Top 15 EPs of 2018

C57705E9-BD73-410B-8CCF-587F28394793

In this streaming age of music we’re leaving in now, it’s becoming harder and harder to differentiate an EP from an LP. Nowadays anyone can make a 25 minute album and call it a full-length LP, or even make a five track album and call it a full-length. Just look at the latest criminally short six track “LP” from “Nine Inch Nails,” or the string of Kanye produced seven track albums Mr. West dubbed “full-lengths” this year. Album length has become irrelevant, but to those of us who still hold the idea of the EP near and dear, those short bursts of creativity are still very much important in the music world. They still give us that hope that a full-length album from the artist might be on the horizon, or sometimes, those short but sweet releases are all we need. There were a great deal of EPs released this year, and many of them can’t go by unnoticed. Here are my top 15 EPs of 2018.

228AA24D-2494-4AC5-A77F-9E5EE9942E5C

15. Artist: Tyler, The Creator

      EP: Music Inspired by Illumination & Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch 

     Genre: Hip Hop/R&B

 Tyler, The Creator’s creativity has moved into film now with his recent musical contributions to The Grinch movie. To coincide with the release of the film, Tyler dropped an E.P. inspired by the film. It is a fun Christmas filled listen packed with 80’s sounding synths and the tracks never stray away into cheesiness, which is no easy feat considering they’re inspired by a Dr. Seuss story. 

FD6ECA20-128F-4BEC-A790-971E06075F48

14. Artist: Femme

       EP: 2.0

      Genre: Electronic/House/Pop

 Laura Bettinson under the “Femme” name has been creating delightful “Indie Pop” for awhile now, and on her new E.P. 2.0 She delves into the world of “House” music while keeping her Pop sensibilities. The result is a solid set of dance ready tracks that emphasize fun and optimism.

FDB24A07-21B8-4913-8B3C-EBB85A5B41DE

13. Artist: Little Dragon

       EP: Lover Chanting

      Genre: Electronic/Synth Pop

 Little Dragon’s latest LP Season High was a bit of a step back for the band. Much of it seemed phoned in, and lacked the ambition their previous work had filled with colorful synth heavy Pop and just the right amount of odd experimental elements. The band have definitely redeemed themselves though with their new E.P. Lover Chanting. Being three tracks in length, the E.P. gets back to the band’s sense of fun, and is probably their most danceable release to date.

F152AA43-BF0F-427A-9188-90ACB03F3D2E

12. Artist: Wallows

      EP: Spring

      Genre: Indie Rock/Indie Pop

 It’s a bit ironic that the latest E.P. from L.A. based Indie Rock band “Wallows” is titled Spring considering the fact that all the tracks have a nice summery vibe to them. To some this E.P. might be a by the numbers “Indie Rock” release, but to others it’s undeniably addicting. I just can’t resist it.

12DD393D-1DD6-49FC-A416-BF479E1BCB21

11. Artist: Protomartyr and Spray Paint

       EP: Irony Prompts A Party Rat

      Genre: Post-Punk/Indie Rock

 Post-Punk band “Protomartyr” had a busy year. They released a stellar EP, began a tour with “Preoccupations,” and even released a split single with “Preoccupations” where both bands covered each, but a more interesting split single to come out of the band’s work this year is most definitely their split single with the band “Spray Paint.” On this single, “Protomartyr’s” lead singer Joe Casey provided lead vocals for a new “Spray Paint” track, and the lead singer of “Spray Paint” provided lead vocals for a new “Protomartyr” track. It’s a match made in “Post-Punk” heaven, because the chemistry between the two bands is undeniable. 

66DF8BD5-60B6-4CD1-9327-05FCB24E1B44

10. Artist: Screaming City

       EP: The Vanish

      Genre: Post-Punk/Darkwave/Electronic 

 Visalia, California’s own “Screaming City” released a string of Electronic tinged “Industrial Rock” that spanned three EPs this year, but the biggest gem of the three is without a doubt The Vanish. This release found sole member and multi-instrumentalist Trip Logic going in a heavier guitar-driven direction without sacrificing his Electronic roots. Everything from the lyrical content to the myriad of Experimental elements in the instrumentation that impressively manages to maintain catchiness, this whole E.P. showcases the immense versatility Trip Logic has, and there’s nowhere to go from here but up. 

