Here are some gems that I’ve been listening to lately.
Black Marble – ‘Feels’
The Sacred Bones Records artist’s Bigger Than Life LP doesn’t come out until Oct. 25, but you really should pre-order this release right now. On his third Black Marble album, Chris Stewart continues his tradition of evoking pure human emotion from machines. His approach is not unlike that of Nation of Language: Take the mechanistic synth-pop of the 1980s and slather it with a whole lot of of heart. It’s a rewarding strategy. In light of that, “Feels” is a rather appropriate title for a song of this caliber of sensory experience.
Bodywash – ‘With Heat’
This MBV-esque majesty, it slays me. The entire Comforter LP, out now via Luminelle Records, is a must-have, but this song in particular from the Montreal-based band sends me into some special plane of existence.
Paul Haslinger – ‘Lost Signal’
The gifted film and TV score composer and former Tangerine Dream member has just released a captivating non-score cut that nevertheless is layered with a delectably unsettling cinematic quality. It’s a great song. Vehlinggo readers will know Haslinger, at minimum, because of the interview we did a while back in which we mourned the end of AMC’s brilliant show Halt and Catch Fire, which he scored.
New Arcades – ‘Into the Unknown’
The British group are profoundly adept at crafting catchy — and dreamy — synthwave. This is, in fact, the type of synthwave this very blog enjoys the most. Furthermore, their latest material, out via Outland Recordings, has been particularly delightful.
P.S.T. – ‘Lately’
P.S.T. (Puppet Show Things) is a killer, new bicoastal groove-making project comprised of NY-based Christen Jordan (formerly Club Girls) and Portland, Oregon-based Evan Maxwell (of Pleasure Curses). Their debut cut, “Lately,” is a viscerally catchy experience that provides a raw look at a beautiful future. The project has been a long time coming — Jordan had a cyst on her vocal cords that necessitated surgery — but the resulting song is important. I look forward to hearing more from them.
Siamese Youth – Electric Dreams
Berlin-based Siamese Youth recently released their album, Electric Dreams, on NRW Records, offering an expansive, dreamy, and sometimes galactic synthwave experience. This record, which features a host of well-crafted songs and even a Futurecop! collaboration, is a positive development in their career.
Billy Mays Band – Introspection
The blend of bright and chunky electric guitar riffs and prog-leaning synth parts make the France-based Billy Mays Band one of the more interesting synthwave acts today. Most of the cuts on the Lazerdiscs-released Introspection are engaging instrumentals, but singer Fred Colombo shows up for a vocoded blast of human attachment. At least a few of the tracks pay a healthy homage to John Carpenter’s Escape from New York score.
(Editor’s Note: As established in this post, the One-Liners column is a concise but meaningful way to highlight Vehlinggo-recommended releases. It’s not exactly weekly, but it can be. Entries are almost never one line, but they could be. Check out the most recent one.)