Top Ten Synthwave Albums of 2017

Each year, the synthwave genre grows and it matures. 2017 was certainly no different. Deciding on only ten albums to deem worthy as the best of the year was tough but in the end, it’s an excuse to celebrate a ton of great music created in just the last year. Feel free to disagree with each and every pick but here is my list for the ten best synthwave albums of 2017.

 

 

10. Kalax – Kalax


While I find the first song, Time Lapse, to be the album’s strongest, there’s enough magic in the second Kalax album to land him on this list. It has top-notch sound production throughout, with a wonderful mastering of layers to create a clean, dreamy sound.

 

 

9. Lazerhawk – Dreamrider


Fans of Lazerhawk have come to expect a certain level of quality. This one definitely meets those expectations. Listeners are kept on their toes as the album embraces a variety of sounds in the synthwave universe. Really enjoyable are tracks like Mirror Between Worlds bring you to the edge of a haunting melody without going completely dark.

 

 

8. Die Scum Inc. – My Fist is Fight: the Notion Picture Soundtrack


An artist I absolutely love, Die Scum Inc. nails it with a fictitious 80s movie montage soundtrack, especially with the appropriately title track Montage. Each song is simple yet surprising. Do yourself a favor and throw this whole album into your workout playlist. You’ll feel like the Next Next Karate Kid.

 

 

7. Stilz – Starcrash


Stilz makes the best of 2017 list with an atmospheric album dripping in sci-fi funk. Favorite track: Phase VI.

 

 

6. Dan Terminus – Automated Refrains

If you’re lucky, an album will take you on a wild journey. But with Automated Refrains by Dan Terminus, each and every song will do the trick. If you don’t believe me, just give throw on the 8 minute track Grimoire Blanc.

 

 

5. FM Attack – Stellar

Now we’re really hitting essential synthwave listening. This latest FM Attack album is one you can share with anyone, regardless of their familiarity with the genre. A complete album, each track stands on their own two legs. Yet, if I had to pick one to survive a musical deathmatch, I’d have to go with Inner Space. But truly each song is worthy of a listen.

 

 

4. Futurecop! – Return to Alvograth

Taking a look at the cover art to Return to Alvograth, you can almost expect a religious experience. Then when you actually listen to the album, you realize that’s fully the intention of Futurecop!. An truly beautiful album from start to finish, you’ll feel emotionally cleansed once it’s all done. The single Sarah (featuring Hunz) is absolutely heavenly.

 

 

3. Com Truise – Iteration

There’s something uniquely distinct with Iteration, that you won’t find with many synthwave artists. Or even with any previous works by Com Truise. Constantly flirting with the sounds of vaporwave, video games, and 80s retrofurism, this album plays with sounds unlike any other released in 2017. Another complete album where you can enjoy any track on its own. Propagation is a favorite, though.

 

 

2. Morgan Willis – Sophie Teenage Dream

Whether you lived the 80s or not, Sophie Teenage Dream will somehow manage to bring you back. Morgan Willis has created an album that just exudes nostalgia. Certainly his best album to date, you’ll be hooked from the jump with the song Sophie.

 

 

1. The Midnight – Nocturnal

Easily my most anticipated release of the year, I was fully expected to be letdown, even just a little bit. Nonetheless, The Midnight delivered more than I could have hoped for with Nocturnal. If you’re a fan of their previous work in Endless Summer, you can expect more of the same. Maybe just a little more grown up.

 

If you want to introduce a friend to the synthwave or retrowave scene, I can’t think of a better album capable of doing so. You can’t miss with the single, Crystalline

 

 

 

Honorable Mentions: Interstellar by LVX, Akuna by Tokyo Rose & Alex, Retro Futurism by Vaughtex, The Beginning by Favorit89, and The Grid by Megadrive.

 

Written by Starman Jr.

The Midnight Announces Two New Shows (Chicago & New York) – Tickets On Sale Now

Everyone’s favorite retrowave band The Midnight has announced two new shows. Playing for the first time outside of California, you can now catch them playing in Chicago (March 15, 2018) and in Brooklyn, New York (March 16, 2018).