412DF3D8-CBDB-4B2C-8DCC-F19256DBE7E4

9. Artist: Code Orange

    EP: The Hurt Will Go On

    Genre: Metalcore/Industrial Metal

 “Code Orange” are one of those forward thinking bands that make stubborn “Metalcore” traditionalists shout about how “lame” they are for Incorporating outsider genres that aren’t typically explored in “Metalcore,” but guys, put down your Monster energy drink for a minute and admit that the genre has become a bit predictable. “Code Orange” are here to break the stale nature of the genre, and it’s much needed. Following their breakout album Forever, the band dropped a nice E.P. titled The Hurt Will Go On this year, and it’s an impactful reminder that the band are ahead of the game at the moment. Packed with heavy aggression, the “Industrial” and “Nu-Metal” elements the band are known for, and even a Corey Taylor feature, this release has many of us eager to hear another full-length album from the band. Hopefully next year we’ll get what we’re wishing for.

7F433D06-534C-4F9C-BA53-1EEE0DE2EB50

8. Artist: S. Reidy

    EP: And Here With You, I Am

    Genre: Hip Hop/Alternative Hip Hop

 The fact that an artist like S. Reidy isn’t mentioned when conversations about “Emo Rap” are sparked is ridiculous. The rapper/producer sounds like what “Emo Rap” should sound like. His latest E.P. And Here With You, I Am is far from being one-dimensional. The production consists of simplistic but effective beats, moody acoustic guitars, atmospheric soundscapes, poetic lyrical content, and vocals that evoke the “Emo Rock” spirit. To simply label him “Emo Rap” would not do his music justice, but he’s delivering the moody introspection that other rappers in the game should strive for, and he doesn’t need tattoos on his face to do it.

D77D1AD8-8DFE-414B-838E-FFC839916441

7. Artist: Converge

    EP: Beautiful Ruin

   Genre: Metalcore/Hardcore Punk

 Leave it to “Metalcore” legends “Converge” to drop a four track E.P. out of the blue to show the youngsters how it’s done. The band’s recent E.P. Beautiful Ruin is unsparingly monstrous and is among some of the band’s most aggressive work. 

2BFBF2B2-5F2B-4E1A-B3A1-265C76441619

6. Artist: Childish Gambino

    EP: Summer Pack

   Genre: Soul/R&B/Pop

 We unfortunately didn’t get a new Childish Gambino album this year, but mastermind Donald Glover was definitely not quiet. Following the impactful music video for his single “This Is America” that lead to countless think pieces and theories, Glover dropped a two track E.P. titled Summer Pack. Though the tracks were a lot more laid back and summery on the surface this time around, this didn’t stop fans from formulating theories about how there is an underlying message about climate change and the state of our distractions of social media and celebrity culture. Whatever the message may be, these are fun soulful songs. 

EEA53B59-28AD-405B-9D1C-05A551EA111E

5. Artist: Chelsey and The Noise

     EP: Blank Frames

   Genre: Industrial/Electronic/EBM

 Who says “Industrial” music and “Pop” music can’t coexist? Hayward, CA based duo “Chelsey and The Noise” proved that “Industrial” can be catchy with their E.P. Blank Frames this year. With hard hitting synth heavy production and Metal infused guitars, the duo incorporate pop sensibilities without giving into the typical predictability “Pop” music is known for. This music is catchy, sexy, dark, and at times sentimental, displaying the immense versatility the two have to offer. 

