synth-pop

Artist: 
Toro y Moi
Label: 
Carpark Records

‘Anything in Return’ satisfies but does not impress. Chaz Bundick, the heart and soul of Toro y Moi, certainly released the top tracks (partnered with funktastic videos) ‘So Many Details’ and ‘Say That’ to entice listeners and build up the hype. The album is a good representation of Bundick’s growth over the years; proving that he won’t be pigeonholed to any one genre. He takes his synth styling and explores funk, latin, pop, R&B, soul jazz, and more.

Sounds Like: 
Soul Jazz, Funk, Synth-Pop, R&B (layered on the following...)
Sounds Like: 
Baths
Sounds Like: 
Flying Lotus
Sounds Like: 
Washed Out
Name: 
Shannon Kurlander
Date Reviewed: 
01/29/2013

III

Artist: 
Shiny Toy Guns
Label: 
Five Seven Music

When news broke that former Shiny Toy Guns front woman Carah Faye Charnow was rejoining the band for their third studio album, III, I was interested but definitely skeptical. She had never been a heavy contributor of writings to the group, and I worried there might be a clash after she held a much more prominent role as the founder of her latest group, Versant. She quickly put my worries to rest, as the first song on the album, Somewhere To Hide, is both independently penned by Charnow and the catchiest song on the release.

Sounds Like: 
Innersystemparty
Sounds Like: 
Versant
Sounds Like: 
Depeche Mode
Name: 
William Ramirez
Date Reviewed: 
10/24/2012
Artist: 
Juveniles
Label: 
Paradis Records

French duo, Juveniles, have the perfect recipe to creating insanely catchy synth-pop anthems. The short EP features 4 short original songs including the previously-released single ‘We Are Young’ as well as two remixes of ‘Through the Night’. The album calls for a late-night dance party which in turn requires a lot of energy to keep in par with Juveniles up tempo. The album is consistent in sound but varies from the anthem chant ‘We Are Young’ to mock New Order circa 'Substance' on 'Blackout' to mock Neon Indian ‘Hard Working Girl’.

Sounds Like: 
Gold Fields
Sounds Like: 
Neon Indian
Sounds Like: 
(Pop) Depeche Mode
Name: 
Shannon Kurlander
Date Reviewed: 
10/17/2012
Artist: 
Walk The Moon
Label: 
RCA Records

Walk The Moon, the eponymous major-label debut from Walk The Moon comes out swinging. It only takes one listen to notice the breathless vocals, poppy synth, and sharp rhythm guitar are very similar to those of Las Vegas act The Killers. However, it only takes one listen to get every song on this album stuck in your head too. It also only takes one listen to notice Walk The Moon brings enough attitude to the table to prove they are more than a Killers carbon copy. It doesn't matter though because it's impossible to only take one listen.

Sounds Like: 
The Killers
Sounds Like: 
Grouplove
Sounds Like: 
Young the Giant
Name: 
Jake Ramirez
Date Reviewed: 
09/26/2012
Artist: 
Twin Shadow
Label: 
4AD

George Lewis Jr. revs up his motorcycle engine for his sophomore album, ‘Confess’.'Confess' reeks of leather, cheap cologne, and masculinity in all of the best ways. After his successful debut, ‘Forget’, Lewis fails to disappoint despite taking a rougher direction. ‘Confess’ oozes dark yet cheesy 1980’s synth sounds, drum beats, and dramatic frontman vocals. The tracks draw off of raw masculine emotions that tend to erupt as each track builds yet the neo-1980's pop remains intact. ‘Confess’ is surprisingly more accessible than ‘Forget’ but offers less variety.

Sounds Like: 
Blood Orange
Sounds Like: 
The Cure
Name: 
Shannon Kurlander
Date Reviewed: 
07/07/2012
Artist: 
Austra
Label: 
Domino Records

Canadian trio, Austra, master the synth-pop/goth sound of their female counterparts; Bat For Lashes, Zola Jesus, and more. 'Feel It Break' is a variation of a single sound. Typically this is cause for complaint; Austra however manages to break this stereotype by acing a brilliant sound and providing slight departures track to track. It's the ethereal dark magic that lures listeners in with Austra's mesmerizingly roomy synth sounds, toe-tapping beats, and Kate Stelmanis' powerful yet entrancing vocals. The only difficulty associated with this album is in selecting a favorite track.

Sounds Like: 
Bath For Lashes
Sounds Like: 
Zola Jesus
Sounds Like: 
Polica
Name: 
Shannon Kurlander
Date Reviewed: 
03/02/2012
Artist: 
Evan Voytas
Label: 
Dovecote

 

Sounds Like: 
Barry Gib
Sounds Like: 
The Bee Gees
Sounds Like: 
Passion Pit
Sounds Like: 
Panda Bear
Name: 
Shannon Kurlander
Date Reviewed: 
02/21/2012
Artist: 
Ear Pwr
Label: 
Carpark

Blissful, cute female vocals behind dramatic electronic beats. The album feels a little bit chaotic and disjointed in a not so good way, but there are some gems on the album that stand out over the noisy mush.

Sounds Like: 
Silk Flowers
Sounds Like: 
Pictureplane
Name: 
Marcea Decker
Date Reviewed: 
10/19/2011
Artist: 
The Sounds
Label: 
Original Signal Recordings

This Swedish new wave, synth pop group is pretty great, I remember really liking their stuff when I was in high school. This album has an 80's dance music feel to it, especially the first track, which is my favorite. This album has a diverse variety of sounds, but all the tracks are fun, except for the last one, which is slower. Spin it!

Sounds Like: 
Blondie
Sounds Like: 
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Sounds Like: 
The Presets
Name: 
Shuqi Li
Date Reviewed: 
04/14/2011
Artist: 
Cut Copy
Label: 
Modular

More danceable remixes of the single "Take Me Over" from the new album, Zonoscope, due in early February. The remixes complicate the playful and straightforward track. The first track is too long for radio, unless you're willing to make a 10 min investment. The 2nd, Flight Facilities remix maintains the carefree rock-pop feel of the track. The third Mylo remix transforms the track into a more rigid and digital standard dance track. It takes you away from cruising on the beach in your convertible to dancing in an industrial club.

Sounds Like: 
Mylo
Sounds Like: 
Pnau
Sounds Like: 
Hot Chip
Sounds Like: 
Vampire Weekend
Name: 
Elyse Heob
Date Reviewed: 
01/27/2011
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