Sunday, December 15, 2013

Top 15 EPs of 2013


Here are my favorite EPs of 2013.  There were so many great releases, that in order to do them all justice, I had to give the EPs their own list. 


15.  Ubergeek by Otisburg
From my review –
The band’s sophomore EP, Ubergeek is a five song collection of pop punk goodness.  The EP opens with the title track, an ode to geekdom, before jumping into “Mistakes” and a re-recorded version of “Hey Jennifer” which originally appeared on Born Yesterday.  Both songs really showcase this band’s ability to write catchy as hell pop songs and are probably the two best songs in their catalog.  Up next is “Beth’s Café,” a fun song about a favorite eatery that I couldn’t help but smile through because of its silliness.  The EP closes out with the extremely good instrumental demo bonus track “Stop This Car and Pull Over I Think I'm Going to be Sick.”  [...]  What Otisburg really has going for them is the ability to craft great pop songs that are catchy and fun.
My Review



14.  Adelaide by Mike Felumlee
From my review –
His latest EP Adelaide, is four songs of bubbly pop goodness, which isn’t that surprising seeing as he has played drums in Smoking Popes and Alkaline Trio.  These songs are much closer to the folky style of power pop of Mike Park, than the pop punk of Felumlee’s former bands.  Either way, this is great stuff.  The songs are well crafted and expertly performed (almost entirely by Felumlee).  Adelaide is a must for fans of power pop
My Review



13.  Sun Down California by Val Ventura 
From my review –
Val Ventura’s Sun Down California is one of the best pop punk releases of past few years.  Channeling the energy and hooks of ‘90s pop punk greats, Ventura takes the genre and makes it her own.  Recorded at the legendary Sonic Iguana with Mass Giorgini behind the board (and on bass), Ventura played all remaining instruments and in the process put together three classic songs that would sound perfectly at home next to any of the classic releases from Lookout and Dr. Strange Records.



12.  The Great Escape EP by Turf War 
From my review –
T urf War plays some of the best Americana twinged power pop that I’ve ever heard.  The Great Escape EP sounds like a record born of equal parts “Twist and Shout” era Beatles, “World Class Fad” era Paul Westerberg, “Sally, I’ve Been Shot” era Two Cow Garage, “Chasing Heather Crazy” era Guided By Voices, and Bash & Pop.  The best thing about this EP is that it is just plain fun to listen to. 
My Review



11.  Purple Heart & I-95 (In Another Life) by The Feels
Purple Heart & I-95 (In Another Life) are the first two songs released by Christian Stefos Migliorese’s (ex-Candy Hearts, the Unlovables) latest project The Feels.  The songs are both ridiculously catchy with a ‘90s indie pop/rock feel to them.  This is certainly a band to watch and a must for fans of Candy Hearts, Smoking Popes, Broadcaster, and The Lemonheads.




10.  Losing Days EP by Frank Turner
From my review –
His latest release, the four-song Losing Days EP, sounds like an extension of Tape Deck Heart.  So in other words, it’s awesome!  The four songs include the title track (originally from Tape Deck Heart) along with the brilliant “Hits and Mrs,” “Longing for the Day,” and a cover of Biffy Clyro’s “Who’s Got a Match.”  The EP is exactly what one would expect from Frank Turner--that perfect mix of folk and power pop played through the heart and soul of a lifelong punk rocker.
My Review



9.  Girl’s Got Money / Yeah? Yeah! By Kurt Baker
From my review –
Simply put, Kurt Baker is the best thing going in power pop today.  I honestly don’t think this man had a bad song in him and his latest EP Girl’s Got Money / Yeah? Yeah! is just more proof to this undeniable fact.  Seriously, songs like “Girl’s Got Money” should be huge because they are that damn good.
My Review



8.  Shocking by The Bouncing Souls / The Menzingers
From my review –
The Bouncing Souls and The Menzingers have joined forces for a killer four song split EP.  Each band brought a new song and a cover of one of each other’s songs to the table resulting in a high energy EP of four fantastic punk rock anthems.  The two original songs are classic Bouncing Souls and Menzingers material, but often when bands do splits like this that include covers of each other’s songs, that is what people (or at least me) get excited about.  Needless to say, both bands completely deliver the goods.
My Review



