“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.

“Plague Bearer” by Unholy Rat King

a4012080230_10After the success of their debut album, “Wine Into Blood,” Unholy Rat King evidently went to hell and stole Satan’s Game Boy in order to help themselves conduct quite the sinful symphony on their follow-up, “Plague Bearer.”

To paraphrase Conan the Barbarian, Unholy Rat King knows what’s best in life; “bit crush your enemies, see their ears bleed before you, and hear the lamentation of their headphones.” Yet, despite the harshness, there’s still a royal elegance to be admired and enjoyed from both the sounds of the album itself and to the eldritch sights displayed on its cover which was drawn so beautifully by Android Priest.

“Night City Terror” by Fatalvector

a0093791817_10The debut album from Fatalvector could not have come out at a better time; the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and the temperature is going down. This album has therefore become just the right mood music for these cold dark nights, especially when it rains, as it instills within you an equal mix of creepy vibes and blood pumping beats. Plus, as someone who has followed Fatalvector since they only had one track on SoundCloud, it’s fantastic to see them get to this point.

“Not Dead Yet” by Wolfman Muscleford

a0676532284_10While not the actual intention, “Not Dead Yet” feels like the long lost soundtrack to a forgotten action game of an earlier generation regardless. There are songs on here which will make you paranoid to turn a corner, unsure of the horrors that might lurk behind them, and then there are songs on the other hand which will get you so fired up that you just throw caution to the wind and turn that corner by going in all guns blazing.

Simply put: this album is a non-stop thrill ride. Buy your ticket.

“Midnight Tentacles” by Big Lich

a2586619619_10Big Lich has always been quite the necromantic beast to try and categorize (which isn’t a bad rap as they do their own thing and they do that thing pretty damn good) but if I were to actually try and describe their sound I’d be hard pressed not to call it akin to old-school RPG boss battle music. Combining a special blend of chiptunes, darksynth, and power metal, Big Lich is like a hidden musical treasure just waiting to be discovered by a curious dungeon delver in the mines of musical madness.