I was born in the mid-1980’s, and therefore I spent most of my early years in the 1990’s, so there’s always been this weird sense of belonging to the “proto-millennials” as I can still vividly remember a time before the internet and when computer technology became ever so commonplace. As some examples, I went from using a standalone Apple II in elementary school to using an internet-ready iMac by high school. I used payphones to call collect and was then amazed when I first saw a portable phone. I experienced the last glory days of arcades, and their downfall, as 2D graphics on home consoles using cartridges gave way to 3D powerhouses which harnessed the potential of CD based media. There was truly a sense of living in a time of great progress and promise back then, when sweeping changes in technology brought with it such an optimistic outlook for the future ahead.
“Twirl,” by Alpha Chrome Yayo, is an album which not only encapsulates those feelings but gives off an aura not unlike one might imagine from a genie in a lamp; potent magic which was somehow bottled has now been unleashed. While Alpha Chrome Yayo wrote some wonderful linear notes about the album, and what all it meant to him, I nonetheless felt compelled to write some of my own… Continue reading
The 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.
This 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” 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.
Part 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” 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!
The 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.
I’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.
When 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?