Archive for December, 2012

The Best EPs released in 2012

2012-12-31

Every year I try to release my Best of list of the best music I’ve found in 2012, and every year the list gets bigger. This year I’m breaking it up into two lists:  EPs (which I consider to be less than 30 minutes) and full albums. This is the list of EPs. Here are the rules:

• Must have been released between November 1, 2011 and October 31, 2012 (As listed on Amazon)
• Must be available for purchase via Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, CDBaby, Bandcamp or band’s website. Can’t pimp a CD that you can’t buy or download legally
• Must be less than 30 minutes, or it goes into the full-length category
• Must not be a live album
• Must not be a greatest hits package
• Must not be a box set or a collection of previously released material

Those are my rules. Disagree? Make your own list! With that in mind, here’s my favorite EPs released in 2012:

1. Aaron Tasjan – August Moon & The Thinking Man’s Filth

Aaron Tasjan - August Moon

No, having “August Moon” on this list doesn’t go against my rule of previously-released material, as these are new recordings, and great ones at that. Keys by Bryn Roberts, strings by Eleanor Whitmore. Drums and percussion by Mark Stepro. Guitars by Aaron and and Chris Masterson. Background vocals by Mark Stepro, Eleanor Whitmore and Aaron bring new life to classics like “Life Is A Movie,” this might be the best version of this song I’ve ever heard. “The Thinking Man’s Filth” is more rocking than “August Moon,” especially the blistering guitars on “Hole In The Wall” and “Dirty Angel.” And like “August Moon” … this rerecording of “My Camera” might be my favorite version of that song.

Favorites: Fake Tattoo, Life Is A Movie (August Moon); Dirty Angel, My Camera (The Thinking Man’s Filth)

Both EPs are available on his Bandcamp site

2. Phantods – Music Is Dead

Phantods - Music Is Dead

It’s hard to include this on my list as the band has gone on hiatus, but damn, for three and a half albums, they were amazing. This short, three-song release was in conjunction with a final show in Columbus, and a screening of a documentary called “Meet The Phantods.” As creative as the band’s members are, they will show up down the road in another Columbus band, but it was a joy to see them on stage and I still smile whenever a Phantods song hits my iTunes playlist.

Favorites:  All three songs are great.

Buy it at Bandcamp for a $1. Yep. One dollar.

3. Ryan Smith – The Waiting

Ryan Smith - WaitingAnother Columbus artist here who makes some interesting electropop, taking generous use of looping, layering and a bevy of sounds that seem to come from everywhere and nowhere, especially when listening with earphones, or in the car. It’s like a sonic treat for your brain. And wallet, because he’s posted it for free on his Bandcamp site. And the only thing better than free music, is good free music.

Favorites: Four Letter Word, Give Me A Sign

Download it for free from his Bandcamp site.

4. David Ford – Austerity Measures & Ford 4.2

David Ford - Ford 4.2

As long as David Ford keeps releasing music — either full albums or EPs, he will find a spot on my favorites. “Austerity Measures” starts off rocking and remains true for all five songs, whereas “Ford 4.2” starts off with a short instrumental called “Overture” before getting into Ford’s typical singer/songwriter stuff, but “Ford 4.2” is much softer and piano-oriented than his usual guitar and layering stuff. Shows great growth and belief in letting the words rise versus the layering and sequencing he’s done in the past. “Austerity Measures,” on the other hand, rocks.

Favorites: “How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love My Credit Card” and “Life Is Good” from “Austerity Measures” and “What’s Not To Love” and “Philadelphia Boy” from “Ford 4.2”

Buy both on iTunes • Buy on Amazon • David Ford’s Website

5. We Are Public Radio – We Are Public Radio

A great band from Akron that opened for The Clarks at Musica. At the time I didn’t recognize Andy Dolson (formerly of Dolson, a band I’ve seen open for Red Wanting Blue twice, I think. Regardless, this collaboration with Patrick Boyle resulted in a great six-song EP and some airplay on The Summit. The keys and guitars make a great mix. My only wish was this was longer than 23 minutes.

Favorites: Hurricane, Lonely September, Could Be You

Buy it on their Big Cartel site • We Are Public Radio’s website

6. Amos Lee – As The Crow Flies

Amos Lee - As The Crow FliesEverything this guy does winds up on my list, every year. He’s just amazing. From the lyrics, to the delivery, to musicians he has in the studio with him (last year’s ‘backing band’ for his “Mission Bell” album was Calexico). This EP is some of the songs that were recorded for that CD but never released, and feature Joey Burns and John Convertino from Calexico, so if you liked “Mission Bell” you’ll probably like this as well.

Favorites: Simple Things, Say Goodbye, May I Remind You

Buy it on iTunes • Buy it on Amazon • Amos Lee’s website

Think I missed something? Let me know and I’ll give it a listen.