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dark smoke signal - thunder road (January )

an instant instrumental classic with a fist-pumping, heavy beat. I feel I've discovered synthwave all over again after hearing this. the perfect tempo makes this an absolute must for any drive whether it's to buy milk or to sunbathe on the costa blanca. 10/10

The night hour - be alright (January)

the first truly great dreamwave track for quite some time. although it's no different from songs of the same subgenre, it has a really soothing tempo that sits very well with the type of vocals. simple and understated still has a place in synthwave. 9/10

Futurecop! feat. parallels - we belong (January)

the second single of this collaboration sounds quite 'robyn'-esque. you instantly recognise a futurecop! track nowadays which is becoming slightly tedious. Although it resembles EDM more than synthwave, it's still a good listen. interesting music video too! 8/10

le groupe fantastique - counterfeit (January)

'New order' vocals meet 'tears for fears' industrialised soundwaves. This track has all the ingredients of a truly great modern synth track; rough-around-the-edges vocals and deep bass lines, it could have come from 1986 for all I know! 9/10

le groupe fantastique - till the time Is right(January)

one band, two favourite tracks! this one is short and snappy, which is a shame, I wish the progressive outro lasted longer. resembling indie pop at first, it builds in to a really catchy synthpop track that will live with me for years! 9/10

alpha chrome yayo - breakfast in daytona

alterations in synths & an extra beat at the end of the track give a feel of a tempo change making this a great experimental track and a colourful one at that. 'ACY' has definitely developed a sound that I haven't heard other artists come close to. 8/10

kalax & anton vic - let go

George ergemlidze - wake up

mr ergemlidze has a knack of creating what feels like a deeply-layered track, but in reality, shallow structures with no obvious difference between verses and choruses occur most of the time. but it works so well in this song with such a kind & romantic sound. 8/10

George ergemlidze - rainy town

back-to-back tracks from mr ergemlidze. this one has a really catchy keyboard riff throughout and sits on a good tempo. his usual wailing vocals reinforce the simple structure to great effect. this might be his best track to date. 9/10

trevor something - confessions of an addict

dark smoke signal - December rose

he only went and did it! dark some signal managed to surpass the brilliance of 'thunder road' with this stunning track! exquisitely touching & graceful, this song will take you back to the dancefloor of any 1980's teen flick for a slow dance. top marks! 10/10

miles matrix - night striker

a cool nod back to retro gaming in the late eighties and early ninesties. miles matrix comes of age in a grittier track than his usual slower tempo affairs. with hardcore elements of edm and softer undertones we're treated to his best production yet. 8/10

waveshaper - decoding myself

a song of two halves, the intro being a hardline futuresynth sound, followed by a brilliant second part which is a cool amalgamation of 'justice' and 'daft punk'- influenced synths blasting throughout. and I love the organ-style outro! an instrumental gem for sure! 9/10

Lwthr - nearly at dream town

ideon - the world might end tomorrow

an italo-disco-esque synthpop track with plenty going on throughout. perhaps the instrumental version suits synthwave better as a whole however, we love the guitar solo and think this would sit perfectly over an 80s montage. 8/10 

waveshaper - decoding myself

occams laser - broken tone

fm attack - my life

long, chilled and well worth the two-year wait! encapsulated by a riff that you'll find hard to get off the mind, this track shows that the older synthwave style still has a massive part to play in the progress of the genre. 9/10

l'avenue - cherry crush

the standout track on a superb e.p. that absolutely smashes the barriers of convention. the sophisticated synths evoke images of 80's female independancy, buisness attire and a top of the range convertible driven by a suave  protagonist. game-changing! 9/10

moonrunner83 feat. megan mcduffee - born slippy

covers don't often come as cool and well-produced as this. they've concentrasted on the part of the song that actually matters if you weren't a 90's raver and have done it absolute justice, nailing the famous intro we all love! still gives me goosebumps. 8/10

