Synthentral Top 30 Albums of 2020

Top 30 Albums of 2020

There was so much amazing music in 2020. 2020 saw more singles/EP’s than albums. In 2019 I had 612 albums and this year I only had 447. I narrowed that down to the Top 100, then Top 50, and now it’s the Top 30 albums of 2020!

I have several rules I work with when getting to my Top 30 list:

  • In order for an album to qualify, the album must be in my library, either through purchasing it on my own or given to me by the band or label. There were quite a few albums released in 2020 that were not provided to me by the band/label or I was not able to purchase.
  • To qualify it must be an album. There are plenty of lists out there for “top songs” that cover singles and EPs.
  • To qualify as an album it must have at least seven original songs. Remixes, new versions, cover albums, compilations, and “best of” do not qualify. Intro and outro songs as well as brief intermission style songs do not count toward the total of original songs. This year instrumentals no longer counted since I stopped playing instrumentals on the show.
  • All albums are weighted so that an album with 7 songs has the same point system as an album with 12 songs.
  • I judge each song individually. Then rate the album overall based on the individual song scores, the listenability of the entire album, etc.
  • I post the lists alphabetically and do not list or post them in a “countdown” style.

I fully recognize that my list is subjective and that others will have different lists or disagree with my choices. I love that others have different lists and are passionate about different bands and albums! Regardless, listen to the music and give it all a chance. I have “LISTEN HERE” links next to each album title, so give each band and album a chance and listen and support the bands you like!

While I don’t list the albums in a 30 to 1 list, I think the highest rated album deserves to be recognized: my Number One Album of 2020 is “Singularity” by Voicecoil.

The Synthentral Top 30 Albums of 2020 (in alphabetical order):

11Grams - Humanicide
11Grams – Humanicide: LISTEN HERE
Alanas Chosnau & Mark Reeder - Children Of Nature
Alanas Chosnau & Mark Reeder – Children Of Nature: LISTEN HERE
Alphamay - Conformity
Alphamay – Conformity: LISTEN HERE
Ashes 'N' Android - Razors Edge
Ashes ‘N’ Android – Razors Edge: LISTEN HERE
Assemblage 23 - Mourn
Assemblage 23 – Mourn: LISTEN HERE
BlakLight - Music In A Time Of Uncertainty
BlakLight – Music In A Time Of Uncertainty: LISTEN HERE
Brutalist Architecture In The Sun - Sadness Between Cities, The
Brutalist Architecture In The Sun – The Sadness Between Cities: LISTEN HERE
A Covenant Of Thorns - Black
A Covenant Of Thorns – Black: LISTEN HERE
Croona - Nobody Loves You
Croona – Nobody Loves You: LISTEN HERE
Daniel Hall - Dark Horse
Daniel Hall – Dark Horse: LISTEN HERE
Ego Bliss - What The Future Holds
Ego Bliss – What The Future Holds: LISTEN HERE
ES23 - Only Melodies Remain
ES23 – Only Melodies Remain: LISTEN HERE
FCH - Synaesthesia
FCH – Synaesthesia: LISTEN HERE
Frozen Plasma - Gezeiten
Frozen Plasma – Gezeiten: LISTEN HERE
Kim Lunner - This Is Me
Kim Lunner – This Is Me: LISTEN HERE
Kiss Of The Whip - We're Not Here
Kiss Of The Whip – We’re Not Here: LISTEN HERE
Klonavenus - Motion:Less
Klonavenus – Motion:Less: LISTEN HERE
Klutæ - Queer For Satan
Klutæ – Queer For Satan: LISTEN HERE
Korine - The Night We Raise
Korine – The Night We Raise: LISTEN HERE
N-Frequency - Signs Of Evolution
N-Frequency – Signs Of Evolution: LISTEN HERE
Neuroactive - Minor Side​-​Effects
Neuroactive – Minor Side​-​Effects: LISTEN HERE
The New Division - Hidden Memories
The New Division – Hidden Memories: LISTEN HERE
Noise Resistance - Insights Of Ego
Noise Resistance – Insights Of Ego: LISTEN HERE
Pandoria - Clean
Pandoria – Clean: LISTEN HERE
Pitch Yarn Of Matter - Legacy
Pitch Yarn Of Matter – Legacy: LISTEN HERE
Provision - Hearts Turn Dark
Provision – Hearts Turn Dark: LISTEN HERE
Technophobia - Some Of Us Are Looking At The Stars
Technophobia – Some Of Us Are Looking At The Stars: LISTEN HERE
Vandal Moon - Black Kiss
Vandal Moon – Black Kiss: LISTEN HERE
Vaylon - Legacy
Vaylon – Legacy: LISTEN HERE
Voicecoil - Singularity
Voicecoil – Singularity: LISTEN HERE

