Hello and welcome to Not From Concentrate Music’s list season! Join me as we look back on a great year of exciting and innovative music, and read all about some of our favourites.
Starting off the whole thing are our favourite EPs of the year, an often looked-over format in the end-of-year maelstrom but one that deserves as much attention as the albums (in our humble opinion).
For transparency, I have marked each release that I have affiliation to due to my employment at Caroline International with an asterisk (*). I’ve always thought that it wasn’t worth ignoring releases I have worked on releasing despite the potential for bias, as I listen to tonnes of great music through work that ends up staying with me.
Anyways, let’s get into the list…
- MIKE – By The Water
- Crumb – Locket
- Street Sects – Rat Jacket
- Sudan Archives – Sudan Archives
- Sigrid – Don’t Kill My Vibe
- Ariel Pink & Weyes Blood – Myths 002
- Middle Kids – Middle Kids
- Kamasi Washington – Harmony Of Difference
- Mutual Jerk – 7”
- Powder – H
- Blue Iverson – Hotep
- Pink Grip – Demo
- CCFX – CCFX
- Pink Navel – Raw Navel
- Cate Le Bon – Rock Pool *
- Animal Collective – Meeting Of The Waters
First released for this year’s Record Store Day, Meeting Of The Waters sees two of the Animal Collective – Avey Tare and Geologist – travel to the Amazon rainforest as a way of returning to the elongated psychedelia that AnCo initially built its name on. The rainforest becomes an unofficial member at points, as animals calls and underwater segments interweave with the duos ambient folk to make a beautifully tranquil half an hour of music.
- Nilüfer Yanya – Plant Feed
Unique and genuinely interesting pop stars are few and far between, but London’s Nilüfer Yanya looks like a dead cert on finding her own lane and excelling thanks in part to her Plant Feed EP.
Plant Feed is three tracks filled to the brim with Yanya’s now-signature blend of sparse pop track interwoven with smooth jazz. While not the immediate standout of Plant Feed, Yanya’s vocals are a crucial component that can flip the listener from somber hazes to soaring heights.
- Italia 90 – Italia 90 EP
Despite being named after the 1990 FIFA World Cup, London band Italia 90’s self-titled EP calls back to the brash punk in transition to what would become post-punk in the late 70s. Taking cues from this era in time, Italia 90 offers up the quick, fist-pumping 70 second tracks synonymous with early punk in between crashing extended swirls of guitar distortion. Snarling vocalist Les Miserable shines over these harsh instrumentals, sounding like the protégé of Mark E. Smith after a few pints of lager.
- Miss World – Waist Management
One half of Shit Girlfriend, Natalie Chahal’s debut project as Miss World, Waist Management, is a charming and instantly loveable EP chocked full with catchy garage pop that calls back to Colleen Green and Tiger Trap. Each track sees Chahal take cheeky jabs at consumerism, beauty standards and relationships in the social media age with a tongue firmly in cheek.
6. Yaeji – EP2
The second of the two EPs that South Korean rapper / producer Yaeji has put out during her meteoric 2017 rise, EP2 displays the multi-faceted qualities that she can bring to the table. Whether that’s from dancefloor ready bangers such as ‘Raingurl’ or the chilled out ambience of Drake cover ‘Passionfruit’, Yaeji is a good bet on the next big popstar.
- Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – French Press
Australian band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have created a densely packed 6-song EP filled with the kind of love songs that those starting to fall in love should hear. Loaded with tightly packed guitar tunnels that continually push each track forward, French Press is evocative of the exciting initial stages of a relationship.
- The Garden – U Want The Scoop?
Twin brothers Wyatt & Fletcher Shears – also known as The Garden – have stated that they want to call their style of music ‘Vada Vada’ to differentiate themselves, and it’s hard not to see why. U Want The Scoop? Is a blast of percussive energy pushed forward by raw vocals, which resembles the multi-genre crossovers of Show Me The Body and Death Grips.
- Carla Dal Forno – The Garden
After 2016’s excellent You Know What It’s Like, former F Ingers member Carla Dal Forno returned with The Garden, an EP that continued her winning formula of darkly veiled dream pop. While not being an exact sister to her last album, The Garden is a version of Dal Forno that is more realised and up-front in her vocal presence.
- Denzel Curry – 13 *
During the constant tease of Taboo – the follow-up to the very underrated and well-rounded album Imperial – South Floridian rapper Denzel Curry shared the 13 EP as a taste of what is to come. Coming off great guest verses on more leftfield projects like Show Me The Body’s Corpus, Curry finds his best self by rapping over distorted, grimey instrumentals and transforming into the fire spitting ‘Zeltron 6 Billion’, mixing his furious flows with surprisingly catchy hooks. For a EP filled with so-called ‘demos’, this is one of the best rap projects of the year. A grand warning shot to be ready for whatever comes next.
- Palm – Shadow Expert
Palm are as exciting a band out there as any right now, and that’s in part due to the unpredictability of their work. Take all conventions of the typical rock band; invert them one way, then invert those inverted conventions another way, and then do it one more time for good measure and you have Palm’s math rock-cum-post rock-cum-pop.
This may sound messy on the surface – and it can sound like that at first glance – but each member of Palm bounces off each other in a thrilling fashion. Taking over the usual duties of the percussion section as the pace keeping element of the band, each guitar swipes at and swirls around each other; switching directions suddenly and surprisingly complimenting the angular slashes with smoother intervals. A deliciously mad concoction.