38A10F99-F277-4A0E-A1DA-5926DFA968BB

4. Artist: Protomartyr

     EP: Consolation

     Genre: Post-Punk/Indie Rock

 “Post-Punk” band “Protomartyr” released quite possibly their best album last year, which most definitely earned them the right to take a break for awhile because one would assume that you would need to take a break after you give your all on an album, but the band aren’t ready to take a break just yet. The band released an impressive E.P. this year titled Consolation and this four track E.P. progressed the band’s sound even further. Incorporating string arrangements and even collaborating with Kelley Deal of “The Breeders,” this release proves that the band work well with other musicians while not completely abandoning their signature sound. Is this the direction they’re heading in? Time will tell, but one thing is for sure, they’re still the leading force in modern “Post-Punk.” 

2D8750AF-EB12-44CE-981A-6EF5B1EBC66A

3. Artist: HMLTD

    EP: Hate Music Last Time Delete

    Genre: Synth Pop/Post-Punk/New Wave

 “HMLTD” are quite possibly the most exciting band at the moment. You never know what to expect when going into a new track of theirs, and they haven’t even released a full-length album! Following a diverse string of singles that found the band exploring Post-Punk, Synth Pop, Electronic Music, Gothic Rock, Glam Rock, and whatever else the band feels like dabbling in, the band released a new E.P. this year titled Hate Music Last Time Delete, and it is a cohesive effort that sticks to a Synth Pop/New Wave formula. The band have proven that they can perfect just about any genre they pursue, but it’s clear they wanted to give us their own warped version of “Synth Pop” on this E.P. This music is fun and danceable, but the lyrical content deals with important themes such as social network addiction, learning to love yourself, oh, and falling in love with a mannequin. It’s a good time that leaves you begging for more.

32B380B3-948B-4ACD-BED0-C674C472B234

2. Artist: Ravyn Lenae

    EP: Crush

    Genre: R&B/Soul/Alternative R&B

 Among the recent emergence of talented young artists from Chicago such as Noname, Saba, and Mick Jenkins, Ravyn Lenae has been garnering much attention for her beautiful artistry that finds the young singer delivering smooth “R&B” that isn’t afraid to branch out of traditional “R&B” sensibilities. Her latest E.P. Crush is a fitting title, because it’s impossible not to swoon and fall for her gorgeous vocals and attention to Soulful and at times off-kilter production provided by the one and only Steve Lacy. Lenae is one of the youngest artists in the realm of “R&B” at the moment, but her sound exudes immense maturation, and it’s clear she’s on a forward thinking path. Here’s to hoping she blesses us with a full length debut album next year. 

5E92AFEC-9E7B-423A-9092-0D5B945215B9

1. Artist: CMON

    EP: Confusing Mix Of Nations

    Genre: Post-Punk/Synth Pop/New Wave

 There’s no doubt in my mind that L.A. based duo “CMON” (or Confusing Mix Of Nation’s) debut E.P. is the best of 2018, and there’s no doubt in my mind that this is the best E.P. you haven’t heard. Absent from every major streaming service other than their own personal SoundCloud, the band most likely slipped under your radar this year, and that’s unfortunate because their debut five track E.P. is the stuff 80’s Post-Punk/New Wave revivalist dreams are made of. The lush and dreamy guitars, the “House” driven percussion that reflects “New Order’s” heyday, and the subtle but infectious vocals are all promising elements that should put the band on your radar. With very little information about the band online, it’s hard to dig deep into their background, but let’s all hope and pray they continue to release stellar material.

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E.P. Review: S. Reidy – And Here With You, I Am

