Sunday, October 28, 2012

Best of 2012 - EPs

I'll explain once again for those who don't know - EP means 'extended play', meaning a single with additional songs. My usual EP list may seem pointless, considering I have another list of the best CDs from the year. EPs commonly represent a new band's very first shot at winning our hearts or a famous musician's endeavor to share a little something they've some up with, but they simply cannot compete with CDs twice as long. Silversun Pickups, Coldplay, and many of the other bands that have become my favorites started with EPs and still more release EPs along the way and so I want to give these small packages of musical excellence a place of their own. This year, I picked from a total of 17.

10. Apparitions - Labyrinth Ear
Labyrinth Ear's electronic vibe takes some getting used to. It isn't particularly catchy or beautiful, but I find it's quirk enthralling and I couldn't give you any artist to relate them to. Their sound is eccentric and I hope to see more.

9. Awkward - San Cisco
Australia kicked butt in my life this year... The Jezabels, The Presets, Tonight Alive, and indie band San Cisco. If you're looking for something catchy, don't skip these guys. This is feel-good music right here.

8. Deep Space - Eisley
From one of my favorite 2011 albums to a entirely different feel in their 2012 EP, Eisley variety in sound is respectable, to say the least. Unfortunately, it leads to a little inconsistency for me. Though not nearly as great as last year's album, Deep Space provides touching, yet simple melodies in each of its songs.

7. Dead Letters - Stromkern
Electronic rap at its finest, Stromkern is a project I've kept an eye on for some time, but never invested in. The new EP gave me a great reason to enter an area of music I'm new to, but it immediately fit right into my collection with Dead Letter's first song, "Intuit", becoming one of my most played songs of the year. If you're feeling adventurous, you should definitely investigate.

6. Continued Silence - Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons' "It's Time" was my most played song of the year, too bad it isn't technically a 2012 song, like some of the rest of their newly popular songs. Continued Silence's collection, as the band's overdue claim to fame, needs a place here. I may not be as much of a fan as you Dragons hipsters out there and the following album disappointed me, but I sure did get a lot of enjoyment out of this batch.

5. Aurorae - Amethystium
Straight from Norway, Amethystium is from the genre of music I consider my favorite: new era. For lack of a better description, new era is a brilliant hybrid of electronic sounds and classical orchestration and Amethystium displays this extremely well. Unlike many of the artists fond here, Amethystium has a wide collection of music already and I fully intend to explore it more upon my return.
4. Elenowen - Elenowen
Elenowen reminds me of The Civil Wars, but a little softer with a little less guitar and more piano and strings. As followers of my blog may have read before, I'm a sucker for male/female vocal duets and this pair is especially excellent.
 3. New Light - Moving Mountains
Here they are again, the creators of my #1 2011 album with an acoustic EP of some of their best tunes. Moving Mountains already has a unique sound, but I was surprised how unique they remain in acoustic mode. At the same time, the mood is both reminiscent of my time with their old music and surprisingly fresh even though the songs aren't. Spectacular.
2. The Ludlow Thieves - The Ludlow Thieves 

Ever been on It's a place where low-name or overly generous artists can put up their music for free to get their fame ball rolling; it's one of my favorite things ever and, believe it or not, I got all four of these top EPs for free on the site. The Ludlow Thieves is something I wouldn't have considered buying and may have even avoided initially, but oh how it's grown on me. Their style of folk has a strange beauty about it that's best kept away from explanation. You simply must try it out.

 1. The Change - Churchill

Churchill! Each year has its spotlight new bands, and Churchill is one of them this time around. Another male/female duet champion, this band's talent in composition is to be envied. Each one of it's five excellent stand-alone songs makes The Change a comprehensive look at what the group can pull off. Something a little jazzy here, a little lovey-dovey there; some heavy stuff and some downright gorgeous stuff...Churchill has made one of the greatest marks on my 2012.

EPs are easy to overlook, but they're a valuable part of any artist's growth and experimentation. Please, if you find any of this music remotely interesting, do some YouTube searching. At no more than $5 a piece, these are all smart purchases.


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