I’m not sure if the recession really had much to do with it, but short track lists didn’t seem to be in short supply this year. In my tenure as an indie music blogger and investigator, I’ve usually been able to pick out a couple EPs throughout a year that acted as more than just a promotional tool for a forthcoming LP or simply as a demo of a band’s talent. But in 2010, it seemed as though many artists decided they would stuff 12 tracks worth of brilliant material into just a few songs (in some case, just two tracks.) Were they in a rush? Were they just broke? Or did they simply realize that they can express everything they wanted to in a much quicker fashion?
In the end, it doesn’t matter. Some wonderful tunes were made, and that is all that really matters. So, here is a list of ten of my favorite EPs from the year:
10) The Flying Change – Singer/Songwriter. Sam Jacobs went an entirely different route than he did on his 2009 album, Pain Is A Reliable Signal, that appeared on many “best of” lists, including mine. He traded in the acoustic guitar for some dancable beats. Although it is only two tracks, it is very exciting. I wouldn’t expect to hear an experiment like this from Jacobs again, as he is constantly looking to create something new. Just be thankful he did this at all.
9) Collider – Strobos EP. I fell in love with the San Francisco based indie rockers on when I heard the BBM EP they released only 6 months prior to this one. Apparently six months was plenty of time to upgrade even their sultry style even more.
8) The Ambience Affar – Patterns. Indiecater Records was a great find of 2010, mostly on a personal level. And Patterns from the lovely group The Ambience Affair was by far my favorite release from this cool new label.
7) Lille – Tall Shoulders EP. Grace Bellury may be a youngster amongst her indie colleagues, but her spirit is definitely aged well beyond her years. This album was a brilliant debut for this Atlanta songstress. I can guarantee you that this young lady will be heard from again. She is much like Anna-Lynn Williams in so many ways. Absolutely beautiful stuff.
6) Falling Trees – Youth Club Disco EP. Lo-fi British pop music really seemed to dominate my playlists this year as I learned about acts like Andy Botterill at Pastime Records, as well as Andy Fonda and Simon Bish over at Pop Noise Records. These are wonderful artists creating special and lovable pop songs that get right into your head, and never leave.
5) Simon Bish & Andy Fonda – Silly Things Lovers Do EP. This EP was a very special treat from Pop Noise Records as two of the albums frontrunners joined together to create something beautiful. Like I stated previously, I just can’t get enough of this lo-fi British pop songs. Call me pretentious if you will. I might call you an asshole.
4) The Modern Skirts – Happy 81 EP. I might just discredit myself a bit with this one. This EP was absolutely fantastic! But, it was simple a small precursor the The Modern Skirt’s forthcoming release Grammahawk. So, maybe this was just a promotional tool, but it was a damn fine one! The Skirts switched up their whole style on this one. They took a back country road away from their signature highway of indie pop they had been following. You just gotta hear it!
3) Alexipharmic – Good Side Of Bad Vol. 3. I sort of based right by the hip hop scene this year. But, not fast enough to pass by Alex and his beautiful addition to his Good Side Of Bad series. This man is not just a rapping philanthropist. He is a genious with words, and a truly devout artist. He is your favorite indie rocker’s favorite rapper. Everyone appreciate the wonderful thing this guy creates. And I know that this album is 10 tracks long, but if he says it’s and EP. It’s a damn EP. End of story!
2) Westfold – self titled EP. Although I spent most of 2010 indulging in indie pop, soft acoustics, and experimental indie rock, I still found time to rock out with one of my favorite bands as they released their third, and best, EP. There just aren’t enough ways to explain how damn hard these guys go, and how brilliantly they write a song that will simply set your hair on fire with intensity. They’ve only progressed over the last few years, one can only dream about what they will come up with next year.
1) The Fenbi International Superstars – self titled EP. I waited too damn long, and followed these guys for too long as well not to have this triumphant release top my list everywhere. It has almost been two years since Fenbi was nominated for a Portland Music Award in the Best World Music category. And now we have the physical evidence to prove why these gypsies of the drunken era are as fabulous as they have been praised to be. Fenbi is without a doubt, a brilliant act that needs more and more praise each day. There just aren’t enough good things to say about Michael Phillips and his band of merry gentlemen.