June 21, 2023
Short and sweet.
The art of the EP is alive and well in 2023. A short sharp blast of music to introduce an era, expand a past release or make a completely unique statement, EPs allow a level of creative freedom that can’t be found elsewhere.
Read below the discover the VF team’s favourite EPs of the year so far.
Angel Olsen revisits the Big Time sessions to uncover previously unused material. That Forever Means is ultimately leftovers is a testament to Olsen’s talent as this EP oozes a bluesy loneliness and emotional punch many musicians would kill to capture. Each track makes its own path, however, Olsen’s vulnerability is the powerful through-line.–Kelly Doherty
Initially released as part of Record Store Day, Become follows on from 2022’s excellent Once Twice Melody to build an extended edition of sorts. Whilst Become exists in the same realm as its predecessor, it features some of Beach House’s least obfuscated lyricism alongside their standard world-building, twinkling atmospheres. Stretched across 30 minutes, it’s a soothing listen and another addendum to a great career.–KD
Bring the club to your home set-up with Giant Swan’s Fantasy Food. Leftfield industrial techno bleeds into all-out noise rock across its five tracks, not caring about the discomfort winding up from its relentless throbs. Not one for the faint-hearted, but an impressive release from a duo so astute in their sound.–Becky Rogers
London-based producer and DJ LCY takes to fabric for a challenging yet immensely danceable release. Drawing on mainstream club elements and teaming them with minimalist arrangements, haunting pads and a down-and-dirty basement attitude, He Hymns is a forward-looking dancefloor treat.–KD
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard and The Champs get a Cumbian makeover with Los Bitchos’ covers 7”, PAH!. Both tracks bring as much energy as the group’s originals, with their sunshine psych growing stronger with every hook.–BR
Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against Tha Wall
Nia Archives has had an inimitable couple of years and Sunrise Bang Head Against Tha Wall is yet another slab of joyous contemporary jungle. Nia Archives strikes the balance between ’90s nostalgia and singer-songwriter soulfulness throughout the EP, making for a collection of affirming cuts hinting at a mainstream pop potential. –KD
Nuha Ruby Ra
Machine Like Me
Nuha Ruby Ra brings intensity with Machine Like Me. Vocal whispers clash with the overwhelming percussion section built out of chainsaws and hammers to ultimately erupt into blinding chaos. Machine Like Me is subversive and confrontational–a masterclass of a punk release.–BR
Not The Baby
Louise Macphail and Kristin McFadden, aka Prima Queen, show the power of friendship with their EP, Not The Baby. In just four tracks, the duo harmonises through horn-led alt-rock and acoustic darkness, while coming out the other side still holding hands and laughing, together.–BR
(Ilian Skee Series)
Skee Mask has one of his most accessible turns on ISS009. Treading the line between ambient and dance, ISS009 dials back on the futurist experimentation of previous releases and finds raw emotion in its familiar, comfortable dubstep textures.–KD
Tropical Fuck Storm
Tropical Fuck Storm put their art-punk spin on Jimi Hendrix, The Stooges and more with their covers EP, Submersvive Behaviour. Bizarrely crafted to “right wrongs” after One Direction’s Zayn Malik covered Hendrix’s “Angels” in celebration of the late guitarist’s 80th birthday, their take on “1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)” is 18 minutes of pure outlandish punk magic.–BR