Good Things to Hear Right Now: Bad Wave, Nicky Venus, Avalon Omega

There are some nice cuts to listen to out there right now. Some lean toward the modern, others toward the retro. All are bathed in synths. Here is a sampling.

Bad Wave – “Extraordinary”

Photo Credit: Bad Wave.
Photo Credit: Bad Wave.

LA-based Bad Wave’s “Extraordinary” rides along, at least sonically, like a glorious mix of the Postal Service and Animal Collective. Lyrically, the themes deviate from the “Generation Xer-stentialism” of Gibbard and Co. and the gnostic esoterica of Panda Bear and friends.

Whatever the comparisons, and whatever blend of moods songwriter Tucker Tota and his production partner Patrick Hart have put together, the result is, well, extraordinary. Take in their brand of kinesis below:

Nicky Venus – “Run”

Nicky Venus
Photo Credit: Nicky Venus.

“Run,” by San Diego-based retromodernist Nicky Venus, is the most overtly 80s song on the list. Although it’s a modern production, it’s got that “you sure that wasn’t recorded before the fall of the Wall?” style that Soviet perfected so well on last year’s Ghosts (which was also this blog’s Top Album of 2015).

The upbeat and kinetic synthpop number features a composition that reminds me of a mix between mid-80s Depeche Mode and OMD, and a smidgeon of Tears for Fears, along with Twin Shadow’s foray into quoting those experts.

But not only does the music kill, for Venus’ croonish wail carries the song to blisteringly wonderful heights. When the chorus kicks in, and he’s joined by some angelic female backing vox, I dare you not to sing along. Overall, the whole thing is a pretty exciting experience.

Avalon Omega – “Take It Easy”

Photo Credit: Avalon Omega.
Photo Credit: Avalon Omega.

She’s a fascinating producer, this Avalon Omega. Her minimalist, dreamy synth-pop has an intentional and ornate sophistication that nevertheless feels like it’s only seconds from falling apart. What holds it all together is the smooth glue of her ethereal chanteusery, whispering some catchy melodies that make it all a beautiful, cohesive experience.

I don’t remember how I stumbled onto this song. In fact, I don’t know much about her, aside from the following: (1) She’s from LA; (2) her great uncles were the driving force behind the exquisite rock classic, “Come and Get Your Love“; and (3) She is a classically trained cellist. Also, I’ve found some YouTube videos of her more hip-hop-oriented fare, but nothing in Omega’s canon is as lovely as this song.


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