Tag Archives: 2013 EPs of the Year

2013 EPs of the Year: The Full List

15 Dec

EPs of 2013 - Full List

We know that some of you out there like to have everything in one place so, like we did with our 2014 Previews and Tracks of 2013, we’ve collated our EPs of the Year into one post as well. And there’s a lovely Soundcloud playlist of tracks from each EP at the end as well.

We hope you find something you like.


#10 Wooden Arms – Wooden Arms

”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.”

#9 Sivu – I Lost Myself

”[It] 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.”

#8 White Prism – White Prism

”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.”

#7 MYPET – Reflex

”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.”

#6 Garnets – Towns

”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.”

#5 Annie – A&R

”The result is just fantastic pop, notably the outstandingly catchy and hook laden sounds of “Back Together” and “Ralph Macchio”. Her vocals sound as lovely and disarming as ever and the result is five tracks of brilliance. If she keeps making pop as good as this, we won’t mind the long waits between releases so much.”

#4 TV Girl – Lonely Women

”Lyrics are whimsical but real, observational, humorous but touching and the tunes are full of throwback indie-pop, lo-fi hip-hop beats and cascading piano melodies. The EP sounds fantastic and stands up to multiple and repeated listening, as have all TV Girl EPs so far, and they really are an act that are growing and improving with every release.”

#3 Us Baby Bear Bones – What Starts With a U Ends With an I

“The trick that they are so adept at pulling off is that in amongst the layers of sound, the spiralling electronic rhythms, the world of ice and the creeping shadows, damn fine pop songs are to be found. They are emotional and evocative as well as being catchy and very easy on the ear. They swirl like a galaxy, magnificent and seemingly infinite, growling and bursting with each note and vocal.

#2 Gems – Medusa

”This is a blissful listen of style, grace and soft focus dreaminess. Their tracks are like billowing lace curtains by an open window with gentle undulations reaching softly into the room, touching your ears like a kiss from a butterfly.”

#1 Brooke Annibale – Words In Your Eyes

”That folky, country background is apparent in her voice; her dreamy, dreamy voice. We could quite easily get lost in her vocals. At times light and breathy, such as on “Tragically Beautiful”, it skips along playfully. At other times it drops, the emotion it conveys is that much deeper, more heartfelt perhaps, but despite this strength of tone, it never loses its warmth or gentleness.

…One of the major elements within the whole EP is the orchestration, the gorgeous, sumptuous orchestration.

We’re suckers for a good string section and Brooke Annibale uses hers fabulously. From small, subtle inflections to big, dramatic emotions, the strings add so much to each of the six tracks on Words In Your Eyes. Violins soar, lifting the melodies high upon their wings while cellos rumble darkly underneath. The emotional resonance of her songs is enhanced exponentially as the strings glide alongside her vocals; undulating with the pitch of her voice and the sentiment of her lyrics.”



2013 EPs of the Year: #5 – 1

13 Dec

EPs of 2013 - 5-1

Our look back at the best releases of the year continues today with our favourite EPs of the last 12 months. As we mentioned yesterday, when revealing who made it to places 10-6 in our countdown, the standard of mini-releases this year has been exceptional and in all honesty, we could have chosen a completely different Top 10 and still been happy with our selection. That releases from the likes of Salt Cathedral, Empress Of, Marika Hackman and MØ didn’t quite make it into this list at all just goes to show that the quality really has been that good.

Here we go then with our Top 5 EPs of 2013.


#5 Annie – A&R

Annie A and R

At a time when the influence of the 80s is still prevalent (if not quite omnipotent) in synth based pop, the return of Annie with the A&R EP was a breath of fresh (if not new) air. Working once again with producer Richard X (A&R stands for Annie & Richard btw) she stopped her time machine short of the 80s and hopped off in the midst of early 90s dance-pop instead. The entire look, feel, sound and joy of the EP. Including cover art and fantastic The Chart Show homage-ing video, is steeped in that vibrant colour of a time that was shaking off the giant shoulder pads of the decade before and starting to get (a bit) more cool. The result is just fantastic pop, notably the outstandingly catchy and hook laden sounds of “Back Together” and “Ralph Macchio”. Her vocals sound as lovely and disarming as ever and the result is five tracks of brilliance. If she keeps making pop as good as this, we won’t mind the long waits between releases so much.


