Whenever I go to workout on the gym floor I….I grab the barbells by the neck and listen to…..Okay, I lied, this isn’t about a physical workout. Instead it’s my programming/writing/design music. This post will grow over time as I remember to add stuff.
I’ve ordered this list like a meal. Start with the Appetizers and then try some of the more robust Entrees. Skip to Desserts if you just want the free stuff.
I don’t use a music streaming service. I like to OWN things, even if it’s just a collection of digital files. Bandcamp is my store of choice. I get to directly support cool creators and the clever tagging features helps me find weird, niche stuff. I can’t say if these songs are available on Spondora or Goopple YouTunes or whatever.
If it’s BANDCAMP FRIDAY then all the bandcamp fees are waived and your money goes DIRECTLY to the artists.
Table of Contents
- Electronic Entrees
- Electronic Desserts
- Synthwave Entrees
- Synthwave Desserts
- Chiptunes Entrees
- Ballad Entrees
- Remix Desserts
- Chill Entrees
- Chill Desserts
These are not necessarily my favorite albums, but are fairly popular and broadly considered to be good examples of their genres. Try these to see if our music tastes align.
Together Through Time by TWRP - A lot of their songs have minimal vocals with some awesome mood changes throughout each song. 3. Phantom Racer is my favorite. Honorable Mention: the music video for Starlight Brigade is the most amazing, gorgeous thing…watch it RIGHT NOW!
Aspire by She - Aspire is something between a pop rock album and a remix. I’m a HUGE sucker for weird vocal noises, and this album has it in spades. 2. Music Like This is my favorite, and probably the closest I’ll ever get to dubstep.
Remixes for the Soul III by Melodysheep - Popular music and/or soundbytes that have been put to electronic music. This music has blended lyrics that don’t distract me from my work.
Shovel Knight by Jake Kaufman - I love video games, and their simple but memorable melodies sink deep into my brain. I refer to this genre as “Chip-Tunes”. Shovel Knight has consistently impressed me with its soundtrack. Just amazing stuff.
That wraps up the appetizers. Let’s dig deeper!
I don’t really know what “electronic” means as a genre, so I just use it to refer to anything that doesn’t fit the other categories and has a good beat.
Ride on Space Cowboy by Lazy Laser - Oh wow, this album blew me away. Somehow it seamlessly blends western twang with smooth synth beats. Astounding album, and I wish I could re-release Clink to go along with this soundtrack.
CULTPOP by Robots with Rayguns - This is a weird one. Each track feels like it’s from a different band. The twisted vocals and beats are just so engaging. #3 Area 51 is my favorite track.
Vectorian Age by Hymne - The beats and notes are extremely bass-ey. If you have good base speakers this will shake your house. I really dig the haunting melodies.
Retro Grooves by Anders Enger Jensen - Each album has huge variety of tunes and styles; it feels like a sketchbook of electronic music. There are SEVERAL of these Retro Groove albums and I know you’ll find a half dozen tracks on each one that blow your mind.
2033 by Roex - Somewhere between repetitive and innovative these beats get stuck in my brain. I love ‘em.
Botrun by Mangadrive - A dark and gritty electronic album that just will not stop. Each track builds upon the last.
Third Culture by Nate Treme - poppy electro with some incredible bass lines wrapped around creepy samples.
“Synthwave” is new electronic music with 80’s style and sounds. And it’s become a huge obsession of mine. Here is a good breakdown on the origins of synthwave.
Girls on Bikes by OSC - I love how happy and cheerful these tracks are. I can picture myself riding a skateboard down the street on the way to meet some friends at the local mall.
Don’t Panic by Turbo Knight - has a wide range of moods and sounds, but the song “Curtain Wall” has gotten deep in my brain and I NEED MORE noise like that. Just a blast.
Amplifier by Lost Years - I don’t think there’s one track that really stands out; they’re all so engaging and smooth.
Scandroid by Scandroid - Great beats and fun lyrics about robots taking over. I just discovered them recently and they’re quickly becoming one of my favorite artists.
