Let’s be honest: EPs are addicting. The extended play has become a soapbox for artistic soliloquies but in reality, it’s a format that cuts the BS and presents songs that beg to be played at full blast. They’re loud, honest, and sometimes unapologetic, and thanks to the old ways of electronic music, they’re releases that are slowly adding to the lore of institutions like Goner and WeDidIt. So with that in mind, here are the 10 Best EPs of 2015 – a short list of staff picks that will leave you writhing on the floor.
CLASS ACTRESS :: Movies
In plain sight, Movies is Elizabeth Harper’s bridge to a brighter future, but it also happens to be one of the most authentic pop releases of the 2000s. It’s wistful, cinematic, and shamelessly lovesick, and with Giorgio Moroder at the helm, every shuffle through hits the body like a rollercoaster without brakes — especially when “High On Love” is such an elicit burst of head trauma [Watch: “More Than You”].
DANIEL CAESAR :: Pilgrim’s Paradise
Given his skill set, Daniel Caesar might be Toronto’s best kept secret. Pilgrim’s Paradise evokes Frank Ocean and Brian Wilson, and it finds the songwriter getting literal with acapellas, 808 & Heartbreak edits, and local R&B sessions that are all about the peaches and mangoes. Seriously. Standouts like “Streetcar” and “Death & Taxes” just click on those partly sunny days [Listen: “Paradise”].
DIET CIG :: Over Easy
In reality, Diet Cig’s Over Easy is one for the underdogs. The New Paltz duo have unsurprisingly blown up since their spring release and it’s due to songs like “Harvard” and “Scene Sick”, which mess around with gritty pop rock and lyricism that guts you with knitting needles. Alex Luciano opens up quite a bit but sometimes there’s nothing better than a poetic “fuck you” [Watch: “Scene Sick”].
DONMONIQUE :: Thirst Trap
The greatest thing about Thirst Trap is the material is more vicious than the artwork. DonMonique’s debut has its features (Danny Brown, Remy Banks) but the 21-year-old reps Brooklyn with an effortless flow, blitzing Stelios Phili’s beat work with rhymes about boss bitch movements. The cockiness is more old school, a la Eve’s Scorpion, but Don delivers it like a staple gun to the mouth [Watch: “Pilates”].
HRMXNY :: Strange As It Seems
Toronto’s HRMXNY has paid his dues in both clubs and recording sessions, and in a way, Strange As It Seems is his coming out party. The seven-track set cuts out the “sample-based ratchet shit” and mingles with hip-hop, nu-garage, and distinct nods to SBTRKT’s self-titled days. There’s depth to it all and from an emotional point of view, it’s like taking an after hours drive to see your significant other, only to realize halfway in that they don’t love you anymore [Listen: “Nightlife”].
MODERN BASEBALL :: Perfect Cast
The Philly band’s new EP was merely supposed to be a surprise and now it’s become a decorated trailer for LP #3. Over six songs, Modern Baseball take on grey days (“…And Beyond”) and greyer weeks (“Infinity Exposed”), but it’s the way they deal with it all — cornering the heavy topics so they can be outfitted with hooks, verve, and a comforting sense of purpose [Listen: “The Thrash Particle”].
NATALIE PRASS :: Side By Side
If Natalie Prass’ self-titled debut was an incomparable rock record that burrowed holes into your heart, then Side By Side is the pick-me-up you need to do it all over again. The EP itself features live takes of original material (“Christy”, “My Baby Don’t Understand Me”), but it thrives when Prass reworks the likes of Grimes and Anita Baker, and publicizes every romantic detail [Listen: “REALiTi”].
RATKING :: 700 Fill
Like every Ratking release, 700 Fill is an overlooked exhibit of growth. The BitTorrent exclusive isn’t a direct tribute to 2014’s So It Goes, but it does find Wiki and Hak fleshing out their wordplay and even comparing iced tea to bloodlines while Sporting Life gives his souled out, 75 Ark mixes a new texture pack. It’s dizzying work and yet it’s pretty clear: this is just practice [Watch: “Arnold Palmer”].
TORY LANEZ :: Cruel Intentions
On paper, Cruel Intentions is a shiny WeDidIt collab that’s full of all-stars — incl. Shlohmo, Baauer, RL Grime, D33J, and Play Picasso — but it’s also an essay on Tory Lanez’s work ethic. The “6 Side” emcee goes in and T’s up every beat, falling in and out of moods while his metamorphic vocals spark up and take center stage. It’s not quite Broadway, but goddamn it’s pretty close [Listen: “Fallback”].
TY SEGALL :: Mr. Face
Ty has been on a tear with Fuzz II, Ty Rex, and now Emotional Mugger, but it all started with the release of his Mr. Face EP in January. The four-track effort toys with every facet of his catalog, pushing electrified rhythms and Led Zeppelin III ideas while embracing a euphoric take on no frills glam rock. It’s “out there”, but hey, it’s also an EP that comes with 3D glasses [Listen: “Circles”].