I have heard a bit of chatter in the music blogging circles that this year is pretty good for EPs. You know the “almost album”, the “we didn’t have enough material/had too much material” release. Also the “just too short for an full album”, but a decent collection of 4-6 songs or so that need to be released. Honestly a lot of EPs are much better than full albums, they just don’t get the weight or attention of the industry due to their size (side note: how did Tom Cruise make it as an actor??).
Despite mentioning that the “industry” doesn’t always embrace the EP, I have noticed that a more indie crowd really gets behind it. This does me well as it lends to possibly a few more releases, not as long between albums for material and lets face it, I’m a music nerd. So let’s look into some contenders and honourable mentions for EPs (for Slowcoustic at least) from this year so far! They are not in order, but I have a predict-o-meter included (there is nothing worse than someone listing 30 albums and saying “somewhere in there is my top 10!”….)
*Meursault – Nothing Broke
This one caught me off guard, yes I liked “Kissing with tongues…” from last year, but for me this EP punched me in the face and told me I loved it. Neil Pennycook’s voice over the ethereal banjo folk is stellar. I for one hope Edinburgh knows what it has. Waiting with baited breath for the double A side vinyl of William Henry Miller that appear on this EP which will be released from Song, by Toad Records…that one will be a must as well.
~ Predict-o-meter: Potential best and running away with it
Listen: “Nothing Broke” & “Nothing Broke (Toad Session)”
<get the whole toad session HERE>
*Tobacco Pat – The Plague
Fairly unknown (and why???) – this tour de force of the ending of the world (or one of TP’s chapters – they have released additional EPs, all with stories of apocalypse). “Switzerland” and “Prayers from the Bathroom Floor” are just too good to not be included on this list.
~ Predict-o-meter: Top ten at a minimum
*Eulogies – Homespun Sessions
Not sure if it was an actual legit EP – but the pre-album release of stripped down songs from the “Here Anonymous” album really hit home for me. As most acoustic based versions of “good” songs…the way I am built I like the demo or the minimal version of that “good” song – they tend to be my favourite. This collection proves that.
~ Predict-o-meter: Top Ten hopefully
Listen: “This Fine Progression (Homespun Session)”
*Basket of Figs – Oh Eye, Oh Night
Just the howling of a woman beyond her years, songs scratching their way to birth through this Torontonian. Future of soul folk in Canada.
~ Predict-o-meter: Potential to be top five
*Sarah Winchester – Northeast Kingdom Demos
Intimate is a word that gets used much around here (almost as much as the word “folk”!), but it truly provides you a frame for the sounds of this A. Weather member. These are the hushed, solo bedroom recordings of Sarah Winchester and they are incredible. Released over on Team Love on a complimentary basis – this is truly a stand out for me. Tracks like “Raft” just keep me coming back.
~ Predict-o-meter: Very close, top 5 for sure
*Joe Pug – In The Meantime
Actually just outtakes from his “Nation of Heat” album sessions but released free on his website in 2009. This is the kind of “b-sides, outtakes” that make you wonder…I know I could replace a couple of these tracks to ones on Nation of Heat easily. Stand out tracks are “A Thousand Men” and “In The Meantime”.
~ Predict-o-meter: Top Ten for sure, somewhere around 7 or 8 sounds like it makes sense.
Listen: “A Thousand Men”
*White Pines – A Face Made of Wood
This one is a recent contender for me. Like in the last week or so! Sometimes you just know – and this Michigan singer-songwriter creates what they might call “hopeful and introverted” indie folk. I am a fan of Michigan when it comes to indie folk and White Pines does not disappoint – as much as you can keep them separate, Chris Bathgate does come to mind and that is a really good thing.
~ Predict-o-meter: Possible top five
Listen: “Our Things In The Street”
*Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Chijimi
While BPB might have fallen out of love with some for whatever reason, the new album and the following EP (that came with some copies of “Beware”) has some killer tracks. “Face Him” and “Champion” are some great Billy tracks. I honestly don’t think they would have fit on Beware, but were soo good he had to put this EP out there along side the full length LP – thank Christ he did.
~ Predict-o-meter: Top ten
Listen: No approved media – visit ThaBombShelter for a live performance of “Champion”
*Wentworth Kersey – (O)
This one is a dark horse, literally. This is the middle installment of the “O” series as late last year the EP “O” was released, now it’s “(O)” and soon will be “((O))”. This is THE psych-folk band out of the Denver label Plastic Sound Supply. The EP is a tour in, through and to the fringe of Americana – not a place many are brave enough to travel. Don’t wait for for Avant Garde Americana to become a genre, immerse in it right now.
~ Predict-o-meter: Top Ten for sure
*Yim Yames – Tribute To
Yes it is just covers and it has received luke warm reception by some – but come on, its Jim James!!! The voice alone! I would be a fan regardless, but I think he did a great job with these songs. As I am not familiar with George Harrison’s work per se, the tracks really did feel less like covers but more like songs recorded for an EP.
~ Predict-o-meter: Hopefully top ten, pending additional releases this year
Stream here. Visit site for a free download with the release of your email
*The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You (EP)
While only at 3 tracks (and one I am still iffy on – “Kick Drum Heart”) the two tracks remaining are fantastic Avett tracks, with the title track being a stunning piano ballad.
~ Predict-o-meter: Possibly top ten – if it had one or two more tracks then top ten for sure
Listen: No dice, sorry – Stream “I and Love and You” HERE.
Okay, I clearly missed something somewhere as I usually do, but let me know what you may think for top EPs in the comments (I might need some reminding).