Archive for the synthpop Category

The Telling- The Telling 12”

Posted in 1980s, 1986, california, dreampop, ethereal, synth, synthpop, US on May 4, 2021 by Frankie Teardrop

It’s no small secret that I tend to go wild for things on the more ethereal/dream pop side of the spectrum, especially now more than ever before. With that in mind, today’s post was originally recommended by Goutroy and has become a fast favorite these last few weeks. Here we have the first 12” by The Telling a band from California. The band, consisting primarily of Don and Sheri Swanson, released this debut single in 1986 and followed it up with two albums in 1990 and 1998, respectively. I’ve heard a bit of the first record, which mixes in some more folk influences, via YouTube and immediately ordered a CD copy, but I haven’t heard much of the second record just yet.

This debut 12” features two vocal tracks and two dreamy, instrumental passages. While it may be easy to pick out the usual 4AD influences on this single, I also hear the playful art-pop influence of Kate Bush throughout, especially on closing track “Heaven Never End.” Other natural touchstones include latter-era Japan/early Sylvian solo works, and of course, the highly underrated Bel Canto, who were operating around the same time with their own blend of ethereal, atmospheric synth pop.

Hope you all enjoy!

The Telling- The Telling 12”
1. Ghost of Tokyo
2. Cocoon
3. Sand Mass
4. Heaven Never End

*download it here*

A Deux Voix- Reaction 12”

Posted in 1980s, 1989, a deux voix, synth, synthpop, US on March 29, 2021 by Frankie Teardrop

Spring is here in NYC. Brighter skies, more hope on the horizon, and much more in the coming weeks, I hope. With that in mind, here’s a quick post to keep things moving along here. This particular 12” is by a Dallas, TX-based synth pop project called A Deux Voix. Released in 1989, this single is the only release by the band, which is a two piece, judging from the back cover details.

Obvious touchstones here are Celebrate the Nun, Red Flag, and the slew of Depeche Mode-esque synth pop bands that were pretty common at the time. Even though the sound is a familiar one, the songs are stellar slabs of big beat synth pop that should get you aching for the dance floor again, or at the very least, eager to run to Discogs to score a copy asap. The b-side of this 12” is comprised of instrumental versions, which may or may not be up your alley, depending on your particular tastes.

Anyway, I can’t share too much more about this one, but I’m happy to get straight to the details. Enjoy!

A Deux Voix- Reaction 12”
1. Reaction
2. Choices
3. Choices (Instrumental)
4. Reaction (Instrumental)

*download it here*

Nikola Eugene- Longest Revolution 7”

Posted in 1980s, 1983, new romantic, new wave, synth, synthpop on February 18, 2021 by Frankie Teardrop

Here’s a more romantic/synth pop flavored single from the UK, released in 1988. Thanks to Goutroy for the rip on this one! Really couldn’t tell you too much about Nikola Eugene or the label America First Records, but here’s two tracks that should be welcome for fans of things like Anna Domino, Toyah, ‘Til Tuesday and things in that vein with plenty of dreamy new wave hooks but a fair amount of cold guitar mixed in for good measure. All in all an excellent little slice of obscure wave. Hope y’all enjoy!

Nikola Eugene- Longest Revolution 7”
1. Longest Revolution
2. More Than a Prayer

*download it here*

Lisa Lee- I’m Taken By You 7”

Posted in 1980s, 1984, synth, synthpop, US on August 20, 2020 by Frankie Teardrop

Hope everyone is keeping safe and well out there. Here’s a little slice of 7” synth pop bliss that should keep you cool on these hot summer nights (or vice versa if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).

This 7” was released in 1984 and features vocalist Lisa Lee, a US-based singer. Both tracks were co-written by Lee and her band. According to Discogs, Lee released a separate 12” in 1990, produced by Ronald Burrell and featuring a more house/electro style, but I’m not at all convinced that this is the same Lisa Lee, based on a comparison of both tracks. Perhaps someone can shed a little light on this one (or update the dang Discogs entry, accordingly).

As for this single, both tracks hit the same sweet spot as early Berlin or SSQ/Stacey Q recordings – fast, high energy synths and catchy hooks galore. Not much more I can tell you about this one, so we’ll keep it brief – hope you all enjoy!