Buy it from: iTunes


#4 TV Girl – Lonely Women

TV Girl Lonely Women

Loneliness, depression and feelings of worthlessness feature heavily in TV Girl’s third EP, but rather than wallow in self pity and melodrama, Lonely Womenis full of wry wit and warmth, as well as some killer sounds. Lyrics are whimsical but real, observational, humorous but touching and the tunes are full of throwback indie-pop, lo-fi hip-hop beats and cascading piano melodies. The EP sounds fantastic and stands up to multiple and repeated listening, as have all TV Girl EPs so far, and they really are an act that are growing and improving with every release. With Lonely Women TV Girl has given us a gloriously sardonic and enjoyable look at the darker side of human emotion that they have deftly crafted with humanity, affection and great songs.


Buy it from: TV Girl


#3 Us Baby Bear Bones – What Starts With a U Ends With an I

Us Baby Bear Bones

Brighton based trio Us Baby Bear Bones are quite the special act and their debut EP, What Starts With a U Ends With an I is full of cool synths and electronica washing over compulsive beats, shadows, foreboding and ill portent. Puff and Daisy’s intertwining vocals and harmonies are ice sculptures atop a sonic glacier bathed in the eerie glow of the northern lights above. The trick that they are so adept at pulling off is that in amongst the layers of sound, the spiralling electronic rhythms, the world of ice and the creeping shadows, damn fine pop songs are to be found. They are emotional and evocative as well as being catchy and very easy on the ear. They swirl like a galaxy, magnificent and seemingly infinite, growling and bursting with each note and vocal.


Buy it from: Us Baby Bear Bones


#2 Gems – Medusa

Gems Medusa

Washington DC duo GEMS have featured in the site a fair bit over the year and especially in the last week or so as we have tipped big things for them in 2014. Their debut EP, Medusa, places the pair at the very top of the tree marked, ‘shimmery dream pop’. The vocals on the four tracks are goosebump making and the ice cool melodies are heart-meltingly gorgeous and ethereal. This is a blissful listen of style, grace and soft focus dreaminess. Their tracks are like billowing lace curtains by an open window with gentle undulations reaching softly into the room, touching your ears like a kiss from a butterfly.


Buy it from: iTunes


#1 Brooke Annibale – Words In Your Eyes

Brooke Annibale

Our number one EP this year is one that we have played more than any other and one that continues to offer something new, something we’d not heard or appreciated before with each listen. This is what we said about it earlier this year:

“Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Brooke Annibale is a singer songwriter of considerable talent. Her 2011 album, Silence Worth Breaking, was nominated for an Independent Music Award and won the people’s vote award in the Adult Contemporary category. Now she has returned with a new EP that showcases her propensity for perpetual musical motion and the evolving nature of her sound.

Words In Your Eyes supposedly represents a move away from the acoustic folk-pop styles which were evident on Annibale’s debut album, and while there is lot more on offer here, she hasn’t completely left it behind. Nor should she as it serves to add much to the other elements she has blended into these six tracks.

That folky, country background is apparent in her voice; her dreamy, dreamy voice. We could quite easily get lost in her vocals. At times light and breathy, such as on “Tragically Beautiful”, it skips along playfully. At other times it drops, the emotion it conveys is that much deeper, more heartfelt perhaps, but despite this strength of tone, it never loses its warmth or gentleness.

There are little reference points dotted all over, country, pop, ambient and folk all play a role, heck there is even minute elements of Led Zeppelin hidden within “Silence Worth Breaking”; the track her debut album was named after but didn’t feature. One of the major elements within the whole EP is the orchestration, the gorgeous, sumptuous orchestration.

We’re suckers for a good string section and Brooke Annibale uses hers fabulously. From small, subtle inflections to big, dramatic emotions, the strings add so much to each of the six tracks on Words In Your Eyes. Violins soar, lifting the melodies high upon their wings while cellos rumble darkly underneath. The emotional resonance of her songs is enhanced exponentially as the strings glide alongside her vocals; undulating with the pitch of her voice and the sentiment of her lyrics.

Never is this symbiosis better than on “You Don’t Know”, which is a stunning 3 and a half minutes of pop music. It brings to mind the high points of Morcheeba’s classic Big Calm and their use of strings, little embellishments here and there building and building to a great swirling denouement. Here they play amongst the guitars and drums before everything comes together in a tumultuous, shimmering ending.

Words In Your Eyes is a collection of delightful, pop songs, sung beautifully by an extremely talented young lady. This one will be on repeat for quite some time, of that we are certain.”


Buy it from: Brooke Annibale


2013 EPs of the Year: #10 – 6

12 Dec

EPs of 2013 10-6

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.

Enjoy.


#10 Wooden Arms – 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

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

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

MYPET

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 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.