Midweek Recommends: Automelodi, Grosskopf, Toffe, New Arcades, NINA & More

There have been some songs, EPs, and albums on my mind and in my ears recently that I wanted to quickly cover. Some of them are older releases and others are barely a month old. Nevertheless, I think they’re all worth your time.

Sit back and read and hit play, because you need good music in your life right now.

Automelodi – Surlendemains Acides

Bliss doesn’t always come in French, but it often does. This time, the magic comes from Montreal’s Automelodi (AKA Xavier Paradis) on Surlendemains Acides, a 2013 release that Holodeck Records reissued earlier this month. This album is a reverberated blast of raylessness and enigmatic synth expression that doesn’t need to take on Satanic camp in order to be truly dark. This is a must-buy and, thankfully, it’s available in multiple formats. The link is in the embed.

Thousand Foot Whale Claw – ‘Black Hole Party’

Thousand Foot Whale Claw is a Holodeck Records supergroup made up of members of SURVIVE, Troller, Single Lash, and Future Museums. Their second album, Black Hole Party, isn’t out until June 29, but the title track is currently available as a single on their Bandcamp page. And it’s a rewarding piece of art to experience. They tap into various exercises of the cascading arps of the Berlin School crossed with the dark and edgy synth compositions we’ve come to love from many people’s favorite Texas record label.

Harald Grosskopf – Synthesist

Ashra is one of the best bands ever and Harald Grosskopf played drums for them at one point, so naturally he’s a worthwhile character in the story of krautrock and German synth music. But his solo record Synthesist, from 1980, is an otherwordly adventure. If you’re looking for mind-expanding acrobatics and profound galactic rumination, this is the right place. Grosskopf offers a vast array of cascading and atmospheric synths over kinetic acoustic drums, a combo which often leads to sheer joy after only a few seconds of exposure.

I love the music of Tangerine Dream, but I feel as if sometimes their contemporaries like Grosskopf, Klaus Schulze, and Manuel Göttsching don’t get the credit they deserve.

Toffe – ‘Riverside’

Sweden-based Toffe provides a massive (and massively catchy) electro-pop experience that no doubt has lit up dance floors in many fine jurisdictions — it certainly is on-par with the quality you’d expect from Sweden. Here’s a little bit of trivia for you: Toffe is also known as Christoffer Ling, who contributed the metal cut on the Kung Fury soundtrack.

BOAN – Mentiras

Oh, I realize I’m weighing this list heavily with Holodeck releases, but alas, this is where I’m at right now and I’m proud to be here. Texas-based minimal synth duo BOAN has been top-of-mind since I saw them perform at Resident in LA a little more than a week ago. (They headlined a very blissful Italians Do It Better-heavy event that kind of changed my life, and I imagine others left changed, too.)

This album came out in 2015, but it’s never really left the zeitgeist, perhaps because many of us want more BOAN and are desperately clinging to what’s out there from them, or perhaps because it’s just so damn good. José Cota and Mariana Saldaña make catchy cold wave sound like an utterly warm embrace. Michael Stein of SURVIVE — and now known massively for his work on the Stranger Things soundtrack with his partner, Kyle Dixon — took on engineering and production duties for this release. Read more about this gem at Holodeck’s Bandcamp page.

New Arcades – ‘Inhale (Featuring Lula)’

UK’s New Arcades trade in pop-heavy synthwave, crafting catchy, well-written songs that challenge you to think outside the confines of your little world. Stars and dreams and all that entails in thinking in a galactic sense are commonalities in their realm. It’s lovely stuff and I can’t wait for their EP, Nothing Is Lost, to come out on Friday, April 27.

NINA – Sleepwalking

London-based NINA has a gorgeous voice and she does great job of bending it to fit the potent, neon-tinged synthwave beneath her breathy siren’s call. The title cut has been on my mind for a while, but the whole release has a handful of engaging numbers. “It Kills Me” and “Sleepwalking” are standouts.

NINA plays a fair amount of shows in the sphere of the European Union and the United Kingdom, so keep an eye out.

Ultraboss – ‘Kissed by the Night (Featuring Cody Carpenter and Dana Jean Phoenix)’

If you like your retro with intricate musicianship and the emotive pipes of Toronto’s Dana Jean Phoenix, this is the song to check out. It’s a retro-tinged number with Cody Carpenter’s proggy synth runs and Ultraboss’ searing guitar solos flying about as Phoenix unleashes her romantic refrains.

As Rosso Corsa Records, which contributed to the invention of synthwave, consolidates an immense roster of talent ‘neath its vast, neon-tinged umbrella, the label ensures a bulwark against stagnation. I’d recommend going down the rabbit hole of their Bandcamp page, starting with Ultraboss, their latest release, of course.

I listen to a lot of different artists and songs in a given week, but those are some recommendations to get you through the rest of the week. Enjoy!