Yesterday, we shared ten of our Favorite EPs of 2015. In an age of short attention spans, EPs are a great approach for artists and bands wishing to have more of their music heard as well as to demonstrate their musical range. Here are ten more EPs that amazed us.
Kaptan – Sprinter
We became enamored this year with KAPTAN aka Andres Gaos after he posted “Anywhere We Go” back in the summer which became a go-to summer feel good track and we continued to share future tracks as they kept impressing us. Each pop infused single just kept coming which equaled one solid debut EP release in Sprinter. From the most upbeat tracks including “Anywhere We Go”, “Way Out” and “Everything” we immediately felt in a better mood after listening. “Closer Now” and “Let Go” were the two slower singles and they have more of a chill-wave vibe while they both focused in on love. We definitely look forward to hearing more from KAPTAN in 2016. ~~ Wendy
Max Frost – Intoxication
Max Frost has been keeping fans close with his addicting soulful vocals and beats every since “White Lies” was posted on soundcloud. The Austin based native has continued to impress with pop laden hooks and mesmerizing beats. Intoxication was some what of a surprise release, but it satisfied any Max Frost craving with six great tracks that keep you moving as we previously reviewed the EP here. The stand out tracks are “Withdrawal”, “Paranoia” and “Let Me Down Easy” which shows us Frost is still full of soul laden tracks. Until we have another EP to tide us over, Intoxication will be played out until then. If you ever get a chance to see Mr. Frost live, do it. Hopefully he will me making an appearance at SXSW next March. ~~Wendy
Mexico City Blondes – Mexico City Blondes
Mexico City Blondes first impressed us from their standout single from their most recent s/t EP, “First Cut” which we shared back in September. Mexico City Blondes is Allie Thompson and Greg Doscher who started collaborating after realizing their love of music and writing was pretty much one in the same. The duo are creating an awesome blend of almost acoustic folk in some tracks (“Fade”, “Worry”, “Watery Dreams”) mixed in with electronic synth and beats (“First Cut”, “Colors”, “Further”). The EP includes six tracks of indie pop goodness that is melding all of these elements together with the lovely vocals of Ms. Thompson. We look forward to hearing more from this Santa Barbara based duo in the coming year. ~~Wendy
Misun – Feel Better
Colorful chameleons: that’s the best way to describe Misun, the Los Angeles-based retro pop trio originally from Washington, DC. They can take any genre of music – from ‘60s-era surf rock to ‘80s-synth pop – and simply own it. Lead vocalist Misun Wojcik may have been born in the wrong decade because their music at times sounds like it’s straight out of the flower-power 1960s (especially on the uptempo “Justice”) with its big, soul-inspired rock vibe. Other times, their modern indie colors are on display, full of jangly guitar hooks and shimmering, reverb-drenched layers. Even on the wistful “Far Away From Me”, the longing evident in the lyrics (“Feels like I’m pacing back and forth / Stuck in a time when you and I existed”) paired with minor key instrumentation still feels upbeat. Their musical palette has plenty of variety and depth, which is refreshing on its own. But in the hands of these talented musicians and songwriters, the songs combine to form a fine piece of audio art. ~~Hollie
Ofelia K – Plastic Flower
With a delicate voice and an immersive style, Ofelia K just blew us away back in July with “White T-Shirt”. The song reminded us of Lana Del Rey, but there is more to the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter. Her debut EP, Plastic Flower, is filled with songs that will grab hold of your heart and not let go, which is best highlighted by the immaculate “Gone” or the startling beauty, “As A Bell”. It is on these two songs that separates Ofelia K from the rest of the field. The songs borrow the best from Jenny Lewis and ’90s icon Donna Lewis but addig a modern, electro-pop spin. While she could have imitated more modern acts to achieve quick stardom, the young Ofelia K is carving out her own niche, and it will be soon when future, aspiring artists will be trying to replicate her sound. ~~Ben
Oh Pep! – The Living
With so much new music available these days, it is a real treat to discover an artist whose music delights the ears the way Oh Pep! does. The Australian duo of Olivia “Liv” Hally and Pepita “Pep” Emmerichs create gorgeous contemporary folk/pop that is unlike anything else we’ve heard this year. Their exploration of sound and almost whimsical approach to the boundaries of the genre becomes a sonic journey. If their Living EP is your initial introduction to the band, be prepared to discover a dynamic sound that is utterly addictive. Between the vibrant strings on “The Race” and the girls’ beautiful harmonies, this is one of the most irresistible EPs of the year. We cannot wait to hear more from them. ~~Hollie
Sharon Van Etten – I Don’t Want To Let You Down
Sharon Van Etten is truly one of this decades’ finest songwriters. Her 2014 record Are We There ended up on many a year-end list. In 2015, she was back with an EP, I Don’t Want To Let You Down which features four new tracks from Van Etten as well as a live version of a “lost” track. The title track is a great song with a fantastic guitar solo from guitarist Doug Keith. The other three new tracks would fit right in on Are We There, and that’s not a knock against them. “Just Like Blood” and “I Always Fall Apart” recall “I Know” and “I Love You But I’m Lost”, and “Pay My Debts” is a true stunner. The EP closes with a live version of “Tell Me” which was likely written around the time of Van Etten’s second record, Epic, and was dusted off for the 2014 tour, and showcases the power of Van Etten’s incredible live band of herself, guitarist Doug Keith, multi-instrumentalist Heather Woods Broderick, bassist Brad Cook, and drummer Darren Jessee. ~~Rich
Søren Juul – Søren Juul
While it would be easy to label Søren Juul as Denmark’s version of Bon Iver, the comparison doesn’t quite do justice to the Copenhagen singer/songwriter. Too often the term “lush” gets bandied about with such frequency that it loses any real meaning. But that’s exactly what you find in Juul’s music: it truly is lush, sweeping, and peaceful. The layers are evocative and calming, and his voice has a soothing quality that neutralizes stress. Despite this EP’s brevity (it’s only three songs), it is a rich soundscape with balanced elements of ambient, folk, and indie pop. As an EP, it’s a perfect teaser of what’s to come when he releases his full album next year. ~~Hollie
Wardance – Wardance
What happened to the days of alternative rock that would not only blow your head off with great guitar riffs and intense vocals, but also was meaningful. Music that had a purpose. We may have found our answer with Wardance. Their debut EP brought back memories of the early ’90s when alt-rock was king. Their edgy sound recalls Bush and Alice in Chains, as heard on “Guiding Light” and “Come Alive”. The band, however, is all about grunge music. “Free Radicals” mixes the alt-rock sound with a neo-psychedelic vibe in much the same way as Fuzz and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The London trio are well positioned to make serious noise in 2016, being the new year’s breakout rock stars much like Royal Blood and Drenge were this year. ~~Ben
Weyes Blood – Cardamom Times
Weyes Blood‘s Cardamom Times is truly one of the most beautiful releases of the year. It’s cinematic, it’s ethereal, and it feels like an EP from another time. “Maybe Love” is just a stunner. “Take You There” is as well. It is almost eight minutes of Natalie Mering’s voice singing over lush harmonies and organ. “Cardamom” is an acoustic track, and Mering is accompanied by woodwinds. The final track is another lush soundscape, bringing the EP to a beautiful end. Like most EPs, the four tracks just seem so short and leave us wanting more. ~~Rich
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