Lisa Lee- I’m Taken By You 7”
1. Taken By You
2. Goner

*download it here*

Various Artists- Young Blood LP

Posted in 1980s, 1984, minimal, minimal synth, peninsula records, post-punk, power pop, synthpop, uk, young blood on April 9, 2018 by Frankie Teardrop

Many, many thanks to Thomas for fulfilling one of my all-time top must-hear compilations. I’ve been obsessed with The Enter’s “The Contract” for many years now, working the song into early esoteric DJ sets. I’ve been dying to hear more from the project, and while sadly no other tracks seem to exist (please correct me if I am wrong), I’ll settle for hearing the rest of the compilation this minimal synth dirge hails from. This compilation was released in 1984 in the UK on Peninsula Records, who only released a handful of 7” singles, a prog rock LP, and another similarly themed (but less rare/expensive) compilation, if Discogs is to be believed…

Normally, synth gems like “The Contract” are often the only listenable track on a compilation, but I’m beyond ecstatic to find that this compilation is hit after hit after hit, with only a handful of lesser moments that even still, are enjoyable. Other favorites include the arpeggiated post-punk rave-up “Dance Feat,” the early Berlin-esque “Neon Nightlife,” the jangly/power-pop “Passion Call,” and the excellent post-punk track “Warrior.” With the exception of Hurt, these are the only known tracks by each of these bands. One and done, so they say…

Hope y’all enjoy, and thanks again to Thomas for providing this rip!

Various Artists- Young Blood LP
1. Passion Call- Colourtime
2. Warrior- If
3. Dance Feat- Gettysburg Address
4. Spring Comes Early- Oh! For 1821
5. In the Glade- Hurt
6. L’Espirit D’Avignon
7. Neon Nightlife- Urutu
8. The Contract- The Enter
9. It’s a Different Kind of Heaven- Vincent Vevil Vald
10. Soldier Sailor- John Brown
11. Catch the Wind- Turbo Chariot
12. Look Through a Window- Chris & Diane Jones

*download it here*

Moulin Rouge- Essentials K7

Posted in 1980s, 1986, minimal, minimal synth, synth, synthpop on December 7, 2017 by Frankie Teardrop

Any self-respecting minimal synth fan should be more than familiar with the Orgelvärk compilation by now. Originally released on cassette in 1986 and reissued on wax in 2011 by Minimal Wave, this compilation boasts some killer cuts by underground Swedish artists. One of the highlights is the lo-fi dirge stomp of Moulin Rouge’s “Silence” – a track that has been near and dear to my heart ever since hearing it. That said, any additional material by the band was hard to come by.

With that in mind, I’d like to thank Thomas for the rip of this cassette, which collects nine tracks from Moulin Rouge (aka Anders Wikholm, aka Moulin Noir), including the version of “Silence” we all know and love. Curiously enough, the rest of the material is a bit more romantic, less gloomy, but still quite excellent. Reminds me a bit of a DIY version of Midge Ure-era Ultravox, but your comparisons may vary.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact release date, as there is no date listed on the cassette artwork, but I’d wager it was 1986 or nearby considering both the sound and proximity to Orgelvärk’s release. Interestingly enough, Moulin Rouge also has a self-released cassette which has a little overlap, but a few additional tracks as well. If anyone happens to have a copy of that one, please chime in! Otherwise, here are the details and download link. Enjoy!

Moulin Rouge- Essentials K7
1. Welcome Home
2. Pamela
3. Sense
4. Silence
5. It Makes No Difference
6. Living In Cities
7. The Battle Of The Green Hills
8. Never Say Hello
9. The Golden Apples Of The Sun

*download it here*

Private Blue- She’s Love 12”

Posted in 1980s, 1986, german, private blue, synth, synthpop, westside music on August 7, 2017 by Frankie Teardrop

Moving right along on the synthpop front, this has been a recent DJ obsession of mine. You can hear it pretty regularly at Jupiter Disco in Brooklyn, where Goutroy, Jane Koh, and I spin every first Saturday night. Come say hello if you’re ever in the area!

Shameless self-promotion aside, this track is MASSIVE. While it was released in Germany in 1986, it has a rather distinctive Italo flavor mixed with a bit of the Westside sound that the label was best known for. For those unfamiliar, Westside was responsible for Celebrate the Nun, MCL, Axodry, Moskwa TV, and the incredible Few Boys single posted here quite some time ago. These bands should definitely paint a picture of what you’re in for here.

With that in mind, here’s the details:



Private Blue- She’s Love 12”
1. She’s Love
2. Help Me Tonight (Radio-Version)
3. She’s Love (Radio-Version)

*download it here*

Superdude- Face the Music 7”

Posted in 1980s, minimal, minimal synth, new wave, New York, new york city, superdude, synthpop, US on August 7, 2017 by Frankie Teardrop

Apologies in advance for being sparse this summer and completely missing my official ten year anniversary! With that in mind, I’d love to offer up a few posts today, starting with an excellent slice of minimal synthpop- extremely rare and incredibly catchy- just the way you all love it.

