synthwave, new wave, don’t wave at me now [single reviews]
Modeling – “Lodestone”: I first heard about Modeling via a late submission for Steadfast 2020. Their sound immediately captivated me. Fans of Tycho, Polyenso, and even M83 will love this band. The glorious, otherworldly synth is something I will play at top volume once I complete my 80’s outrun-inspired man cave at home. This is an artist you’ll want to settle in and listen to for the long haul. I’m giving you my off the cuff response to them right now, but I’m really looking forward to sitting in my desk chair and soaking this up in the soft neon glow. This might read like a synthwave cliche but I don’t really care.
Secret Shame – “Dissolve”: Asheville, NC’s Secret Shame offer an easy listening twist on the goth/post punk sound in this single. Deadpan vocals and airy guitar depicting a dark sound is the name of the game here. This song is an unexpected juxtaposition that is hard to explain but easy to digest. This song will appear on a 7″, available on June 5th. Time to get dreamy in a pensive sort of way. This is a song for when you don’t know how to feel, but you want something to keep you sane.
Trying – “This Is Not A Disco, Part 2”: This is new wave condensed from the big arena stage to the living room, sung directly to you. It’s what I’ve come to expect from Trying, with a bonus guitar hook that almost shimmers. This guitar picking adds a twinkly element to the classic new wave sound, which sounds far away and intimate at the same time. Like most other Trying songs, “This Is Not A Disco, Part 2” does not overstay its welcome. Yet, this song is certainly welcome during this quarantine period.
Donny Benet – “Mr. Experience”: I honestly clicked play on this song expecting something completely ridiculous and over the top. Instead, I got a neat, new wave inspired dance bop that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Donny seems like he’d be a cool guy to hang out with, judging from this track. Once quarantine is over, everyone will be dancing in the clubs and having conversations with each other with what a Mr. Experience might be. Oh, and I’m getting bigtime Duran Duran vibes from this. I also noticed that the official YouTube stream has over 7,000 views already without a single thumbs down. Impressive.
ROY3LS – “Heavy”: This sister trio and 2020 Nashville Artist to Watch (see our full list here) has been releasing earworms steadily since last summer. The question “why does everything gotta be so heavy?” is asked in a manner that will uplift you. Like an electropop Psalm of sorts. It’s honest but leaves you encouraged. Some Psalms are ones of lament, asking hard questions, but ending with encouraging characteristics of God, and others are straight up praise. It’s likely that most who come across this write-up will not share my religion, but this is what this song made me think of, given the sisters’ background, and there’s a lesson here for all; do not limit what can be translated into a lighthearted, bubbly electropop bop.
DURRY – “Judgement Day”: As I lay on my couch in the wee hours of the morning, a flurry of emotions have passed through more over the course of this Sunday. A couple of hours ago, I fought off an anxiety attack. Now, a weird, calm alertness has settled into my psyche. This mood, along with the time of night, seems to be wrapped up in the vibe of this song, which I suppose you’d call indie rock, but that label on its own is lame. The Coyote Kid frontman shows off a softer, more vulnerable side here. The trumpet here combined with the electronic sampling reminds me of what might happen if Polyenso and Copeland had a secret marriage.