Social Media Advice For Bands

I’ve been asked for advice now and then about certain social media activities for bands: sometimes from bands and sometimes from fans. I certainly don’t espouse myself to be some kind of expert. What I can say is that I have 30 years of experience running groups and doing social media outreach for organizations (majority non-profit). There are way too many things to cover and tons of nuance, so I’ve decided to do a list of ten things I’ve noticed pages (bands and non-bands alike) do or not do over the years. Take this for what it is: friendly advice from someone who wants you to succeed! Or ignore me completely. After all, in the long run, it’s your page and your band and your decisions to make.

  1. Unless you have directly harmed someone (emotionally or physically) you should not apologize on your social media (or on stage for that matter). Having technical difficulties? Been absent a bit too long from your page? Post the wrong thing? Don’t apologize. Instead, thank people for their patience or understanding. What sounds better, “Sorry about the technical difficulties everyone” or “Hey, thanks for your patience as we get this sorted out!” Thanking your listeners/page visitors puts the ownership of being awesome on them. It let’s them know how appreciative you are for their behavior and not how apologetic you are for yours. Don’t say you’re sorry for not posting in a long time, instead thank your readers for their patience.
  2. Don’t put your personal drama on your band’s page. It sucks that your band is broke and can’t afford to pay the rent. It sucks that last night’s venue short-changed you or only let you perform for ten minutes instead of the planned thirty. We have all been there. Post that stuff on your personal page if you must, but your band page should not be where you are complaining about your personal life (even if it’s band-related). It’s not that people don’t care, per se, it’s that people have their own personal drama they are dealing with and the majority of the “that sucks” or “sorry to hear that” posts are just that: posts that are meaningless. Air that out with your friends on your personal page (or your actual real life friends) and not on your fans.
  3. Along the same lines as #2, do not talk smack about other bands on your page (or on stage). By all means call out egregious behavior like racism, homophobia, etc., but just because you don’t like a band doesn’t mean a damn thing to your fans. You only risks isolating some of your fans who do like the band you’re talking bad about. Music is mostly subjective and whether or not you like it does not mean others will not. For example, I would never say that a comedian is bad. I say instead (because it’s true), that the comedian is not funny to me. So I would never say that Band A sucks, just that Band A’s music doesn’t appeal to me or “it’s not my thing.”
  4. Make sure your About section is filled out as much as possible. Provide a link to your Bandcamp page or main web page. List your band members and what they do (keyboards, vocals, guitar, programming, etc.). Specify your genre(s) and fill out the “bands you like” or “influences.” In the About section on Facebook, make sure you fill in a “username.” The username should cause your page to come up immediately. Have someone check for you who is not an admin. If they put in @bandabc and it comes up with six different pages, then you need to modify it. It amazes me how many bands don’t think about this. You want your fans, radio shows, and DJs to tag your band and the easiest way to do that is to have an @username that definitely comes up with your band and not something else. You may have to modify it to @bandabcofficial or @bandabc.info or similar to get it to come up immediately in a tag. Play with it until someone can tag your band easily in Facebook. If you luck out and your FB “username” matches your Twitter or Instagram handle: BONUS POINTS!
  5. If you’re going to use an image to bypass Facebook’s algorithm that forces you to “boost your post,” that’s fine, just don’t forget to include a direct link in the first comment. Don’t make your fans search for the event page or manually type in the web page that’s in the image.
  6. You don’t have to respond to every fan’s comment, but you should at least post in the thread where fans have commented. Something along the lines of “Thanks for all your feedback everyone” or “Keep the comments coming, we love and appreciate your input!” Even a simple “thanks” from you can make a fan’s day.
  7. If your band’s page is tagged by a radio show, DJ, magazine, or genre supportive social media group (the page itself, not readers or fans of that page), then you should at a minimum like the post. You should consider posting a “thanks” of some kind in the comments. You should definitely think about sharing their post: not just when it’s only about your band, but when your band is included among others. The scene is equally as important as your band. Without a scene, your band has no support network. Sharing this stuff introduces your fans to other bands and vice versa. It increases awareness of the scene(s) and increases the fan base across the spectrum.
  8. Speaking of the scene(s), it is important that you support them. You are not an isolated band. If there are no other scene bands, no clubs, no groups, then there is no fan base for you. Don’t be afraid to tag other bands in the scene(s) (especially if sharing a radio show or magazine that mentions them). Don’t be afraid to introduce your fans to other bands or share music you like that isn’t yours. Hopefully the band you tag is just as awesome as you are and will reciprocate. As I say all the time, “If you don’t support the scene(s), then there won’t be any scene(s) to support.”
  9. There is nothing wrong with posting things that aren’t “professional” if you are willing to engage your fans with fun things. Don’t post something like “What’s your favorite holiday meal” and then not interact with those who respond or not posting your favorite holiday meal as the first comment. It’s perfectly fine to have fun with your fans on your page and interact with them in ways other than sharing your videos or events. If you do, you need to actually interact with them. Don’t ask them to participate if you are not willing to participate.
  10. Last, is politics/religion. There are definitely bands who are political in nature with their lyrics and that’s perfectly okay. If you are not one of those bands then you need to weigh the risks of posting political or religious stuff on your band’s page. You risk isolating some of your fans. Obviously there are legitimate reasons to isolate some of your fans (like a band posting that anyone who is a racist should not be their fan), but if you’re not going after the big fish of racism, homophobia, etc., then be careful. Use your personal page for politics/religion unless you fully understand the ramifications and consequences of posting on your band’s page. I’m not saying don’t do it: what I’m saying is understand the fallout that can come from doing it.

