An EP is a curious musical item: too short to be called an album, too long to be a single, in my pre-Spotify days I used to see them as a good way to buy “half an album” to see whether I liked a band or not.
Anyway, here are four new electronic EPs I’d be happy to spend money on!
Tenek – EP2
Regular readers on this blog will know I love Tenek, whose album On The Wire featured in our Top 10 Synthpop Albums of 2010 (although strictly speaking, Tenek do a lot more than just synthpop). Their new EP certainly provides lots of listening pleasure: two fantastic brand-new songs (with two versions of each) accompany alternate takes of two of the best tracks from the album, making this EP a brilliant Tenek sampler. What Do You Want? is one of Tenek’s catchiest songs to date, with some inspired flourishes of sax, violin and cello broadening the soundscape. Elusive is a grittier number, with a classic new wave vibe and surprisingly barbed lyrics. Another bonus for those buying the CD version is the flipside coverart, cheekily dispelling any notions of innocence presumed from the front cover. It’s these sort of touches that you miss out on when you only get your music from Spotify or iTunes.
- Website: tenek.info
- Currently not on Spotify
The Girl & The Robot – Silence/Borderline EP
This excellent maxi-EP from The Girl & The Robot seemed to have slipped under the radar when it came out a few months ago. Surprising really, given the acclaim heaped on their debut album last year. I found the album good but it didn’t really excite like some other 2010 releases. The Silence/Borderline EP has turned me into a true-believer though: along with two strong new songs (I particularly like Borderline, even though I don’t understand the Swedish lyrics), this EP has that rare achievement where every remix is worth repeat listens. Special mention must go to Another Love (Robot Girl Remix – C64 Version) – I said last year that The Girl & The Robot were a bit like Thermostatic without the chip-pop; well this mix adds that chip-pop with a vengeance!
Spotify: Silence/Borderline EP
Queen of Hearts – The Arrival EP
The mysterious Queen of Hearts arrived on the scene early in the year with a tantalizing one-minute teaser video for a song called Freestyle, a hi-NRG number that seemed to imply Goldfrapp and Kylie had better watch out: there was a new pretender to the electro-disco throne. Fast-forward eight months and the Queen of Hearts has finally released her first EP. Although all ostensibly pop, there’s a good degree of variety in the five tracks on The Arrival EP. Lead song Shoot the Bullet is a catchy synthpop number, while Black Star dances with dubstep. The aforementioned NRG track Freestyle closes the EP magnificently: I’ve listened to this song countless times throughout the year and it has yet to lose any of its power.
Vile Electrodes – Debut EP
Topping my February list of 10 New Electro Bands to Watch in 2011 were Vile Electrodes, the English electro-fetishists who’ve been releasing some incredibly sumptuous synthpop songs on SoundCloud throughout the year. Now, finally, the Viles are ready to release their debut EP. Peeling back the limited-edition black latex cover reveals three songs dripping with style and substance. Play with Fire is the de-facto first single, picking up where Client left off and instantly marking Vile Electrodes as accomplished song-writers. Headlong has a slight Soft Cell feel to it, driving inexorably towards some final destination. Final track My Sanctuary is a brand-new, not-even-on-SoundCloud slower number, and I’m reliably informed that it’s “totally brilliant!”
- Website: facebook.com/vileelectrodes
- Currently not on Spotify