And so it begins. The past 12 months have spoon-fed music admirers with enough releases to make any trip to a deserted island feel like paradise and next to studio albums, there’s been no shortage of EPs. The extended play has its pitfalls but if conquered, the tricky medium is capable of delivering lightly polished introductions and bite-sized layovers that distinguish what an artist can do in 25 minutes or less. The ten mini-albums we’ve hand-picked as this year’s top crop follow suit – and do so next to a plethora of other miniature releases (Lorde, Action Bronson, The Orwells) and even 7-inch/splits that rightfully deserve their own category. Pulled from the pockets of punk, indie stylings, and electronic soul, we present to you The Best EPs Of 2013.
With one hell of a voice, the Los Angeles singer hasn't been shy to collab with impeccable producers (SOHN, TEED) but she's also found a sweet spot between Jessie Ware and The Weeknd. "Change" is a heart-stopping pick-me-up built for teen drama finales and "This Is What It Feels Like" unravels with intensity as Banks keeps you longing for another hit of that dark pop bliss.
Fade Away EP
Beth and Bob's mini rock album is only seven songs long but it's a giant blast of sentiments, bourbon-chugging ballads, and scrappy garage pop. The honesty will get you and it's okay - Fade Away is for all the skate rats, art kids, stoners, and valley girls who mess with Best Coast and are overtly afraid of watching life mellow out with every passing sunset.
Pretty Good EP
Loud in all the right places, Dads' Pretty Good is the kind of disc you throw on when you feel like "letting go" after a bad date. John Bradley (drums) and Scott Scharinger (guitars) flex their strengths, adding new shapes and colours to their collage-like sound while casually leaving you in a wreckage of deafening kit work, glossy chaos, and deceptive transformations.
Small Victories EP
If the melodic corner of hardcore is slowly starting to look like a underground pool full of starved great whites, then Gainesville, FL's Frameworks are Martin Brody. Songs like "Ida" and "Model Homes" are frothing at the mouth with lush instrumentation that pushes singer Luke Pate to leave his racing thoughts in your lap and not at your doorstep.
Yes, Jeremy Bolm (Touche Amore), Jay Weinberg (ex-Against Me!), Neeraj Kane (The Hope Conspiracy), and Stephen LaCour (ex-Trap Them) formed a band, and yes, it's the kind of animal you don't want to see caged. Hesitation Wounds live by Bolm's Secret Voice code and that's abrasively stapling your neck to the wall that's on the other side of the room.
Toronto's HSY will do unnatural things to your ears but fear not - their bone-snapping knack for noise pop only turns its skin inside out if you turn the lights off. Their five-song suite refuses to stay put, packing meat onto sludged-out numbers ("Slimeball", "Tartar Mouth") only to strip it down to the bone again ("Waffles"). It's frightening but what's life without risks?
D.A.I.S.Y. Rage EP
Before Internet hoes could call her out for being inexperienced, Kittaveli dropped the "Pryde" earlier this year and stunted with D.A.I.S.Y. Rage, a savvy take two that's crammed with inventive production and commanding guests. Her rhymes are also upped with confidence ("R.R.E.A.M.", "Scout Finch Bitch") and a deft flow but you probably knew that already.
I have lost all desire for... EP
As the new Captured Tracks signees showed on stage in NYC this month, their exhilarating buzz is like a chainsaw to the head that fortunately comes back like a boomerang to finish the job. I have lost all desire for feeling was the catalyst for it all and to be completely honest (from a fan's point of view) it's the Syracuse band's genuine personality that's the carnal cherry on top.
The London vocalist/producer is best known for partnering with Jessie Ware, assisting Drake's personal growth, and being SBTRKT's accomplice, but his debut solo EP finds happiness in layers. It's filled with vivid chords and melodies that kiss the soul - like the kind you normally find when a songwriter takes on the implausible task of bearing his true identity in records, not songs.
Small Sound EP
The Denver indie-pop group gave everyone two remarkable albums to chew on in just two years and their first attempt at an EP has traced a potent sense of cohesiveness you can't make up. Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley are infatuated with intricacy, letting bluesy melodies hug every guitar lick and ode to '60s recording artists. In other words, they do "retro" right.