I struggled with whether I should rank the best ten EPs of the year, or simply list them in alphabetical order. EPs serve a lot of different purpose. Some of almost complete albums. Some are previews of albums to come. Sometimes the artist only has the time, money or material to release three, four or five songs at a time.
Ultimately, though, I decided it would be best to rank the ten best EPs in terms of overall quality, no matter the intended purpose.
Cliff Hillis grabbed the top slot on my Top 30 songs list with his track “Dashboard.” The platter where that song appears, Song Machine, is also my top EP of the year. In my original review from August, I said:
Each of the songs is intricately drawn, and Hillis has a keen ability to add touches of drama, detail and personal observation to his compositions. Clever phrasing abounds on Song Machine, but Hillis is also able to take a step back and apply restraint and a light touch when necessary.
You can read that review here.
The EPs occupying the remainder of my list are quite varied, ranging from the aptly-titled New Trocaderos record to the much quieter and contemplative works of Andy Klingensmith and Donny Brown. Muscle Souls check in with a wonderful collection of Northern Soul-tinged rockin’ pop, with horns! Make sure to listen to the acoustic versions of the five originals, particularly the title track (which made my top songs list), to get an even better sense of their keen melodic abilities. The Crush, at Number 2, serve up relentless pounding and catchy Power Pop. The Persian Leaps, at Number 3, deliver five tasty helpings of hook-filled noise pop. The first side of an upcoming double long-player by The Foreign Films, as Number 9, has some subtle psychedelic underpinnings.
Click on the links to listen, purchase and support the artists.
2. The Crush, Future Blimps
3. The Persian Leaps, Drive Drive Delay
4. Muscle Souls, Mark On The World
5. The New Trocaderos, Kick Your Ass
6. Greg Ieronimo, Bipolar Love
7. Andy Klingensmith, Bright Again
8. Donny Brown, Hess Street
9. The Foreign Films, Record Collector
10. Brandon Schott, Verdugo Park