“Matter” by Paladin

a3496307663_10The original release of “Matter” was one of the first modern synth-based albums that I came across and I’ve been hooked ever since. While this re-release is a bit of a remix in comparison, I still love it all the same if not more so as Paladin can do no wrong to my ears. There’s just an overall uniqueness to their approach that’s unlike anything else out there. I simply cannot put into words what that is exactly other than it’s as if a wizard’s magic has transported you to another space in time.

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“RE:MIXED [The Save Rooms]” by Mono Memory

a2941814801_16This album is like coming across an old memory card which contains save data for a familiar game that you’re excited to play again, to which you immediately continue from where you left off, but now through the hindsight of a modern lens. It’s all quite familiar, and yet so very different, as Mono Memory proves with every track that they’re the master of unlocking the past through their unique remixes. If you want to see S.T.A.R.S. than Mono Memory will give them to you. This is an S-Rank album.

“The Sun Also Sets” by Vampire Step-Dad

a3876597256_10“The Sun Also Sets” may not contain the usual fang-in-cheek pageantry which most of Vampire Step-Dad’s recent releases have been known for utilizing, in terms of an opening sitcom-like sketch and/or a centralized theme, but it still has some serious melodic bite regardless. Which is to say that, while you won’t find many blood pumping guitar-laden tracks on this album, the synth-fueled melancholy melodies on here are plentiful and reaffirm Vampire Step-Dad as an accomplished maestro of emotions.

“Wave Motion” by Purple Goldfish

a2286691341_10Part chiptune, part synthwave, and a whole lot of heart; that’s how I choose to best describe “Wave Motion” by Purple Goldfish.

While mostly known for being one half of Big Lich, the chiptune and darksynth inspired instrumental power metal duo, this album is certainly on the lighter side in comparison to that although there are still some somber moments intertwined.

That said, this album is an excellent showcase of not only Purple Goldfish’s solo abilities but a wonderful album in its own right.

“Grangeweird” by Alpha Chrome Yayo and Danny Madigan

a4206924274_10“Grangeweird” is like ducking into a pub to get out of the rain, warming yourself up next to a fire with drink in hand, only to end up being enthralled by two bards within telling tall tales of local legends and suburban superstitions.

While Alpha Chrome Yayo and Danny Madigan are both amazing artists on their own, there’s just something truly magical about their musical chemistry which happens whenever they brew up a tune together. And what an eldritch concoction of hygge this one is indeed!

“Bone Apple Tea” by The Warhorse

a4120519210_10The Warhorse is one of the most unique acts in the synthwave scene, even if they skate the edge of the mold for not being “80’s enough,” and I truly do admire them for just doing their own thing without worrying what anyone else thinks about them in turn.

“Bone Apple Tea,” in many ways, is an anthem to that belief and a call to arms to embrace your uniqueness. Most importantly it’s about shattering those glass ceilings, subverting expectations, and not giving a fuck… that’s The (Bone Apple) Tea.

“Jinn & Juice” by The Warhorse

a3469306951_10I’ll be completely honest: I tend to prefer complete albums and/or EPs more so than just singles, but I’ll also fully admit that “Jinn & Juice” completely shattered such a notion and then some as I’ve listened to this song at least a few dozen times by now. “Jinn & Juice” is at times brash and in your face, much like The Warhorse themselves, but also hypnotic and oddly relaxing. While just over four minutes, “Jinn & Juice” feels like you’re listening to an entire album contained within one song.

“Circuits of Time EP” by Finally Some Action

a2463703653_16When it comes to albums which I often point to when discussing the merits of vocals in synthwave, of which I will always argue in favor, the “Circuits of Time EP” by Finally Some Action is most certainly near the top of my list. I seriously cannot help but sing along to these songs whenever I listen to them and that is always a good sign. It helps, of course, that the lyrics are not only catchy but are a nice subtle wink and nod to retro pop culture too; can you guess all of their inspirations?

“Malediction Boulevard EP” by Alpha Chrome Yayo

a4169269915_16If the prior releases by Alpha Chrome Yayo were mostly meant to conjure up images of brightly lit neon-soaked streets and general feel-good nostalgic moments, than their “Malediction Boulevard EP” is the aptly titled stroll down a dark path on the wrong side of the tracks. Here there be monsters, yes, but don’t fret; with a mighty ax in tow, you can defeat any foe. Luckily, and despite the darker tone, ACY nonetheless continues their trend with gnarly guitar work alongside some spectacularly spooky synths.