Flamingo Drive-In by Quixotic - A wide variety of tracks; from a Terminator cover about Arnold Scharzenegger to a breathy beach-side drive. I also really like their cover of “Beat It”.
Client Liaison (Remastered) by Client Liaison - Catchy vocals with some incredible beats. Some of the lyrics are really cheesy, but they get stuck in my head all the same.
Invaders by Hollywood Burns - A soundtrack to the best X-files rip-off movie never made. A combination of moody theramin warbles mixed with heart-thumping beats. 8. Came to Annihilate is my favorite.
Better Than Reality by LukHash - This album has some incredible blends of rock, synthwave, and chiptunes. But it goes in the chiptunes section because the bleep-bloops are on fleek. Right? That’s what the kids are saying these days, right?
Crypt of the Necrodancer by Danny Baranowsky - This is a video game about fighting monsters on the beat. It is a base requirement that the soundtrack be engaging and fast-paced. And it does not disappoint. If you like this album, there are a dozen remixes of it; same beats with new twists.
Albums with powerful or catchy lyrics. Probably more in the “Pop” genre, but ballads is a better word. I love listening to these and singing along while driving or jogging.
Godhunter by Aviators - This category exists because of Aviators. His lyrics are beautiful and sweeping, the vocals are rock solid and all of his albums evoke detailed worlds that I want to explore.
Thanks in Advance by Ollie Wride - I just love the crooning voice of this man. It has everything from motivational power ballads to more somber solos.
Slave to the Passion by Ultraboss - My wife’s favorite album on this list, it both just grabs our hearts and we can’t help but sing along. So many high energy songs on this album.
A Moment Apart by ODESZA - These tracks are just fun. Some vocal mixes, good beats, and catchy melodies. I find myself humming these long after the album is over.
Real Thing (Remastered) by LeBrock - I didn’t know how much I liked good yelling until I found this album. It’s so satisfying to listen to this guy really sing his heart out.
Never Surrender by Ace Buchannon - This is just a single, but it’s so good I had to include it. How can you listen to this and not sing along?
Hades: Original Soundtrack by Darren Korb - a mixture of screaming guitar riffs and electonic waves. If you’ve played the game then you already love this soundtrack. If you haven’t played the game, then you should!
Thanks to our totally reasonable and very generous copyright laws, many of my favorite remix albums have to be free. But I’d still recommend tipping the artist.
Symphony of Science Collector’s Edition by melodysheep - They take famous speeches from scientists and documentaries and turn them into catchy songs. I love listening and learning! #15 Nature of Sound is my favorite track.
Happy Cat Disco - This is the only non-bandcamp recommendation on here. And it isn’t an album. Happy Cat releases free pop remixes of INCREDIBLE quality. Seriously, just listen to a few songs. They’re all free and clever; albeit a bit scattered across the internet. A few of my favorites:
Chill music is kind of hard to reccomend. It doesn’t necessarily enterain; rather it is meant to fade into the background and keep your focused on something else. I use it for writing and studying. I think this weirdness is why so many Chill music is free.
Zelda and Chill by Mikel & GameChops - The Zelda games already have incredible melodies; seeing them get a lo-fi cover is a comfy fit. This same group does albums for Mario and Pokemon as well.
Music Box Classics: Kingdom Hearts - takes the beautiful melodies of Kingdom Hearts and then re-imagines them as a simple music box tune. This might be boring if the artist wasn’t so clever with how to transfer more complex melodies to simple tunes. It really is incredible and has a nice relaxing sound.
jude. by LemKuuja - Warning, track #1 is NSFW. Good chill music fades into the background so I don’t even notice it. Great for when I want to focus on something while relaxing. I also really like the crackles and pops to give it a lo-fi feel.
Chillhop Essentials by Chillhop Records - Every season this label releases a free collection with sample tracks from their other albums. There are HUNDREDS of free chill tunes in all of these collections. And if you like a particular track there is probably a much larger album you can purchase.
I hope you found something to enjoy in this list! What cool synthwave/chiptune/remix/electronica music am I missing out on? Comment below!
Cover Photo by Ivan Dorofeev on Unsplash