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Listen | TLMT Reader’s Top 20 E.P’s of 2015

Stephen White

The votes are in and the tallies have been counted, and the Last Mixed Tape Reader’s have chosen their Top 20 E.P’s of 2015.

20. Saint Sister – Madrid
What TLMT had to say: “A truly beautiful E.P. to behold, in Madrid Saint Sister take the folk/trad genres and bend them to their will. As debut’s go Madrid is something very special. The music and songwriting are all there, and the production is perfectly cast to underscore it. Saint Sister are a group who already know who they are and what there sound is. Stunning in its allure and beguiling.”

19. Chanele McGuinness – Already Gone
What TLMT had to say: Within the spectrum of Ireland’s new wave of songwriters who have studied the likes of Lisa Hannigan, Conor O’Brien, Cathy Davey and Glenn Hansard, Chanele McGuinness is by far one of the most promising (alongside: SOAK, I Have A Tribe, etc). This is due in no small part to the effortless enchantment that she possess, and how she chooses to wield it. I have predicted great things from Chanele McGuinness in the past, and with Already Gone she has proven me right.”

18. Thumper – Thumper
What TLMT had to say: “Through songs like ‘The Bathroom Floor’ and the jangling opener ‘Lonesome Freak!’ we get brief moments of clarity before the all-encompassing force of the band’s garage-rock and noise influences take over. 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.”

17. Rachael Lavelle – Superman
What TLMT had to say: “Rachel Lavelle’s debut is one of discovery. Through the enchanting musical interplay and the songwriter’s engrossing vocal performances the E.P. invites us to delve further and further into the record until we are surrounded in its world. A strong and exciting start from an artist who is showing great promise.”

16. This Side Up – 3075
What TLMT had to say: “Irish hip-hop continues its current upsurge. With acts such as This Side Up being part of a new era for the genre in the country, 3075 gives the trio a creativity bustling introduction to grow from.”

15. Joey Gavin – Circles
What TLMT had to say: “Circles is a hand-crafted, beautifully simple debut from Joey Gavin. And while time can only tell on whether he can deliver on some of the raw talent buried within this E.P, one thing is for certain, Gavin is definitely someone to watch in the future.”

14. Pranks – Pranks
What TLMT had to say: “Pranks E.P. is a short sharp shock of a record, and while it doesn’t give too much away, the debut works to establish Pranks as a force to be reckoned with in the context of our ever-evolving post-grunge scene. And if ‘Ghost’ is anything to go by, the duo are on the right track to making their presence felt in the future.”

13. Blades Club – Tranquillised
What TLMT had to say: “Brimming with vivid musicianship and pin-point pop songwriting Blades Club sound moves from Vampire Weekend to Strokes in a single step while also working as an individual take on the indie-pop genre. Fusing various styles and sounds into their debut E.P, Blades Club make a lasting and impressive introduction.”

12. Jem Mitchell – Sweet Amphetamine
What TLMT had to say: “In between the sharp twang of country styled guitar and Mitchell’s warm toned voice it becomes clear that Sweet Amphetamine is an E.P. made at the aftermath of something. The record aches with the world-weariness of past experience and laments with fragility, looking constantly to these moments with hazy truth.”

11. Otherkin – The 201
What TLMT had to say: “It’s deeply gratifying to watch a band grow from one release to the next. In this way Otherkin have changed their direction without completely deviating from what made them so attention grabbing before. Yes the 201 is poppier than the band’s earlier work but that doesn’t mean they lost touch with their indie roots, they’re still firmly in place and now have a sense of direction.”

10. Fierce Mild – Yes ‘N’ Yes ‘N’ Yes
What TLMT had to say: “Yes n Yes n Yes is an utterly authentic record. Foregoing the clichéd post-modernist irony that many garage-rock acts lean so heavily on, Fierce Mild take the “put up or shut up” approach. Upfront, abrasive and gloriously feral the E.P is stripped bare of all pretense, leaving just the music’s pure rawness speak for itself.”

9. Columbia Mills – The Perfect Day
What TLMT had to say: “And with that Columbia Mills pull off a magic trick of sorts. Starting us in familiar territory at first then gently but swiftly opening the curtains to reveal a much larger world, filled with lush broadened production and space. It’s delightfully unexpected but completely earned. I once remarked that Columbia Mills were on the verge on something special and I was wrong, because it seems they had been there all along.”

8. Cut Once – Cut Once
What TLMT had to say: “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.”

7. Whitetrash – Lostman
What TLMT had to say: “All in all Lostman is a strong debut from Whitetrash. Both the production and the songwriting more than meet the artist’s dust bowl affectations, while his voice ultimately steals the show. An impressive first introduction.”

6. Variant Sea – Season of Mists
What TLMT had to say: “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. 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.”

5. Owen Vahey – Cross Winds
What TLMT had to say: “Owen Vahey has returned with a quintessentially strong sophomore E.P. From the production to the performances to the stylistic inflections of Cross Winds we find Vahey in a state of artistic discovery, and it seems that the songwriter is now one-step closer to answering the hardest question for all emerging songwriters, “who am I and what do I have to say?”.”

4. Jack O’Rourke – The Other Side of Now
What TLMT had to say: “The Other Side of Now is big and hopelessly romantic (and that very well may be why it charmed me). What the record lacks in edge it makes up for in sheer commitment. What’s more, the E.P. sounds exactly like the type of record Jack O’Rourke wanted to make, and you can’t say fairer than that.”

3. Penrose – Live For The Dream
What TLMT had to say: “Penrose clearly have love and understanding for their influences. Whether it be the full anthemic Oasis styled indie of ‘Harmony’ or jangle of ‘See You Again’ Penrose recreate it with passion, this is undeniable. While Live For The Dream is not a dramatic re-imagining of the indie-rock formula, it is a faithful exploration of it and one that the Dublin act can build on in the future.”

2. The Klares – Cookoo
What TLMT had to say: “What is key to Cookoo’s success as a record is also key to the Klares sound as a whole, and its the fact that you believe them. In an indie-rock scene comprised on a lot of bravado and posturing the four-piece are refreshingly direct. They talk about their lives, their desires and their outlook. Attacking it all with the same youthful confidence that makes Cookoo a compelling listen. It isn’t ground-breaking but it is certainly bone-shaking.”

And the Last Mixed Tape Reader’s E.P. of the Year 2015 is…

1. Transmission Club – Salt
What TLMT had to say: “A unique debut from a band that will deliver even greater things in the future, Salt works as a solid introduction into Transmission Club’s music. But the most exciting aspect is how this sound expands in the future.”

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