This year was a particularly strong year for these short artistic statements, whether they were from new collaborations, veterans or musical newcomers. Read about our favourite 10 below.
To see more of our year-end coverage, head over to our 2015 in Lists section.
Exclaim!'s Top 10 EPs of 2015:
10. Allie x
(Universal/Label X/Sleepless Records)
Toronto's Alexandra Hughes caught Katy Perry's attention in 2014 with her debut single "Catch," but despite that boost, the release of her EP CollXtion I seemed to have flown too low under the radar. It's as surprising as it is disappointing; Allie x makes the kind of effervescent dance-pop that rivals (and betters) huge selling artists like Ellie Goulding and Tove Lo.
But if there's one thing Allie exudes on CollXtion, it's a desire for singularity; she encodes cryptic metaphors in her lyrics, disguising them in warm, gooey hooks so alluring that the Cronenberg-ian body horror in "Tumor" feels rather comforting. That this is reportedly the first of five "collxtions" indicates that Allie x is just warming up.
It's a shame that G.L.O.S.S., or Girls Living Outside of Society's Shit, garnered more attention via some transphobic tweets by one detestable band than for their debut EP, because these Olympia punks absolutely ripped it. Self-proclaimed outcasts, G.L.O.S.S. wrote five anthems for the "queers, trans women, women of colour, gender queer femmes, and feminists" out there dealing with ignorant bullshit each and every day.
Hardcore, as a genre, can be a release for the oppressed, and this five-piece spewed plenty of vitriol back at their oppressors, with stompers like "Lined Lips and Spiked Bats" and "Targets of Men" taking down their targets with swift and blinding justice. "We're from the future!" screams Sadie Switchblade, boding well for more releases to come.
The easiest way to describe Harrison's music would be "cute," but that'd be a shallow reading of the kind of emotional music he makes. While the production is squeaky clean and punctuated by bird chirps, 8-bit sounds and handclaps, he's got a firm grasp on melody and an emotional intelligence that underscores the five tracks on his 2015 EP, Colors.
On single "How Can It Be," singer Maddee — who appears on three of the five tracks here — offers a yearning, emotional performance that adds a sense of sadness to the bubbly production. It's the kind of nuanced juxtaposition Harrison mines throughout Colors, suggesting the Canadian producer's got talent beyond his years.
7. FKA twigs
On her first release since her incredible debut full-length, LP1, the artist born Tahliah Barnett opts for a more menacing, rough-edged sound, and it suits her well.
"Figure 8" is a pounding nightmare of a track, all spinning synth creaks and her more assured, richer voice, while "In Time" is perhaps her most straightforward take on modern R&B yet, melodically strong and robustly arranged. The centrepiece, though, is "Glass & Patron," which evokes LP1 but hits harder and cuts deeper, thumping powerfully in the song's middle and again at the end.
M3LL155X is the sound of an already great artist discovering the true extent of her powers — and frankly, it's kind of scary.
After releasing two irresistible albums last decade, Norway's Annie has only trickled out a handful of songs the past few years, in which countless pop stars have bitten her style. Her collaborative A&R EP with Richard X in 2013 obviously stirred up Annie's drive to get back in the game, and on Endless Vacation, she sounded more determined than she has since 2004's Anniemal.
Once again teaming up with X, Annie was clearly in a poignant state of mind, longing for her lover over both the Balearic vibes of "Cara Mia" and the new age-tinged "Out of Reach." The aerobics-ready "WorkX2," meanwhile, is charged with the same NRG as Kylie's "The Locomotion." Let's hope she takes her recent UK No. 3 chart success as indication that we want more.