Makeup and Vanity Set and Stranger Things, Together at Last

The synthwave maestro has a few songs appear in Netflix’s hit sci-fi/horror/retro series.

If you’ve been watching the latest season of Stranger Things — which just dropped last week — then you’ve heard some songs by Makeup and Vanity Set. Which, to be honest, shouldn’t be too surprising. The show’s first season helped bring synthwave to the masses, thanks to its synthesizer-driven soundtrack courtesy of Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein. Indeed, when the Duffer Brothers were writing Stranger Things’ fourth season, they drew inspiration from Makeup and Vanity Set’s music.

Which brings us to “Sentinels.” Originally intended as a subscriber-only release, the song was released publicly along with a few others on Makeup and Vanity Set’s Bandcamp page, where it helped inspire the Duffer Brothers. The Brooklyn-based Ship to Shore PhonoCo. label then inquired if MAVS wanted to flesh out “Sentinels” and the other songs into a full-length album. The resulting album is 10 songs inspired by Studio Ghibli and John Woo’s Hard Boiled, aka, one of the greatest action films of all time. (Note: I honestly can’t decide which source of inspiration makes me more excited.)

The new album will be released sometime early in 2023. In the meantime, two songs — “Sentinels” and the Doctor Who-esque “Mind Sync” — can be listened to above. Both have the atmospheric, arpeggiated synth sounds that we’ve all come to know and love from the Vanity Set, and it makes total sense why the Duffers were drawn to them in the first place.