Superdude was a pseudonym for NYC-based musician John Pergamo, who wrote the track with his brother Anthony. It was released in 1983 on Ace Records, which looks to be Pergamo’s own imprint, judging from the various latter-day Superdude releases that appeared. This is Superdude’s only release in the 80s, though it looks like he kept the synthpop feel for some of his later releases, though I haven’t heard them to confirm.

That said, please enjoy this little slice of electro-pop heaven, backed with an instrumental cut of the track!

Superdude- Face the Music 7”
1. Face the Music (Vocal)
2. Face the Music (Sound Track)

*download it here*

Various Artists- Faces and Images LP

Posted in 1990s, 1991, ebm, minimal, minimal synth, Schmaalhans Weltraumm, swedish, synth, synthpop on January 23, 2017 by Frankie Teardrop

Straight out of the mailbox, onto the turntable, and to your ears all within the span of a weekend, here’s a rip of the wonderful Faces & Images compilation, which features a slew of lo-fi EBM, synthpop, and minimal treats.

This comp. hails from Sweden and was released in 1991 on Limur, who also released the Schmaalhans Weltraum 7”. Their signature track appears here, as well as an amazing lo-fi synthpop cut from Sidewalk Cindy. Other highlights include the Bites-esque band + Christ (their only known track), Kiethevez’s “Female Trouble” (which is heavily indebted to Depeche Mode’s pre-Music For the Masses era), Art Domination’s “Remember,” which channels D.A.F.’s electro period, and the killer Pet Cemetery tune “Set Right All Right,” which also owes a lot to early Skinny Puppy. There are also a few experimental cuts by Grönlandsbruttan and Verschwende Deine Jugend, which remind me of Factrix and a more out there Nitzer Ebb, respectfully.

Despite all the traceable influences and genres, there’s not really a dud on this comp., so please press play and enjoy!

Various Artists- Faces and Images LP
1. The Outcast- White Coat Compassion
2. Boiling Brain- Real World
3. + Christ- Filtering Vision
4. Grönlandsbruttan- Häxans Otäcka Dröm
5. Kiethevez- Female Terror
6. Schmaalhans Weltraum- Montagne De Boeuf
7. Pet Cemetery- Set Right All Right
8. Sidewalk Cindy- A Hundred Things To Say
9. Verschwende Deine Jugend- Source Of Conflict
10. Art Domination- Remember

*download it here*

Litfiba- Yassassin 12”

Posted in 1980s, 1984, darkwave, italian, italo, italo disco, post-punk, synth, synthpop on January 13, 2017 by Frankie Teardrop

Happy New Year, ladies and gents! Been trying to shake the dust off of 2016 to begin what will be the TENTH year for Systems of Romance. Having started this blog in summer of 2007, I never thought I’d be doing this as long as I have been, while many other blogs have come and gone and interests have waned. It’s true, there just isn’t *as much* undiscovered stuff left to reveal.

Even with that being the case, my interests still lie in collecting and restoring things that have been posted elsewhere in higher quality, and I’d like to start this year off with more of the same. I’m choosing this particular 12” in tribute to David Bowie as well, for this week marks both his birthday and deathday all in one, so what better homage? In this instance, Italian giants Litfiba tackle “Yassassin,” a high point from the last installment of David’s legendary Berlin trilogy. While the original, featured on 1979’s Lodger, is a moody, Middle Eastern flavored track with a reggae tinge, Litfiba take the track into the Italo-drenched stratosphere, translating the awkward rhythms into heavy kick blasts and synth stabs. It’s an inspired choice, one that helped bridge the gap between their earlier post-punk releases and embracing the big beat dance sound they would become famous for in their home country. Both versions of “Yassassin” (an extended dancefloor mix and a shorter radio mix) sandwich an original track, chock full of a similar middle eastern flair that sounds equally inspired by Lodger‘s wanderlust. In general, the band would adapt a very Mediterranean-informed vibe from here on out, all but tossing their UK influences out the door.

For more on Litfiba’s rich and storied history, feel free to brush up here. Otherwise, hope you all enjoy!

Litfiba- Yassassin 12”
1. Yassassin
2. Elettrica Danza
3. Yassassin (Radio Version)

*download it here*