Best of luck to all of you as you pursue your musical dreams. I want all of you to succeed. I want the scene(s) to be stable, thriving, and full of amazing talented folks! Keep making music. Keep doing what you’re doing! Keep the synth-based scene(s) alive!

Music Time!

EBMI have almost 35,000 MP3’s in my collection and that collection grows by hundreds each week. The majority of my music is Futurepop, EBM, Industrial, Industrial Dance, New Wave, Goth, Punk, Electroclash, Electronica, Darkwave, Shoegaze, and Synthpop (loving the Synthpop Revival going on right now). I even have a bit of EDM and Techno mixed in there as well as some Alternative (mostly old-school alternative back when it was actually alternative and not mainstream. Now that Alternative is mainstream, shouldn’t we call it something else?)

One thing I started doing on Facebook was posting what my MediaMonkey is playing on shuffle. I did this to start introducing people to new music and new bands. The bands out there need fans to help them make money and to spread their amazing music. Not everyone will be a fan of the music I listen to. It’s not Top 40 trendy stuff. You won’t hear it on KISS FM. You may not even hear it on KROQ.

I support the bands and go to the concerts any time they’re in my area. Most of the bands I listen to care about their fans and will actually comment and reply when you post on their page or mention their band in a post. Half the times I post a band’s song, the band likes my post. I’ve even become friends with band members by supporting their bands and going to their shows. When is the last time Janet Jackson or Kanye West liked your post or commented on it? When’s the last time a Top 40 band mentioned you by name on a Facebook post?

