Synthpop

Artist: 
Fever Ray
Label: 
Rabid Records

It has been eight years since her self-titled debut was realeased, and three years since The Knife officially called it quits. Now, Fever Ray is back with her second album, Plunge, an LP that is well-produced, but very weird. The opening track, "Wanna Sip," seems like it is issuing a dare to listeners, from a musical and lyrical perspective. With an ominous intro, aggressive beats, downward synths, and vocals that tease, it kind of makes listners wonder if they would like to take the plunge.

Sounds Like: 
The Knife
Sounds Like: 
The Bloody Beetroots
Name: 
Nick Ramos
Date Reviewed: 
11/07/2017
Artist: 
Cults
Label: 
Sinderlyn

The band Cults have released their new album after a four-year hiatus from the scene. “Offering” hits its mark with the indie synthpop sound throughout the album. The song “Offering” and “I took your picture” resemble closely to MGMT, Madeline Follin’s spacey heartfelt voice carries the dreamy vibe of the song, indulging the listener in a world of pure imagination. The vocals in “With My Eyes Closed” shows the bands ability to work together in a new powerful direction of music for the soul.

Sounds Like: 
MGMT
Sounds Like: 
Tame Impala
Name: 
Miles Schuk Ehler
Date Reviewed: 
11/05/2017
Artist: 
MGMT
Label: 
Columbia Records

After four years of silence, MGMT has returned to the music scene with their newest song, "Little Dark Age." For those who may have been worrying about the band losing their touch, I can honestly say that there is nothing to worry about. MGMT revives their signature style, which proves to have stood the test of time, to create an atmosphere that's dark, moody, and dramatic; but it is nothing less than brilliant. The song opens with gentle, plucky synths that sound playful, and sparks the curiosity of listeners.

Sounds Like: 
Empire of the Sun
Sounds Like: 
The M Machine
Name: 
Nick Ramos
Date Reviewed: 
10/25/2017
Artist: 
Little Dragon
Label: 
Loma Vista Recordings

"Whoever said the small things don't matter, has never seen a match start a wildfire" - Beau Taplin. I think that this quote sums up Little Dragon's newest single, "Peace of Mind," very well. The song does take a minimalist approach for the first few seconds; however, don't be fooled by it. From there, more instruments are introduced in--what I would call nothing less than--perfect timing, and the track's big, dreamy sound unfolds.

Sounds Like: 
SBTRKT
Sounds Like: 
TLC
Sounds Like: 
Gorillaz
Name: 
Nick Ramos
Date Reviewed: 
10/18/2017
Artist: 
Cut Copy
Label: 
UMG Recordings, Inc.

Haiku From Zero is a very synth dream-like concept album. If you like a wide range of RPM sub generes then this is the album to listen too. The best track in Haiku From Zero is Black Rainbows, but a good contender is Tied to the Weather. This is not a dance muisc album but more of a bedroom pop, listening, chilling on the sofa kind of album. The influences from the 80s and 90s synth revolution is very evident and the band, Cut Copy, does a good job placing a fresh take on old sounds.

Sounds Like: 
The Presets
Sounds Like: 
Hot Chip
Sounds Like: 
Van She
Name: 
Jaclyn Kelly
Date Reviewed: 
10/04/2017
Artist: 
His Clancyness
Label: 
Hand Drawn Dracula

"His Clancyness" is the music project of Canadian singer/songwriter Jonathan Clancy. Reading the CD insert, it is apparent that this album contains a fair amount of experimentation on Jonathan Clancy's part. And in my opinion this experimentation yielded positive results.

Sounds Like: 
Deerhunter
Sounds Like: 
David Bowie
Sounds Like: 
Stereolab
Sounds Like: 
Broadcast
Name: 
Zekeriya Efe
Date Reviewed: 
12/14/2016
Artist: 
Crystal Castles
Label: 
Fiction Records

                When Alice Glass departed from Crystal Castles in 2014, many fans cried for their favorite experimental witch house duo, hoping the wild ride would never end. Rumors and speculation around the internet stated there would not be a Crystal Castles anymore, despite official word from the band’s manager saying otherwise. Two years later, with Edith Frances assuming the empty spot left by Alice, Crystal Castles released a new album, Amnesty (very specifically NOT Crystal Castes (IV)).

Sounds Like: 
Death Grips: Distortion for the Sake of Distortion Edition
Sounds Like: 
Crim3s
Name: 
Shaun Oyakawa
Date Reviewed: 
10/10/2016
Artist: 
MARKS
Label: 
Not On Label- none

The Modern Life is the debut album of MARKS, a female singer, songwriter, and producer out of LA, and overall is a pretty good listen. Most all of the tracks on this album unfortunately have generally the same sound; however, that sound is pretty nice. Each track begins with a somewhat grimy synth pattern that smooths out into pretty synth pads layered with a driving drum pattern and a very pure, smooth vocal.  Her overall sound reminds me a bit of Purity Ring but a little bit more 80's and a lot more mellow. Also, certain aspects of her sound remind of certain groups.

Sounds Like: 
Purity Ring
Sounds Like: 
CHVRCHES
Name: 
Zack Estes
Date Reviewed: 
09/21/2016
Artist: 
Tegan and Sara
Label: 
Warner Bros Records

Tegan and Sara brought their A-game with their new album, Love You to Death. The only Tegan and Sara song that I've ever listened to before this album was "Closer", that hit of 2013 that took all of our car-rides by storm. If you don't remember the lyrics exactly, that's oh so typical.

Sounds Like: 
Metric
Sounds Like: 
Cat Power
Name: 
Hannah Isaac
Date Reviewed: 
09/21/2016
Artist: 
Synesthetica
Label: 
Polyvinyl

Synesthetica's third album, Radiation City, is an upbeat, catchy and refreshing collection of synthpop songs unified by their 'space age' sound. While the catchiness of their style and sound is what initially attracts the listener, the real gold of the album lies in its backbone: the synthesizer. Radiation City succeeds in highlighting the depth and possibility of the synthesizer while not dwarfing any other aspect of the music.

Sounds Like: 
Chairlift
Sounds Like: 
STRFKR
Name: 
Tatum Schranz
Date Reviewed: 
02/23/2016
Syndicate content