Hendo’s Top 10 EPs of 2015
Posted: by Henderson
Sometimes an EP can be even better than a full length album. Just a few great songs that add to the artist’s discography or try out a new style. 2015 had a ton of tight splits. 7″s, and EPs. These were my favorites. Check all of these bands out ASAP:
10) Leatherneck – Monochrome / Derailed + Keep Me Awake
Leatherneck had a busy year in 2015 with 2 EPs and a name change in between (formerly Bohica), and I would be remiss if I did not mention these accomplishments. Leatherneck make fuzzy heavy indie in a way that is incredibly accessible and addicting. Basement esque vocals over waves of guitar isn’t exactly a new formula for UK bands, but Leatherneck nail it. The emotional pull is there. The energy and songwriting are there. This band has all the signs of a debut album of the year contender whenever they decide to put one out. The bass line in ‘Keep Me Awake’ sends me marching out the door.
9) Blis. – Starting Fires In My Parents House
This EP begins with crooning vocals over explosive but sporadic guitars, then builds into screams, back to slow crawling singing and then boom screaming breakdown. This opening is a perfect representation of the rhythmic symmetry found on these four tracks. With a similar energy to early Taking Back Sunday, Blis. surprise with their versatility and technical skill. Echoing production and crisp guitar parts make for sharp sounding songs that cut right into your emotional center.
8) In Writing – While You Were Away
This is a pure emo record. Sometimes you just want to pin your ears back and dive into this so called emo revival 100%. In Writing’s While You Were Away is just that record. Emotional lyrics that hit hard over tight guitar driven instrumentals. Right in the sweet spot. I was so stoked I got to release this album on my All Sounds record label. As soon as I heard it for the first time I was struck by how well these songs built on the work of other similar artists like Into It Over It and You Blew It! This band is going to be one to watch in the future as they continue to develop their style.
7) Slutever – Almost Famous
Slutever are messy, honest, and punk as fuck. This is no hardcore scream fest, and sonically its more indie than anything but there is a brashness to their music that is truly punk rock. It’s just right in your face, simple nonstop songs with a somewhat lo fi vibe. It just feels real and angry, reminding me of past artists like Be Your Own Pet, especially when they slow it down for tracks like ‘I Miss America’. While the songs aren’t especially complicated the songwriting is impressive. These songs definitely keep you interested, and I know I would love to see it live. These girls can shred.
6) Scout Boys – what if, like, when we di…
This has been a release I’ve been hooked on all year. These are some warm indie rock tracks with a slight pop punk vibe. It has everything you would want in tracks like these: smart lyrics, fun hooks and drums that make you want to pull out the air drum set and drum along. Making it even better is the Long Island energy of it all, which was also found in this year’s Oso Oso release and past bands like The Movielife. Scout Boys are back in the studio right now working on their debut LP and I have some high hopes.
5) Moses – The Library EP
Moses make somewhat dreamy indie rock, but it is their solid arrangement and the web of sound the create that makes them so intriguing. The lyrics are interesting and reflective throughout this EP and their mellow but driving sound makes their music perfect for thinking deeply. Whenever you think you have a song figured out, it breaks into its second movement, livening things up with a fresh tempo or vocal style. When they employ alternating male/female vocals, both styles are successful in their own way especially on the track ‘Blur’, where some light screaming even occurs, like I said, it’s hard to pin this band down.
4) Ernie – Dog Park EP
Sometimes I just want to lay in my bed, put on some headphones, and think about my life. There is no better music for this than Ernie (formerly Aggrocragg) and their new EP is no exception. Ernie’s songwriter Lamont writes some of the most succinct poetic verses of anyone in the indie scene. Some of the lines on these songs you can mull over for an hour or even entire day. You will drift away to the hypnotizing basslines and upbeat yet hazy energy of the tracks. There is more to Ernie than just another indie band. You can hear the amount of thought that is layered within these outwardly simple tracks.
3) Dikembe – Ledge
On their last LP, Mediumship, Dikembe morphed their emo rock sound into more of an indie rock emotional Brand New type sound. The result was the same solid Dikembe songwriting, but with a slightly different edge that sounded more adult and thoughtful. Ledge takes that new style and refines it further, tightening the instrumentals and songwriting in a way that makes the songs hit even harder. Dikembe have grown up, and so has their music, but the results look promising.
2) Rozwell Kid – Good Graphics EP
Rozwell Kid are the most fun thing in music. They play enthusiastic Weezer esque (the old good Weezer) rock n roll jammed pack with insane guitar solos. When I interviewed their lead singer Jordan, he told me he “just likes music with guitars in it”. Yep, makes sense. And the lyrical content is also crazy fun. They write songs about growing sideburns, eating hummus, going to the beach, and other silliness I completely relate with. But the wackiness isn’t without substance, under the Ace Ventura exterior of these tracks lies a thoughtful introspectiveness. It’s like this music was written for aliens like me. Do Rozwell Kid even exist? Are they just in my head? God, that’d rule.
1) Diet Cig – Overeasy + Sleep Talk/Dinner Date
There is something special about Diet Cig. Upon first listen their tracks are fun, upbeat indie rock with catchy hooks and tight riffs. However, the more you listen to more these tracks sink in. They are honest, thoughtful, and unexpectedly well written. This band is brand new! How are they already so good! Not to mention that they are a 2 piece that brings the energy of a full band. Maybe it’s some Halloween magic. Diet Cig recorded their first EP, Overeasy, on Halloween and released it in early 2015. Right away it had me hooked, and as I listened more I dug the tracks more and more. I needed more Diet Cig asap. Thankfully I was rewarded with a sweet 7” later in the year which was just as good. This is a band that can write about boring towns, stupid ex’s and other relatable darker stuff and make it a hell of a good time, and live they ratchet up the energy even more! Word on the street is they are working on an LP for 2016. I can almost guarantee it will be a contender for AOTY.