The Horrornauts: A Night with The Horrornauts

a0690430991_10I’m not usually one for lists, but I feel compelled in this case to break down the following in such a way as to the Three Reasons Why I Love The Horrornauts:

  1. They remind me of a band that would play during the horror host segments of a cheesy midnight movie. You know the kind I’m talking about, right? Elvira, Mistress of the Dark? TNT’s MonsterVision? USA’s Up All Night? Well, then again, maybe you don’t because they’re not as prevalent as they used to be although there’s still some out there carrying the freak flag high. Count The Horrornauts among them, even if perhaps that were not their original intention, because they’ve certainly got that aesthetic down.

2.  They’re like synthwave meets psychobilly. I went through a bit of a weird musical phase during the late 90’s/early 2000’s which saw me digging hard on 1950’s surfer rock, rockabilly and then, by extension, the more modern equivalent in psychobilly. It all more or less started one night when a friend of mine, who often listens to more “out there” music, introduced me to the band Deadbolt. Well, the movie “Six-String Samurai,” which featured The Red Elvises, also helped. Anyway, listening to The Horrornauts transported me back to those days.

3. They’re uniquely original. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t saying ‘uniquely original’ kind of redundant?” Well, like my friend Echosynthetic said in his review over on The Horrornaut’s Bandcamp page: “The Horrornauts have managed what most bands struggle with… using their influences without becoming an imitation.” Now, while I can’t rightfully sit here and tell you exactly who or what their influences are I can at least tell you who and what they remind me of as I’ve already done above. Is it accurate? Maybe. Maybe not.

The point is this: in a genre filled with neon sunsets, grids, palm trees and fast cars there exists certain acts which don’t tie themselves down so tightly to synthwave in terms of making the synth the driving force behind the music. It’s there, for sure, in the music of The Horrornauts but they’re not subservient to it as they instead harness it for their own purposes to make some killer music.


Alex Barbarian: Nerves

a0434194987_10This past year has seen a real surge within the synthwave scene from a steady rise in live shows to an overall increase in acts, albums, and tracks but depending on who you ask will also depend on if this is all a good thing or not. Some say that it’s a simply a case of the more the merrier, meaning that the more acts there are the more the genre as a whole gets noticed, grows, and flourishes in turn.

However, some are just as quick to point out the old “too many cooks in the kitchen” proverb, citing a heightened sense of saturation which has unfortunately lead to some acts becoming casualties in the seemingly never ending “release wars” where acts are pushing out material at a breakneck speed.

Regardless of your position on the matter, something can at least be said for any act that doesn’t get the attention that they so rightfully deserve and especially at no other time than right after releasing a full-length album. I myself am no saint and will publicly admit that, while I knew full well that Alex Barbarian released their album Nerves back in October of 2017, it wasn’t until recently that I actually gave it a proper listen and I’m glad that I finally did because again it is just tragic how much this album got overlooked; it only has two purchases on Bandcamp as of this writing, in fact, and one of those is me! Stop and listen to this right now:

Hailing from Huntington Beach, California, Alex Barbarian has masterfully crafted a rather haunting assortment of slow, calculated, and methodically heavy bass-laden synth tracks that border on the surreal and remind me very much of Trevor Something in the album’s overall execution. Such a comparison is by no means done to overshadow the uniqueness of the tracks here, but rather a familiar similarity as a gateway for those who may still be unsure if they’re ready to turn the key on such potential that’s to be unlocked and experienced.

Said potential comes in the form of quite an eclectic mix in terms of the tracks on the album, offering something for everyone, from the more ambient ones like “The Tension” and “The Thoughts,” to the equally impressive vocals on others featuring Krista Marina, namely “Bliss” and “Yucca Field, Pt. 2,” whose voice helps to add a mesmerizing infusion of slow jam synthpop and jazz sensibilities.

Then, of course, there is Alex Barbarian himself whose dulcet tones are themselves quite fluid in sound and are able to really convey a raw emotion in the process. Some might find them to be a bit emotionless, perhaps maybe even a tad too robotic, but I feel that would be simply making a gross oversimplification as I couldn’t imagine any other type of vocal work at play here in this video:

Alex Barbarian has been rather quiet since the release of Nerves, having only released a few tracks over on his Soundcloud, but you can also follow him over on Twitter too. Show him some love, ya’ll, seriously. He absolutely deserves it.

