One of the questions that I sometimes get asked about this blog is, “what’s with the name?” Watermelon Banzai, at first, does seem like it’s just two random words put together but there’s actually a bit of a story behind them; they’re a reference to one of my favorite movies of all time.
Retrogylphs have been busy since we highlighted their self-titled debut album what with touring on a consistent basis, releasing a music video, and selling physical media in the form of t-shirts and a CD plus a limited edition 7″ lathe cut vinyl of their single “One More Kiss” thanks to Pyrrhic Victory Recordings.
Today we’re highlighting another single from them, a cover of a Pearl Jam song, which they are releasing as a means to lend their support to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. All proceeds will benefit the Houston Food Bank. With a minimum purchase price point of only five dollars you have no excuse to not pick up this song and help out a great cause in the process! Hell, why not give a little bit more? After all, the song is simply fantastic and deserves your time:
The beast has been unleashed and it’s time to face ’em head on in the latest track released by The Powerwalker. Proudly presented by RetroSynth Records, this song will have you looking over your shoulder like prey being hunted down in the wild. With pulse pounding drums, creepy chanting, and the spine-tingling sounds of sinister synths it’ll be one to own and add to your collection as you become the hunter. In fact, it’s available to purchase right now, so get you some!
If you’re familiar with TimeSlave Recordings, and you should be because not only have we covered many artists under their umbrella but they’re also one of the best synthwave labels out there today, then you may be familiar with Kid Neon. As one half of the founding brothers of TimeSlave Recordings, the music of Kid Neon has appeared on some of their past compilations such as Future Sounds Vol.1 [and the Redux], A Taste of the Future, Fear the Future Vol.1, and Project TSL01. In fact, if you purchased all of these compilations, you’ll find that about half the songs on Darker Days can also be heard on these previously released collections. However, this factoid is not to belittle the accomplishments that this album has itself collected as there are remastered and even remixed versions of said songs to be found within. Beyond that it is simply a long overdue spotlight for Kid Neon to truly shine on his own after sharing that spotlight for so long, to which he shines so very brightly indeed.
There is a subgenre of synthwave that I have talked a little bit about in the past and, truth be told, it’s probably one of my favorites that I don’t think a lot of people are either aware of or fully understand and that is spacewave. I will concede that it is honestly a hard subgenre to nail down, often floating between other more well known ones, but to me it’s categorized by a grandiose scale of sound in terms of its production and overall scope. It recalls images of stars, planets, and epic battles among them in the distant future of our own galaxy or perhaps a long time ago in another far, far away.
Let me hear your wallet talk!
We’re introducing a new feature here on Watermelon Banzai wherein we will be highlighting newly announced, ready for pre-order, or currently available to buy physical releases of synthwave related music. We’re talking cassettes, vinyls, CDs and anything else. I’m personally waiting for the day when someone releases something on 8-track! To put it simply: we’re talking about any and all formats that you can actually hold in your hands. With that all said, let’s look at some:
It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Night Raptor, who released an EP back in March that we reviewed, and there’s a very good reason for that: hard drive failure! Yup, happens to the best of us, unfortunately. I too can spin a tale of entire research papers and novels lost due to computer issues but this isn’t about me, oh no, this is about Night Raptor and this single which he released quite recently. As he explains in his own words over on his Soundcloud page:
This is an extended track of a theme song I did for The 8Bit Misfit YouTube channel. He is a cool guy so check out his content!
This is the only track I could salvage from my recent HD failure. It was going to have vocals and further tweaks added to it, but in it’s current state it would feel out of place adding those things to a WIP Wav file. The solo is even accidentally modulated! (I have a love/hate relationship with it)
So I decided to just release it and have something out for everyone to listen to while I work on the new EP.
Thank you all for everything and stay tuned. 🙂
So there you have it folks, he is indeed working on a new EP and, although this track is but a salvaged work in progress, I can already tell that he’s got some amazing stuff cooking! This track is straight fire from beginning to end:
Synthwave is an amazing genre of music for many reasons, of which I could certainly go more into depth as to why, but one such example that I want to highlight today is its overall global appeal. Other than simply the fans of said genre, there are producers who make the music from all over the world as well. Such is the case with Baali Soda who hails from India and, from the lack of any purchases on his Bandcamp page, seems to be a relative unknown that I would like to highlight today because he deserves some recognition! While he does have a collection of single tracks to discover, I instead singled out (see what I did there?) his full length album Neon Knight.
Another month has come and gone and along with it another couple of articles that I wrote over on Heavy Blog is Heavy. I must say that, even with only four articles under my belt over there as of this post, I am really starting to find my niche, my voice, whatever you want to call it; a rhythm, perhaps? Either way, I find the following two articles as being the evolution of my Synth Spotlight series on here but in a more simplistic form. They’re an overview mix of review, interview, and highlight. An introduction for some and further information for others. I look forward to writing more articles in this style, so watch out!
Hey! Listen to Gregorio Franco! [August 17th, 2017]
Gregorio Franco is someone that I’ve had on my radar for some time but, I will admit, prior to writing about him I had never delved too deeply into his discography which is already quite impressive at this point in his career. However, as soon as I did, I knew that his unique style of dark synthwave would be perfect for the atmosphere at Heavy Blog and I was right. It was an amazing experience getting to interview him, to write said article, and it’s been an equal honor to hear his side project of DRONN develop as well as his next album. I look forward to watching him perform live at Echosynthetic Fest in November.
Hey! Listen to Skeleton Beach! [August 25th, 2017]
Speaking of someone that’ll be at Echosynthetic Fest, albeit in a non-performance role as he will instead being filming a documentary about said event, Skeleton Beach is another such act that I’ve been meaning to cover for some time. Skeleton Beach is, in a way, the other side of the same dark synthwave coin from Gregorio Franco. Whereas Gregorio Franco is more fast and heavy, Skeleton Beach is a bit more slow and methodical to which I also felt was a perfect fit for the Heavy Blog. I was not wrong in this belief as well. Again, much like Gregorio Franco, it’s been nice to get to know Skeleton Beach better through writing this article and I for one can’t wait to hear his next album; plus see him in November too!