It's 40 years since the first explosion of electronic songs revitalized the UK charts with futuristic subject matter, DIY aesthetics, and occasionally pompous lyrics. To celebrate, here's a chronological list of those Moog-infused tracks of 1980 that had the biggest impact.
The 1975 follow A Brief Inquiry... with an even more intriguing, sprawling, and chameleonic song suite. Notes on a Conditional Form shows a level of unquenchable ambition, creativity, and outspoken curiosity that's rarely felt in popular music today.
Pop's Sarah Walk moves in an electropop direction with her latest single "What Do I Want?". It's part of a new album that tackles the difficult issues nearly all women face in patriarchal societies, especially queer women.
London's Empathy Test are preparing to release their stunning new album, Monsters, a richly textured, cinematic record that wraps melancholy in a darkly catchy synthpop blanket. Get to know the band in-depth in this new interview.
After nearly 50 years and two dozen albums, Sparks continue their reign of resonantly quirky art pop-rock delights on A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip.
Half Waif's second album, The Caretaker, takes a microscope and a scalpel to the mysteries and wonders of the quotidian, to great effect.
Sister duo Chaos Chaos, formerly of Smoosh, deliver their latest single, "Capital T". "Dogs hate it, but hopefully people will love it."
At Severed Heads' third-last show in New York, after decades of playing electronic, art-pop, Tom Ellard swung a noose around his band's head and, with an imitable grin, slowly pulled tighter. After 40 years, Severed Heads is done, and Ellard muses on his long career.
The first taste of Empathy Test's forthcoming album is both thrillingly expansive and unnervingly claustrophobic. "Monsters" sounds absolutely enormous.
Although Purity Ring's WOMB never stops sounding good, the bops came easier in 2012. WOMB is an effortful return to form for the electropop duo.
The electro-gospel choir, Katawa Singers, are legendary in their native Malawi, and the retrospective Ufulu 1991-1997 helps show why.
Dua Lipa knows that what makes a diva special is her willingness to feel. She emotes for the rest of us on "Break My Heart".
Pop duo CMON mix and match contemporary and retro influences to craft the dark dance-pop on Confusing Mix of Nations.
With "In Your Eyes", Toronto's premier Michael Jackson cosplayer, the Weeknd, has advanced his visual brand while parking his music in the summer of 1984.
Engaged, confident, and better than ever, Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia is a dancefloor fire-starter but just a shade away from being a true pop masterpiece.
The Weeknd's After Hours naturally weaves together cinematic vignettes of debauched Hollywood and Las Vegas nights, following a new filmic tie to Uncut Gems and a prior decade of character building.
Bizou features former and current members of Light FM, Smashing Pumpkins and Glaare. New single "Crashing Sky" reflects their penchant for pop and darkwave.
Flume and Toro y Moi team up for a tasty slice of electropop on "The Difference". For its brevity, this track has a lot to say.
Sam Sparro's Boombox Eternal is Jam & Lewis, Nile Rodgers, and Quincy Jones all nodding in unison. It is Day-Glo colors and endless mists of hairspray.
Doctor Fluorescent's debut album is a chill piece of songcraft steeped in vintage synths and other retro electronic sounds.
Cubicolor's meticulously crafted soundscapes morph from plaintive electronic pieces into uplifting dance tracks in the space of a single song. Hardly a Day, Hardly a Night is a richly drawn, triumphant record.
On "Fell Into the Ocean", Baltimore electropop producer Dan Deacon teaches us that you can make anything a fortune cookie if you try hard enough.
Former Robyn producer Kleerup dropped a lovely solo debut in 2008 then largely disappeared before deciding to come back over a decade later. What happened to him in the intervening years? "Actually, I died twice but got sent back," he tells us.
Reinventing herself as Love You Later, Lexi Aviles is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter who came up with the idea after seeing the Japanese House perform. On her new single and music video, she gets to the heart of the matter.
Boniface unleash their debut album, a sophisticated coming-of-age statement, full of irresistible pop hooks and rhythms.
Mystic Familiar keeps Dan Deacon's signature musical appeal while utilizing a few new tools. The album delivers on the camaraderie and musicianship you expect from the Baltimore producer.
Husband and wife duo, Mint Julep take a break from their respective solo projects and release a collection of smart, danceable earworms, Stray Fantasies.
Four decades in the music business is no small feat, and yet the Pet Shop Boys enter the new decade sounding just as current and catchy as the pop landscape they helped construct.
On Deleter, Holy Fuck have enthusiastically thrown themselves into the kaleidoscopic world of the early 1990s house scene while adding a few footnotes using their particular musical vocabulary.