After looking ahead to 2014 and the artists we are most excited about, we this week began our review of 2013 with a countdown of our favourite tracks of the year. Now it is the turn of our favourite EPs from the last 12 months and, as with 2012, the standard has been crazy high. There have been so many amazing and varied EPs out this year that whittling them down to just 10 was extremely difficult, but we gave it a shot and today we share those that we placed in numbers 10 – 6.
#10 Wooden Arms – Wooden Arms
Norwich’s Wooden Arms released their debut, eponymous EP back in July, but it only found its way into our stereo and hearts in October. It’s full of gentle, ebbing melodies that drift and glide like birds on a breeze; this eponymous release is often balletic in feel. Ambient sounds; be they deep cello or light violin, music box light or portentous dark piano, ripple and flow like a mountain stream. “Chariclia” in particular is an evocative and fantastical tune. Like crawling through a tiny gap in a bramble laden hedgerow to discover a hidden and wondrous world beyond. A world that opens out and up, where trees reach beyond the sky to the stars above and snowfall drifts down slowly to enchanting woodland floor.
Buy it from: Wooden Arms
#9 Sivu – I Lost Myself
We’ve already written about Sivu a fair bit in the last week or so (here and here for example) so his inclusion here should come as no surprise. As such we won’t dwell too much longer on his undoubted brilliance, suffice to say that I Lost Myself (as well as his earlier EP this year, Bodies) is a wonderful collection of elegant, rousing songwriting, sublime melodies and deceptively intricate arrangements. We’ve said it before and will continue to do so until such time as his debut full length is released, we can’t wait for the album.
Buy it from: iTunes
#8 White Prism – White Prism
White Prism ticks so many of our boxes, it’s almost as if Joanna Cranitch has seen the ‘If Alphabet Bands Ever Works Out How To Make Weird Science A Reality, This Is What We’d Include’ notebook we may have hidden under our pillow. Her eponymous debut EP is full of cool, futuristic electronica and melodious vocals that float along in a cool reverie of compulsive beats and 80’s inspired synths. It’s soft, subtle, delicate, sultry (in places) and gorgeous.
Buy it from: iTunes
#7 MYPET – Reflex
Comprising bold and compelling rhythms, glitchy electronica and lyrics that are delivered with (bordering on maniacal) relish by singer Amy, MYPET have a sound that feels tribal and animalistic in places. It is exciting, vibrant and full of life. Sinewy electro noodles wind their way around grand, cacophonic beats as vocals rise up, like an arm bursting forth from the grave, seeking liberty from its earthen prison. The high points on their debut EP, Reflex, are numerous and varied. There’s the old Commodore 64 shoot ‘em up style sounds of “Pays To Know”, the skittish and chilling tone of “Bodysnatcher” and the way “Move It Or Lose It” embraces even more glitchiness as it undulates and cavorts salaciously, just to name a few. Each track has three or four moments of their own and each has an addictive pulse at its core.
Buy it from: MYPET
#6 Garnets – Towns
Garnets are one of those acts that are blessed with an ability to blend the most delicate of sounds with the most raw, the highly polished and the rough and ready. On Towns they give us wistful, elegant beauty, both intimate and expansive, but they also allow us a moment to rock out and get our juices going. Ethereal vocals, barely there percussion, muted piano sounds, hushed and haunting murmurings and melodies are juxtaposed with vibrant and choppy waters of riff based pop and crashing rhythms. Almost as if they want to stir our body as well as our mind.
Buy it from: Garnets
Come back tomorrow when we unveil the EPs that made our Top 5.