Here's a rundown of some of my most memorable EPs this year, in no particular order...
BONZAI - Lunacy
It took me a little while to get into this one. For the longest time I just kept listening to the first song "I Did" and ignoring the rest, simply because they didn't capture me as much as the first. However, after returning to it more recently I can definitely appreciate how innovative Bonzai is and how many intricate details have gone into making just these few tracks. This EP would go OFF live!
JORJA SMITH - Project 11
I spoke about Jorja a little bit on the BBC Sound of 2017 longlist but not too much on this EP. The only criticism I can give to this EP is that they should have put "Where Did I Go?" on it too. Other than that, I love her voice, I love her sound, and I'm excited to hear something unforgettable on her full length debut.
TASH SULTANA - Notion
I was very lucky to come across this one. It all sort of happened by chance; one minute I was listening to Bloc Party or whatever new thing I downloaded on my Spotify that week, and the next minute I was halfway through "Synergy". I have to say I was so impressed that I had to put it on repeat. At first the track sounded like some kind of Foals live interlude but when Tash started singing it was a whole different energy. Loved this find.
TOM MISCH - Reverie
After having heard and loved Tom's debut I have to say, it had some influence on my thoughts of the EP. Tom still has that signature sound but I guess once you hear a full length, an EP is just never quite the same. Still, as always a fabulous vibe, great features and perfect for road trips - I just wanted more of it!
CAN'T SWIM - Death Deserves A Name
This and Seaway might just be my two favourite "rock" discoveries this year! I love this EP. Chris' voice is really memorable and backed up by the band's fantastic songwriting abilities - I can definitely see exciting things around the corner for them. Especially now that they're signed to Pure Noise - most of my favourite pop punk/rock comes out of this label so I know they're in good hands.
ELLA MAI - Time
This was a Shazam discovery - I heard her song "No Rush" being played and when I listened to her EP some time later I was wildly impressed. Particularly at the fact that she was British, I had no idea from her singing voice - a part of me is always proud when I find great British talent. With artists like Jhene Aiko and Tinashe kind of taking a backseat in the mainstream at the moment, this is the perfect time for a voice like Ella's to rise up.
ARDYN - The Valley
First thing I thought after hearing the title track was "this reminds me of so many different artists - Kins, Junip, Nick Mulvey, etc..." but at the same time, this is something wildly different. This EP really caught me and I love the lead singer's voice, such a fascinating tone and edge to it - it really adds a uniqueness to the songs. I could happily have listened to a full record from Ardyn and hope to soon.
RAYE - Second
After discovering her through the BBC Sound Of list I had a listen to the EP. After hearing the single "I, U, Us" I could hear that Raye had a voice with the potential to move pretty easily across genres, and so when I heard the second song on the album "Shhh" I was already expecting the EP to have a lot of different influences. Unfortunately it played it a little safe on the rest of the songs but safe was still skillful.
SHAKKA - The Island
Okay, here's a voice that definitely didn't play it safe! I've had my eye on Shakka for a couple years now but never really latched on until listening to this EP. He's done a lot with just a few tracks - dropping tracks with multiple influences, from dancehall to trap to soul, I expect I'll be hearing a lot of him in years to come. I'm gobsmacked he's never been on a BBC Sound Of longlist.
Flume's just been great this year all round. Skin was great and this EP was certainly a companion that held it's own. If the album needed more tracks some of these could have been great as interludes. I've been a fan of Flume since the self-titled so it's always great to hear new music where his production skills have grown - he's undeniably become a household name now. This EP couldn't have come from anyone else.
If you'd like to listen to any or all of these EPs I've dropped them all in a convenient Spotify playlist for you right HERE.