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)