This year there were plenty of great examples of wonderful E.P.’s from artists all over the globe. From Texas to across North America to all over the globe, the short run releases were fairly rampant. Of all that came out, we had a large list to choose from. Utilizing both run time and releases identified by the artists themselves as Extended Play releases, we compiled the numbers. After narrowing things down, below our favorite E.P.’s of 2019.
No 1. by Pottery
There’s just something alluring in how Montreal’s Pottery approach songs. Free and full of life, it’s as if they’re going as organic as possible with this release. No heavy frills, just post-punk in the most relaxed way possible. Our favorite from the release is easily “Hank Williams,” with exceptions for “The Craft” and “Spell.”
A Fine Mess by Interpol
Last year when Interpol dropped their full length, they felt reborn. Keeping in that tradition, A Fine Mess has all of their past post-punk tuning with a more chaotic edge. The strongest track here is easily “The Weekend.” While all five tracks are enjoyable, “A Fine Mess” and “Real Life” are hard to deny as well.
Younger Years by Delta Sleep
Years ago it felt like there was a math rock band on every corner. However nowadays it’s as if the genre has gone into hiding. Good for us Delta Sleep can still bring all of the math rock noodling we can get. Their latest release has them signalling all is well from their British heritage. Favorites are “Sofa Boy,” “Three Ghosts” and “In The Air.”
Golden Ring by Velveteen Echo
Texas’ Velveteen Echo isn’t a well known band yet, but in their haunts they’re in high demand. On their new release they blend tender vocals with indie rock structure to craft a sound that’s alluring and endearing. Our favorites come with “Home,” “Atoms” and especially “Nuclear Family.”
King of The Dudes by Sunflower Bean
We contend that Sunflower Bean is one of the best live bands going. We’re also pretty confident that they’re steps away from blowing up. Their E.P. from this year contained some straight rock that’s just too good to pass on. Favorite tracks came on “Come For Me” and “Fear City.”
Gentrification IV: Suspended From Gallery Rails by Street Sects
For a long time, we wondered if the intensity of this band could ever get captured on a release. This is the proof that it’s possible. The Austin purveyors of modern techno noise slay here and leave little in their wake. Both tracks “If Life Is a Gift, It’s in Very Poor Taste” and “Tomorrow is a Trap” both signify a great change in the genre, that the tides are turning.
Novel by Nov3l
Vancouver is known for many things, but Canada in general is having a renaissance in music and especially post-punk. There’s hints of eighties new wave and an adoration for pioneers of the genre here, but it’s all original. Nov3l doesn’t hesitate to give your ears plenty of candy, especially on “Natural,” “Will to Power” and “Are They.”
U Called? by Mantra Love
These guys from Texas somehow found a way to blend chillwave, electro-pop and indie rock into an intriguing formula for greatness. Their whole “I don’t give a fuck” vocal delivery, the hooks for days and the vibe of the release has a real “whatevs” feel to it all. Favorites are “Another One,” “Feels” and “IDC.”
Supermoon by Charly Bliss
Charly Bliss could have just dropped their full length this year and called it a day. Lucky for everyone who heard this release that they didn’t. That catchy and upbeat jangle they’ve made their own falls all over these five songs and makes you a bigger fan. Our favorites are “Feed,” “Threat” and we really adore “Heaven.”
Suffering is a Gift by Portrayal of Guilt
If you need to get crazy, if you need a soundtrack for going off, this is it. Dark as it gets, deceptive in how they build a track the Texas black metal meets hardcore band destroys all in their path. Favorite songs come with “Dissolution,” “Moral Decay” and “A Futile Light.”
Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks by Dry Cleaning
London’s Dry Cleaning is getting bigger by the day. Their presence gets requested all over the U.K. and that should trickle over into the states sooner than later. Their second E.P. of the year has the post-punk band stretching their arms a bit and adding more melody to their already fraught sound. The great tones come through on “Dog Proposal,” “Spoils” and “Sit Down Meal.” Note the deadpan vocals that show up throughout.
