Back in 2012 when I made my first official list of my 10 favorite albums of that year I noticed one thing, because it wasn’t found on a full length album a large portion of my favorite music from that year was missing. I suppose my list could have been titled 10 BEST RELEASES OF 2012 but that means that I would be leaving off some really great albums. Eventually I came to the conclusion that LP’s are LP’s and Singles and EP’s are altogether different both in their intentions and their construction, so two years later I’m still breaking up by 10 favorite albums and my 10 favorite singles and EP’s into two different posts.
I’ve got to be honest, this wasn’t exactly a year overflowing with great EP’s, in fact my list includes an EP that might be considered an album and a collection of Soundcloud “demos” that I’m calling an EP. That is not to say that these 10 EP’s and singles find their place on this list by default, there were far more than 10 EP’s and singles that could have made the list, it just happened that when I took a look at my own library, I had 10 sitting there begging to make the list. That I included two EP’s that may or may not technically be EP’s was just my way of finding a place for some of 2014’s most deserving music.
Please remember, as with any list I make, while I love lists, I don’t believe in numbered lists, look at the order of these singles/EP’s as more or less random.
DEEP SEA DIVER ~ ALWAYS WAITING
No other single music release got me more excited in 2014 than Deep Sea Diver’s Always Waiting, the first follow up release to 2012’s masterful History Speaks. Comprised of three new songs and a golden oldie, Always Waiting was the perfect way for Deep Sea Diver to make their triumphant return. This EP touches on so many different qualities, from the progressive rock of the title track, to the indie pop dance beats of One By One, the full on guitar shredding on All Chalked Up, and the indie pop folky(ness) of Juno Song. This might just be my favorite release of 2014.
MOTOPONY ~ IDLE BEAUTY
Another band the retuned in 2014 was Motopony with their EP Idle Beauty, their first release since their 2011 self-titled debut. Motopony is rarely-if ever straightforward and neither is Idle Beauty, a simple folk song can easily transform into a psychedelic electronic pop song without you even realizing anything has happened. This EP leans a little more on the indie pop side than their debut, and in turn has a more cohesive sound. I’ll admit it took a couple of listens before it all sank in but once it did I saw it only as pure sonic perfection.
KAIROS ~ KAIROS EP
Every year I find a new band and then crush-out hard on them, for me in 2014 I think that KAIROS was that band. I first heard about them at the beginning of January and quickly made it to a show later that month. Live they boast an All-Star lineup of Seattle musicians but for the studio album much of the instruments were played by KAIROS brainchild Lena Simon. I’ve struggled in pinning down their sound, indie pop for sure, but at times it veers over into dance and then veers back into something like the Cranberries. I look forward to hearing a full length album built under a singular vision.
THUNDERPUSSY ~ DEMOS
Technically I don’t know if I can call this an EP, I’m pretty sure I heard the band refer to this as a series of demos, either way I was so impressed by their uber heavy and aggressive blues-rock sound that it just would have felt wrong not to include it. Every song is a gut punch of grimey sludge wrapped in really soulful vocals and stunning melodies. I’d make a terrible Record Label owner as I would devote every hour and every cent I had into making Thunderpussy and Deep Sea Diver household names. I look forward to their first official release.
KAYLEE COLE ~ SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, LIFELESS DAYS
At first glance I thought this was just a reissue of songs from her 2011 EP Always Going Home, but one listen and you realize that these songs are very different. Two of the songs are reworked, Your War, and Into the Woods, while Away is new, regardless all three songs present a new sonic vision for Kaylee’s simple piano/vocalist music. The songs are washed in an atmospheric swirl and dressed with electronic clanks thuds and strikes. Longtime Kaylee fans will be a little stunned at first but you’ll quickly find this new sound endearing.
PICKWICK ~ HALLS OF COLUMBIA
My wife, who worked in Pioneer Square, looked out her office window one Summer afternoon and could hear the faint sounds of Pickwick coming from the park, but by the time she got downstairs the guerilla performance was over. A few months later however everything began to make sense as Pickwick released a video of the band performing a new version of Halls of Columbia off their album Can’t Talk Medicine. Galen Disston howls into a mega phone backed by a horn section, typically I find this kind of reworking to be insufferable, but it actually fits the song really well here.
DANIEL BLUE ~ HERO’S LULLABY
I’d known about Motopony for some time but was less familiar with Danielle Blue as a solo artist, but last October Meagan Grandall of Lemolo suggested him to me and as I did a Youtube search the first thing I came upon was a live performance of a song he was then calling I Am Here My Son. A few minutes later there were tears streaming down my face, it’s a deeply personal song that seems to define who Daniel is as an artist and listening to it now I still find myself crying. Hero’s Lullaby is the first formal recording of the song and though the tempo may be a little slower than I’d hoped, it is still awe inspiring tear jerker.
LINDSAY SCHIEF ~ DARKENER
I’m still not sure if this really fits into the EP category, but I’m also not sure it’s really an album either. Darkener is a collection of recordings from one of my favorite Northwest artists Lindsay Schief. Some of these songs are demos, some are experiments. The sound ranges from gothic mood pieces to some lo-fi dance pop. However you want to categorize this release I’m glad that Lindsay is finally putting her music out there, because she has a brilliant musical mind.
SISTERS ~ DIAMONDS OF GOLD
Electronic Indie Pop at its absolute best. Diamonds of Gold is the first release of newcomers Sisters, comprised of longtimers Emily Westman and Andrew Vait. Sisters’ sound seems to lay somewhere in the midst of tUnE-yArDs, St. Vincent, and a lot of current indie pop, but the way they jumble the instruments and the rhythms is just… magical. This five song EP is bursting with variety and surprises at every corner. Like basically every EP on this list, I look forward to hearing their first full-length.
RYN WEAVER ~ PROMISES
It might be that I’m just looking for the positives or it might be that I just want to believe in the fairy tale storyline, but when Ryn Weaver appeared out of nowhere last June and racked up millions of plays on Soundcloud I was impressed. Maybe I’m wrong here and her rise to overnight internet notoriety was carefully orchestrated, after all her debut EP features a handful of notable appearances and was produced by Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos. Regardless, you can tell almost instantly that Octahate is the infectious kind of dance pop that mega hits are made of. If we were duped into believing that this was all genuine I’d be a little disappointed, but it’s a great story nonetheless.
If you enjoyed my top Singles and EP’s of 2014, make sure to check back of my 10 favorite albums of 2014,