So anyway, I’ve decided that I’m going to post my shuffles here as well with links to YouTube videos of the songs I’ve played. Give them a listen: to both the older and newer bands. Discover bands you haven’t heard of before and support them by buying their CDs and music (especially if you can buy it from their web page or bandcamp instead of through a label). Go to their shows when they come to your town. Find the scene in your town and join up! Make sure you get in on bandsintown and songkick to keep up with the bands you like and get notified when they come into town.

With that said, here is the first shuffle I did from 2/4. It was a small one that got me interested in doing this.

ARTIST: Magic Sword
SONG: Sword of Truth
ALBUM: Magic Sword
YEAR: 2013

ARTIST: Siouxsie & the Banshees
SONG: Spellbound
ALBUM: Juju
YEAR: 1981

ARTIST: Backlash
SONG: Blind
ALBUM: Impetus
YEAR: 2001

Here’s the shuffle from 2/7. Getting likes and comments, so keeping it up and doing more of them.

ARTIST: Title
SONG: Wednesday
ALBUM: Moonfly
YEAR: 2004

ARTIST: Harmjoy
SONG: My Tears Fall
ALBUM: Silver Lining Of The Mushroom Cloud
YEAR: 2014

ARTIST: Accessory
SONG: Keen Girl
ALBUM: Underbeat
YEAR: 2011

ARTIST: Jullan
SONG: Love Somebody
ALBUM: Pulse
YEAR: 1985

ARTIST: Black Heaven
SONG: MMVII
ALBUM: Negativ
YEAR: 2008

ARTIST: Shiv-r
SONG: Pharmaceutical Grade (Skyla Vertex Remix)
ALBUM: Shadow Between Worlds
YEAR: 2013

ARTIST: Moon.74
SONG: Moonlanding
ALBUM: Newborn
YEAR: 2010

ARTIST: B!Machine
SONG: Two Paths
ALBUM: Hybrid
YEAR: 2001

ARTIST: Camouflage
SONG: I Can’t Feel You
ALBUM: Sensor
YEAR: 2003

ARTIST: 32Crash
SONG: Propaganda
ALBUM: Weird News From An Uncertain Future
YEAR: 2007

ARTIST: Halo Effect
SONG: Their G.O.D. (A.D.A.C. 8286 Remix)
ALBUM: Their G.O.D. (Remixes Single)
YEAR: 2009

ARTIST: The Dead Milkmen
SONG: I Tripped Over The Ottoman
ALBUM: Metaphysical Graffiti
YEAR: 1993

ARTIST: Decoded Feedback
SONG: Corrosion
ALBUM: Technophoby
YEAR: 1997

ARTIST: Raindancer
SONG: Wings of Ecstasy
ALBUM: Response
YEAR: 2007

ARTIST: Funker Vogt
SONG: Reject
ALBUM: Navigator
YEAR: 2005

ARTIST: Hidden Place
SONG: United
ALBUM: Fantasia Meccanica
YEAR: 2007

ARTIST: Celebrate the Nun
SONG: Patience
ALBUM: Continuous
YEAR: 1991

ARTIST: EMF
SONG: Long Summer Days
ALBUM: Schubert Dip
YEAR: 1991

ARTIST: Depeche Mode
SONG: Oberkorn (It’s a Small Town)
ALBUM: The Meaning of Love (CD Single)
YEAR: 1982

ARTIST: The Jesus & Mary Chain
SONG: Some Candy Talking
ALBUM: The Power Of Negative Thinking: B-Sides And Rarities
YEAR: 2008 (Remastered Release)

ARTIST: Necro Facility
SONG: Ignite
ALBUM: Wintermute
YEAR: 2011

ARTIST: Ambra Red
SONG: We Real Cool
ALBUM: Electronic Creations For Special People
YEAR: 2010

