four standout EPs
may 2, 2019
Picking just four EPs to talk about was really hard to do. Honestly, picking favorites for anything is really hard to do because I like EVERYTHING!!
But when thinking about it, I chose to talk about these four EPs because to me, they are “perfect EPs.” Perfect in the sense that they each manage to give you everything you wanted in a small amount of time. I think the longest one on here is 28 minutes. It says a lot if you’re able to create an entire project that is impactful and memorable, all under 28 minutes. That’s why I consider each of these “perfect” from start to finish. No bad eggs to be found…
Tirzah - I’m Not Dancing
This is one of those rare records that I truly, truly never tire of. Sometimes I listen to it every week and still love it. Where to start… Tirzah’s style is SO unique, different, and refreshing. Broken beats and jumpy, off-kilter sounds. Everything in this EP is sporadic and unexpected in the most perfect way. It’s “wrong” in a lot of ways, but that’s what makes its so fucking good. It’s unconventional. It’s 10 minutes of dreamy backwards electropop.
Also worth noting, this EP dropped in 2013 but has stood the test of time in its uniqueness. Every song is my favorite song. I honestly can’t pick. Most notably, I’ve yet to come across anything similar to any of Tirzah’s earlier work. It feels incomparable to me. If you know of something, hit ya girl up because I’m fiending for more!
Title Fight - Spring Songs
Not just one of my favorite EPs, but this is honestly some of my favorite stuff Title Fight has ever put out. Every song RIPS from start to finish with an angry melancholy that pours through the speakers. The riffs on “Blush” paired with Ned’s soul-crushing lyrics gear you up to be emotionally destroyed for the rest of the record.
I also particularly love the drums on this record. They set the tone for everything. Take the intro to “Receiving Line” for example. Man... it’s slow. It hurts. And it’s so fucking sad. Everything slows down when that song comes on. You start thinking h-e-a-v-y about your own life. Kinda like how Drake’s lyrics get people calling their exes back… lolol.
Things pick back up with “Hypnotize,” which is a track that perfectly captures Title Fight’s transitional style between Floral Green and Hyperview. The song has little bit of each record in it. Listen to both records and then listen to “Hypnotize.” It feels like Title Fight dropped this EP at the perfect time, right when they were transitioning into a new chapter of growth and change. Anyways, I LOVE TITLE FIGHT.
Tokimonsta - Creature Dreams
HEAR ME OUT BEFORE YOU GLAZE OVER THIS. Tokimonsta’s older work……... SLAPS. Also, Tokimonsta just as a person is super fucking talented. Although I’ve never really been able to get down with any of her other stuff after this EP, this one is a dream.
I place a lot of value on this EP because it was a gateway into a part of music I hadn’t yet discovered. Creature Dreams made a lasting imprint in my brain. It was very different from everything else I was listening to at the time. I was still heavily into indie rock, rap, and hip hop. But, I still remember being seventeen and blasting this EP in my mom’s backyard all summer while I wasted away in the sun. To reiterate the impact this EP had on me: My Instagram handle was “darkestdim” for a very long time. Very embarrassing, lol.
“Little Pleasures” did -- and still does -- move my mind and my body every time I listen. It’s happiness floating through sound. I feel drowsy when I listen to it (in a good way). I feel light. It puts the softest smile on my face.
“Little Pleasures” and “Darkest Dim” have always been my favorite tracks. They also happen to be the only two with vocals, but hey -- purely instrumental music wasn’t on my radar back then. I didn’t “get it” yet. Creature Dreams was kind of my gateway. Sure, I’d listened to electronic music prior to that, but the difference was that Creature Dreams stuck with me.
NxWorries - Link Up & Suede
This EP is special because it was the first project that these two POWERHOUSES made together. Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge are absolutely incredible. So naturally talented. Knxwledge makes producing sound easy. If J. Dilla, Kaytranada, and Kanye West all uploaded their brains into one overlord robot producer, it would be Knxwledge. And everyone knows how talented .Paak is with his drums and vocals, but even moreso, his ability to be fluid, dynamic, and unexpected all at once make him stand out. The first time I saw a video of him performing, I was like “damn. I’m not forgetting about this guy. This is something special.”
Anyways, Link Up & Suede is a perfect EP because it subtly gives you exactly what you were expecting from the project, without overdoing it. It gives you a taste of what this duo is capable of and leaves you begging for more. “Suede” absolutely steals the show. There’s nothing like it out there. The skittish kicks and hi-hats create a sexy, funky ebb and flow to the track. .Paak’s lyrics are exactly as you’d expect: flirtatious, sexy, always a bit humorous. “Dntstop (Interlude)” keeps it classic hip hop with a 1970’s funky soul sample at the beginning and a radio skit at the end.
Lastly, we need to talk about “Droogs.” As the last track on the EP, this is where Knxwledge drops all his… knowledge (LOL I’m sorry I had to). The dude is a mad scientist. He chops n’ screws .Paak’s track “Drugs” and what he ends up with an entirely different song and sound. It’s slowed down, funked out, and a complete 180 from the original chaotic and fervent version.
Link Up & Suede is a perfect example of how to say a lot with music without trying too hard. It’s the perfect ramp-up for Yes Lawd! which they dropped a year later, fully exercising all aspects of their talents.
So there ya have it - some of my favorite EPs and why they fuckin’ SLAP. Go and listen! And share your favorites with me :)