Early ’80s synthpop, an often maligned style of music, is having a resurgence in popularity. Maybe it’s the nostalgia generated by Netflix hits like Stranger Things, but there is a new appreciation for music that was first produced in the early 1980s by artists like Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Howard Jones, Gary Numan, Ultravox, Camouflage, early Tears For Fears, and Depeche Mode. If you’re like me, and you’ve always had a soft spot in your heart for those groups, then today’s new synth wizards are a lot of fun to listen to.
Gunship, from the UK, has two albums out, and they are both excellent. Their latest, Dark All Day, is very melodic with prominent rhythm. The video for the title track has over 3 million views, so there is definitely an audience for their style of music.
The Fixt label curates a synthwave playlist on Spotify called Neon that features their stable of artists. You can hear the latest tracks from Soul Extract, The Bad Dreamers, 3Force, and many others there.
Two of my favorite synthwave artists are also on Fixt: The Anix and Scandroid. Scandroid is a project of Fixt label founder Klayton, and he is an unabashed lover of classic synthpop new wave. He even included a fine cover of Tears For Fears’ “Shout” on his first album.
The Anix is darker and more modern sounding. Their excellent album, Shadow Movement, is set in a dystopian future, and it features catchy melodies linked to relentless beats.
Finally, LA-based I Will Never Be The Same is the brainchild of Josh Atchley. His music combines Nine Inch Nails industrial style with the melodicism of Depeche Mode and The Cure. Add a dash of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, and you have an irresistible mix. Take a listen to “Last Goodbye”:
These recommendations barely scratch the surface of the fun and interesting music that synthwavers are releasing now. Check them out, and let us know your current guilty pleasures in the comments below!