arcade high - the last picture show

with vocals and lyrics expressing pensive sadness, this feels like the last words of a forlorn figure looking back and penning a love letter to great times gone by. this has a real emo feel to it and there's some wonderful accompanying synths throughout . 9/10

chase yesterday - golden hour

as instrumentals go, this might be up there with the very best. it's hopeful, euphoric in the choruses if and very well polished. the ep is excellent throughout too! there's something about the baseline dropping that reverberates the heart and mind! 10/10

gibarian - keep driving

This instrumental simply adds transcendant layer upon layer of simple but powerful synths to create a really in-depth sound. its very absorbing and manages to be serene and fierce at the same time! not bad for your very first synthwave track! 9/10

ollie wride - back to life

this is totally what was expected from ollie. a funky foot-stomper from synthwave's mercury. whilst oozing commercial appeal, the track sticks to it's nostalgic routes & will appeal to lovers of  a proper synth anthem or a powerful vocal ballad. 9/10

rogue neon - galactic justice

if 'the bill' was set in 2120, this would be the opening theme. the use of synths that repeat the same notes as a typical uk police siren are a simple yet effective touch. galactic justice is futuresynth perfection...but less in your face (which is better). 9/10

W O L F C L U B - Gravity

brazen and full of fire. atmospheric buzzing bases cascade with beautiful vocals in that proven wolfclub format we've become so accustomed to. and it keeps on working! popular popwave at its finest on an album filled with catchy numbers. 8.5/10

ace marino - summer

the farthest of far cries from an early sound you are likely to see in this scene. ace marino hammers a belter down the middle of the popwave avenue and comes up trumps. the happy sounds tinged with sad lyrics gives a real bittersweet feeling. 9/10

prizm - we were young

just what the scene needs, an act with attitude and a sound to match it! we were young is an open door for the rest of the world to discover other commercial popwave. it's catchy, light-hearted and very summery, all the right ingredients then! 8.5/10

the midnight - arcade dreams (timecop1983 remix)

best tracks of 2019

transpacifica - moral Arcade

the simplest of structures outweighed by a number of cool and very retro tones and melodies. as synthwave instrumentals come, this is up there with some of the best. it feels like the soundtrack to a happy-go-lucky character in a film. 8/10

this guy knows how to make a bold introduction to songs. the sound maintains it's euphoric feel throughout, and although the structure of the song is very simple, the use of progressive overlaps of heartfelt vocals make this a winner! 9/10

trevor something reverts back to his old sound, great decision! the slower tempo with some really rich-sounding synths make this a true dreamwave number. rough vocals work well with his sound, and who cares if he can't sing particularly well?! 8/10

in a world where everything is getting more complicated, lwthr keeps it simple with this lush instrumental. rather than using breaks to act as a chorus, they are used as interludes which split it up the song nicely. quite simply a soft and relaxing stunner! 9/10

a track of two halves, the first half consisting of succulent cybersynth followed by a second that has 'daft punk' written all over it. The outro is one of the most sombre out there, sending you to a place that can only be described as eden. 8/10

Morgan willis - The shack

a belter of a track laden with deep and sinister basslines. despite the horror throughout, there's also an air of cosmicicity to this track (is that a real word?), sometimes more length is required in a track and this is one of those times. 9/10

very much on the lighter side of things for Occams laser, broken tone is the soundtrack to all of those late 70's cop drama montages. it's a very cool track and much catchier than his usual darker tracks. The beauty lies in its simplicity. 9/10

the northern lights - homecoming

a brilliantly gallant and awe-inspiring chorus that takes a lot more precedence than the verses. it's got a lovely saxophone bellowing out through the long outro. this is actually a cool nod back to his earlier stuff, think dreamers pt. 1 9/10

an iconic track bettered perhaps? jordy has churned out another delirious dreamwave delight. slow in the build-ups and outros and pure in nature, this is simply stunning! it echoes like you're in a huge open space and it leaves you feeling glorious. 9.5/10