Weekly Recs: SBFVGS, The Altar, and 80s Synth-Pop

by Staff
Published: Last Updated on

Weekly Recs is a column where our writers, editors, and other creative types tell you what they’ve been loving this week, and why you should be loving it too!

Super Best Friends Video Game Sleepover (Podcast, 2014-Present)


The only thing better than gaming is talking about video games with your friends, and Super Best Friends Video Game Sleepover captures this appeal in spades. A great gaming podcast with a very active listener community, SBFVGS offers an excellent bi-weekly look at what’s going on in the gaming industry, before diving into a relevant topic of the bi-week, or sitting down with an industry insider for a bit of a chat.

Though this might sound like a pretty typical gaming podcast, the show is anchored by the way the hosts relate to one another, as legitimately close friends who show it through there recurring in-jokes, easy rapport and great comedic timing. You can tell that Adam Redding, David J. Tate and Mike Lopez have a very genuine affinity for one another, and it makes the show a joy to listen to.

Super Best Friends Video Game Sleepover is available on iTunes, Stitcher and Podbean. Their official site can be found here(Mike Worby)

The Altar-Banks (Album, 2016)


A beautiful Californian singer born in Orange County and raised in Tarzana, Los Angeles, may seem like someone who doesn’t have much to say, but Jillian Banks (known artistically simply as Banks) is a box of surprises. Although she doesn’t talk about politics or the struggles women often go through, Banks approaches romance in a unique way. Her perspective isn’t , necessarily new, but no one has managed to present it in such an honest way.

Banks’s debut album, Goddess (2014), started with the powerful “Alibi”, a song where she asks “please, give me something to convince me that I am not a monster.” The nuances in her relationships are refreshing in a time where women sing about being extremely powerful, capable, or just so in love that they can’t think straight. “Alibi” is quickly followed by the title track “Goddess”, which tells of a lover who took the soon-to-be 29-year-old for granted. “She gave it all, you gave her shit. She coulda done just anything; or anyone. ‘Cause she’s a goddess, you never got this.” She sings in the first verses.

The vulnerability from Goddess  mixed with its strong themes and how grey relationships really are is even more prominent in Banks’s sophomore album. Titled The Altar and with a cover clearly inspired by Alicia Keys’ Here promotional material, the album doesn’t stray far from its predecessor’s sound but counts with a stronger tone. Opening with the catchy “Gemini Feed”, a song about disappointment that yet again reveals Banks’s vulnerable side, The Altar counts with gems such as “Fuck With Myself”, “This Is Not About Us”, and, my favoirte, “Weaker Girl.”

Banks, and especially The Altar, are worth a shot to anyone who understands that they are just as flawed as the ones who hurt them. If there’s one thing this album reminded me is that most times both parts are to blame for a failed relationship, but sometimes one person is undeniably wrong, whether it’s the lyrical I or the subject of the song. (Gabriel Cavalcanti)

I Can’t Believe It’s Not the ’80s (Playlist)

For a lot of people around my age, there’s a genuine sense of shock that comes over us whenever anybody points out just how long ago the 1980s was. We sail obliviously through our daily lives without a care in the world, and then we get our phones out and have a look on Facebook and we see an article telling us that it’s thirty years since Back to the Future was released and BAM! Reality comes crashing down around us. The ’80s wasn’t last week – it was decades ago. It was so long ago that the movies we loved from back then are getting rebooted or remade. Rocky Balboa has retired like four times. Boy George is in his mid-fifties. Nobody has seen hide nor hair of Steve Guttenberg for nigh on twenty years. It’s ancient history, man.

The one good side to the inevitable passage of time and the gradual decay of all that we love is that we’re now far enough removed from the 1980s to see an ’80s revival. While that probably doesn’t mean we’ll see a resurgence of women’s suits with built in shoulder pads any time soon, it does mean that musicians are using the early years of synthpop as inspiration for music today, and as somebody that loves ’80s music this is a treat for the ears. ’80s synthpop was revolutionary, with pioneers like Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Yazoo, Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears, and a bunch of other people with crazy hair making music that sounded like it was from the future. Now, we’re in the future, it sucks, and the musicians of today are looking to the past for ideas.

This is a playlist of tunes that are inspired by ’80s synthpop. It sounds a bit like the Drive soundtrack, one of the songs you might recognise from Adam Wingard’s The Guest, and watch out for my personal pick of the bunch – The Voices by Le Blonde – as it’s one of my favourite tunes of the last few years. (John Cal McCormick)

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