Shiny New Model by Bodega
Brooklyn’s Bodega got on our radar when they dropped their debut and we were blown away at their mixture of genres. Blending post-punk with dance punk, there’s a lot to this band that’s yet to be discovered. In many ways it feels like the layers keep getting unpeeled. The best tracks here come on “Treasures of the Ancient World,” “Knife on the Platter” and “Truth.”
Civilisation by Kero Kero Bonito
Electro-pop this good should set the standard of what it sounds like from here on out. Kero Kero Bonito have been popping off for a minute now, but the complexities they intertwine here just show we’re just at the beginning. Three tracks, all splendid enough that picking a favorite is difficult. But if pressed on this then we’re going with “When The Fires Come.”
One Day When We Are Young by Mineral
Usually when a band reunites, the music that follows can be just terrible. However these two songs from Texas emo veterans Mineral are about as good as it gets. With the two songs as bookmarks, there’s a lot here from a band that stopped too soon. “Aurora” feels like Mineral of the past while “Your Body Is The World” sounds more like Mineral of the future. Guess we’ll have to see.
M.E. by Metz
Metz has always been a band that we couldn’t dislike. Their genuine raw power alone is enough to keep us on the lookout for whatever they do next. With this three song release, they give us what we love about them and the tracks are all covers. Their take on the Sparklehorse track “Pig” alone is hard to beat but that cover of the Gary Numan song “M.E.” is something else.
Chapter 2 by Girl In Red
Norway’s Marie Ulven found a way to go from the bedroom to a larger scale production without losing any of the softer graces of the music. This release is rife with songs that will pull on your heart and make you actually feel something. Favorites easy come on “watch you sleep” and “dead girl in the pool.”
No Problem, Probably by Post Pink
Baltimore’s Post Pink is one of those bands that everyone wants for their roster and everyone else wants as their direct support. This release should tell you why. The songs are crafted on a different level from what you’re used to. Sometimes the vocals are deadpan, sometimes the songs feel chaotic and sometimes that happens in the same track. Favorites come on “Rocks,” “Grapefruit Kiss” and “Pip.”
Feet Of Clay by Earl Sweatshirt
This release took us by surprise in that it dropped without warning. However, Earl Sweatshirt took that short run track methodology from his full length last year and brought it back with a heft. The songs come and go, the rhymes feel organic and there’s little left. But just like the moments of lo-fi production here, Sweatshirt proves he’s on to something as the tracks pop and stick with you. Favorites are easily “East,” “OD” and “El Toro Combo Meal (feat. Mavi).”
Pyramid by El Lago
Texas’ El Lago may come from a tiny coastal town, but their reinvention here sounds larger than most places. Heading more for a post-punk meets shoegaze structure, there’s plenty of weight in each track. The thundering drums on “Citadel,” the dark depths of “Moths” and the breezy heft of “Endless” all give way to new beginnings.
Rough Trade Session by Weyes Blood
A release of alternate takes isn’t always something we’d gravitate towards. But with as wonderful as her full length is, even these versions are head and shoulders above many. The version of “Everyday” has a brutal honesty that alone should make anyone who hears it a fan.
2019 by Lucy Dacus
Last year we felt like Historian was the best album we’d heard and we think the same of this E.P. The collection that dropped as singles throughout the year proved that Dacus was doing things differently while her tender vocals bleed through each track. The blend of honesty that comes on “My Mother & I,” the upbeat strides of “Forever Half Mast” and her cover of “In The Air Tonight” showcase that Lucy Dacus is a force in music that sounds just as good as a single as it does as a full release.
Younger by Sun June
We were captivated by the sheer lovely mix of vocals and what the band refers to as regretful pop that make up their sound. There’s just a calming presence in how the tracks wash over you while the vocals dance in your head. The entire release is beauty defined. Favorites are “Monster Moon” and the demo of “Young.”
All of these E.P.’s are available to stream on all streaming platforms. They can also be purchased in digital outlets or directly from the artists or their labels.
Image Credits: Photo by Emir Kaan Okutan/Courtesy of Pexels.