The 25 most anticipated synthpop releases of 2023

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Trust me when I say 2023 is going to be an incredible year for music.

Just take a look at the stacked list of upcoming releases below. First of all, a triumvirate of influential bands in the darkwave scene, who also just happen to be my three favorite artists of all time, are expected to release new albums this year—Depeche Mode and VNV Nation are already confirmed, and it’s likely The Cure will announce something official soon. But there’s also long awaited new music on the horizon from scene favorites like Light Asylum and Beborn Beton, as well as material coming from hot newcomers like MATTE BLVCK and Nuovo Testamento.

Another factor to consider: I’ve been doing this list for four years now, and I typically have to resort to rumor and speculation to reach 25 artists. Not so this year. Every one of the artists below has all but confirmed that new music is on the way. I actually couldn’t include all of the artists I know have music coming this year.

I’m excited to present the most anticipated synthpop releases of 2023. These are in alphabetical order by artists’ names.

Agent Side Grinder

Title: Jack Vegas
Release date: TBA

A new album called Jack Vegas is on the way from Swedish post-punk outfit Agent Side Grinder, whose 2019 masterpiece A/X was my second favorite full-length of the year. The album’s first single, “Waiting Room,” moves away from A/X’s Cold War subject matter with a rawer, grittier sound (and oddball asylum samples about “removing a tumor with my teeth”) but retains the band’s gift for sonic tension.

Beborn Beton

Title: Darkness Falls Again
Release date: March 17

The beloved German synthpop trio returns from an 8-year hiatus with a new full-length called Darkness Falls Again that promises to combine catchy songs with a bit of anger. Beborn Beton’s ninth studio album wades right into the culture wars—they’ll tackle misogyny, sexual discrimination, and environmental destruction. We’ve already heard first single “Dancer in the Dark,” and more are on the way.

Beyond Border

Title: Gathering
Release date: Late summer

German duo Beyond Border has been busy cranking out material, including a pair of EPs, Saint and Sinner, that contained the j:dead-assisted banger “Jump Into the Fire.” This year they’ll release a new album called Gathering that forms the second part of their Welcome to the Future trilogy they began with 2021’s Awakening. The album’s first single, with the working title “Promises,” should be out in April and will be followed by two more singles before the album’s release.

Beyond Obsession

Title: Monopop EP2 – Purpose
Release date: Summer

German duo Beyond Obsession makes charming, contagious synthpop like “Speaking of a Devil” and “Scientists.” They’ve recently turned to an EP format that began with last year’s Monopop EP1 – Meaning. Two follow-up EPs, Purpose and Rework, are due out this year, as well as a mysterious “new format” for the band.

BlakLight

Title: The Haunting of Us
Release date: Late summer

Los Angeles band BlakLight keeps getting bigger and better. They’ve recently added a third member, Omar Quiñones of Vain Machine, to support their increasingly busy concert calendar, which will soon find them performing outside of California for the first time. And later this year, they’ll release their third album, The Haunting of Us, the follow-up to their post-pandemic treatise, Into the Void.

Cold Connection

Title: TBA
Release date: TBA

In 2021, I named Swedish duo Cold Connection the best new synthpop artist of 2021 and their debut LP the best album of the year. So there’s no question I’m looking forward to what they do next. Cold Connection did release new tunes in 2022, including a cover of Depeche Mode’s “My Secret Garden” on an Andy Fletcher tribute album. They’ll return with original songs this year and potentially an EP.

Dead Lights

Title: TBA
Release date: TBA

Nothing’s gonna stop them until they bleed. The very buzzy international duo Dead Lights made their debut in 2020 with a pair of EPs, then dropped their debut full-length in 2021. Last year, they released yet another EP that contains what’s now become their signature tune, “Doom Doom Trash.” They’ll return this year with even more music and a string of live shows.

