You know what time of year it is, you can sense it in the air, you see it everywhere you turn, on the face of every child, it begins just after Thanksgiving. Some people have hard and fast rules about when this can start as you don’t want to begin to early, but you also don’t want to be so late that you miss out. I have a hard and fast rule not to engage until the last morsel of left over turkey has been washed town with a thick glopy gravy aided by an sheen of cranberry sauce. That’s right folks, it’s the most wonderful time of the year… List season is here.
For a minute there I thought I might just skip over this list for 2015, there just weren’t many great EP’s and the singles were really just previews of albums or songs straight off albums. But as I went back through my reviews and those few that I’d missed, I realized that not only were there some really great non-album releases some of these were my favorite releases of 2015. I don’t really want to get too into all this, you’ve probably just skipped right to the list and aren’t actually reading this which is cool, so let me just make this clear; these singles/EP’s are in no particular order (except Cavegreen’s Journey of Return, which is my favorite release of 2015) and for the most part I didn’t include singles for albums that were released in 2015.
CAVEGREEN – Journey of Return EP
Not entirely sure what to say about this, without hesitation this was my favorite release of 2015. Eleanor Murray has spent the better part of a decade developing her exceptional folk music, as well as her post-rock work in Aantarcticaa, but her collaboration with GianLuca Bucci is totally unreal. Murray’s electronic experimentations play out beautifully here, beat heavy but also etherial. After seeing Cavegreen live I suspect that Journey of Return impossibly is just the beginning of where this project is going. I can’t recommend this EP enough as well as catching Eleanor performing live.
THUNDERPUSSY – Welcome to the Disco
When I interviewed Molly Sides and Whitney Petty I had to ask when we could possibly expect an official Thunderpussy release, their answer; “when people start crashing helicopters into my front yard.” Does anyone have a helicopter I could borrow? Up to this point I don’t think this band of total ass kickers has found a way to highlight the talents of every member quite as well as this song. Every element just sparkles… and by sparkles I mean, shines like the a stud in a leather whip. This song also came with a totally killer video.
ANGELO SPENCER ET LES HAUTS SOMMETS – Love in the Morning EP
It’s been far too long since we had an Angelo Spencer release, his 2012 album World Garage was his best most fully realized album to date, and then we were left hanging for a long time. When I saw Angelo perform a handful of new songs for Boating with Clyde at Bumbershoot last year I got really excited, this EP is basically the setlist for that performance, which mixes these chill laid-back songs with more aggressive punk-rock like only Angelo can produce.
COCK AND SWAN – What was Life? EP
I’ve heard about Cock and Swan from various people off and on for a long time now, and I’m kicking myself that it took me this long to really dig into their music. This 3 song EP is heavy experimental electronic with a sweet beat. There was a period where I listened to only this song on a loop for about two weeks straight, seriously I don’t think I listened to anything else.
MOMMY LONG LEGS – ASSHOLES EP
Seattle has fallen out of favor with folk-music in a sense, and another great renaissance has begun, I hate to refer it to feminist punk rock, because it’s really a bunch of totally awesome women making amazing music. Assholes follows Mommy Long Leg’s release of Life Rips and I’ve really needed this EP many times in just the few short months it’s been out. Recorded at the Unknown in Anacortes, this EP is deceptively Lo-Fi punk with a really rich sound. I highly recommend blowing off some steam with the title track Assholes.
KAIROS – Dark Wave
Lena Simon has a reputation as the hardest working woman in Seattle music, and it’s a title that’s richly deserved. She’s collaborated with a literal ton of bands, but performed most notably with Thunderpussy and La Luz in 2015, all this largely put her own incredible project KAIROS on the back burner. But Lena did manage to feed the beast with Dark Wave, which is… well… dark. The song leans well to the electronic side of the project and away from the rock, but is everything I’ve loved about KAIROS from the beginning.
BEATRIX SKY – Pretty Things EP
Right on the heels of releasing her excellent album Fever Dream, Beatrix released her EP Pretty Things. The EP is a continuation of Fever Dreams which is full of 80’s goth pop, down beats, and the ever popular dream pop. Beautifully produced, The EP and the album are pretty much interchangeable in terms of how great they are. In a field full of emerging electronic artists Beatrix is right at the forefront of that conversation.
PLANES ON PAPER – The Ruins EP
I nearly forgot about this EP, not because it wasn’t great but because it was a January 1st release which I reviewed early in December of last year. However I never wavered in my love for the work that Navid and Jen have been doing with this band. The Ruins has a surface feel of Americana folk but quickly starts to grow into something deeper and bigger. The band has been all over this state in 2015 and I am really truly excited to see what they come up with in 2016.
MARCH TO MAY – The Water’s Edge EP
There are two faces to this duo, the first is of incredibly soft folk, “cinematic folk” is a word I heard them use, I mean they have a harp. The other face is that of totally killer folk pop, their song Count the Days is like an outtake from Rumors, it’s a little surprising that they can split their time so impressively. This band is young and very talented, there are a lot of influences at play with this band and the future is really exciting.
GRAY WAVES – Faith/Void
This project had an interesting collaboration, where the band got a number of artists to listen to the music and then create a cover for the album. The end result was roughly 100 different covers for the album, meaning that each buyer got a one of a kind edition of the single. At an age when many are struggling to understand the role that merchandise plays in music, this is a shining example of something totally unique. It’s all no good if the music sucks… the music does not suck. It has this very gritty, haggard, Johnny Cash feel, Cash at the very end when he was covering the likes of Nine Inch Nails.
If you enjoyed my list of the 10 Best Singles/Ep’s of 2015 then let keep your eyes open as in the coming days I’ll have more lists, The 20 Best Songs of 2015, and 10 Best Albums of 2015.