19 Dec 2015

the 5 best EPs of 2015

EPs are one of life's simple pleasures; like an album, but an album you can play at the right speed and still be finished with in quarter of an hour. Although they're kind of overlooked, like think back to the last time you heard someone talk about the 'greatest EP of all time', great EPs are almost certainly the most satisfying stopgap between great albums, so for our first end of year list here's a look at this year's best EP releases. We'll start with #1 for a change, because they're only EPs and that, and whoever cared that much about the 'greatest EPs'?

Fresh from releasing one of 2014's great debuts, The Wytches came back faster and angrier for their first release since Annabel Dream Reader came out. Kicking off with the visceral Wastybois, a kind of barnstorming psychobilly (emphasis on the psycho) track, it takes the Brighton trio into territory even more dark than that explored on songs like Burn Out The Bruise and Gravedweller. The EP's other highlights include DADFAC#, which is an instrumental grave-loomer that - 1 minute from its end - takes an apocalyptic turn for the worse, and If not for the money, which is a slower number. This record is, in my eyes, the best thing released so far by one of my absolute favourite few bands of the last few years.

New York dreampunk newcomers Sunflower Bean have really caught the eyes and the imagination of the music press and indie kids alike. When they first came about, I was thinking; "hey, this guys might be the heir to DIIV's throne as Brooklyn's best shoegaze band if DIIV don't release some bloody new music soon", but even after DIIV have brought out new music, you've got to feel like Sunflower Bean are just going to be so much better than them. This record is their longest release, and the spiralling Somebody Call A Doctor, the woozy Tame Impala and the lethargic Bread are all more than enough proof that Sunflower Bean's debut, out Feb 5th, will be a really great album. But for now, this EP is one of the year's most top drawer records and has been on my stereo non stop for months.

Who'd have thought it, eh? When they first arrived, I'll be the first to admit that this band really didn't wow me, as they seemed to be everywhere all at once and they only had one (albeit decent-ish) song up online. But low and behold, about a year down the line, having seen them 3 or 4 times, The Vryll Society have, especially with this EP, blossomed into a transcendent baggy band that have a universal psychedelic appeal. Pangea's the first (I'm sure it won't be the last) great record of their career, and through combining a Stone Roses swagger with a celestial Slowdive influence, songs like Coshh and Air with all their swagger would quite literally put Ian Brown and co to shame. I don't know about you, but I'd take a Vrylls gig at The Joiners over the Ethiad gigs any day...

Very few bands manage to seamlessly blend the ethereal tones of shoegaze with out and out pop anthems, but Palms and Pelicans are pretty much the leaders of the field in that respect. Mattea McKinnon and Jack Lawrence's twin vocals compliment each other so well on some really gorgeous, crisp dream pop numbers. Unbelievable is a tender twinkling number, whilst Turn Your Back - probably the highlight - is a Disintergration-era left hook that Robert Smith would have loved to have written. Palms and Pelicans are maybe one of Hampshire's hottest prospects, and this is an EP that is really fun, really poppy, and occasionally beautiful.

London based riot grrrl three-piece Skinny Girl Diet have seemingly come out of nowhere this year, and this is the release that put the band on the musical map. Silver Spoons is a gunslinging belter that sees the frontwoman Delilah Holiday venomously singing about the aspirations of the working classes, whilst hammering out some guitar riffs that are basically the missing link between the punk rock of the Pistols and the euphoria fuelled fuzz of Supergrass. The other two tracks Wasted Smile and Fix Me are gems too, channeling the likes of Bikini Kill's guitar thrash bombardments and Courtney Love's lethargic voice.

Special mentions - other EPs we've loved in 2015
Juneau - Into The Mouth Of The Wolf - vivid teenage folk. duo paint evocative pictures with strong lyrics and fingerpicked guitars
Mac DeMarco - Another One - another solid addition to MD's discography, dreamy, beachy, personal
Battery Hens - Guts - angry angry southerners with low down dirty grunge riffing
Tuff Love - Dregs - snotty, gritty Scottish indie rock
Spring King - They're Coming After You - tight bouncy indie rock that yields one of our songs of the year in 'City'
Parquet Courts - Monastic Living - America's whitest (yet coolest) garage sensations are back, and this time they've been listening exclusively to The Fall since they last made music
Dorje - Catalyst - solid 5 song heavy rock EP that ticks all the right boxes
Sundara Karma - EPI - with this record indie teenagers found a new favourite band - wonderful songwriting
Ty Segall - Ty Rex - scuzz rock kingpin delivers on a load of Marc Bolan covers - what's not to love?
G.L.O.S.S - Demo - rallying spokespeople for the trans community, G.L.O.S.S are essential
The Japanese House - Pools to bathe in - dreamy, dreamy singer-songwriter perfection

(written by calum cashin)

(written by calum cashin)