Firstly, it has to be said how great 2013 has been for music in general. Especially for new music, there has been a surge in great new bands and musicians this year, and we’ve all indulged in the pleasures of their music. EP’s are a great way to be introduced to a new artist, they are a window into their world, so I have picked my favourite EP’s from the past year. The list features an eclectic mix of genres and artists from all over the world. There are names on the list that you may know, and there are names on this list that you may just be being introduced to for the first time, but please have a listen to all of these artists, because they are all brilliant in their own way.
1. James Bay – The Dark Of The Morning
Folk pop singer/songwriter James Bay’s début is magical. His sweet, soulful voice is mesmerising and wraps you up in the lyrics, you get lost in the world of James Bay, with songs about the rapture of love, the confusion of love and the endings of love. He is my favourite artist to come out of 2013 for sure, he’s so special, a real talent.
There is an intensity to his voice that is so captivating and enthralling, it will make you hit the repeat button continually, his voice is warm and gravelly, there are so many sides to James Bay that you will uncover in this EP, a joy for the ears. The EP is one of the best cohesive pieces I’ve heard in a long time, with an emphasis on the vocals and melodies, the EP thrives with its acoustic leanings, guitars, strings and piano all ring out to make this EP something very special. A must listen.
2. Joel Baker – Long Sleeves
Nottingham singer/songwriter Joel Baker is quite the break out artist of 2013 in my eyes. With his début EP, he has created a solid piece of work that stands up with the best artists in the music industry right now.
His acoustic folk pop blends his soulful voice with heart stirring melodies, laden with guitars, strings and piano. All layered underneath his heartfelt, personal lyrics that are so emotive and passionate that you cannot help but feel a connection to the song, when you listen to a Joel Baker song. “If only you could see me, the way that you see him, I’d be out of my chair with my fist in the air, because you know where my heart lies” (Long Sleeves).
3. Broken Hands – Down by the Current
Broken Hands Down By The Current EP is something of greatness. Gritty and dark, burning blues rock filled with raging guitars, stomping bass lines and heavy drum beats. The fine lyricism featured on this EP clearly makes Broken Hands stand out, nicely delivered with warbles and angsty vocals from singer Dale Norton. They are one of the tightest bands around also, in my opinion, I think this comes across very much so on this EP, the EP is definitely a highlight of the year for me.
4. Coasts – Paradise
Bristol five piece Coasts début is simply stunning. A burst of indie, passion pop that soars from start to finish. The EP is a melodious, energetic punch of searing guitars, tropical sounds, anthemic drum beats and catchy hooks that create a big danceable sound. Each song on the EP holds its own and are sure to be high up on your all time favourite songs lists, well they are for me.
Topped with vocals that soar and curl as the EP roars, it’s a high energy EP, that’s very coastal and summery in its feel and sound. This is an EP that you cannot help but dance and sing along to, it’s an epic début that has been very good for this band.
5. The Folk Remedy – Sirens EP
Manchester based folk three piece, The Folk Remedy and their début EP, Sirens, really are something special. An EP that in my opinion deserves a lot more attention that it has received, it’s joyful and soulful in its composition. A revelry of humble acoustic guitars, violin and sweet vocals that glisten with longing and velvety harmonies, perfectly captured in the song, New York Skyline.The push and pull melodies of Fool Fool are just enough to have you swaying, tapping your foot and nodding your head along to the beat. A marvellous début from this very promising band, full of diversity in their sound which is shown off very well on this EP.
6. Sahara Beck – You Could Be Happy
Brisbane singer/songwriter Sahara Beck’s EP is just sublime. Her songwriting is beyond her years, she has a vocal delivery that is full of emotion and intensity that it draws something out of you that you don’t realise is there, she has that connection with the listener that very few artists can attain.
Her folk pop just makes me so happy, it bursts with emotion, making you want to listen to it over and over again. She has a range that will just make you melt, this is an EP for the soul, for the heart and essentially for your listening pleasure. I can’t recommend it more, listen to this EP.
7. Puppet Rebellion – Chemical Friends EP
It may only be consisting of three tracks, but this EP definitely makes a statement and packs a punch. Manchester five piece Puppet Rebellion launched themselves into the stratosphere with this début, and what a beauty it is. With songs about religion (The Greatest Lie Ever Told), growing older (30 is ‘The New Twenty’) and toxic relationships (Chemical Friends) all wrapped up in an indie rock ribbon. Puppet Rebellion’s second EP is finally ready to drop in the coming year, mark February 18th in your diaries because this is one date you won’t want to forget.
The EP is full of opposition, contrasting the darker themes expressed within the lyricism of the songs with the upbeat and danceable melodies that encompass the songs. Undoubtedly showing that Puppet Rebellion are a band with a mission, and brains, they’re not just pretty faces.
8. Moscow – Hell Fire EP
Stoke four piece Moscow raised the stakes with their début EP, five tracks of solid gold. Gritty and dark, garage rock sounds, Hell Fire is an EP that is meant to be heard at full volume, with an emphasis on creating a live sound, as that’s where they thrive the most.
All the tracks featured on the EP are arguably as good as the last, full of angst and deep seeded tension, but also it’s an EP that has a lot of groove to it, one that will have you dancing and moving in no time at all. Moscow are currently working on their second release as we speak, so watch out for that in the early months of 2014. A band full of promise, that should be on your radar.
9. Two Eyes–Two Eyes EP
Manchester psych rock four piece, Two Eyes début EP prances and spirals around in your head. Its heavy bass and drum combo makes for a solid sound, especially on opening track Dr Luke. Super Rainbow, has an air of the 90’s guitar scene, with a grunge tinge to it, a track that has a lot of potential.
Final track, Glass Castle has to be a stand out on the EP, it’s delicate, slower pace is a good contrast from the rest of the songs, its sweet moodiness and glint of darker themes make it really special in my mind. This is an EP that I think has been overlooked by many, and it’s about time that it gets the attention it deserves, a very solid EP from a great young band.
10. Sir Sly – Gold
LA trio, Sir Sly début is something to be very proud of, with their own brand of dark, melancholic synth pop, they are unstoppable. Its electronic rock that is melodically and lyrically very strong, filled with beats that will get you bouncing, synths that light up a room with creative expression and vocals that soar and murmur on top of all this. A lovely EP that I always have on repeat.