2021 End Of Year Lists: EPs Of The Year

Including mostly debuts from fresh and emergent acts, the quality of 2021's EPs list lends weight to the impression that the circumstances during the pandemic's second year have emotionally moved new underground music, and pushed it toward a creative mindset of unprecedented conditions; contrary to the substandard state of the consistently valueless mainstream.

With many releases bubbling under these ten, these are D//E's EPs Of The Year 2021.


10. Bonnuit - Bonnuit
From the early catalog of the newly formed Off White House Records, Victoria, BC band, Bonnuit, translate their seventies and nineties underground rock and post punk influences into something of their own. The first impression of the band's sound strikes like a more contemporary and darker version of Pixies, yet, Bonnuit's debut EP also appears like a veritable exploration of the human psyche.

 

9. Fehlt - Figure Two
British newcomers, Fehlt, deliver a rather cultivated and dark take on shoegaze and post punk, maximizing on the influence from sci-fi novels which their singer and songwriter, Ewan Barr, took in during the pandemic. Produced and mixed by Barr and his fellow band member Ben Udin, and mastered by Slowdive’s Simon Scott, Figure Two comfortably feels like the beginning of a great shoegaze hopeful.

 

8. All Under Heaven - Collider
Heavy, grunge-bent shoegaze with a lot of fuzz, and a nice dichotomy between softness and grit comes members of the New Jersey hardcore band, Shackled, as part of the new project, All Under Heaven. The band's four-track debut EP, Collider, is easily on par with the shoegaze's traditional values, and at the same time it teems with sentimentality.

 

7. Zetra - From Within
In little time, UK band, Zetra, have managed to turn themselves into consummate purveyors of gothic rock and metal aesthetics and blissful shoegaze atmospherics, combining the best of both worlds toward something cohesive and spellbinding. Keen and motivated currently, Zetra will follow the five-song release, From Within, with another EP which has already shown equal signs of darkness and greatness, and the band being notably prolific as of late.

 

6. Nicole Marxen - Tether
An exercise on the grieving process, Nicole Marxen's first solo endeavor is not completely easy to grasp due to the sorrow and deep affection of its concept, but musically, it's a mesmeric work of art whose darkness can translate into means for catharsis. Member of the art rock band, Midnight Opera, Marxen instantly made her act a considerable new name in the sphere of dark experimental electronica, darkwave and beyond.

 

5. Jealous - Lover/What’s Your Damage?
Technically a double entry, Berlin via Tel Aviv punks, Jealous, had a lot of engaging material to put forward, and their double EP, Lover/What’s Your Damage?, profiles the band for their direct and gritty mixture of glam rock, punk, country and traditional rock 'n' roll sounds. One of the multiple hits on Oliver Ackermann's (A Place To Bury Strangers) new label Dedstrange, Jealous have been one of the most wicked breakthroughs of 2021.

 

4. Bloodslide - Bloodslide
Mike Wallace of Preoccupations, Greg Ahee of Protomartyr, and singer/bassist AJ Lambert created the new project Bloodslide which released their first self-titled EP composed of four multimedia works. Musically, Bloodslide dwell in the darker and more experimental aspect of post punk, and through the intricate visuals, the immaculate production by Sonny DiPerri (Protomartyr, DIIV, Animal Collective) and their overall clear vision for something sci-fi-bent, yet, realistic and existentially aware, they make an impression which lives up to the expectations raised by their lineup.

 

3. Violet Silhouette - SEMIPERMANENTDEREALIZATION
From West Palm Beach, Florida, Violet Silhouette generate their sound from elements of new wave, post punk, synthpop and industrial, and the result is one of the most underestimated darkwave releases of the year. SEMIPERMANENTDEREALIZATION clearly shows proof of songwriting maturity, the kind of which most artists obtain many years into their careers. Additionally, Violet Silhouette's existentialist ideation is one more plus to the suasiveness of their first release.

 

2. Deaf Dance - fraucast
Led by Jerry Narrows, formerly of Flaamingos, Deaf Dance have been reliable with their releases which so far include a full length and four EPs. Created partly in the Mojave Desert where Narrows moved "to be closer to the crows" during the pandemic, and partly in Pasadena, CA, six-song EP, fraudcast, has the makings of a darkwave exemplar, having been inspired by some underground classics. While dark times require dark art, Deaf Dance capture the pulse of present age's dispiritedness quite perceptively.

 

1. A Place To Bury Strangers - Hologram
Almost twenty years after their formation, New York's A Place To Bury Strangers are in notably great shape. For the band's refreshened lineup Oliver Ackermann brings in an old accomplish from the days of the great Skywave (John Fedowitz) and the rest of Ceremony East Coast (Sandra Fedowitz), and creates a dynamic, noisy and heavy five-song set which helps the band blast off all revived, reaching the heights which their legend deserves. Hologram has been a revelation for APTBS, and it will be succeeded by a full length for which the expectations are already high.



1. A Place To Bury Strangers - Hologram
2. Deaf Dance - fraucast
3. Violet Silhouette - SEMIPERMANENTDEREALIZATION
4. Bloodslide - Bloodslide
5. Jealous - Lover/What’s Your Damage?
6. Nicole Marxen - Tether
7. Zetra - From Within
8. All Under Heaven - Collider
9. Fehlt - Figure Two
10. Bonnuit - Bonnuit



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