Last summer it seems the thing was to reacquaint myself with The Teardrop Explodes and to catch up with some of what Julian Cope has been up to since. I got sucked into his Krautrock Sampler and set about downloading as many of the albums he mentions as I could get my hands on. I think I found them all, except for maybe one or two. That helped to put Bowie's Berlin period into a broader perspective and also helped me to link ambient with synth pop, especially the darker forms of both of those.
This summer, after listening through my collection of Joy Division and The Teardrop Explodes, I wondered what else might be out there, so I started Googling around and found out about White Lies. From reading reviews (pro and con) and seeing what names the reviewers dropped most often, I found out about Interpol and The Editors. I'm a few years behind the times, but there is evidently a post-punk revival that is still going on.
There must be something wrong with me, but music like this really lifts me up somehow. Maybe part of it is the way it gives direct expression to aspects of myself that I try to keep hidden, so as to keep from bringing other people down (the insufficiently intelligent are so easily upset, after all). And, of course, there is something about the way these guys make being "depressed" or "depressing" (or whatever it is that the common people call it) appear glamorous and sexy. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the front men of all three bands are good looking:
So maybe it's nothing more than sublimated sex appeal. I dunno. But seriously, there's something about young men contemplating the darker and more difficult sides of life: it's a little like the British Romantic poets, maybe. Then there are people who say that dark is in fashion when there's a lot of anxiety in the air. I dunno.
Anyway, that's part of what I did this summer. :-)