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Retro Reverb Records Chart Toppers for January/February 2021

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.


January 2021

1. Night Rider 87 - Team

This cover of Lorde's Team is a unique take on the original material. Deep solid retro drums and a chip tune like oscillating lead kick off the track. The sound grows in proximity and volume as a full synth shining with brilliance moves into the track. The lead synth sings out a bright, slightly pained melody as sonic pulses shift and twine together behind the brighter notes above them.

Lorde’s lyrics are interpreted in a brighter, warmer way than in the original song. Night Rider 87’s vocalist has a strong, expressive voice over the throbbing synthwave energy of the track. The computerized lead synth dances through the music and there’s a glow to the song, emphasizing the positive ideas of the lyrics as the beat throbs with retro strength.

2. Black Neon Cult - Desert Drive

This track does generate strong imagery of a lonely highway and a single car driving through the high desert as the synths, drums and bass all paint a moody picture. The track kicks off with a lone, deep pulse of synth joined by deep, shifting bass and a lead that soars out over the charging drums, rising up and flying with an energized cry. There’s a break with a steady pulse of drums and and some keyboard chords shimmering around them.

The beat emerges with a steady pulse as mournful and wandering high synths move above it. A minor key, medium-high synth solo with an emotional quality fades into static-y silence as the beat pulses on. The sound dips and then crescendos with the lambent, full lead crying again with passionate energy over the propulsive beat.

3. Synthwave Redneck - Orbiting Earth

The track begins with deep, sharp-edged pulses of descending synth moving in long waves, feeling heavy. A strong, bright series of arpeggios with a round, warm vibe spins into the track along with a slightly stuttering deep drumbeat.

The shining lead synth moves through rotating patterns as longer pulses of sound keep moving around it and the drums keep up their throbbing jump. Those climbing, descending arpeggios spin and whirl as the track progresses.

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There’s a segment in which a piano-like synth cascades in shifting, flickering patterns that are intricate and elegant. The track returns to those shifting arpeggios as the piano keeps moving with complex patterns over it, the whole track an interlocking tapestry.

February 2021

1. Neon Deflector - Outpost X

A soft airy flow of delicate and ethereal sound rises through as a deep bass heartbeat oscillates under distantly sparkling arpeggios and the drums move in to add more of a gliding pulse of the track as a glowing, string-like, warm melody spins out with the drums and bass providing a strong direction to the track. The lead melody has a singing quality to it and a great deal of starry shining over the driving influence of the beat and bass.

The shimmery arpeggios are joined by breathy female vocal sounds before the track returns to the gently uplifting and energizing melody with its full, round qualities and glow that suffuses the track. The lead melody dances and skips over the surface of the track, feeling smooth and easy, as the starry flickering of light and breathy vocal sounds float in and we fade to an ethereal sensation and breeze.

2. Daniel Hugh - Demons

The song kicks off with shining organ-like notes and an extremely deep bass throb that presses on under the distant-feeling vocals that are still clear as the bright synth with organ-like qualities sings out behind the rising energy of the vocals.

The lyrics tell a tale of how we can fight the demons of night down as "every sunrise brings renewal” but the fight will happen again so “everything will seem clearer if we can make it through tonight.”

The beat charges on as the guitars cry out behind the vocal melody and a growling throb accompanies the vocals and again the guitar cries out, full and impassioned. There’s intricate shredding that whirls into and through the music, adding to the energetic power of the track.

3. 8Fonk - Miracles (feat. Kat Dilon)

This song jumps into being with flashing retro-sounding synths that leap out over the funky slap bass, big drums and throbbing dance beat. There’s a break into the glowing chorus with those synths shining out as that bass and the drums really give a dance-y feeling to the music.

Kat Dilon’s energetic, retro vocals add warmth and sparkle to the track while the synth melody is full of feeling with bursting musical strength. The beat makes me want to move and groove and the lyrics are full of positive feelings.The track breaks to bell-like synths and now we get a wheeling, spinning synth solo that cries out with more passionate strength as the track throbs on.

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