I'm happy to find many of these artists strike a similar chord. If you've found this post, and haven't yet heard of these songs, I hope they do for you as well.
The problem with genre names, is that they're often too general. I've noticed the term 'chillwave', labeled on many chill-sounding modern newwave-sounding bands, or songs. While some remixes, or particular tracks certainly have that feel - others simply feel like 80's pop music from an alternate universe.
For the sake of my own iPod playlists, I group things based on a few factors - your mileage may vary.
- If there's clear, undistored vocals, and the songs follow a pop-structure with clear chording? Synthpop. Much of the new 80's sound has a French-electro/Nu-disco vibe to it, particularly remixes by Fear of Tigers.
- However, other chill-sounding tracks that have increased distortion, or a haziness to their sound or vocals I like to group as "Glo-fi".
- Likewise, a heavy emphasis on synthesizers and sequencing (with minimal-to-no vocals) feels better suited as synthwave (without vocals), or synthpop (with vocals). Again, things are hard to nail down, but just about any of the above mix well with the rest.
Their original songs are good, and have particularly clear, pleasant vocals. Anoraak's most popular track, Night Drive is great, and I enjoyed Cloud Rain Love as well. Where their songs really shine though, is when remixed in a dancy, Nu-disco style.
Anoraak - Night Drive (Fear of Tigers Remix)
Anoraak - Night Drive (Grum Remix)
Anoraak also has some very good remixes of their own. It's worthwhile browsing around YouTube or Tracasseur's Music Blog to track down other stuff they've been involved with.
Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms (Anoraak Remix)
Also in the pop-ish / catchy hook territory, are bands like Electric Youth. Their recognition recently comes from providing the vocals to a collaborative track with College for the excellent Ryan Gosling film, 'Drive'.
I was lucky enough to see both the band perform live in Toronto, including a rendition of the song "A Real Hero". While the venue's sound was less that amazing, both artists skill shone through.
College & Electric Youth - A Real Hero (Drive Original Movie Soundtrack)
Electric Youth - Right Back To You
Neon Indian is another interesting band. From what I've seen, the artist seems a bit irritated that people dare label his music anything, including 'chillwave'. His blend of synth, fuzzy vocals, and pop hooks is hard to pigon-hole, but his music still sounds great when paired with other modern synthwave / synthpop artists.
Neon Indian - Halogen (I Could Be A Shadow)
Neon Indian - Polish Girl