Delerium

Title: Signs
Release date: February 3

I’m not sure what to expect from a Delerium album in 2023. The New Agey, ambient electro sound they helped pioneer is long past its prime. (When was the last time you thought of Enigma?) Yet I’m still intrigued. Front Line Assembly’s Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber remain the project’s primary creative forces, though as in albums past, they’ll feature female vocalists, including popular electro artist Kanga.

Depeche Mode

Title: Memento Mori
Release date: March

A new Depeche Mode release is always cause for celebration (a black one, of course), even if their last few albums have been underwhelming. But anticipation runs high for their 15th studio album, which arrives in the wake of founding member Andy Fletcher’s untimely death. DM says they started working on it early in the pandemic with Fletch’s input. The album’s title, Memento Mori, takes on eerie new meaning—it’s latin for “Remember that you must die.”

Everything But the Girl

Title: Fuse
Release date: April 21

English duo Everything But the Girl has been dormant since 1999’s Temperamental and seemed unlikely to ever record together again. But last year, Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn shocked fans with news that an album is on the way. They’ve dabbled in everything from electronic-folk to trip-hop to house (the Todd Terry remix of “Missing” is a personal favorite), so they’re far left of synthpop. But I don’t care. This is one of the most exciting things happening in music this year, and their just released single, “Nothing Left to Lose,” is a stunner.

Fever Ray

Title: Radical Romantics
Release date: March 10, 2023

Karin Dreijer’s third studio album as Fever Ray is a reunion of sorts—their brother and former cohort in The Knife, Olof Dreijer, cowrites four tracks. But that’s not even the most exciting news. Among the album’s many contributors is a song coproduced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Fever Ray and Nine Inch Nails is a combo I never knew I needed. We’ve already heard the album’s first two singles, a slowburner called “What They Call Us” and the blippy firecracker “Carbon Dioxide.”

Kite

Title: TBA
Release date: TBA

The best synthpop band in the world is on a tear. Kite returned from hiatus in 2020 with a batch of songs that felt like a timeline of their lives, beginning with their childhoods in “Tranås/Stenslanda” and concluding with the pandemic in “Hand Out the Drugs.” Last year they released another pair of songs, including “Panic Music,” my top track of the year. They’ll continue releasing singles this year, having moved away from the EP format they once preferred.

Korine

Title: Tear
Release date: February 17

Philadelphia duo Korine plan to follow their effervescent 2020 album The Night We Raise with their third full-length, Tear. Three singles have already been released, including a bubbly confection called “Mt. Airy” that hints at what may be a lighter, airier sound. The band promises “mechanical beats will make you dance in the dark and romantic hooks will take place in your head never to leave again.”

Light Asylum

Title: TBA
Release date: TBA

At one point, I started to worry that we’re never getting a follow-up to Light Asylum’s monumental self-titled debut, which came out way back in 2012. But I still believe. In fact, I know there’s new music because I’ve heard it. Shannon Funchess played two new songs at last year’s Cold Waves festival in Chicago and promised “new music soon.” Please be this year.

MATTE BLVCK

Title: Vows
Release date: Spring

Fresh off an American tour with Solar Fake, dark synth trio MATTE BLVCK are preparing to release their sophomore album and the follow-up to their 2020 debut, I’m Waving, Not Drowning. The new album, called Vows, should include their mesmerizing 2022 single, “Midnight & Angel,” which showcased the band’s sharp command of electronic percussion and refined, sinister melodies. They’re planning to unveil additional singles prior to the album’s release.

Mercury Machine

Title: TBA
Release date: February

UK band Mercury Machine is emerging as one of the most promising acts in the dark music scene thanks to their intense combination of synthesizers and guitars. In 2022, they released a trio of tracks, including one of the best songs of the year, “Second Life,” and a cover of the greatest song of all time, The Chameleons’ “Swamp Thing.” There’s even more exciting stuff on the horizon. Mercury Machine plan to release new music throughout 2023.

