Short list here; for me, 2011 was not the year of the EP. I hung under albums and Bandcamp-ed collections so when it came to look at this list, I felt a little embarrassed for myself that I hadn’t sought out more bite-sized sets of plastic and bits, but hey, these things happen.

The Holloweyed’s top 11, yes 11 (I like them all!) EPs are below. The Top 100 Photos of the Year are already up. Top Albums of the Year will go up later this week. I’m still on the fence about doing a Top Songs of the Year post…


1/ Holy Other- With U (Tri Angle)

Delicacy in electronic music is a powerful thing and the ghostly, nocturnal creations from this (currently) Manchester-based producer are very much arrested by their finespun attention to detail. Five subliminal tracks that move from hip-hop, R&B and dub influence give Holy Other the top spot in this list. Now, an LP quickly please.

Hear: “Touch”


2/ Caves- Adolescent Dystopia (Self Released/6 Bit Collective)

Downright surprising this was; the work of a Los Angeles producer named Luka, these six songs expose their creator as one very much in touch with pop structures, chillwave drift and strategically-placed samples. Beat heavy and carefree, the EP was upped to his Soundcloud profile just days before he received his first bit of press. If he continues this trek, I’d start telling players like Washed Out to watch out for Caves. Grab the full EP as a pay-what-you-want download right here.

Hear: “Sakura”


3/ Taragana Pyjarama- Taragana Pyjarama (Fool House)

There’s something in a cover and young Denmark-based Nick Eriksen (formerelly releasing music as Eim Ick) delivers an attention-grabber with his debut S/T EP, out for Fool House. Shimmery, intriguing and careful Balearic-spiced house swoon.

Hear: “Sundanese Blonde”


4/ Darkside- Darkside (Clown and Sunset)

As if releasing his fantastic debut Space is Only Noise this year wasn’t enough, 21-year-old Nicolas Jaar started an imprint, Clown and Sunset, hooked up guitarist/bassist Dave Harrington (ARMS) and dropped the four-song Darkside EP near the year’s close to cherry-top his already breakthrough year. Electronic subtly with a slow-picked guitar undercurrent. Join the Darkside, Luke.

Hear: “A1″


5/ Horrid Red- Pink Flowers (Soft Abuse / Burundi Cloud)

Featuring members of Der Teenage Panzerkorps, Horrid Red explore the theatrical emotion found in post punk’s textures. Members Edmund Xavier’s and Bunker Wolf feature. Pink Flowers, one of the pair of the group’s ’11 EPs (an album was also released this year) is pleasingly diverse and moves from patient atmospheric numbers to charging slink and discordant crawl.

Hear: “Foehn Winds”


6/ Wavves- Life Sux (Ghost Ramp)

Smog City stoner Nathan Williams has never had any trouble having fun with his music and on Life Sux, released on his own Ghost Ramp imprint, the Weed Demon himself delivers a strident and confident set of songs, this time slowed a bit down from those royal Beach days. Featuring odes to rockstar wishes (“I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl”), how being the new kid really might suck for everyone (“Bug”) and hooking up to collaborate with ladyfriend Bethany Best Coast and Fucked Up, the EP comes out saying life might suck, but at least you’ve got a few good jams to play along the way.

Hear: “Bug”


7/ Little Girls- Cults (Hand Drawn Dracula)

Darker, more abrasive music shined for me in 2011. Cults, the debut EP from Toronto musician Josh McIntyre’s Little Girls moniker is (much like The Soft Moon) a one-man party heavily steeped in post-punk and goth gloom. Fading to grey, the set is murky, claustrophobic and melodic yet sprinkled with diversity and adventure and honestly, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Hear: “White Night”


8/ Tape Deck Mountain- Secret Serf (Lefse)

San Diego’s gazers Tape Deck Mountain went through lineup changes following the release of their great 2009 Ghost LP and instead of working to replace the spaces left, the small band explored them, letting go of whatever map between shoegaze and dream pop they once walked with. These four songs are floating, lost in a cosmic haze of drone and reverb. Echoing from deep within a cave, Serf hits your ear way at the other end.

Hear: “It Goes Down”


9/ Dum Dum GirlsHe Gets Me So High (Sub Pop)

The Dum Dums had a great 2011 not only because of their much-loved (and deserved) Only in Dreams longplayer. Very early in the year, just after Dee Dee lent her vocals to that great Zodiacs track “Faraway Friend,” Sub Pop dropped this little gem: 4 songs and a Smiths cover. A shape of things to come, High showed us that these ladies really could take always-overused themes like love and loss, vintage girl-group structures/Spector pop and package them all together in such a way to both ellipse their ‘lo-fi’ past and to show all those talking down on the scene that there actually were really solid “songs” beneath all that racket.

Hear: “He Gets My High”


10/ Tashaki Miyaki- Tashaki Miyaki (Sounds of Sweet Nothing)
I know what you’re thinking, another new Smog City girl-fronted band prone to get lost in their own gaze. I’ll say, well, almost true. A new project released by the always-good Sounds of Sweet Nothing imprint out of the UK (UMO, Whirl) named for the two makers’ names, one Tashaki, the other Miyaki, this EP creates a carefree vibe where loves lost and loves gained seem like the most important things in the world, or, maybe the universe, considering the band’s cover art. Mazzy Star, Nico and JAMC fans take note. I’m hoping for a solid 2012 from these guys.

Hear: “Get it Right”


11/ The Soft Moon- Total Decay (Captured Tracks)

I thought the one-man post punk gloom-off had only one competitor in Luis Vasquez and while I like the Little Girls’ game just a bit more, Captured Tracks delivered a pretty convincing serve with Total Decay. Much of the same monotone, slinky release as the S/T debut LP, The Soft Moon do what they do well, it’s just when we’re playing the game, Decay didn’t hit the board like Cults in 2011.

Hear: “Repetition”