December 16, 2014

Top 5 EPs of 2014

Top 5 EPs of 2014:

1. Sunny Day Real Estate- Lipton Witch (split with Circa Survive)
Not sure this really counts as an EP as it is only a split 7" with 2 songs. But it includes one of the most important songs of the year, Sunny Day Real Estate's only recording since 2000. From Under the Gun: "Record Store Day was yesterday, and there were plenty of releases for fans of all genres to look forward to. One of those releases was a split between Circa Survive and Sunny Day Real Estate. This split is particularly exciting because SDRE haven’t released new music together in fourteen years. While I do love Circa Survive, SDRE’s “Lipton Witch” is definitely the biggest reason to grab the split."

2. Frontier(s)- White Lights
It has to be hard for Frontier(s) to escape the shadow of Elliott, especially considering up until this point everything from Chris Higdon's new band was far inferior to his former. But finally Frontier(s) is creating its own identity. From Half/Cloth: "[Frontier(s)]treat guitars like line-drawings, endlessly choosy over individual notes and looming waves. A title like “white lights” could describe the band’s crafted approach to negative space, the ways in which the EP is as much about proportion and dynamics as it is about narrative or melody. Frontier(s) are endlessly selective and crafty regarding what they decide to illuminate. As with similarly angular bands like Jawbox and Rival Schools, there’s a tart relief in each chorus, if only because it feels like a breath of air in a cloistered room. Guitars and drums don’t clutter the aural field of White Lights — they constrict it."

3. How to Throw a Christmas Party- IV: Intergalactic Welcome
This is the fourth Christmas album from this group of Dutch musicians (who hail from numerous bands most notably Brown Feather Sparrow and This Beautiful Mess). A little shorter than the previous three releases, but once again with a terrific set of completely original new Christmas songs. From Henk-Jan van der Klis (translated from Dutch): "For the fourth part of Christmas as Lydia Maurik-Weaver and her musical friends How to Throw a Christmas Party , Intergalactic Welcome  6 new songs written in the quirky folk-pop style. Opener  Angels came from outerspace is an adaptation of Angels We Have Heard on High . Arjen van Wijk ( People Get Ready , VanDryver ) wrote a new text and Bas van Nienes ( People Children , Anderson ) behind the microphone a singalong was created. Admiral Oosterbroek and Pim Works ( Eins, Zwei Orchestra , Silence Is Sexy , Jesus & The Christians , etc.) written Tiny Little Baby Halo talks with singing, pointed keyboard performance, strings and the Christmas choir. By Bas van Nienes and Jeroen van der Werken (People Children, Anderson Writers for Justice ) composed Fleecy Flocks move Shamgar Lemuel Jacobs (singer and drummer of  Mister and Mississippi ) and Kirsten Gerritsen in the winter sun."

4. Sucré- Loner
Stacy Dupree King's solo project has given her a unique voice separate from the rest of her family (Eisley). This EP is a huge step forward from the first Sucré LP, most notably featuring resounding percussion from her husband Darren King. From The Cliff Waltz: "Following track one, is the EP’s single, Young and Free. This song features gritty sounding synths and a driving, dynamic, drum part. Of course the song still incorporates all the parts that make Sucre, Sucre. Haunting vocals, soft piano in parts, and a beautiful composition of strings. Lyrically and vocally, the song is very simple and straight forward, balancing the intricateness of the instruments."

5. Sleeping at Last- Atlas: Land
Ryan O'Neal is the EP king (Wikipedia lists almost two dozen!), and is one of the most prolific song-writers of this decade. From Sputnik Music: "Sleeping at Last’s Ryan O’Neal has released his fair share of music. Sleeping at Last’s discography is quite large, despite them being relatively unknown, and yet O’Neal’s scope broadens with each release. O’Neal’s previous project, Yearbook, a series of EPs inspired by each of the months of the year, was an ambitious undertaking-it was O’Neal, working alone, attempting to create a thematic sound and vision for each EP. He was relatively successful in his ambitions, creating a series of EPs that were quite diverse- and often haunting in their melodies and heartfelt lyrics. 

In the following year, O’Neal decided to increase his ambitions even further. His newest project, Atlas, is another series of EPs based once again off of various themes; each being a collection of musical projections of the inner workings of life. On O’Neal’s newest EP in the series, Land, we see O’Neal completely intimate and exposed. With the Land EP, O’Neal stated that he wanted to work quite simply- acoustic instruments alone. This decision was certainly a wise one, as the EP truly feels like a musical embodiment of the land itself, with a low-key atmosphere created by the simplicity behind the keys, the strings, and the acoustic guitar."



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