DC71C736-9899-4311-A455-804D477A540D

Artist: S. Reidy

EP: And Here With You, I Am

Genre: Hip Hop/Alternative Hip Hop

Rating: 8/10

 The term “Alternative Hip Hop” has been thrown around to describe artists in Hip Hop who experiment and incorporate outside elements of different genres that aren’t primarily used in the genre of “Hip Hop,” and as much as this can be a necessary label to inform the listener that they’re in for something different from the mainstream Hip Hop they’re most likely accustomed to, it’s also a label that almost never does an artist justice when it comes to describing the myriad of sounds an influences in their music. Artists like Norman, Oklahoma’s own S. Reidy is further proof that some music is nearly impossible to sum up with one genre tag, and that’s a sign of someone truly ambitious and innovative. His new E.P. And Here With You, I Am is an emotional, introspective, and poetic ride that is as fun as it is sentimental. Being five tracks in length, the E.P. is a short but fulfilling journey through the world of Reidy, and the atmosphere and mood is created right off the bat with the opening track “Fall.” The production is dreamy and features lo-fi percussion, and Reidy’s versatile vocals range from melodic rawness that evokes the spirit of “Emo Rock” to impressive rapping free from boastfulness but rich in genuine mindfulness. Without a doubt this E.P. is moody and a tad bit melancholy. Perfect for those days when you wanna go for a walk in gloomy weather with headphones on ignoring the world, but it’s also fun enough and catchy enough to ride around with your best friends singing along to the undeniably catchy hooks. Seriously, I dare you to try and not sing along to the chorus on “Dustin’s Mustache,” by the end of the song you’ll be shouting the lyrics “I never wanted things to ever change! I never wanted things to stay the same! I’d make my mind up but I’m feeling too jaded!” With powerful emotions and introspective thought expressed through poetic lyrics, live instrumentation consisting of soothing acoustic guitar, bass, some piano combined with Hip Hop inspired drum machines, and the irresistible vocal melodies, it’s evident that S. Reidy is one of those artists that gets better and better with each release, and the future looks very bright for this talented visionary. 

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 10/23/18

https://sreidy.bandcamp.com

 

 

BROCKHAMPTON Share New Music Video for New Song “J’OUVERT”

IMG_1477

BROCKHAMPTON are set to release their new album Iridescence tonight, which was recorded at the legendary “Abbey Road Studios.” While we wait, the group has released a new song off the album titled “J’OUVERT,” and it is a hard hitting banger that is dark, unrelenting, and features a standout aggressive verse from member JOBA. You can watch the music video for “J’OUVERT” below:

BROCKHAMPTON Announce Release Date for Upcoming Album “Iridescence”

IMG_1469

The wait is finally over. After several album name changes and much speculation as to when their new album Iridescence would get a release date, BROCKHAMPTON have announced that they will release the album on September 21st, and that’s just around the corner. This follows last year’s impressive SATURATION trilogy, and this is the group’s first album without Ameer Vann who was kicked out recently due to sexual misconduct allegations. The tracklist has also been revealed and it looks like the album will not feature their recent singles “1999 WILDFIRE,” “1998 TRUMAN,” and “1997 DIANA.” According to the band, Iridescence will be the first installment of another trilogy titled The Best Years of Our Lives. The group recorded the album at the legendary “Abbey Road Studios,” and it will be their first release on the label “RCA Records.” You can check out the tracklist below:

IMG_1470

BROCKHAMPTON also have a documentary about the making of Iridescence coming out in select theaters titled The Longest Summer In America. Watch the trailer below:

JPEGMAFIA Shares New Music Video for “1539 N. Calvert”

40628654_526922531078527_8484542811885010944_n

Baltimore rapper/producer JPEGMAFIA has garnered much attention this year, and it is much deserved. His new album Veteran is the groundbreaking and forward thinking album Hip Hop needs right now. Today Peggy shared his new music video for the opening track off the album titled “1539 N. Calvert.” The video is a tribute to the “Bell Foundry,” a building in Baltimore that housed dozens of artists and hosted live shows. It was unfortunately shut down, but many DIY artists in the Baltimore scene hold their experiences near and dear to their hearts. You can watch the video for “1539 N. Calvert” below:

Denzel Curry Drops New Music Video for “Vengeance”

40995581_680767492298032_6202909369382731776_n

Denzel Curry’s new album TA13OO currently holds the title for “Best Hip Hop Album of the Year” so far in my opinion, and to treat us even further, the Florida rapper has released a bonkers new music video for the high energy track “Vengeance” featuring JPEGMAFIA and ZillaKami. You can watch the music video below: