2018 End Of Year Lists: EPs Of The Year

  • Posted on
  • 10.12.18


A lot of great extended plays happened this year, as we have clearly crossed over to a time where the shorter format isn't just a means for a new band to introduce itself, nor for a major act to get advantage of its lesser material. In 2018 the EP seems to be just as standard as a regular LP, and it is consequently embraced by both the artist and the audiences of all genres.

Our list of favorites for 2018 goes like this...





10. Ride: Tomorrow's Shore



Before 2014, Ride was a celebrated name confined to the glory days of their past as a band, but after reuniting for a series of successful live dates, they moved on to create one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling indie shoegaze albums of 2017. The early months of 2018 saw the release of another exceptional EP by the Oxford band, which at first may sound like an effortless expansion to Weather Diaries, but it ultimately does come to an engaging and memorable listen, worthy of Ride's history and notoriety.



9. No Joy / Sonic Boom: No Joy / Sonic Boom



The flair of Jasamine White-Gluz meets with the production skills of Peter Kember of Spacemen 3, or No Joy and Sonic Boom come up with an eccentric collaborative EP which tactfully mingles dreampop with electronica, discreetly influenced by trip-hop and more things nineties.



8. Thou: Rhea Sylvia



Of all the worthy abundance that Louisiana heavy hitters, Thou, came up with in 2018, the grunge-infused EP, Rhea Sylvia, alongside the full-length, Magus, contained some of the finest music we've heard from the prolific band in many years. Their unstoppable productivity this year provided further proof that Thou is currently among the list of the most intriguing extreme metal acts in the world.



7. Protomartyr: Consolation



Although not that close to the post-punk fervency of last year's Relatives in Descent, Protomartyr released a mature, meaningful EP that featured contributions by Mike Montgomery of Ampline and Kelley Deal of the Breeders. Consolation, together with the collaborative singles with Spray Paint and Preoccupations, kept our interest in the great Protomartyr alive in 2018, and hopefully there won't be long until we hear from them again.



6. Blushing: Weak



As Blushing go on establishing themselves as a very active and notable live presence, Weak, released at the dawn of 2018, was a firm forward step for the two husband and wife pairs that comprise the band. Fuzzy and melodious, Blushing's sophomore recording effort is the embodiment of their elegant, yet, rigorous take on shoegaze and dreampop, made in Austin, TX, home to some of the finest music the world has ever listened to.



5. Converge: Beautiful Ruin



Comprised of material from The Dusk in Us sessions, Converge's Beautiful Ruin includes four very brief, yet, incredible pieces of wistfulness and aggression that could have all easily made it onto their latest excellent full length. It is true that it may feel incomplete and in need of something that would express more from the band's atmospheric side, however, dissonant or melodious, it is plainly evident that Converge are still capable of turning everything they touch into staggering art.



4. Spotlights: Hanging By Faith



No matter how good the remixes from their recent album, Seismic, may be, it is the EP's closer, a brilliant take on The Cure's Faith, what ties the music into a perfect, genre-defying blend, impossible to overlook. Brooklyn's Spotlights explore shoegaze, post rock, hardcore, industrial and extreme sludge metal, and come up with something completely authentic that works equally great for both the original versions and the remixes.



3. The Altered Hours: On My Tongue



There's a lot going on in The Altered Hours' darkness and the quality of their solid, multifarious blend. Shoegaze, raucous rock 'n' roll, aggressive post punk and psychedelia; influences worn on the band's sleeves and executed to the letter, according to the tastefulness that their dark sound conveys. On My Tongue is a fantastic set of four songs, not only worthy of the acclaim of its promising predecessor, the 2016 LP, In Heat Not Sorry, but even more engaging.



2. Cold Cave: You & Me & Infinity



The world has been missing a new Cold Cave album for much too long, but thankfully Wes hasn't been shy with the EPs and the sporadic single releases. On You & Me & Infinity Cold Cave are a full band, and Wes Eisold's songwriting range shows no signs of weakness, on the contrary it skillfully lingers from murky darkwave, to upbeat synthpop, while being existentially poetic from start to finish. It works pretty great both as a private, headphone listen, and for a night out at the goth club.



1. Sextile: 3



LA's Sextile followed last year's Albeit Living with the standalone single, Current Affair, early in 2018 which showcased traces of the band's approach on a more minimal sound. That was just a mere beginning, because months later the upcoming duo dropped a stunner of an EP, a five-song release on Felte, simply titled 3 and carrying major portion of the band's uncontrollable energy. Citing influences from Neue Deutsche Welle, the work of futurist writer, Luigi Russolo and the post punk excellence of Gang Of Four, 3 is a repeat-worthy listen, from a favorable act that has achieved so much in so little time.




Again, in actual list form...

1. Sextile: 3
2. Cold Cave: You & Me & Infinity
3. The Altered Hours: On My Tongue
4. Spotlights: Hanging By Faith
5. Converge: Beautiful Ruin
6. Blushing: Weak
7. Protomartyr: Consolation
8. Thou: Rhea Sylvia
9. No Joy / Sonic Boom: No Joy / Sonic Boom
10. Ride: Tomorrow's Shore



ZR

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