My Hysteria

Title: TBA
Release date: TBA

One of my favorite discoveries of 2022 was the dark synthpop project My Hysteria, whose shimmering song “Golden” made me an instant fan. The English act comprised of musician Alessio Croe followed “Golden” with a handful of great singles he was planning to include on an EP that never arrived. We’ll likely see that finished EP this year along with new songs.

Neuroticfish

Title: The Demystification of the Human Heart
Release date: TBA

The ongoing saga of Neuroticfish continues in 2023 with a new album called The Demystification of the Human Heart, their third since taking a decade-long hiatus. We know almost nothing about it, though we have heard its first song, a hard instrumental track called “Sleep” that appeared on last year’s Velocity rework. The Demystification of the Human Heart (that’s a lot of words to type) is the follow-up to 2019’s phenomenal Antidoron, which included one of their biggest hits, “Fluchtreflex.”

Nuovo Testamento

Title: Love Lines
Release date: March 3

This is the year that Nuovo Testamento is set to explode. The synthpop trio’s latest single, “Heartbeat,” grafts Italo hooks onto bubbly Jellybean Benitez-esque production for a sound that’s even more sugarcoated than previous singles “The Searcher” and “Michelle Michelle.” A new album and busy touring schedule are garnering mainstream music blog coverage, putting Nuovo Testamento on a path toward Boy Harsher-level stardom.

Project Pitchfork

Title: TBA
Release date: TBA

It’s been nearly five years since we last heard new music from German greats Project Pitchfork. In 2018, they released a pair of albums, Akkretion and Fragment, that were at one intended to be part of a trilogy. A third album, reportedly called Elysium, never arrived. Will they release new music this year? The band tells me yes, but they’ll say no more. We’ll have to wait for more info from mastermind Peter Spilles to find out if it’s the long-awaited Elysium or something entirely new.

Promenade Cinema

Title: TBA
Release date: February

Two incredible albums of intricate storytelling and gorgeous synth work have made English duo Promenade Cinema one of the best modern synthpop bands in the world. For their next move, they’re releasing an EP that will take the project into darker territory if the two pre-release singles are any indication. Both “Spellbound” and “On Video” are hauntingly beautiful tracks that retain the band’s command of sophisticated and grandiose synthpop.

The Cure

Title: Songs of a Lost World
Release date: TBA

I’ll believe when I hear it. The Cure has been promising a new album for so long it’s reached mythical status. But they’ve been playing new songs like “I Can Never Say Goodbye” on their recent European tour, so it will likely happen this year. The Cure’s last album was 2008’s 4:13 Dream, and Robert Smith once said that the new album is called Songs of a Lost World, but nothing has been confirmed.

Video L’Eclipse

Title: Begin-Repress-Depart
Release date: Fall

Swedish duo Video L’Eclipse are currently working on the follow-up to their outstanding debut album, Predicts, which featured intricate sounds and gorgeous vocals that propelled them onto my list of the world’s best synthpop bands. We’ve already heard a new track called “Signals,” and another one is on the way. “Almost There” will be released around March/April. Expect both tracks to appear on their sophomore album, Begin-Repress-Depart, coming in the fall.

VNV Nation

Title: Electric Sun
Release date: February

The never ending lights went out on VNV Nation’s last album, Noire, but things are about to brighten back up. Their 11th studio album is called Electric Sun, possibly an allusion to our warming planet. We were supposed to hear its first single at last year’s concert in Gelsenkirchen, but technical issues prevented its debut. VNV mastermind Ronan Harris tells me it’s named for a famous poem he loves.

Whorticulture

Title: TBA
Release date: First quarter

Colorado’s Whorticulture has been on my radar since the first time I heard their ecstatic cover of the Tori Amos classic, “Crucify.” They’ve moved further into my conscious thanks in part to the heroic championing of Instagram’s @electronicbodymemes. But they haven’t released any original material in more than two years. Whorticulture tells me there’s new music on the way this year, and the first new single will be released this quarter.

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