7.  Train Wrecks by Habits
From my review –
Habits’ debut EP Train Wrecks is a five-song collection of melodic punk rock anthems that mixes elements of post hardcore, alt country, and plain old rock ‘n’ roll, or as Dying Scene’s Carson Winter put it, “Honestly, Habits sound a little like a melting pot of punk, and that’s okay.”  I’d like to add that it is better than okay…it’s freaking AWESOME!  [...]  These five songs are filled with raw intensity, a great sense of melody and hooks, and choruses that dare you to not sing a long.
My Review



6.  This Wall is Dedicated to Liam and His Mates by Nobody, Ever
From my review –
Nobody, Ever plays powerfully emotional melodic mid-tempo punk rock that mixes elements of pop punk, post hardcore, emo, melodic hardcore, indie rock, and classic rock.  The band’s sophomore EP This Wall Is Dedicated To Liam And His Mates is nothing short of brilliant.  The five-song release is filled with the types of anthems that fans of everything from Iron Chic to The Gaslight Anthem to Red City Radio to The Bouncing Souls to Superchunk should love.
My Review



5.  Crimes by Crimes
From my review –
Every once in a while a band will come along with a release that grabs you from the opening notes and leaves you with your jaw on the floor wondering where in the hell this pure brilliance has been hiding.  That’s exactly how I felt listening to Crimes self-titled EP.  Simply put, this four song EP is nothing short of perfect with songs that blend hooks with big choruses, heartfelt vocals, and that perfect mix of rock, punk, post hardcore, and power pop.  Crimes is the kind of release that could easily be loved by fans from all over the rock ‘n’ roll landscape.  Fans of Avail, Hot Water Music, The Menzingers, Social Distortion, Seaweed, Hum, Doughboys, Cheap Girls, Samiam, Dead To Me, and just about everything in-between need to get this EP because it very well may be the best thing to come out this year.
My Review



4.  Bruise Banner by They Stay Dead
From my review –
Their new song “Bruise Banner” is a killer blast of melodic hardcore driven by double barrel guitar work of Danny Black and Matt Owsley and the thundering rhythm section of John Hernandez on drums and Klein on bass.  They Stay Dead is so incredibly tight as a band, you’d never know that Klein had been gone for three-quarters of a year.
My Review



3.  The Wedding 7” by Masked Intruder & Dan Vapid and The Cheats
From my review –
What do you get when two of the best pop punk / power pop bands in the world get together and put out a split seven inch EP in honor of a mutual friend’s upcoming wedding?  Absolute brilliance, that’s what.  On this split EP, Masked Intruder and Dan Vapid and The Cheat have each written a song for Solidarity Recordings’ Randy’s July wedding.  Both songs are the typically fantastic mix of pop punk and power pop that you would expect from these two bands.  In fact, this EP is a must for fans of these bands and the pop punk and power pop genres in general.
My Review



2.  Six to Midnight by The Warning Shots
From my review –
The Warning Shots’ debut EP Six to Midnight is f-ing brilliant!  Led by Mark Lind of The Ducky Boys fame, The Warning Shots play high energy, no frills, catchy as hell, sing-a-long punk rock.  The four songs on Six to Midnight are some of the best punk rock songs of the year; seriously they are that good.  Fans of bands like The Ducky Boys, Dan Vapid & The Cheats, Stiff Little Fingers, the Bouncing Souls, The Loved Ones, and The Copyrights need to get Six to Midnight.
My Review





1.  Texas & Tennessee by Lucero
From my review –
Lucero’s latest EP Texas & Tennessee is an instant classic.  This four song collection is a prime example of how great this band can be.  On the heals of 2012’s Women & Work, Texas & Tennessee puts back some of the edge and bite that was missing from last year’s full-length back into the mix.  This EP encompasses everything that is great about Lucero – lovelorn and whiskey soaked lyrics; music that perfectly blends southern rock, country, and soul played with the heart of classic punk; and production that sounds great without sounding slick.  This is the kind of record that I can listen to over and over and over again and never grow tired of hearing.
My Review


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