Kist – Rainy Day

Feathered with optimism, “Rainy Day” is a really just a simple song about taking negativity and trying to make the best of it. Its hopeful lyrics, laced through with the singer’s beautiful and unusual lilt, paint an upbeat picture of wearing a smile as an umbrella. With its positive, danceable beat and bright melody, it is delightful in its candid, buoyant cheerfulness, completely unabashed.

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INTENT:OUTTAKE – Der Letzte Tanz

INTENT:OUTTAKE’s darkly gorgeous “Der Letzte Tanz” (in English, “The Last Dance”) is a song with which I have been slowly acquainting myself, sinking into its melancholy throb and surging sadness to relish the sympathetic salve of its despair. It tells its story with an arrhythmic heartbeat, an appeal for a frozen soul’s final dance before oblivion.

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Hearts Of Black Science – Wolves At The Border

Hearts Of Black Science have a knack for layering, building from sparse guitars and subtle synths into harmonies of complex splendor. Ethereal, chilling vocals lead into what is essentially a lesson in aural world-building; by the end of my first listen I felt I had been transported into the moody, unnerving realm of its lyrics….palpable mistrust, doubt, and fledgling hopes all combine to create a panoply to showcase the talents of this fantastic Swedish mixed-genre band.

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The Radio Dept – Occupied

From the moment you hear the syncopated beats you are thinking some kind of 80’s dance jam ala Blue Monday or Bizarre Love Triangle is on the way. Not exactly, as the song settles in to a more chilled groove with slightly disaffected vocals – but that is kind of the charm of The Radio Dept. As the song continues, the bouncy synths invoke Royksopp and Technique-era New Order.

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Dreams Divide – Filth

Sometimes it all just comes together. In this case, the interplay of outstanding vocals, dark lyrics complementing bright twinkling synths, glossy production and all make this a fantastic synthpop song worthy of ’90s-era Depeche Mode. Other ’90s synthpop bands that this reminds me of include Echoing Green, Brave New World, and Neuropa. In particular, the chorus just soars you into the stratosphere.

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