10 Minimal Wave Bands You Should Know

As far as genre names go, “minimal wave” has been one of the more contentious of the last couple of years. The term was coined by NYC-based DJ Veronica Vasicka as a kind of umbrella term for a bunch of bands who’d in the past been known by a variety of labels but shared a similar aesthetic based around icy DIY synth sounds and, well, minimalism. Vasicka’s Minimal Wave label has released a whole bunch of music based around this sound, both re-releases of vintage ’80s tracks and new bands inspired by that era. But in any case, whatever you think of the validity of defining genre labels retrospectively, it refers to some pretty fantastic music. So with the new album by genre luminaries The Soft Moon out this week, we thought we’d take a look at some of our favorite minimal wave bands both past and present. As ever, let us know if you have any favorites we missed!

The Soft Moon

Icy synth sounds? Check. Lots of portentous atmosphere? Check. Echoing vocals that sound like they were recorded in a seedy Berlin nightclub circa 1985? Check. The Soft Moon satisfy pretty much every minimal wave criterion, and their 2010 self-titled album and last year’s Total Decay EP have been amongst our genre favorites, so we’re happy to report that their new record Zeros is also most excellent indeed.