The final list extravaganza of the decade has begun! As usual, here’s a little appetizer of EPs from the year to get your appetite for listening to records + reading my silly descriptions revved up.
Every year I’m split between publishing a Favorite EPs list and not. On one hand, I love talking about music that I’ve enjoyed. On the other hand, have enough EPs really spoken to me that I feel compelled to write about them? In the case of this year, I only had a few and it was looking bleak. Pottery was a deep fav for most of the year and half of this list arrived in November. With all the decade prep I was doing, I was not paying attention to EPs. Nevertheless, I resolved to go through with it – YOLO, right? I’m glad I did. In the last few days I’ve listened to great records from KOKOROKO, Dry Cleaning, Christelle Bofale and NOIA, among others. If anything this list just as, if not more important than the albums and songs list because it seems like so many of the artists on here are hopefully poised for huge 2020s. My eyes and ears are on them now, and I hope yours are too.
Each image below links to a Bandcamp / purchase page – support the artists!
– Kate Bollinger – I Don’t Wanna Lose EP [Self-Released] – BANDCAMP
– Pearla – Quilting & Other Activities EP [Egghunt Records] – BANDCAMP
– Spike Fuck – The Smackwave EP (Reissue) [Partisan Records] – BANDCAMP
Read more for the full list!
10. Dry Cleaning – Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks [Inertia Music]
Finding a Wikipedia entry for your entire life and being content with drifting through the usual mundanities and niceties knowing that better times are coming.
It’s usually hard for me to say “I’m really excited to hear what this post punk band will do next” since it’s usually the same thing over and over, but these guys are VERY different.
9. KOKOROKO – KOKOROKO [Brownswood Recordings]
Sailing to a specific sandbar with a jazz band to play for mer-people below.
Great afrobeat jazz ensemble from London that mixes West African sounds & rhythms with soulful, groovy jazz. Poised to do great things. Each note feels sincere, each player is on one.
8. Christelle Bofale – Swim Team [Father/Daughter]
Making shadow puppets on a billowing curtain, letting cool night air slip inside.
Dreamy indie rock with tight jazz-trained instrumentation. Super vocals and a swirling, encompassing sound that feels like you’re slipping into a unique universe.
7. Ducks Unlimited – Get Bleak [Bobo Integral]
Running away from the police in slow motion, jumping over hedges and knocking champagne glasses out of wealthy acolytes’ hands.
Sounds like an Australian group trying to be British, but they’re actually Canadian. What a twist! Ultimate jangle rock throwback: glamorous guitars, polite vocals with a hint of rebellion & malaise, calling out to the masters before them but not making it a tribute act.
6. Earl Sweatshirt – Feet of Clay [Tan Cressida]
Watching a basketball game on mute out of the corner of your eye while digging in the stacks of a dusty record store.
If you liked Earl’s 2018 album Some Rap Songs you’ll like this. Nearly formless raps with downtrodden, obscure groove-fed instrumentals. Love the 2004 Pistons references.
5. NOIA – Crisàlida [Cascine]
The feeling of becoming fully customizable and free in a dreamy, virtual world.
Like a millefeuille of gurgling, plinking, blinking electronic textures with a tangy twist from the English/Spanish vocals of Gisela Fulla-Silvestre. This project has great returns, uncovering new dimensions of flavor and pockets of sweetness in its many folds.
4. Andy Stott – It Should Be Us [Modern Love]
A mad scientist’s morbid experiments are rummaging in the dark air ducts above.
Just nefarious sounding electronic music. Dissonant, metallic and claustrophobic, yet still decently accessible for someone looking to get into some “darker” electronic. Not an emotional toll just to listen to. Gorgeous textures on here, they’re just bruised up a bit.
3. Margaux – More Brilliant Is The Hand That Holds The Coin [Massif Records]
A sliver of the winter sunset slices through the clouds, into your bedroom window and right into your outstretched palm while resting on the floor.
Undoubtedly headed for bigger things. Shows great promise with songwriting: lyricism and arrangements are on point on this quick EP. Feels weightless but carries a big stick.
2. Pottery – No. 1 [Partisan]
Getting strapped into a haunted house-themed rollercoaster that won’t stop and gets faster after circuit, throwing its passengers into a spooked-out, frenzied euphoria.
Reminds me of all the best things from nearly all my favorite post punk and garage rock bands: Omni, Thee Oh Sees, Talking Heads, etc. Great songwriting, machine-like grooves, and a signature weirdo smarminess on tracks like “Smooth Operator” and “Worked Up”.
1. Malibu – One Life [UNO NYC]
A high-speed snapshot of a sheath of water enveloping an olympic swimmer, bulging up from the surface of a pool and reflecting the harsh lights of the natatorium.
Like a lung-full of fresh air in a wide open field, very early in the morning. Shoes wet with morning frost. Your breath is visible as you watch the birds fly south. Like being alone on a large sports field at night with the giant stadium lights shining upon you. Music that isn’t smacking you in the face with its serenity, rather letting you fall into it.
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