With every year ending comes the reflection of the music released and how it has impacted us. This year is no different as we bring you some staff picks of the top EP releases, fresh face albums, and the big name albums. Each list contains 13 releases so in the words of Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park, ‘Hold on to your butts’.
Top 13 EPs.
This year saw a solid release in the EP department. Though we are doing different album lists by band size, the EP pool is a collective of bands from all sizes, signed, and unsigned.
1. Speech Patterns- ‘Without A Sound’
FFO: Saosin/Picturesque/Too Close To Touch
Why It Matters: Ambience with catchy hooks is always a recipe for success. Soaring melodies and layers of sound with big choruses are infectious. Replay value is very high.
2. Softspoken- ‘Pathways’ (We Are Triumphant)
FFO: Life On Repeat/Sent By Ravens/Conditions
Why It Matters: Very few bands can make the bridge between post-hardcore and active rock seem so easy. Through the chugging of guitars, you hear an ambient lead with powerful vocals sitting beautifully on top. It has just enough edge to punch you, but not enough to pull off a knock out.
3. Crazy Eighty Eight- ‘No Words Spoken’
FFO: Underoath/Saosin (both self-described)/ Paramore
Why It Matters: A meme king, Jarrod Alonge, taking on a serious project with the powerful vocals of Lauren Babic combines the elements of post-hardcore with hard rock. The EP hits hard and has you singing along every step of the way.
4. Nothing Left- ‘Destroy & Rebuild’ (Facedown Records)
FFO: Advent/Converge/For Today
Why It Matters: From the ashes of For Today while adding in members from Silent Planet and A Bullet For Pretty Boy, comes an onslaught of heaviness we weren’t ready for. Breakdowns, panic chords, and intense vocals plague this monster. Disclaimer: It’s tougher than your band’s EP.
5. Shamecult- ‘Shamecult’ (Stay Sick Recordings)
Why It Matters: Catchy. Heavy. Melodic. Everything I love in one dose that I can’t get enough of.
6. LIMBS- ‘SLEEP’ (Equal Vision Records)
FFO: Underoath/Beartooth/Norma Jean
Why It Matters: Produced by Underoath axe master Tim Mactague, LIMBS joins in the ranks of the new bands ushering the iconic era of post-hardcore that influenced the genre. The old school is now becoming the new school. We are stoked.
7. Valleyheart- ‘Nowadays’ (Rise Records)
FFO: Movements/From Indian Lakes/Citizen
Why It Matters: Introspective matters involving life, faith, and love are in these lyrics touching different parts of human emotions. The music is relaxing while lyrics carry heavy weight.
8. Life Pilot- ‘Too Hot For Killing’
FFO: The Chariot/Every Time I Die/Norma Jean
Why It Matters: If these guys from down under aren’t on your radar, then they’ll force themselves onto it. We have not heard a band who could replicate what The Chariot could do and did until now.
9. Invoker- ‘Resist’
FFO: Suffokate/Chelsea Grin/Black Tongue
Why It Matters: Showcasing two different sounds vocally via two frontmen, this EP brings everything heavy with an ambient backdrop. It is pissed off, angry, and downright unapologetic.
10. Nine Shrines- ‘Misery’
FFO: DED/From Ashes To New/Righteous Vendetta
Why It Matters: Bringing their brand of active rock, this EP is singalong ready as well as mosh pit ready. It is infectious and one you can’t get enough of. It sounds like it belongs on the big Spring festivals ie: Carolina Rebellion, Welcome To Rockville, etc.
11. Bilmuri- ‘Banana’
FFO: Memes/Memes/Moar Memes
Why It Matters: On the real, this thing is a relaxing listen. Good vibes, fun times, and great tunes. Johnny Franck is a master and showcased it all on this EP. Also memes.
12. Our Last Night- ‘Selective Hearing’
FFO: It’s Our Last Night, you should KNOW them by now…
Why It Matters: Constantly evolving their sound, Our Last Night have developed musically and pushed their ever-growing lyrical ability to question things, make a statement, and impact their fans. While their last full length ‘Younger Dreams’ in our opinion was better, this EP was a solid release.
13. Acres- ‘In Sickness & In Heath’
FFO: Northlane/Invent Animate/Architects
Why It Matters: Passion. Emotion. Raw. Three things to not only describe this EP but the band as well. The music touches you each time you listen and the lyrics demand your attention. Definitely a powerful release that incorporates dynamics all the way through.