As synthwave is so heavily influenced by a very specific aesthetic, it’s rare when we’re surprised as to what we find when we look at a synthwave album’s inspirations. We’re probably going to see neon colors, hot rods, scantly clad women (too often, sadly) and men, sunglasses, pixel beaches and the such. And that’s definitely the case when you first glance at Rodgers Dameron’s latest release, Pits of Utumno. The cover is satisfyingly retrofuturistic and rightly colored and the figure on it is clad in something you might expect David Hasselhoff to sport on Knight Rider. But wait, Pits of Utumno you suddenly ask, imaginary reader who’s well versed in Tolkien’s legendarium. “But that’s Melkor’s underground fortress!” you exclaim, of course, as I did. And yes, Dameron’s latest release, as steeped in synthwave aesthetic as it might be, contains several references and influences from Tolkien’s work.