Here are my favorite synthpop, futurepop, and darkwave songs of April 2023. If you want to follow my music discovery this year, subscribe to my 2023 playlist on Spotify. New songs are added every Friday. Sort by Date Added to see the new tracks appear at the top of the playlist.
10. LEATHERS – “Fascination”
Shannon Hemmett gets an assist from her ACTORS bandmates on this sophisticated and dreamy tune, though her sparkly synths and elegant vocals take center stage. Each new single from LEATHERS amps up demand for her debut album.
9. Neon Space Men – “Twisted Mind”
Blade Runner may just be the most sampled movie in alternative electronic music. Yet, I never tire of it. Doomed replicant Roy Batty’s words arrive midway through “Twisted Mind,” the catchy, very ’80s sounding new single from German trio Neon Space Men.
8. Body of Light – “This Conversation”
On their upcoming fourth album, Arizona duo Body of Light are aiming for a brighter, blippier sound that taps into the Italo disco renaissance. Second single “This Conversation” delivers an instantly memorable chorus of “It’s never enough, it’s never enough” that is undeniably Depeche minded.
7. IAMX – “The X ID”
Chris Corner’s IAMX project is planning to release two albums this year, and this is the first taste of what’s to come. “The X ID” feels like a signature song that characterizes the X in his name with crucial reminders he sings directly into his mirror: “I am alive, I am alive.”
6. The Mystic Underground – “The Lonely Ones”
I’ve been keeping track of Brooklyn duo The Mystic Underground for a while now, and “The Lonely Ones” may just be my favorite song from them yet. Benedetto Socci’s lilting keyboards draw inspiration from ’90s house (love those bells!), while Vladimir Valette offers a spirited vocal.
5. Male Tears – “Slay”
I’m still digging into the brand new album from California’s Male Tears, but the power of the advance singles suggests a strong showing. “Slay” reveals more of the beguiling melodies and syrupy synth riffs I loved on previous single “Sleep 4Ever.”
4. Dead Lights – “Receiver”
One of the words I use frequently to describe Dead Lights is sinister. They lean heavily into that descriptor on their latest single, “Receiver,” which finds the duo casting menacing synth lines and a downright dirty vocal.
3. Accessory – “Opposite”
We haven’t heard from German project Accessory in about four years, but they go for the throat on new single “Opposite.” The band sings in both German and English and unleashes a bangin’ hook: “We’re too opposite!”
2. Deus Ex Lumina – “Addicted to Your Pain”
Deus Ex Lumina is on a winning streak. The German solo project has been cranking out superb singles every month since at least September. Each one is a study in dark, synth-driven music with captivating lyrics and haunting beats. “Addicted to Your Pain” is another fine effort.
1. VNV Nation – “Electric Sun”
The title track opens VNV Nation’s eleventh studio album with cinematic ambitions. Ronan Harris croons his vocals with the emotional vigor of a classy lounge singer—I’ve never heard him sing this way. When the hook arrives, he drags out the word “dreaming” into tender bliss, and string sounds swell. “Electric Sun” could be the theme song of a James Bond movie.