Thanks for giving a damn about our top 15 EPs !…I love an EP. By far the most popular format in the five years that this blog has been running
In this world where amateur and semi-pro musicians have more affordable mediums to get their music out there but have to compete with more and more acts, the 4- to 7-track EP enables them to regularly release and keep themselves in the eyes of their fans. As such, and also simply because of their brevity, the issue of filler rarely arises on the best EPs.
Thanks to all the acts below (listed in terms of preference) who perfected the art of the EP in 2022.
15. Lawn – Bigger Sprout (Born Yesterday Records)
It could be mistaken for teenage pouting in the wrong hands, but those who know, know. And in pairing these words with a track stuffed with jangling guitars and incessant driving bass, the duo (Rui DeMagalhaes and Mac Folger) seem to show that there is always light to be found on the darkest of days.
On the EP’s opening track, Down, they go one step further, stating ‘I’ve got something here worth holding.’ In fact the whole EP acts as a nod to better times to come and the pair fire through the tracks as if they can’t wait to see what the future has in store…Secret Meeting
14. The Black Watch – The Neverland of Spoken Things (Self released)
My personal faves, The Black Watch, quietly released their new The Neverland ofSpoken Things EP via Bandcamp over the weekend, sneaking it under the radar! It won’t officially be out until the first weeks of September, but you know I can’t hold back on posting about the band. The lead track here will appear on the band’s forthcoming LP, slated for a release in 2023, but the next two are exclusives to this release…and personally, I’m totally drawn towards “Precious Little.”
There’s something about the repeating guitar line, waiting for its turn to ring out in a more traditional fashion; it almost gives the song that motorik rhythm, though spun by the webs of guitars rather than percussion. For me, where some bands would wrap it up and call the song done, The Black Watch aren’t afraid to let the guitars noodle and open up a bit, riding the jam to the end. Always a pleasure to hear this band at work…Austin Town Hall
13. The Brights – The Wind and Other Things… (Stable Label)
…the dulcet twanging riffs of acts like The Umbrella Puzzles and the earliest of The Clean’s releases, course through the best of The Wind and Other Things. Here Life Walks By and Trees Don’t Sway Before The Wind Blows augment the twang with the best of Melbourne’s perfectly aloof, dolewave disinterest and the laconic lo-fi tempos of acts like House Deposit or Go Get Mum, whereas Underneath The Water Tower and Blue Wind incorporate steel guitars into the mix to give a superb anti folk, alt country feel…JanglePopHub
12. The Radio Field – The Simple EP (Subjangle)
…The other half of the EP ventures into different and a more atmospheric way. The Wait is broodingly melancholic, moody and magnificent in a way that edges towards gentle Psych Pop with its hypnotic riff and you realise that there is far more to The Radio Field than initially thought.
Congratulations is similarly a much slower affair. C86, verging on Post Punk, it is hypnotic and just grips you, particularly the instrumental closing. All in all, an outstanding EP that shows two sides of the coin. I can’t wait to hear more and more…I Don’t Hear A Single
11. The Gabys – The Gabys (Fruits & Flowers)
Whilst the release never really escapes the fuzz essence and nor should it, How Can I Prepare and The End Of Love allows the vocals to eradiate in all their twee-pop refinery and clunking off-kilter jangly riffs to surround the core fuzz mutations. Both tracks are the best of the release as they find the perfect mix of noise/fuzz pop and indie-pop sweetness, in an aesthetic that no one else is really doing (quite like this or as well…).