Tickets should go quick so make sure to buy your tickets now if you want to go. Links to buy tickets are listed below:

 

Chicago, IL | Lincoln Hall + Schubas| March 15, 2018

Brooklyn, NY | Music Hall of Williamsburg | March 16, 2018

Ten Un(der)discovered Synthwave Artists

As some synthwave artists continue to grow, gaining bigger fanbases by the day, I wanted to recognize some who I think deserve more attention. I realize some may already be popular by some standards so I had to create some sort of criteria: artists with less than 10,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

At the end of the day, these and many artists are creating amazing music we all love. It seems like this genre is growing faster than fans can keep up. So maybe this list, and possibly more to come, will help us in that pursuit to always find new and upcoming artists.

 

1. Sunglasses Kid (6,866 monthly Spotify listeners)

I absolutely love the music being put out by Sunglasses Kid. The British artist does a phenomenal job of mixing up the genres, yet still manages to hit that familiar 80s and 90s vibe. With songs featuring rappers, singer-songwriters, and other synthwave artists, Sunglasses Kid’s first album Graduation is the perfect listen if you want something fresh and diverse.

 

Must Listen – Can’t Hide

 

 

2. Dana Jean Phoenix (6,387)

This may be the most perplexing artist on this list. Dana Jean Phoenix is an absolute force in the synthpop scene. Lending her vocals to artists such as Highway Superstar, Timecop1983, Nightcrawler, and other great synthwave artists, her collaborations are always some of the best tracks on any album she appears on. I’d recommend everyone immediately go check out her three full-length albums, all beautifully nostalgic and upbeat.

 

Must Listen – Summer Break Up

 

 

3. Paradise Walk (4,816)

This retrowave duo from Cardiff has named Kenny Loggins, Tears for Fears, and M83 among their influencers. The result is a beautiful retro sound full of synthesized beats, guitars riffs, dreamy sax play, and catchy lyrics. If you like bands like The Midnight, there’s a good chance you’ll also enjoy Paradise Walk’s EP, Rogue.

 

Must Listen – After Dark

 

 

4. Code Elektro (3,479)

Code Elektro’s album Wolf is self-described as a “concept album, which mixes themes such as technology, the future and the role of man in relation to nature.” You can see this mix from the beginning with the winds, chants, and howling in the opening track to the synth-heavy, saxophone-filled ending tracks.

That’s all without even mentioning the already amazing first album Superstrings. Code Elektro should expect to gain a lot more attention soon, especially after being signed on to the upcoming The Rise of the Synths Companion Album.

 

Must Listen – N3On

 

 

 

 

 

5. Morgan Willis (2,968)

Musical artist Morgan Willis has consistently produced fresh synthwave tunes for years now. Debuting with already amazing music, his albums somehow still managed to get progressively better as his extended tracks of wistful beats lull you into a hypnotic dream.

 

Must Listen – Rage

 

 

 

 

 

6. Glitch Black (823)

It’d be a crime if I didn’t mention at least one darksynth artist. Glitch Black has been very productive in churning out five hyper-paced, amazingly synthesized darkwave albums over the past few years. Be sure to check them out if you’re looking for something new of the darksynth variety. But don’t expect Glitch Black to stay in the shadows for long, he’ll soon be opening for Perturbator on Sept. 22 at House of Blues New Orleans.

 

Must Listen – Hypercube

 

 

7. Mono Memory (755)

Perhaps this isn’t fair because there’s not a whole lot out there by Mono Memory, especially on Spotify where there’s only three songs. But what little we have is so, so, so good. So in the meantime, be sure to check out their remixes of the Resident Evil 2 Save Room Theme or The Terminator 2 Theme.

 

Must Listen – Resident Evil 2 – Save Room Theme

 

 

8. Vampire Step-Dad (678)

Truly unique, Vampire Step-Dad has a lot of fun with his music. For instance, his last two albums are framed as a sitcom featuring a family with, well, a vampire step-father. It’s a really creative concept but what really seals the deal is how ridiculously awesome the music is. There’s a great variety of instrumental tracks on all his albums, all nailing different aspects of 80s music and culture.

 

Must Listen – The Night I Met Your Mother

 

 

9. Missing Words (284)

The synth-pop trio from California, Missing Words, had their first album drop in 2017 with Memories. And living up to the album’s name, each of the six songs feels like a trip down memory lane. I predict they’ll gain a lot more exposure if they continue to create more music like this, it’s a really good listen for any Outrun fan.

