The 10 best synthpop songs of July 2023

Counting down my favorite synthpop, futurepop, and darkwave songs of the month.

The Mobile Homes - Throne

Here are my favorite synthpop, futurepop, and darkwave songs of July 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. Kanga – “Under Glass”

American artist Kanga continues to evolve far beyond the crunchy electro-industrial sound of her debut album, which drew comparisons to NIN. Latest single “Under Glass,” the title track from her forthcoming third LP, incorporates elements of synthwave—that lovely reverb is straight out of neon soaked ’80s video games. Meanwhile, Kanga delivers one of her dreamiest vocals yet.

9. The Grey Disorder feat. Magnus Dahlberg – “Sleepwalking”

Canadian project The Grey Disorder enlists the voice of MORE’s Magnus Dahlberg on “Sleepwalking,” which ends up being a best-of-both-worlds event. As always, Magnus delivers lovely, distinctive vocals, while musician Lance Pilon produces a beautiful piano melody, then swaps in a blast of electronics on the bridge that makes the song really sparkle.

8. Cuffed – “Deceiver”

Cuffed is a brand new project from California musician Tyler Fortney—I believe this is only his second song. On “Deceiver,” he’s full of charm, especially on the track’s rousing chorus of “Take my heart fatal desire, I can feel you in my blood.” This is the type of transcendent music that makes me want to hear much more from this promising artist.

7. Violet Silhouette – “Hierda Demoniaca”

The singer of Florida’s Violet Silhouette has an ethereal voice that somehow channels a deep croon and melodic falsetto at the same time. On new single “Hierda Demoniaca,” he sounds eerily similar to TR/ST’s Robert Alfons. But the comparisons end there. Their music mixes up synths and guitars into a lush and haunting sound that’s equal parts synthpop and shoegaze.

6. Missing in Stars – “Fight”

Wisconsin’s Missing in Stars recently signed with scene-defining label Infacted Recordings. It’s easy to see why they wanted this band on their roster. New single “Fight” features one of the most impassioned vocals I’ve heard in a while. Atop a mid-tempo beat and fluttering electronics, the project’s Daniel Guenther pleads for someone, himself perhaps, to help him out of a dark place.

5. Male Tears – “Sad Boy, Paint My Nails”

Just a few months following the release of their superb Krypt album, California’s Male Tears already have a new track. “Sad Boy, Paint My Nails” aims for a stronger darkwave sound with strumming guitar licks, yet retains the band’s gift for somber, romantic lyrics.

4. Teledeath – “Grief Is a Wave”

On their fourth single of the year, New York’s Teledeath take their hard-to-categorize sound into a dark, new direction. “Grief Is a Wave” opens with whistling, blasts a wave of air straight into your headphones, then skitters along a troubled beat. The entire song is an exercise in tension. It’s rare and remarkable to hear a new project deliver results this consistently good.

3. Ohne Nomen – “Cold Sadness”

Italian duo Ohne Nomen brew a bewitching blend of dark electronic dance music on their new album, The S-Witch. The album’s standout cut, “Cold Sadness,” is an absolute ripper that cuts through the haze of fog machines and flickering lights with one tremendous beat and a piercing hook from singer Francesca.

2. System Syn – “Ashes in the Wind”

The always exciting American project System Syn is getting ready to release their next album, Kill the Light. Its first single, “Ashes in the Wind,” is a dynamite and introspective banger that finds Clint Carney introducing new electronic sounds throughout, which gives it a chaotic feel. The lyrics, likewise, eschew traditional verse-chorus-verse song structure, instead offering different types of verses that build until the song practically explodes with the line “I don’t know how to breathe anymore.”

1. The Mobile Homes feat. Bon Harris – “Throne”

Long-running Swedish synthpop act The Mobile Homes returned this month with their first new song since their incredible seventh album, Trigger. And it is a stunner. “Throne” features Nitzer Ebb multi-instrumentalist Bon Harris for a superb guest vocal, but don’t expect a shouty EBM banger. This song is all Mobile Homes, showcasing the band’s sharp melodies and incisive lyrics.

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