The synthwave genre is an interesting one to delve into. There are certain aspects of it that have been fully accepted by the mainstream like, the music for Stranger Things. Then there is a whole other level to synthwave that is even better and thanks to groups like the band of the week, we get to experience so much more that world has to offer. Allow me to introduce you to GosT. GosT is more like the exception to the rules of synthwave. Like many other peers like Perturbator (who I featured not too long ago) and Carpenter Brut, GosT channels many different vibes and sounds. Mixing a more metallic edge to accompany the post-punk, goth and electronic aspects, the new material from GosT is uncompromising. Founder and mastermind James Lollar, has really found his niche with the new album, Rites of Love and Reverence. The album itself is chock full of hidden gems and blistering sonic dimensions. It’s creepy and eerie in places yet has this really cool pop sensibility that gives the darkness the right amount of shine to really leave a lasting mark. GosT is well on the way to being a force to be reckoned in taking the synthwave genre to a whole other level.
For a long while now, I’ve had a very interesting relationship with electronic based music. For me, when it comes to this genre, I always tend to go towards the artists with real depth and integrity. So much in the world of electronic music is fluff and just button pressing. When a real artist comes along and expands upon the norm and mixes other bits, that’s when it becomes something more. For example, one artist that I’ve been keen on for a while now is Perturbator. James Kent aka Perturbator got his start playing in Black Metal bands. If you are aware of the ambient nature of Black Metal, you know where this is going. Since 2012 though, he’s been releasing some of the best synthwave music. Armed with vintage synths, an array of instrumentation and a sort of John Carpenter vibe, it’s no wonder Perturbator has caught on with so many people. His latest album, Lustful Sacraments, is truly something awesome. It’s drenched in darkwave, post-punk, industrial and ambience. The album is sort of trippy/psychedelic in ways too. It’s one of those albums that you can put on while doing something else but, don’t be surprised if you wind up getting so into it, you forget you had something else to do.
A while back I wrote about a Los Angeles based band that summoned some pretty cool Bowie-esque moments to accompany their blend of post-punk and alternative rock. That band was Darkroads and they are back with new music that is damn good. Combining what the have done in the past but, now with a bit more of a synthwave element, Darkroads have really honed in on their sound. Their first new song “Close Your Eyes” is a perfect example of this. It’s still got that cool dark and eerie sense but now has something else to it that helps stand out from their peers. As I described before, the way they hit on the darkness yet create these bright spots with the music is quite beautiful. The clean guitar tones provide the light while the drums, bass and vocals usher in the dark. Darkroads are definitely one to travel on.
Over the last couple of years I’ve really started getting back into electronic music. Though I’m still a bit picky when it comes to which sub-genres I dig on more. Thankfully I found a band that has all the elements of what I like about electronic music. I’m referring to the band 8mm. Founded by famed producer and mixer Sean Beaven and his wife Juliette, 8mm has been steadily making a name for themselves. You might have even heard some of their music in films and TV shows like “Underworld: Awakening”, “Dirty Little Liars”, “Mistresses”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Nip Tuck”, “Nikita”, “One Tree Hill”, “Shark”, “Cold Case”, “Moonlight”, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” etc. 8mm is more than just great music for soundtracks, they have an element about them that stretches far past that. By combining trip hop, synth wave, and a little pop sensibilities, 8mm stands out among the rest. Their most recent release “Supercrush” has a very cool sexy dance vibe to it with some pop but it also has an edge to it that give it the toughness to be its own thing. Sean’s production work fits perfectly with the vibe of this band. There are certain moments that hark back to his days working with Marilyn Manson on Mechanical Animals. Juliette has a vocal style that is almost Manson-esque at times as well as a little Beth Gibbons from Portishead. 8mm is definitely a band that you should be blasting and having impromptu dance parties with.
The 80’s and synth driven music is coming back in a huge way. With the success of things like Stranger Things and EDM culture, it’s not surprising to see this new wave of 80’s influence peaking through. Let me introduce you to Wolf & Raven, a very 80’s synth driven group that seems perfectly stuck in the early mid 80’s. Their dreamscapes and pop sensible sound is reminiscent of something you might recognize from a movie like Real Genius or even Cloak and Dagger and dashes of the early era of M83. Wolf & Raven is made up of two brothers Chris and Anthony Greninger, who make up this dreamy synthwave group. Their new album Ace of Space, “was written with the idea to create a soundtrack that could have been used in an 80’s anime space opera; inspired by cartoons, video games, and movies, it has a wide array of influences to create an audible escape into a multi-layered musical world.” After hearing a few of the songs, this is a perfect description for what they are unleashing to the world. You can pre-order the album on vinyl HERE via Sofa King Vinyl.
In this day and age, electronic music has really taken over. The one thing with so much electronic music is, most people don’t know how to do it right. Enter 20SIX HUNDRED. Darren Jones has taken his love of electronic/synth music and created a soundscape rather than just beats. His ability to create a “score” rather than the same repetitive sounds is impressive and feels natural and not forced. Do you remember the John Carpenter films and the music that accompanied them? That’s what this reminds me of. Among the John Carpenter influence, there is also a bit of a video game sound too, that makes this a bit more cinematic. 20SIX HUNDRED is the perfect soundtrack for today’s electronic crowd. You can also pre-order the new album, The Cold Rise From Sleep, on vinyl by Darren over at Sofa King Vinyl.