2020 End Of Year Lists: EPs Of The Year


The vast majority of D//E's favorite EP releases of the year are rather dark-bent, and all of them come from fairly new, cunning and auspicious acts which unquestionably have a lot to give in the future, assuming there is one...

10. DARK: NIGHTMARE


Darkwave newcomer, DARK, emerged with a lot of confidence and released a series of independent singles, embracing the genre's tropes instead of trying to avoid them, and coming up with highly stylized visuals for each one of the five impressive tracks. Those singles eventually became the NIGHTMARE mini LP which also works great as a solid set of DARK's early offerings, and a harbinger of the newer material promised to follow.



9. Friendship Commanders: HOLD ON TO YOURSELF


Heavy rock duo, Friendship Commanders, followed their Steve Albini-produced latest full length, Bill, from 2018 with an EP, this time working together with another super producer, Kurt Ballou. The new release found the band more focused and realized compared to their rawer earlier material, while their songwriting continued being edgy, punchy, ardent and socially aware.



8. Theyrgy: Exit Strategies


Chicago's Theyrgy delivered a wonderful debut of genre mingling oddity that was their five song EP, Exit Strategies. With attributes of post punk, industrial and darkwave invariably in the mix, Exit Strategies hit pretty hard from the first listen, while that old twenty year-old I Decline demo which eventually became Walk Away gets effortless extra praise as one of the year's most remarkable tracks.



7. Magic Cobra: Magic Cobra


Philadelphia's Magic Cobra stood out with a self-titled five-song release mastered by Kramer, and sounding incredibly dense and well constructed, emitting vibes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre at their peak. The EP is also wholly genuine, as the band coined the self-described term, 'witchedelic rock' to accurately describe its content.



6. Total Rubbish: Triple Negative


One more auspicious psychedelic garage rock act from Philadelphia, Total Rubbish, trigger off the gritty rock aura of BJM and the early Dandy Warhols, and their first ever EP came all fuzzed and imposing, citing influence from older films, ultimately introducing a superb band which may seemingly have an old soul, but definitely appears fresh and invigorating.



5. True Faith: True Faith


Our first occurrence with Boston's True Faith showed a band that was very good at coming up with bleak and memorable darkwave, and in only six months time the duo has already presented giant leaps of progress, with their debut album ready to come out to the world in a few days as one of the first notable releases of 2021. Their four song EP on Negation Is Freedom is an accurate documentation of True Faith's songwriting potency, while its rawness adds an extra coating of somber charm.



4. Holy Fawn: The Black Moon


After the very strong and acclaimed debut album that was Death Spells from 2018, Arizona's Holy Fawn proved that they've been much more that just a lightning in a bottle through the three-song post rock/experimental/doomgaze brilliance of The Black Moon. From profound gloom to extreme intensity and back, the band's latest EP places Holy Fawn firmly among the most favorable acts of a genre whose best days may have assumedly passed, but as long as such imposing new acts keep coming along, it's far from done.



3. Orochen: Thylacine


Gothenburg band Orochen balance between atmospheric darkness and extreme heaviness, and although their sound draws from a wide range of influences, it can be rather inimitable. Their new EP, Thylacine, exhibits clearly the band's focused search for growth and evolution, and by way of its meticulous musicianship and sophistication it justifies how Orochen consider their act more that a musical group, and identify themselves as a collective.



2. The Know: wearetheknow


One of the finest pure dreampop releases of the year belongs to LA-based husband/wife duo, The Know, composed of Amusement Park of Fire member and acclaimed producer, Daniel Knowles, and vocalist and director, Jennifer Farmer. The new act established their sound on the hazy and dreamlike properties of their songwriting and production quality, and were fueled by their appreciation for sixties pop and timeless shoegaze, as they exposed their influences subtly, and came along with a concise set of songs which was purely their own.



1. GHXST: Dark Days


Having been around for a decade without releasing a canonical LP yet, shoegazers, GHXST, have mastered the art of the EP, and their newest is also one of their strongest. Dark Days draws inspiration from the book of the same name by James Baldwin, and it's another exquisite expression of GHXST's combination of a few heavy and ponderous musical styles which eventually becomes an amalgam which they perceive as their distinct take on doom.



In actual list form...

1. GHXST: Dark Days
2. The Know: wearetheknow
3. Orochen: Thylacine
4. Holy Fawn: The Black Moon
5. True Faith: True Faith
6. Total Rubbish: Triple Negative
7. Magic Cobra: Magic Cobra
8. Theyrgy: Exit Strategies
9. Friendship Commanders: HOLD ON TO YOURSELF
10. DARK: NIGHTMARE




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