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Sunday, 13 December 2009

Top Ten EPs of 2009

10. Meursault - Nothing Broke EP

The follow up to one of my favourite albums of 2008 Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing with Tongues, the March-released Song, By Toad records Nothing Broke EP is a calm and collected 4-track reminder that Meursault haven't disappeared off the folk radar entirely. They've just released William Henry Miller singles, with a couple of re-recorded versions on a see-through vinyl, which you can purchase straight from Edinburgh through the Song, By Toad store. This is an EP filled with lush folk melodies and one of the most unusual voices (supplied by Neil Pennycook) you'll ever hear - check out the original review from July here.

Meursault - Nothing Broke (MP3)

9. Boys Noize - Starter EP

Boys Noize has been relentlessly touring and remixing since 2008's Oi Oi Oi, and the Starter EP, containing two tracks Starter and Jeffer, is a not very polite reminder that he is still recording fresh material and developing as an artist. The new tracks have the signature Boys Noize sound to them - with all the adrenaline that he's always given us. Starter and Jeffer are easily two of the best dance tracks of 2009 and despite forming only a two-track, the latest from Alex Ridha definitely deserves a mention on this list.

Boys Noize - Starter (MP3)

8. Animal Collective - Fall Be Kind EP

It's been a huge year for Animal Collective, Spring saw the release of their most successful release yet - Merriweather Post Pavilion, which saw them alienate some of their more long term fans, and gain some equally enthusiastic new ones. The fact is, that even if you call that album their most mainstream yet - it's still not even close to radio-friendly. All of this year's releases are catchy in a very revolutionary kind of way - and the Fall Be Kind EP is no different; it's already being championed all across the internet music media. Bleed takes the more ambient sections of Merriweather and expands them beautifully into this Autumn's haziest psychedelic track.

Animal Collective - Bleed (MP3)

7. Burial & Four Tet - Wolf Cub & Moth
Burial & Four Tet was always going to be one of the most hyped releases of the year, and with the characters of the two artists, particularly Burial, it was always going to be one of the most secretive. There was word of this two-track release for a while beforehand, but this was only finalised and formally announced a matter of days before. It ran a very limited vinyl/mp3 only print which quickly sold out, with the vinyl's matt black finish encased within a blank black sleeve, bearing only the words Burial & Four Tet. The two tracks run at around 9 minutes each, and range from ambient dubstep to underground dance. There are clear elements of both artists in this groundbreaking collaboration - you can read my original post on this link.

Burial & Four Tet - Moth (MP3)

6. Beirut - March of the Zapotec/Holland EP
I've always been a fan of Zach Condon's work with Beirut ever since I first heard Gulag Orkestar, but to hear such an extreme change of sound from side one to side two of an EP for me cemented Beirut's place on the end of year list. Condon has moved from Balkan Orchestral music into the realms of synthpop - in one of the most innovative and bold musical steps of this year. Side one of the double EP (March of the Zapotec) contains backing by The Jiminez Band, and features a collection of recordings inspired by his recent trip to Mexico. Side two, Holland, contains dance/electronica accredited mainly to Condon's pre-Beirut project Realpeople. Together, this makes for an incredible EP recording easily ecletic enough to warrant a mention in the best of 2009 list.

Beirut - My Wife (MP3) (March of the Zapotec)
Beirut - My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille (MP3) (Holland)

5. The Drums - Summertime EP
I introduced The Drums on the blog a couple of weeks ago as 'a rather erratic indie dance band' - and I stick by that statement. They combine indietronica of the Ra Ra Riot/Friendly Fires variety with the sounds of Beach Boys influenced surfer pop to create a highly original sounding creation - the Summertime EP. It's laid back and summery and danceable, and ultimately fashionable of next year's developing musical tastes. NME have just confirmed them on their UK Tour next year alongside The Big Pink, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Maccabees on the strength of this EP their recent US popularity. The EP is definitely not one to miss - and next year we should all be seeing a lot more of this band.

The Drums - Don't Be A Jerk, Jonny (MP3)

4. No Age - Losing Feeling EP
No Age's latest installment is even louder than last year's - the main track on the follow up to Nouns, You're A Target, is a soaring punk anthem, and just about sums up the No Age duo inside 4 minutes of recording. Their verging on a-tonal punk sensibility comes from just two members, who built up a massive following from the L.A underground in these last few years by touring relentlessly and releasing some of the most infectious guitar music in the area via FatCat and Sub Pop. The Losing Feeling EP is a little mid-summer treat from No Age which also happens to contain some of their strongest material yet.

No Age - You're A Target (MP3)

3. Saintseneca - Saintseneca EP
Saintseneca are a folk band I can safely assume that, unless you are a reader of this blog, you probably haven't heard of. They are a small band from the Columbus, Ohio music scene who released their 4-track EP on Paper Brigade on September 1st of this year. Its an album filled with stomping ukulele tunes and huge rhythms, accompanied by the frail but beautifully constructed vocals of every member. God Bones is the single from the EP and I can confidently say is one of the best songs of this year. Please, read my original post on this band, and grab the mp3 below.

Saintseneca - God Bones (MP3)

Saintseneca EP on Amazon

2. Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Higher Than The Stars EP
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are without a doubt one of my favourite discoveries of this year - they released their self-titled debut album on Slumberland in February, and following a whirlwind of hype, they more than lived up to the expectation. Their early 90s inspired take on shoegaze pop won them countless new fans, and their autumn EP release saw a slight development in sound away from the guitar heavy tones of the February release. Higher Than The Stars features far more electronic experimentation, but keeps their simple, and very catchy shoegaze formula intact. Read my original posts, and pick up the mp3 below.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Higher Than The Stars (MP3)

Higher Than the Stars EP on Amazon

1. Bon Iver - Blood Bank EP

Justin Vernon never ceases to amaze me, and his Blood Bank EP is no different. Released on January 20th of 2009, I have no shame in calling it my EP of the year. Vernon's beautiful mellowed out folk music transcends anything else out there at the moment, and probably ever - there is no-one i've ever come across who puts so much feeling, yet at the same time so much reflection into his music. Blood Bank sees pianos and voice layering to the same extent as Volcano Choir - and certainly exposes a more experimental side to this man, which is increasingly making its way into his releases. Blood Bank was as strong a follow up as anyone could have wished for to For Emma, Forever Ago.


  1. Great list man! Am definitely going to have to put this up on Indie Shuffle at some point, if you don't mind. Honestly, Blood Bank was one of the few Bon Iver releases I've actually enjoyed, but I think I'm in a bit of a minority on that one. And that Beirut one? Hell ya!

  2. Thanks Jason i have no problem whatsoever with you putting this one up on indie shuffle! are you doing any of your own end of year lists? im just doing a best albums of 2009 so feel free to put that one up too.

    i am shocked that you're not a fan of bon iver but fair enough, also i have to admit i'm kind of wishing i'd put beirut higher up now it's been posted.

  3. Lacks Home & Minor, and thus, it's invalid.

  4. saintseneca uses mandolin and dulcimer, but i don't they've used a ukelele. great band, i hope they go further!


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