting stripped-back, hypnotic dub techno however, you’re in the wrong place. Il Quadro Di Troisi is inspired by the late Italian actor and director Massimo Troisi and looks to pay tribute tribute to Italian popular music over the decades, touching on Italo disco, synth pop and more, all of which are harnessed in Raggio Verde.
German label Raster will release full album 16 October digitally, and on vinyl and CD 13 November. Until then, bask in the nostalgic greatness of the Green Ray.
The lead single and opening track of Salt Lake City synth-pop trio Faded Paper Figures’ new album Kairos, Bones is a glossy, effervescent joy. A song about “the history and culture of skateboarding” according to the band, and inspired by sad, trashy cityscapes made glorious as they’re taken over by teenage skaters, it’s haunting and punchy in equal measure and a great introduction to their music – if, like me, this is the first song you’ve heard of theirs, despite them being six albums deep into their career.
You’d be hard pressed to find a record better suited to lazing around on a beach at sunset with a cold drink pressed into your hand. But given that no-one’s going on holiday any time soon – if ever again – your garden/balcony/porch/bedroom with the window slightly open will have to suffice. Regardless, this is evocative enough to whisk you away to wherever your imagination has the patience to take you. It’s taken from their debut LP Regressa, which is similar in tone to the Erika de Casier album from last year, and like that I expect this to be on hard rotation for most of the summer.