Best EPs/Mixtapes of 2011 Round-up

Along with my decision to put an end to the Albums of the bygone year, EPs of worthy mention must, too, be dispatched with. A number of 2011 EPs offered the most replay value in my library. Contending with full-fledged albums of the year in quality, they only lack in the LP-unique categories of greatness like storytelling structure and conceptual cohesion. Anyway, their individual songwriting deserves recognition, so here they are:

The Peach Kings – The Pits

Thieves and Kings is the badass track of the bunch, sportin’ a Black Keysish guitar riff and down south vocals. Wooden Heart offers the irresistably seductive croon of frontwoman Paige McClain Wood. The duo’s sense of humor shines through on Digs lightening the mood a bit as harmonics add some subtle zest to a relatively soft-spoken song.

Tim Fitz – Beforetime EP

Tim Fitz (to my knowledge, no relation to The Fitz and the Tantrums’) self-released two EP’s for free on Bandcamp this year – Beforetime being the more intriguing of the two for me. On both, though, he cuts up and rearranges percussion and guitar for you to both rock and shoegaze to, depending on the track. Keep on the watch for Fitz, if this is what he’s releasing for free I wanna know what he’s gonna be charging people for in the near future.

Dirty Gold – Roar EP

Beachy guitars and caribbean percussion back Dirty Gold’s nostalgic, summery vocals throughout this shimmering EP. If the tracks comprised a full album, it would certainly have been one of the best of the year, so it definitely deserves a moment in the sun here.

Joywaves – 77777

On 77777, Joywaves have covered or sampled from eleven recognizable songs from our not-too-distant past in an awesome manner, infusing chillwave, electro-pop, and shoegaze. Hitting Beach House, The Flaming Lips, Miike Snow, and even Limp Bizkit, the outfit transforms these into entirely new songs with a range of emotion, not necessarily parallel to that of the original. Going through a slew of moods, the mixtape of sorts moves in and out of space travel-tinged themes.

Made in Heights – Aporia: In These Streets

First off, props for an awesome band name. Love it. Producer, Sabzi, mixes influences from hip-hop and electronic instrumentals with singer, ‘kellzbellz’s, airy vocals to create eerie nighttime soundscapes to chill in…maybe don’t listen alone in the dark, though. I count this twelve-song release as an EP because it includes only six original songs accompanied by six instrumental versions sans ‘kellzbellz’. Although Sabzi does have the heaviest hand in the production, without the cut and looped vocals working as another instrument, the beats seem a tad lacking.

We Are Trees – Girlfriend EP

This EP is full of catchy, angsty melodies and a backbone of sounds that cross-pollinate these relatively lo-fi indie songs.

Amerigo Gazaway of Gummy Soul – Fela Soul

In this mashup, the smooth rhymes and beats of De La Soul are met with the wealth of instruments and style of the king of afrofunk, Fela Kuti. Need I say more? I think not.