 

Must Listen – Alright

 

 

10. Die Scum Inc. (54)

With the release of My Fist Is Fight, an album that absolutely nails the 80’s action movie montage vibe with an updated synthwave sound, Die Scum Inc. is in serious need of more exposure. It’s impossible to listen to a song like Montage and not feel like you’re training for a duel with the Cobra Kai.

 

Must Listen – Montage

 
 
 
 

Want to stay up to date of the latest up-and-coming synthwave artists?

Subscribe to the Un(der)discovered Synthwave playlist by OutrunMusic.com, a constantly updated playlist of artists who have yet to hit 10k monthly Spotify listeners.
 

 

(Monthly Listeners was based on Spotify numbers as of 7/25/2017)

 

 

Scandroid Releases Star Studded Remix Album “Dreams of Neo-Tokyo”

Scandroid has gone and remixed his own first self-titled album with the release of “Dreams of Neo-Tokyo”. With the help of artists such as Dance With the Dead, Waveshaper, Gost, Daniel Deluxe, Blue Stahli, Makeup And Vanity Set, and d.notive, the end result is one of the best albums of the year so far. It’s got a nice fast pace throughout, perfect for a long night drive.

“Easily the most fun I’ve had doing a remix. Now you have a soundtrack for getting in a car chase down palm tree-lined streets, with beach bunnies and neon-everything whipping by.” – Blue Stahli

Links: Buy on Amazon, Listen on Spotify

 

 

Dreams of Neo-Tokyo

 

Dreams of Neo-Tokyo (Instrumentals)

 

The Rise of the Synths – Synthwave Documentary

The Rise of the Synths, a feature-length documentary about the synthwave scene, has hit its crowdfunding goal. No word on when production is set to begin but the documentary by filmmaker Ivan Castell has raised over $80,000 to produce the film.

Expecting to feature interviews with bands and artists such as Electric Youth, Mitch Murder, Miami Nights 1984, Com Truise, Kristine, Carpenter Brut, and others, we’re ridiculously looking forward to this one.

 

Synopsis:

The film is a travel in time towards the roots of a worldwide grass-root music scene known as Synthwave, an irresistible blend of modern electronic composition with 80s pop culture’s nostalgia, that over the last two years has transformed from a whisper on selected internet hubs, to an ever-growing scene, expanding rapidly as we speak. Accounting millions of plays on social media, devoted fans are legion, but nobody in the mass media knows about them.

The project will also include an amazing compilation of new and original tracks by artists like Carpenter Brut, Waveshaper, Com Truise, Lazerhawk, Dance With The Dead, Code Elektro, Robert Parker, OGRE, Voyag3r, and GUNSHIP.

Check out the videos below for an idea of what to expect. Also, you can donate to the Indiegogo campaign or visit the official website.

 

 

Teaser Video:

 

Sizzle Reel:

 

First Track Off Prey’s Soundtrack Drops. Veers Into Synthwave.

Prey, the upcoming first-person shooter from Arkana Studios and Bethesda, is scheduled to be released in May 2017. But that hasn’t stopped them from teasing the soundtrack with the first song drop. Tasked with creating the game’s soundtrack, Mick Gordon decided to go in a new direction than his award-winning work on DOOM.

“It’s more thought-provoking, there are more Western sounds… Spaghetti Western elements mixed in with synths and things like that. [Arkane’s] approach hasn’t been to get me to write a bunch of combat music or fighting music. Instead, Raphael [Colantonio, Prey director] would just give me a concept.

“He’ll say, ‘You’re floating in space, what does that sound like?’ That’s great because I can spend two minutes working on what that feels like. Or else he’ll say, ‘You’re sad, you miss your family because you’re lost somewhere.’ He’ll explain that and I’ll go from there.”

The end result is a very diverse soundtrack. But if the whole album is anything like the first song, it should be another amazing performance by Gordon. Check out the song “Everything Is Going to Be Ok”  on Spotify or below on YouTube.

 

 

Watch Kung Fury in all its 80s glory

The full movie (only 31 minutes) has been graciously uploaded to YouTube by the director David Sandberg. Kung Fury takes place in 1985, mixing in equal parts 80s kung fu and police action movies, it truly is an incredible ride.

So If you haven’t seen this instant classicpiece yet then here you go. Enjoy.