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Electronic Playground: Honor Roll

Welcome to Electronic Playground. In this weekly column, we will cover tech-heavy music that is a large segment of the Alternative/Indie movement of today. In general, these bands do not see the popularity of some "less out there" acts, so do not be discouraged if you haven't heard of them. We will focus on all types of electronic music in a genre that is known for its subcategories.

Sometimes, we make mistakes. I'm not referring to Alt Revue or anything specific other than to say, as people, we screw up. One thing that has been sitting in the back of my mind every time I publish this article is how I could write about The Midnight and not mention the song Los Angeles. Somehow, when putting together the final product, I missed that track, which was actually the track that drove me to write about the band in the first place. I'm here to own up to that and include some tracks that were missed connections during this process. It would be wrong to call these tracks "honorable mentions" as they are no second-rate tracks. Let's call these "dishonorable exclusions" on my part. Let's discuss.

Los Angeles - The Midnight

The Midnight sound familiar to other acts in the segment in terms of musical quality, accuracy, and production value and really stands up against any other group I have covered in this series. The songs are heavily beat driven with explorative synth melody overlay and vocals produced to perfection. The vocals vary depending on the purpose of the track. In Los Angeles, we feel the vocals are very modern alt sounding (totes appropriate) and attention grabbing. The anthem convincingly acts as a rally cry to remind others we are not promised a tomorrow and to live up every day, especially this one.

The Drone Racing League - GUNSHIP

When we say GUNSHIP may be the heaviest-sounding electronic band out there, we understand how weird that may come across; however, what adjectives could you use to describe GUNSHIP without including "heavy" as one of them? Listening to GUNSHIP, especially in "The Drone Racing League" is reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails mixed with heavy Nu-Metal from the early 2000s. That's not to say they always sound like that, because they pull elements from other genres in other tracks, but one overarching characteristic is that they are in your face.

Midnight City - M83

Last time, we felt "Midnight City" was a bit too covered to discuss in any depth, but it doesn't change the fact that it's an amazing track. Despite having heard this song more times than any of the rest of these combined, I should be sick of it; however, it just doesn't happen. The song is in your face, uses uncommon sounds that attract instantly, and builds throughout. The drum beats are almost on par with tracks such as "In the Air Tonight" as far as memorability, precision, and importance to the song. Go ahead, listen to it again. I won't tell anyone. You'll still enjoy it. We all will.

Tonight - Timecop1983

This is the lone instrumental on the list this week. This song is still a powerhouse. It begins sounding as though it's

being compressed through a tiny set of speakers and then builds through the introduction. It's a slow burner, but still hits all the right buttons. Tracks such as these are great to space out to. The melody is consistent and repetitive, allowing lead instrumentals from the synth laid on top.

How to Listen:

Big, big speakers for this one. These tracks are heavily bass driven and utilize intense rhythm sections to carry the tunes throughout. You can still enjoy with a nice set of over-the-ear headphones, but don't skimp. Make sure some surface area are being pushed with this music.

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