Monday, December 20, 2010

Top 10 EPs of 2010

I've written about my top 50 albums, but what about the less celebrated EP format? Shorter records, usually with 4-6 tracks, it's doesn't just act as a mini album or as a way to temporarily satisfy fans before a band's next album comes out. Some of this year's best releases have been on the extended play format. I had to make the list because many on here are absolutely amazing in their own right.

Find out my top 10 EPs after the JUMP

1. Tall Ships - There Is Nothing But Chemistry Here [SPOTIFY]

Even before I wanted to make this list, I knew this will be on the top spot. In fact, this is my favourite record of 2010, irrespective of format. Their second EP shows more experimentation, and a lot more vocals than their first. Less post-Foals maths and more captivating math pop, every song here are incredibly distinct from each other while retaining a common threat of melodies and lyrical play.

2. The James Cleaver Quintet - Ten Stages Of A Make-Up [SPOTIFY]

I discovered this band when they supported Blakfish (RIP) for their final ever show at the Flapper. I struggle to pin-point how exactly I would want to describe the JCQ. A few words that come to mind are frenetic, raw, and, urm, melodic. Their blend of punk, hardcore, math and what-have-yous works really well with their under-produced (i.e. raw) sound. One of the best hardcore releases this year.

3. Elephants - Lions
With 8 tracks and 28 minutes worth of music, I'm hesitant to even call it an EP. But since the band themselves assigned it as an EP, I'll follow suit. This is a perfect mix between catchy indie pop and lyrics that tug at your heartstrings. Unfortunately at the time of writing Elephants has been defunct for two days. This EP shows what could've been, and with a farewell EP out on Alcopop Records, this record might make you want to cry a little bit.

4. Tubelord - Tezcatlipoca [SPOTIFY] [WE7]

This EP generated a somewhat mixed reaction between the old Tubelord faithfuls. The first record they've released after becoming a quartet, Tubelord now has concentrated their efforts into making math pop epics, if ever such a thing could exist. Less about flurrying guitars and shout-a-long choruses, and more big riffs and intense climaxes, this may herald a new direction for Tubelord. An exciting one indeed.

5. &U&I - Kill That Man Who Shot That Man [SPOTIFY]

Fresh from the ashes of Blakfish rises &U&I. Consisting of Thom, Rich and Wiz, this is not a Blakfish carbon-copy. This is a different beast entirely. Sure, there are familiar elements like the energetic guitar riffs and shouty vocals, but what's this, the lyrics are actually quite serious now! They even have a sort of ballad with The Boy With A Beard. Don't let that put you off though. This is undoubtedly a record most deserving of a phoenix analogy and a top 10 spot even without the Blakfish nostalgia.

6. Stagecoach - Crash My Ride [SPOTIFY] [MYSPACE]

Stagecoach has been described as Johnny Foreigner with more shouting. If that doesn't sound like fun, then I don't know what is. In fact, it seems like the main point of Stagecoach's Crash My Ride is fun for the sake of fun. It's infectious, contagious, and deliciously foot-stompingly catchy, like a sneezing man in a room full of babies.

7. Tall Ships - Tall Ships [SOUNDCLOUD] [BANDCAMP]

Another Tall Ships record in the top 10?! What's this? Calm down. It's totally deserved, trust me. Coming out with one amazing record is hard enough in a year, but releasing two distinct yet beautiful records in the same timeframe is bordering on genius. This debut release from the trio was remarkably assured and well-crafted. Vessels has been the subject of so many heartfelt sing-a-longs in many of their always brilliant live shows. Even only after a few months being released, this release already has become almost a classic, especially with the release of their second EP.

8. Noumenon - Party Mathematics [BANDCAMP] [SOUNDCLOUD]

The EP title is quite self-explanatory. It's a party, and we're playing Maths. Of course math rock and party music aren't exactly the best bedfellows. But Noumenon dismisses that as nonsense and succeeds. This is what a math rock record would sound like if they were performed by Andrew W.K.

9. Three Trapped Tigers - EP3 [SPOTIFY] [BANDCAMP]

Calling your third EP as EP3 and naming your songs in numerical order (in this one they have the songs 10, 11, 12, 13) doesn't really smack of creativity. But what creativity they lack in songtitles they make up for in musical experimentation. This is electronica at its best, going everywhere all at once, yet still having enough restraint to have come up with a tight and satisfying record.

10. Gallops - Gallops [SPOTIFY] [GROOVESHARK]

Here's another band that has been labelled with experimental. Gallops is more of a force when you see them live, but this record still manages to capture enough of that energy into the small space that is your bedroom (or your earlobes). Expect Battles with a little 65daysofstatic thrown in and you know what you're in for when you pop this in your CD player (who still has that anyway?).

Signing out
Over and out

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