ARTIST: Panic Lift
SONG: Shelter
ALBUM: Witness To Our Collapse
YEAR: 2008

ARTIST: Xenturion Prime
SONG: Vermilion
ALBUM: Mecha Rising
YEAR: 2014

ARTIST: The Farm
SONG: Sweet Inspiration
ALBUM: Spartacus
YEAR: 1991

ARTIST: Dpoint
SONG: Jesus Time
ALBUM: Dpoint
YEAR: 2012

ARTIST: The Charlatans UK
SONG: Only One I Know
ALBUM: Some Friendly
YEAR: 1990

ARTIST: Midnight Oil
SONG: Outside World
ALBUM: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
YEAR: 1982

ARTIST: Nebula-H
SONG: Andalusion
ALBUM: H2O
YEAR: 2004

ARTIST: The Ocean Blue
SONG: Between Something and Nothing
ALBUM: Ocean Blue
YEAR: 1989

ARTIST: The Crystalline Effect
SONG: Primitive Line
ALBUM: Glass
YEAR: 2005

ARTIST: Moenia
SONG: Me Equivoque
ALBUM: Solar
YEAR: 2006

ARTIST: Flesh Field
SONG: Conquer Me
ALBUM: Belief Control
YEAR: 2001

2014, Thank You for the Music!

Man Listening to HeadphonesI usually put this out at the end of the year, but I still had some music to import into my library and wanted to make sure I had everyone on the list!

2014 was a great year for music. It wasn’t as an amazing year as 2013 was for quantity, but what it lacked in quantity it certainly made up for with quality. A lot of great bands that I love put out new music in 2014.

I’m a huge fan of EBM, Futurepop, Industrial Dance, Synthpop, New Wave, etc. I’m always happy to see the scene continue to produce new bands and great music. And this year marked new albums by some bands a few of us older folks will recognize, like Billy Idol, Information Society, and Simple Minds!

Thanks to the following bands for putting out new stuff in 2014!

Billy Idol — Kings & Queens of the Underground
Birthday Massacre, The — Superstition
BlutEngel — Black Symphonies (An Orchestral Journey)
Bryan Ferry — Avonmore
Bush — Man on the Run
Clan of Xymox — Matters of Mind, Body and Soul
Client — Authority
Combichrist — We Love You
Cosmicity — Humans May Safely Graze
Cryo — Retropia
Diary of Dreams — Elegies in Darkness
Echo & The Bunnymen — Meteorites
Erasure — Reason EP
Erasure — Violet Flame, The
Faderhead — Atoms & Emptiness
Front Line Assembly — Echoes
Haerts — Haerts
Information Society — Hello World
Iris — Radiant
Laibach — Spectre
Live — Turn, The
Melotron — Werkschau
Mental Discipline — Butterfly EP
Mitch Murder — Interceptor
Morrissey — World Peace Is None of Your Business
New Division, The — Together We Shine
Nine Inch Nails — Recoiled
Perturbator — Dangerous Days
Peter Murphy — Lion
Phantogram — Voices
Seabound — Speak In Storms
Simple Minds — Big Music
Smashing Pumpkins — Monuments to an Elegy
St. Vincent — St. Vincent
Surveillance — Oceania
Thomas Bergersen — Sun
THYX — Super Vision
Trust, The — Joyland
Weezer — Everything Will Be Alright In the End
Whiteqube — Panic, Rage, Riot, Revolt! EP
Xenturion Prime — Mecha Rising

Yaz

“Unmarked” by Yaz.

Listen to this Song!

Words and music by Vince Clarke. © 1983 Sonet Records and Publishing Ltd. Assigned to Emile Music (ASCAP) for USA & Canada.

Go and join the army
Said the father to the son
See the world around you boy
And learn to use a gun
Think you’re something special
Well, we’ll make you just the same
There’s nothing wrong in dying
After all, it’s just a game
Just a game.

Read the morning paper
There’s a picture of a cross
“We were proud in them days”
By the way, I think you lost
Trust me when I tell you boy
That God is on our side
Even Jesus cheers us on
Against the other side
Against the other side.

He who shouts the loudest
Is the on who’s in control
We who never listen
Are the one’s who pay the toll
Tell us that it’s time at last
To make a final stand
I’m glad ‘cos all I wanted
Was to kill another man
Just to kill another man.