A trend that has picked up with more and more frequency during this decade is the wave of 80s-influenced media in TV shows like Stranger Things and The Goldbergs and movie reboots like Ghostbusters. The trend is in music, too; nowhere is a flashback more noticeable, to me at least, than on my Spotify playlist. I’ve always been a fan of indie pop, but lately my favorite bands and newly added artists have the bouncy synths and uptempo beats of the best 1980’s dance tunes and powerhouse ballads. Here are my top five bands that are giving off serious 80’s vibes and will be a rad throwback of a soundtrack to your spring.
5) The 1975
After their 2013 self titled debut featuring slow-burning indie rock cuts, The 1975 moved into the neon-soaked 1980s for their sophomore album. I Like It When You Sleep… featured hypnotizing synth-heavy ballads like “Somebody Else”and “Change of Heart” and dance pop tunes like “Love Me” and the bouncing “The Sound” featuring bright, dancing keys.
4) Jon Bellion
After writing and producing for artists like Jason Derulo and Eminem, Bellion released his 2016 debut album The Human Condition and met with critical acclaim (and landed him on our top 50 albums of 2016). His electronic-friendly music blended R&B, pop and synth-heavy 80 influences and demonstrated staggering vocal control and impressive range. As if his vocal acrobatics weren’t enough to get him on this list, he even wrote an 80’s song about 80’s films.
The indie pop pair of Luke Moellman (keyboard and keytar) and Jon Sandler (vocals) have released a handful of singles, demonstrating their knack for infectious melodies and 80’s instrumentation. Sandler’s falsetto dances around the poppy, picked guitar and bright keys. Here’s hoping the New York duo has a full release in store!
These LA locals have been steadily release singles since their formation in 2014 and this June they’ll be releasing their debut album. Their discography is packed with 80s influenced electropop and even morose songs like “WHERE THE HELL ARE MY FRIENDS” are still catchy and fun as hell. It’s also hard to top the dance-inducing, upbeat intro to “4EVER!”.
If you combined Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos’s vocals with upbeat, 80’s melodies and beats, you’d have LA indie rockers Smallpools. Last month the band released their debut album LOVETAP! which was filled with upbeat tunes with cheerful lyrics like “Killer Whales” and the irresistibly dance-ready “Dreaming”.