Everything Ecstatic’s year-end round-up has begun! The Best Albums of the Year list will be released in about a week, but first, I wanted to give shine to the 10 EPs that resonated most with me this year.
Not quite an LP and a bit more than a single, EPs are an opportunity for artists to make a statement before an upcoming album release, release a shorter collection of tracks without the time/energy/costs associated with a full-blown album, or simply a concise artistic expression within a limited number of tracks. These 10 positively merit your attention and listen to them via the playlist at the bottom of this post. Here they are, in no particular order (with the label that released them in parenthesis.) Peace.
Amber Mark – 3:33 AM (PMR/Harvest)
A promising young pop singer, Mark delivered a cathartic collection of soulful dance music that helped her cope with the loss of her mother. The self-produced 3:33 AM shows that joyous pop music can still carry a deeply emotional message. Take note of Amber Mark, she’s next up.
Modern Cosmology – Summer Long (Elefant)
Laetitia Sadier’s latest project is a collaboration with Brazilian group Mobojó. The former Stereolab frontwoman is my favorite vocalist on the planet. Period. There’s nobody like her and Modern Cosmology is a welcome addition to one of the finest artist catalogs you’ll ever hear.
Steve Lacy – Steve Lacy’s Demo (Three Quarter)
Steve Lacy is a core member of LA-based group The Internet (who dropped our #9 Album of 2015). Now, the guitarist and producer is building out his solo repertoire starting with these six tracks and a slew of other notable collabs. “Dark Red” is a Top 10 song of the year, bar none.
Spooky Mansion- I’m the Moon, You’re The Wave (so plz change w/ me) (Self-released)
Hailing from San Francisco’s Sunset District, Spooky Mansion sound like the personification of the ocean air emanating from the cold and comfortable Bay. Gotta head over to Bandcamp to peep this 4-track release properly.
De’Wayne Jackson – Don’t Be Afraid (MDDN)
Rappers from Houston don’t normally sound like this. Jackson’s Don’t Be Afraid is a visceral and vulnerable release and this dude caught me surprise in a major way. This is exactly what I look for in hip-hop and really looking forward to more from Jackson, who’s now based in LA.
Houses Of Heaven – Remnant (Felte)
Industrial rock-focused Felte Records is a small operation that put out some gems this year. Among them, San Francisco/Oakland products, Houses of Heaven, which we highlighted as our favorite Bay Area EP of the year on a Noise Pop Podcast episode.
Yaeji – Yaeji (Godmode)
Korean-American DIY-electronica artist Kathy “Yaeji” Lee dropped some seriously sticky productions across both Yaeji and EP2. While the latter got more press looks, the self-titled release marvelously calls back to late-90’s chilled out dance floor beats and her vocals are hypnotic. Peep the video she directed for “Noonside”:
Toulouse – Extended Plea (Terrible Records)
Brilliant pop singer on the Terrible Records label run by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor. I can see Toulouse really pushing through into the mainstream with his glorious voice and expansive productions. Extended Plea is truly a journey.
Ela Minus – Adapt. (Yebo Music)
I fell hard for Colombian electronic producer Gabriela Jimeno’s 3-year spanning three EP series. Adapt is the final and best installment, with four tracks that are bright, complex and rhythmic.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – The French Press (Sub Pop)
The Melbourne, Australia indie rock scene has bene churning out some incredible artists as of late. This guitar-heavy quasi-surf rock band are a welcome addition to the likes of Courtney Barnett and Tash Sultana. One of my SXSW standouts, this was a notable release for Sub Pop.
Listen to all ten EPs on the Spotify Playlist below and subscribe to it here!