Catch the rerun of #NightShiftTales!

In order to help promote his latest release, entitled NIGHT:SHIFT, everyone’s favorite Vampire Step-Dad decided to have a little listening party with his family on Twitter! The deal was, at 7pm EST on Thursday December 7th, everyone was to listen to the album at the same exact time and then follow along as Vampire Step-Dad himself live-tweeted fun little tidbits and trivia about each track. Did you miss out on the original airing of this prime time special? Well, no worries, because I’ve compiled it into a Twitter Moment so you can experience it again!

Mega Ran: Strangers

a2734730116_10Synthwave is a very versatile genre, able to be utilized in a variety of ways, ebbing and flowing in and out of other genres as its influence spreads not unlike a shadow monster from the upside down. Therefore, it should come to little or no surprise that rap would eventually take notice and lay down some bars to coincide with the beats that only synthwave can provide. While Mega Ran, nerdcore rapper extraordinaire, is by no means the first to do so he still does so with that certain style and flair that only he can provide. However, he’s not going it completely alone as not only is Lynx Kinetic by his side, but he’s also got his own party of synthwavers backing him up by supplying the aforementioned synthbeats thanks to Isidor and DEADLIFE. Continue reading

Space Knife is the hidden gem of Stranger Things

a1343759893_10 (1)Stranger Things, both in its first and second season, was full of little nods, winks, and Easter eggs to pop culture and everyday life of yesteryear but did you know that there were some more modern things hidden in there too? We’re already familiar with the theme song and the entire synthwave inspired soundtrack, masterfully done by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of S U R V I V E, but while that music has taken front and center stage there’s been another act and their music hiding in the back, just waiting for their time to shine. While I cannot take any responsibility for their discovery, I can at least inform other people of their existence and, more importantly, I can highlight their music as a result. Without further ado, I introduce: Space Knife! Continue reading

Synth Spotlight: Atom Force

0010844250_10With a handful of singles to their name, and one album, Atom Force is that proverbial unstoppable force that isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Especially not while they’ve got their second album coming out soon just along the horizon, as well as a few more surprises, all of which we touched upon in the following interview. That all said, just how did Atom Force get involved in making music in the first place anyway and why synthwave?

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Synth Spotlight: Maximum Turbodrive


For some time now there has been this cross divide between genres, namely synthwave and metal, where the two have come together to create something else entirely yet still retaining those essential sounds of both. Like metal it’s hard, it’s heavy and, though it’s mostly categorized as being either dark synth or dark wave, it’s also oddly dreamlike (or perhaps nightmare like?) much like synthwave as well. There are many acts leading the way in such an emerging genre such as Perturbator, GosT, and Carpenter Brut (of which Maximum Turbodrive certainly derives some of their influence), although in the end it is not simply a question of leaders and followers but each act’s unique past which brought them to the proverbial dance that ultimately sets them apart.

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Sekond Prime is the “Destroyer of Worlds” with a LIMITED RELEASE track!

a2689898779_10While I have not technically covered Sekond Prime on Watermelon Banzai before, I did cover them on Heavy Blog is Heavy when I highlighted their Arrival EP, so I’m proud to write about them over here today as I feel they’re one of the best up and coming examples of the emerging spacewave subgenre. Furthermore, today they’ve released a new single entitled “Destroyer of Worlds” and there’s more to it than initially meets the eye as it has three things going for it: One, it’s being sold as a name your price! Two, it’s only available until October 31st and then it’s gone! Three, it’s fantastic! 

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Electric Runner: Darkest Ways

a4019998677_10It’s been almost a whole year since Electric Runner released any new material after their impressive debut with last year’s The Beginning in December of 2016, but the wait has certainly been worth it with the release of their sophomore effort in the form of Darkest Ways. Much as the name would imply, the EP carries with it an all around harder and heavier edge than it’s predecessor but, not only does it retain that same high quality and impressive production skills that were on display in their debut, it proves that the extended time off was not wasted; there is no “sophomore slump” here at all. 

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