EPs are a wonderful format and 2015 has had no shortage of face-slappingly brilliant ones. In fact, we’d be perfectly happy if bands decided to only ever release EPs, maybe a couple a year, just enough bite-sized chunks of sonic sweetness to keep our insatiable thirst for new music quenched. They’re also very often the format of choice for new bands who want to introduce themselves to the world with a handful of songs, enough to get a bit of attention and get out on the road, build up excitement and momentum before going on to record the big scary debut album. Well it works, we certainly get excited and in 2015 there was plenty to get excited about. Here’s a list of some of Overblown’s favourite EPs of the year. (Note – we resisted the urge to simply call this list ‘The Best EPs released on Father/Daughter Records in 2015)
10. Never Young – Never Young EP
This EP came screaming out of the Bay Area back at the start of the year and has barely left the Overblown stereo since. Four slamming tracks offering instant gratification for all your noise rock needs, never more so than on opening track ‘Like A Version’ which is just…well…oh my, that hook. Never Young have gone on to release the NY Singles tape later in the year. Check them out. Bonus Points for the etched black vinyl which is a beauty.
9. Diet Cig – Over Easy EP
Released to much fanfare and for good reason, this EP is crammed with singalong joy and a prickly attitude. Diet Cig sound like that friend everyone has, friendly and charming, everyone loves them but say the wrong thing and they’ll bite your head off and spit it back at you. Over Easy is the perfect name for this EP because it does sound like the easiest thing in the world to grab a mate and rattle out a few stunningly infectious indie-punk gems but are you doing it? No. Are we doing it? No. Let’s leave it to Diet Cig. They’re the experts. Bonus points for helping me not waste $$$ on a Harvard sweater souvenir.
8. Anomie – Anomie EP
An EP that bursts into sparkling life on the summery opening track ‘So Long’ then twists it’s way through the seasons to Winter over the remaining three tracks. Our original review stated this is easily accessible and fun and yeah, we’ll stick by that. Bonus points for Anomie being Rachel from the wonderful band Field Mouse.
7. Flemmings – Shake Well Before Use
It’s all in the remarkable levels of energy that Flemmings cram into their songs. Perhaps they’re dropping berroca into their vodka red bull? Whatever it is they’re doing, it works and this EP burns with enthusiasm across its four short but triumphant punk squalls. Looking forward to hearing a lot more from them in the future. Bonus Points for being the band on my favourite t-shirt of 2015.
6. Martha / Radiator Hospital – Split 7″
(Specialist Subject Records)
Is this an EP or simply a split single? “When it rains, well it really fucking pours” sing Martha and they’re right, if an EP with one brilliant band on it counts as raining then this EP with two brilliant bands on it definitely counts as pouring. A total deluge would be more accurate. This record is a marriage made in indie/pop/punk/lo-fi heaven. Bonus Points for breaking down the North East England / Pennsylvania divide (there was one wasn’t there?).
5. Tuff Love – Dross EP & Dregs EP
We can pick two by the same band can’t we? Well we’ll just have to because trying to pick your favourite Tuff Love EP of 2015 would be like trying to choose a favourite between your newly born identical twins. These records deliver indie rock perfection, the interwoven skills of Julie and Suse, especially through their vocal harmonies, deliver every time. Bonus points for being lovely to interview and for putting these EPs out on 10″ coloured vinyl.
4. Hinds – The Very Best of Hinds So Far
(Mom + Pop)
Not an EP either you say? Whatever. This compilation pulls together the first few singles by Hinds (previously Deers) and lets everyone share in the joy of their 60s infused garage rock. Through these songs Hinds seem to create a presence, an aura, a personality entirely of their own making and one that 99% of other bands will never achieve. They play like they’re the strongest gang, syndicate, cartel in music. Album out early 2016. Bonus points for being so enthusiastic about themselves that nothing that’s written about them ever matters.
3. Yung – Alter EP & These Thoughts Are Like Mandatory Chores EP
(Tough Love Records)
Stop arguing at the back. We’ve already clarified that we can have two from the same band. Overblown considers Yung to be one of the best bands of 2015 on the back of these two records (and their Blanket 7″) and we can’t wait to hear what’s still to come from the Danish punks. They display an intense classic punk sound that combines with killer hooks and melodies to butcher your senses. Bonus Points for their ace record label (Tough Love) for putting up with me when I was whining about an undelivered order.
2. Anna B Savage – EP
Possessing a voice with the range of Jeff Buckley and a minimalistic approach to her music that is reminiscent of early PJ Harvey, Stevenage’s Anna B Savage is an imposing and impressive prospect. As we pointed out in our live review of her show in London earlier this year, her music is akin to blood letting. Too much for some, but an engrossing listen for those able to bear the brutal honesty.
1. Girl Band – The Early Years EP
(Rough Trade Records)
I was born and bred in Ireland, and while Ireland has produced some amazing music, I would not necessarily think of the country as pioneering in the realm of pleasing sounds. Dublin noise rock quartet are here to blow that perception out of the Irish Sea. Their ‘Early Years’ EP and also their debut album Holding Hands With Jamie mind blasted the entire Overblown office all year long.