Let’s call this “The Gaby’s with muscles” and celebrate their new found strength…JanglePopHub
10. Hobby – Nombre Parfait (Hidden Bay Records)
The six-song Nombre Parfait cassette finds the band, now a quartet, putting forth a catchy, compelling version of 90s-inspired indie rock, reminding me of a scruffier, more “slacker rock”-indebted version of fellow Parisian college rock revivalists EggS. Like their forebearers a few decades ago, Hobby condense post-punk, The Velvet Underground, and friendly but offbeat New Zealand and C86 guitar pop into something barebones and familiar, but inspired…Rosy Overdrive
09. TheLunar Towers – Hurry Up and Wait (Colorama Records)
At its most pervasive, the release is bookended by the absolute brilliance of Plastic Glass Towers and Back to You. All late-eighties anglophile jangled riff lucidity, such beauty is carried by a vocal delivery that is a mixture of a twisted Richard Hawley baritone and Steve Harley’s rounded intonations, both tracks hit the listener from all angles…JanglePopHub
08. Terje Torkellsen – Feeling Things (Self released)
Well, hello there Terje Torkellsen from Oslo (Norway), nice to meet you. I quite like your debut EP with its four lo-fi bedroom power/indie/jangle pop hits. No, that’s an understatement, I think it’s pretty great. Could you make some more please?…Add To Wantlist
07. Aluminum – Windowpane EP (Discontinuous Innovation / Dandy Boy Records)
That nostalgia pulls at the edges of the album, careful not to overwhelm it. While its an album that’s pulling from the beloved well of US/UK janglers, there’s something fresh about it, squeezing in neatly next to fellow new wave indie pop gems from The Umbrellas, Chime School, Jeanines, and The Reds, Pinks and Purples on the shelf. What Bert truly succeeds at, more than just echoing his influences, is imbuing the songs with a sense of longing. The last few years were marked with a sense of distance and loss and When Summer Comes captures the feeling of staring out the window wishing for fresh air and friendship once more….Raven Sings The Blues
06. The Laughing Chimes – Zoo Avenue EP (Slumberland Records)
The Laughing Chimes follow-up to their critically-acclaimed debut album In This Town is just an EP worth of tunes, Zoo Avenue, and like its predecessor it’s a jangle-fest. Your taster selection is title track “Zoo Avenue,” a track vibing early REM so hard it’s like I’m 19 all over again…Poprock Record
05. Field School – It’s Only Everything (Small Craft Advisory)
You get backing vocals and recording by Gary Olson, throw in Emma Kupa, and, well, you don’t really need too much more to convince me that the new Let’s Whisper LP is going to be a stellar listen! The group’s first single from The In-Between Times churns and jangles, like a song that dips its toes in the pools of paisley vibes while pressing play on the warmth of classic pop records from Athens. It’s a short gallop with huge backing harmonies that are the best things you can offer your ears this week…Austin Town Hall
04. Evening Glass – Steady Motion (Self released)
Just like it never gets boring to watch the rippling sea at sunset, you can also put on the 6-track EP Steady Motion by Californian four-piece Evening Glass at any time. Zachary Carroll (vocals, guitar), Thomas whose last name is unknown (bass, backing vocals), Chris Miller (guitar) and PJ Hakimi (drums) build on the sound of the Paisley Underground, but their playlist of influences just as easily refers to old pioneers as The Velvet Underground, Tom Waits and Richard Hell as well as to contemporary artists such as Good Morning, Hand Habits and The Umbrellas. Anyway, this is fine indie pop with pleasant vocals and wonderful melodies by jangly guitars. Float along for 20 minutes…Add To Wantlist
03. The Umbrella Puzzles – On The Meadow (Subjangle)
Ryan Marquez is channelling his inner Creation Records on the latest release from The Umbrella Puzzles. More specifically The Loft seem to be a major influence to the sound found on the On The Meadow EP none more so on That’s Where I’ll Go which reminds me of Why Does The Rain in more ways than one. The lyrics also give the EP it’s name too – a very The Loft thing to do…Records I Like
02. Galore – Blush (Paisley Shirt Records / Safe Suburban Home Records)
There’s only one thing wrong with the new Blush EP from Galore; it’s only five songs! We ran “New Living” last week, and honestly, if I had held up our sites Top Tracks, this song would definitely have made it in there; it’s got just right jangle. Running through the rest of the EP, you’ll find the quartet playing with a little more space, letting the song’s have a bit of room to breath, like in “Ladders.” That track has a crisp guitar line, and the vocals seem to completely shine on the listener like rays of sunlight breaking through the San Fran fog. Honestly, this is a great way to just spend your morning on repeat…Austin Town Hall
01. Stephen’s Shore – Green (Meritorio Records)
Stockholm’s Stephen’s Shore was formed in 2011 and we think that by now they should be known to all guitar pop fans. It is true that they are not the most prolific band, but the music they create more than makes up for a lack of volume. To our ears the five-piece has arrived at the perfect blend of jangle, psychedelic pop and melancholy guitar pop.
Perhaps think of it as a blend of Belfast’s Sea Pinks, Dunedin’s The Bats, and Los Angeles’ Allah-Las. We absolutely love all of those bands, and are happy to add Stephen’s Shore to the list. You can climb on the fan train yourself right now with their new EP Green…When You Motor Away
Every one of these is a worthy pick. Really great tunes, both here and on the album of the year list!