In the end 2016 showed me that EP’s or singles were becoming less common, there were some pretty good ones that I enjoyed, and singles were more and more becoming simply previews of a forthcoming album often without a B-side. So now the list is just 5 Singles EP’s or… fuck I don’t know… a song that didn’t appear on any official release that I decided to add to the list. Enjoy, and keep a look out for my 10 Best Albums of 2016 coming in the next few days.
HOBOSEXUAL ~ GOOD BAD TASTE
I don’t know if anyone has as much fun while playing music as inspired and intensely as Ben Harwood and Jeff Silva of Hobosexual. A glance at the EP’s cover and you might anticipate a butt-rock novelty band, but the music contained within is seriously crafted. I mean the band is having a lot of fun, Killed To Death? Illegal Sensations? It’s hard not to say those song titles without cracking a smile. The music here is loud and amazingly heavy for being comprised of just two dudes. Drawing on the cult-culture nostalgic of their youths their inspirations are sure to be missed by some but loved by many.
JENNY O ~ WORK
It’s been far too long since Jenny O has released new material, her debut album Automechanic was released way back in 2012 and the companion EP to Work, Home (not a coincidence in the naming) was released six years ago in 2010. Work and Home share plenty in common from their lo-fi home recording style, right down to their cross-stitch album artwork. This EP is like a lovely sampler of everything that Jenny can do artistically, with somber lonely numbers, lovely ballads, and upbeat poppy songs. This EP is less polished or realized than her album or presumably her forthcoming 2017 album but it has that boombox guitar charm that Jenny cultivates so well. Not all artists can pull off the simple home recordings as well as their fully produced and band played albums but Jenny O does both spectacularly.
DUDE YORK ~ LOSE CONTROL
Dude York underwent a sort of artistic reawakening in the time since their album Dehumanize was released in 2014. If the band was primarily a vehicle for the artistic stylings of guitarist and singer Peter Richards, it rather rapidly morphed into a more collaborative artistic outlet. Lose Control and its counter part Love Is are the his and her of Dude York? It’s certainly the Peter Richards and Claire England of Dude York. The sound is a little bigger a little tighter, and potentially more pop-driven. 2017 will bring a new album for the band, Sincerely, and it is one of my more anticipated albums of the coming year.
DEEP SEA DIVER ~ FANTASY (cover)
Fans of Deep Sea Diver know that Jessica Dobson grew up a big Mariah Carey fan, and if you’ve been to enough of their shows it’s likely that you’ve seen them cover Fantasy at one point or another. As a bonus track for the Limited Edition Lolipop Records cassette release of of 2016 album Secrets, Deep Sea Diver finally got an official recording of the song. Though when played live the song is typically almost completely guitar driven, this recording is definitely more pop and less of a deconstruction of the song, actually it really sounds like Mariah Carey’s Fantasy as recorded by Deep Sea Diver during their Secrets sessions. Occasionally I’ve heard people say I love “X” actor so much I could watch them read the phonebook, to me, well assuming you could find a phonebook, I’d listen to Deep Sea Diver play it.
FATHER JOHN MISTY ~ HOLY HELL
I’m not sure what Josh Tillman is up to, everything since 2015’s I Love You Honeybear has been… self-parody? He covered Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift in the style of Lou Reed, he released a handful of comical rejected Pandora ad’s, there was a cut for time/rejected lullaby for Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, the only genuine thing I think he actually did was the Real Love Baby single, but you would be justified in questioning even that. Then following the election of bag of shit covered in an orange peel Donald Trump, Tillman released Holy Hell, which I can only assume is a reaction to this national disaster. It’s actually a beautiful and sincere sounding song, and not the song I would have anticipated from him. He’s the guy I’d expect to give up on everything to throw his hands in the air and spend the next four years making elevator music on a Casio keyboard with autotuned vocals. But when you get to the end of the song you find the lyrics “The world won’t end unless we want it to. There’s no one in control, and it’s our life to choose.” That is amazingly positive and will be my 2017 mantra, the phrase that will keep me from late night panic attacks.