Occasionally someone will ask me what I mean when I write “synthwave” or “retrowave,” and I’ll usually name a handful of artists who might not ring any bells, such as Futurecop!, FM Attack and Miami Nights 1984.
That’s bad for everyone, so I’ve put together “Modern Saints and Synthers,” a Spotify playlist of more than 30 songs designed to give people an entry point (or a refresher) to some of the modern artists out there who mine the best of the 1980s to make excellent, new synth-driven songs.
Some songs, but not all, retain the raw nostalgic qualities for those who came of age in the 80s and early 90s, and some other bonus cuts I’ve included ride the genre boundary in an unorthodox fashion. Also of note is the fact that not all of the songs are the latest from any of the artists. They’re simply songs I like and that reflect some of the best qualities of the genre.
The list has some familiar artists I’ve written about just this past week: College, Futurecop! and Electric Youth. Along the way are related artists like FM Attack, Anoraak, Miami Nights 1984, Kristine (both by herself and fronting for a couple artists), Com Truise, Mitch Murder, Tesla Boy, Highway Superstar, Room 8, Sunglasses Kid, Lazerhawk, and Dana Jean Phoenix. Kavinsky also shows up.
As for the unorthodox folks, the list has a Glass Candy/Chromatics presence (because I’m me). You’ll also find an LCD Soundsystem cut (“Someone Great”), a Holy Ghost! inflitration (“Okay”) and even Yacht makes an appearance. These songs aren’t as overtly 80s in every construction, but they’re all deeply in touch with most of the beautiful parts of the retro movement.
You can play the songs in the embedded list above. If you’re not a Spotify user, try looking up the songs on Soundcloud, YouTube or iTunes. I likely left out a handful of great artists, so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments, on Twitter or on Facebook.