It’s almost time for a new year and a new you but not before one last look back at 2015. Below you’ll find a collection of the very best EPs released this side of january 1st. Some of the bands listed will put out albums that will define your 2016 while others are only just getting started. either way, they are all excellent.
OUR LIST IS UNORDERED – MUSIC IS Always the winner (and WE LOVE THEM ALL IN DIFFERENT WAYS.)
‘The Callous Heart’ is Creeper’s call to arms. Drenched in fairytale mystery, this glittering chapter of escapism and unity is where their story really begins. They snarl, they cavort and they tread the boards with a twinkle in their eye. Attempting to define the band by mere influences is as needless as it is tiring. This is Creeper and there’s no one else like ‘em.
Spending the past few years in the shadows of stadiums, Arcane Roots have struggled with expectation. Pulling away from the current, the band retreated. ‘Heaven & Earth’ sees them return with a simplified mission statement; They want to make you move.
‘If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves’ strips the band down to their primal instinct of making massive bangers and from here on out, nothing can stop them.
‘Over Easy’, the breakneck offering from Diet Cig, is not only an everything-on-red showing of reckless belief but also a delicate and considered play. The stories say the pair met at a house party and across these 5 tracks, from the enchanting slow dance of ‘Scene Sick’ to the purging ‘Harvard’, it’s as if they never left.
Hand Drawn Dracula
The opening chimes of ‘You’re Scary Now’ are a tentative soundcheck before the song kicks in, all murmured fears and ringing melody. From here on out, ‘Tape’, the debut release from Chastity is a white-knuckle ride. ‘Manning Hill’ soundtracks an unrelenting descent while ‘Saliva’ demands distance. The churning finale of ‘Nevermind, Lucifer’ might turn down the abrasion but the whispering chaos still finds a way under the skin.
Fuck your nineties revival. Milk Teeth aren’t a callback to the good ol’ days, they’re a triumph of the present. ‘Sad Sack’ is their carnival celebration. Full of garish attitude and a smirking sense of belonging, the band impress their distinct personalities into the succinct and cohesive charge of the record. Taking this energy and colour into a full length, everything’s coming up Milk Teeth.
Big Scary Monsters
Cassels present more ideas in their all-to-brief debut release than most bands manage in a career. Fine tuned to impress, the two-piece strut about the fourteen minutes of ‘Hating Is Easy’ with a dangerous cocktail of youthful bliss and knowing confidence. Charged with frustrations and an ear for a rugged hook, Cassels know how to make a lasting first impression.
The surprise release of this EP, gathering together standalone singles Revenge Of The Nameless Ranger‘ and ‘The Thrash Particle’ alongside new tracks and remixes, saw Modern Baseball getting up and dusting themselves down after a gruelling year. Firing on every powerful, emotional cylinder ‘The Perfect Cast’ sees MoBo at their most weighted.
Taking the spotlight thrown on them by 2014’s ‘Infinity’, Against The Current explored their darker side on ‘Gravity’. On the surface they’re still the same band who poured a little more sugar on Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ but, be it the grit of ‘Talk’ or the swagger of ‘Fireproof’, ATC proved they can rock with the best of them.
“I know, I know where I’ll be,” howls ‘Top Of My Head’ as Muskets match drifting thoughts with furrowed brow confidence. Throughout ‘Spin’, their Venn Records debut, the band refuses to stand still as they take ideas this way and that.
From the party skip of ‘Tate Modern’ through the raging ‘Colourview’ until the final, assured hops of ‘Drowsy’, Muskets chase new directions at every turn.
As the gentle introduction of ‘Let’s All Be Friends’ grows into grand swells and grander ideas before giving way to the stuttering ‘Capability, Capacity’, Bellevue Days announce their arrival. Across the four tracks of ‘The Sun Came Up When We Were Young’, the band tells tall tales of loss, love and life. Their world may be weary but their music – vibrant, atmospheric and forward moving – is anything but.
Max Raptor is furious. Shaped by the world around them, ‘Damage Appreciation’ sees the band fighting back. Arms swinging as they march down the crippled high street, the band scowl, snarl and rally around the four blunt objects that ‘Damage Appreciation’ swings.
Pure Noise Records
The title screams melancholy, longing and nostalgia and the following four tracks are as defeated and reflective as you’d expect. Despite the heartfelt confessional of ‘Saudade’, Boston Manor have never sounded so full of life. Every track is a little bleak and a little damaged but, whether the scattergun fire of ‘Asleep At The Wheel’ or the insular hammer of ‘Trapped Nerve’ every one finds big ideas to share and a reason to carry on.
Few bands get close to capturing the energy of their live show on tape but Ho99o9, who have somewhat of a reputation for chaotic performances, perfectly trap the lightening in a jar with their ‘Horrors of 1999’ EP. From the brooding stalk of ‘Days of Vengeance’ to the all out rampage of ‘Savage Heads’, Ho99o9 are still impossible to pin down. The best you can do is try to keep up.
Big Scary Monster
The first post-‘Gnarwolves’ material is nastier, meaner and heavier than anything the band has put their name to before. Inspired by DC Hardcore, the record sees the band’s agitation and confusion shaped into four hulking tracks of unifying frustration and powerful resistance. Even the acoustic ‘Blondie’ sees the band flirt with being lost before stepping into the shuddering might of ‘Bad Dream’. The band continues to surprise but their voice remains true. I guess this is growing up.
Using ‘Viewpoint’ as a launch pad, 2015 has seen ROAM relentlessly touring. From the opening thrash of ‘Over Your Head’ through the bouncing ‘Warning Sign’ until the skip of ‘Safeguard’, ‘Viewpoint’ is a record to get things going. Whether that’s crowds around the world or an ascent that shows no signs of slowing, ROAM are masters of kicking things offs.
More from Features
Slipknot’s new DVD, ‘Day of The Gusano’ documents the Iowa band’s long-awaited and first ever show in Mexico City in December 2015 – something they now get the share with the world.
Marmozets are back! Over the summer they smashed the UK with a handful of live dates, a slot at Reading & Leeds plus new tracks ‘Play’ and ‘Habits’ – and it’s only just the beginning.