Tag Archives: Synthwave

Certified: Dana Jean Phoenix, Synthwave’s Ascendant Superhero

 

Certified is a series on Bandcamp where we spotlight artists whose work we think is worthy of additional attention.

A lot of synthwave musicians like to explore the idea of a “dystopian reality.” Not so Dana Jean Phoenix; the Toronto-based artist is more interested in bringing out the humanity in machines than lamenting the loss of our pre-internet years. She even named her keytar Jareth, and was devastated when he was briefly misplaced on tour in Europe earlier this year. “The airline lost him, and I felt like a part of me had been lost,” she says. “I hadn’t realized how important it had become to me. I feel like I’m flying when I’m playing Jareth—he is my superhero cape.”

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Bonemagic’s Blackened Synthwave Provides an Emotional Outlet

Bonemagic

“Poverty stricken and drug-ridden.”

That’s noise practitioner Matt Hex, reflecting on his hometown of Stilwell, Oklahoma. Situated in the northeast region of the state, just eight miles west of the Arkansas border, Stilwell (current population around 4,000, Hex himself included) rose to fame as a minor agricultural hub in the years following World War II; in 1949, the Kansas legislature even designated Stilwell the “Strawberry Capital of the World.” These days, it suffers the worst economic conditions in the state of Oklahoma, with 32.7% of residents living below the poverty line, and a median household income of $24,452 (versus the state average median household income of $45,339), according to a 2015 report.

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Popnihil Records: A Southern Gothic Tale

Pop NihilMatthew Moyer, the mind behind Florida goth/dark music label Popnihil, jokingly muses over phone that whatever is goth “catches your ear and crushes your heart.” The Florida native resides in Orlando working as music editor for Orlando Weekly, but for 13 years, Moyer worked as a librarian at the Jacksonville Public Library. The archival impulse is strong in Moyer; he still owns many of the cassettes that informed his early musical development, even a special mixtape from early adolescence where he first heard Coil’s “Slur,” Skinny Puppy’s “Worlock,” and Nitzer Ebb, a mixtape that sent him down the spiral of music made with synthesizers—“all of that led to Suicide, and then that opened the floodgates.”

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Ten Albums That Provide the Perfect Summer Synthwave Soundtrack

When people think of synthwave, they usually think of stern, shadowy acts like Perturbator or SURVIVE’s haunting Stranger Things score. But the genre isn’t all slashers and cyberpunk–—there are plenty of OutRun-influenced synth albums bright and pulsing enough that they make the perfect summer soundtrack.

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On Their New LP, The Lion’s Daughter Merge Synthwave With Sludge Metal

Lions Daughter

Photos by Josh Rowan

Future Cult, the latest album by St. Louis trio The Lion’s Daughter, is the kind of creative left turn that rarely happens at all, let alone a decade into a band’s career. For 10 years, and across seven releases, the band was essentially a sludge metal act, if one that often chafed at the genre’s codified limitations. But for their new LP, they finally let their lifelong love of classic horror scores by artists like John Carpenter and Goblin penetrate their sound. The result is their best work to date, and the beginning of a promising new era.

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Album of the Day: GosT, “Possessor”

 

On his third proper LP, the self-proclaimed “Satanic lord of slasherwave” fully embraces his hardcore and heavy metal roots. And while Possessor has its forked tongue firmly in its cheek—the album’s intro is built from samples of news reports from the “Satanic Panic” era—it’s hard to blame GosT for going big as a way to stand out in a crowd of second-wave synthesists who’ve watched way too many episodes of Stranger Things.

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Album of the Day: Nightcrawlers, “The Biophonic Boombox Recordings”

Crawling out of the figurative night that was 1980s Philadelphia, the Nightcrawlers were an experiment in mindful disconnection. The synth trio formed in 1980, when a love for modern classical music and the German krautrock and kosmische scenes brought siblings Peter and Tom Gulch together with the younger Dave Lunt. Over the course of their 11-year lifespan, the group released three full-length albums and over 35 self-recorded tapes, almost all of which were available only to those with the wherewithal to mail order them directly from bandleader Peter.

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Album of the Day: Miracle, “The Strife of Love in A Dream”

Steve Moore and Daniel O’Sullivan have only released a handful of Miracle records over the past seven years, and while they were solid renditions of pale synth-pop—like Depeche Mode scoring The Lost Boys, or a Goth-ier version of O’Sullivan’s Grumbling Fur group—the duo’s new album blows them both away.

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