With the holiday season here and 2015 winding down to a close the Last Mixed Tape has compiled its top 20 E.P’s of the year. See full list and playlist below.
20. Spines – Spines
Although the E.P. has since been removed from bandcamp etc (possibly to be reworked), Spines promising debut was an exciting intro the Dublin band. It wasn’t polished, it wasn’t pristine and sometimes it faltered through sheer intensity and that’s what made it so exciting.
Key Track: ‘Lucy’
19. Murli – Surface Tension
Surface Tension was a strong debut from MuRli, built upon infectious beats and a clear artistic need to tell his story, his point of view and his take the world around him. A vibrant beginning from a promising talent.
Key Track: ‘Both Sides’
18. Cronin – Nelson Riddle
An E.P. with a big, brash, bold, bombastic core and full-scale production Nelson Riddle seems to revel in its own high fidelity, alternative-pop zeal. Crashing, pounding, sweeping and generally throwing the kitchen sink at the record, it’s hard not to smile at the sheer joyous abandon of it all.
Key Track: ‘Nelson Riddle’
17. Shrug Life – The Grand Stretch
The Grand Stretch is an E.P. that work on multiple levels. One part indie-pop fun and another grounded storytelling, Shrug Life’s music is a truly unique prospect in the Irish indie-pop scene, set apart by their deft touch with humour, irony and satire. A bitingly honest record, delivered with a spoonful of indie-pop.
Key Track: ‘Chewing Gum Breakfast’
16. Fierce Mild – Yes N Yes N Yes
A more timely and relevant a record would be hard to come by, Fierce Mild took the feeling of frustration and hope felt by many during the Marriage Equality referendum last summer and made an E.P. that was a snapshot of that moment in time.
Key Track: ‘Equal People’
15. Thumper – Thumper
A record that engulfs it’s alternative-rock core in a haze of distortion, jolting rhythm and noise-pop edged aggression. With such a level of lo-fi sensibilities permeating the record it should be near impossible for the E.P. itself to be considered “catchy”, but it is. The hooks are still there, just buried deep.
Key Tracks: ‘the Bathroom Floor’
14. Sissy – Gave Birth To A Mum
Gave Birth To A Mum doesn’t ask for your attention, it simply takes it. The E.P. sounds not like a record that wanted to be made, but instead like one that had to be made.
Key Track: ‘Gave Birth To A Mum’
13. Conor Walsh – The Front
In a world of hustle and bustle, and overwrought media there’s something timely about the Front. While the record is by no means a gentle respite from it all, it does serve as a calmer reflection of it and the world we occupy. This is not background noise, it’s music to sit and interact with on an emotive level.
Key Track: ‘The Front’
12. Spies – Sea Creature
Few E.P’s this year carried the same sonic heft as Spies latest release Sea Creature, and it’s to the band eternal credit that they turn that sound into something dynamic and never overbearing.
Key Track: ‘Sea Creature’
11. Everything Shook – Argento Nights
There is a sense of malaise to the music of Argento Nights. The entire E.P. moves with a slow, yet purposeful growl that speaks of Everything Shook’s rejection of conformity. Indeed the record adamantly sets itself apart, and seeks to be taken on its own terms. Resulting in the trio constructing something unique and undefinable.
Key Track: ‘I Walked Past Your House’
10. Variant Sea – Season of Mists
Music, sound, noise, have been and will always be a means of communicating the incommunicable. A way for us, as people, to remember, to forget, and to speak to one another. Variant Sea’s Seasons of Mists traverses a small part of this with a sound that is indeed cinematic, but only works to score a film that is completely our own, memory.
Key Track: ‘Hours By Hours’
9. Participant – Content
A daring and deeply stylized return from Participant. Content is the sound of an artist making choices, and it’s one that pays-off completely.
Key Track: ‘A Change’
8. Columbia Mills – The Perfect Day
A quintessential sophomore E.P, Columbia Mills’ the Perfect Day finds the band opening the curtains on a completely new direction and tone from their debut Factory Settings.
Key Track: ‘The Perfect Day’
7. Cut Once – Cut Once
Cut Once E.P. is massive, delivered on a grand-scale and covering a wide-spectrum of moods and themes. A debut that transcends presupposition and expands into the unknown. What Cut Once do to top this introduction remains to be seen, but as first impressions go this is a lasting one.
Key Track: ‘Institution’
6. Cruising – Cruising
In my review of Cruising’s debut E.P. I said the sound of the record felt like being “accosted by a gang”. I think that sums it up.
Key Track: ‘Safe Corridor’
5. Slow Riot – Cathedral
A masterpiece in monochrome. Slow Riot’s debut E.P. is a record that waits and rests in it’s own turbulent environment.
Key Track: ‘Demons’
4. Chanele McGuinness – Already Gone
An album that is as beguiling and enchanting as the musician who wrote it, Already Gone teems with the je ne sais quoi McGuinness poses in her voice. I predicted great things from Chanele McGuinness in the past, and with Already Gone she proved me right.
Key Track: ‘O Little Dove’
3. O Emperor – Lizard
Never a band to stick to one spot, O Emperor’s Lizard E.P. once again saw the group change sonic form into something different yet still true to their sound.
Key Track: ‘The Sky Is Your Oyster’
2. Pleasure Beach – Dreamer to a Dawn
Music is something to be experienced, even when reviewing. We may lie to ourselves from time to time about what we do or don’t like but our emotions don’t. Dreamer to a Dawn hits you in an emotive way. There’s hope, there’s wonder, there’s want, there’s regret. All of which is communication in the best possible way, pop music. However brief Dreamer to the Dawn is, the impression it leaves isn’t.
Key Track: ‘Dreamer to a Dawn’
And the Last Mixed Tape’s Number One E.P. of 2015 is…
1. Saint Sister – Madrid
The ability to create a sound that is instantly recognizable is a difficult task. To do so in your first album, and then use that sound to tell your story from your perspective is even more so. Saint Sister do both on Madrid. Simply put, it’s the best E.P. of 2015.
Key Track: ‘Castles’