Top 10 EPs of 2012

Top 10 EPs of 2012
Music's DIY culture only seems to be getting stronger with each passing year, and now that releasing new music is as easy as the click of a button, one-off singles and EPs have become all the more prevalent. Our list of the best EPs from 2012 includes everything from self-released collections made available through Bandcamp and on cassette to studio-polished platters released by prominent labels. Even though album-of-the-year lists tend to get all the attention, some of our favourite music from 2012 is found right here in these EPs.

Top 10 EPs of 2012:

10. Bishop Morocco
Old Boys
(Arts & Crafts)

At this point, '80s revivalism is well-trodden ground, but these six dark, angular post-punk tracks are still a welcome treat. Bishop Morocco wear their Factory Records influences on their sleeve, but when they've got songs as good as the wonderfully wonky title track or the teen movie-ready "A Fine Line," we can forgive them for being a little derivative. (A.H.)

9. Weed
Gun Control
(Green Burrito/Cruising USA)

Released on cassette and 7-inch vinyl, the four songs that make up Vancouver band Weed's Gun Control sound a bit like they were run through a garburator, but the ultra lo-fi sound quality doesn't lessen the impact of the pummelling rhythms or soaring pop-rock melodies. Imagine if Japandroids had recorded their new album on a Fisher Price cassette recorder and you've got some idea what this EP sounds like. (A.H.)

8. Solange

Beyoncé's little sister has always just been thought of as Beyoncé's little sister. Trust, Solange's debut work for Grizzly Bear Chris Taylor's Terrible Records imprint, will hopefully do away with that unfair pigeonholing. Produced by Dev Hynes and packed with sunny yet melancholy compositions, it's the most fully formed Solange material we've heard yet. From the tropical heartbreak hit "Losing You" to stunners like "Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work" and "Lovers in the Parking Lot," this seven-song sampler is proof that there's room for another Knowles in your life. (J.H.)

7. John Frusciante
(Record Collection Music)

While John Frusciante's former Red Hot Chili Peppers bandmates went about promoting their instantly forgettable I'm with You, the guitarist released this supremely fucked-up collection. With jumbled beats, guest MCs and fragmented electronica, this is a far cry from the radio-friendly funk rock that Frusciante was once so closely associated with. We have no clue what was going through his head when he composed this collection, or the follow-up full-length, PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone, and that's a good thing. (A.H.)

6. Pregnancy Scares
Pregnancy Scares

The members of Pregnancy Scares have a stranglehold on Ottawa's incredible punk scene. Between them, there are members of Crusades, the Steve Adamyk Band and Male Nurse, along with the Bruised Tongue imprint and the Ottawa Explosion festival. Even without any of those connections, however, the band would be just as affecting. Just take a look at their self-titled Deranged debut, a blistering six-song 7-inch packed with forward-thinking guitar riffs, a pummelling rhythm section and some throat-destroying shrieks. Now they can add releasing one of the year's best hardcore records to their ridiculous resumes. (J.H.)

5. AlunaGeorge
You Know You Like It
(Tri Angle)

The indie world's embrace of futuristic R&B is a popular narrative at the moment, but few do it as brightly or colourfully as UK duo AlunaGeorge (aka Aluna Francis and George Reid). Their breakthrough record You Know You Like It arrived in North America via post-witch house stable Tri Angle, but it's neither atmospheric nor bleak. Instead, it's a brief taste of the incredibly tasteful off-kilter pop this duo is capable of. This doesn't sound like anything that's hit your headphones in a while, but AlunaGeorge will undoubtedly be one of the premier acts of 2013 when they drop their debut album. (J.H.)

4. Monomyth

The self-titled, self-released tape from Halifax indie rock unit Monomyth taps into something loftily ambitious while still sounding raw and messy as hell. "Feeling" re-imagines Panda Bear's sunny Brian Wilson-isms as psychedelic garage rock, while the near-six-minute "Don't Stare" builds to thundering, hypnotic crescendos. Elsewhere, the band venture into shoegazing pop ("Sacred Hand") and noisy folk noir ("Hesse"), making this everything a debut should be: promising for the group's future, but also satisfying in its own right. (A.H.)

(Paper Bag)

Montreal-based sound sculptor CFCF has often had his name thrown into the chillwave hat, but Exercises is further evidence that his brief but enlightened career is nothing to scoff at. Offering up brief, emotionally stirring vignettes, the artist born Mike Silver decided to try out some neo-classical compositions, and the results are stunning. Built on piano and synth, the pieces work together to create what is unquestionably CFCF's most engaging work yet, leaving Exercises a must-have for fans of gentle synth exploration. (J.H.)

2. Mac DeMarco
Rock and Roll Night Club
(Captured Tracks)

Though this would soon be followed by the full-length, 2, this so-called EP (which is actually the length of a short album) provided an intriguing introduction to the former Makeout Videotape singer's sleazy new persona as simply Mac DeMarco. His horndog Elvis impression is funny and kind of gross, but the collection also includes some genuinely fantastic, slippery pop tunes like "I'm a Man" and "Moving Like Mike." More importantly, it gave the world a stellar introduction to Mac DeMarco's utterly massive 2012. (A.H.)

(Warp / LuckyMe)

As separate entities, Montreal's Lunice and Glasgow's Hudson Mohawke are decent electronic producers operating in the post-Flying Lotus instrumental hip-hop zone. Teaming up as TNGHT, however, they offered up a game-changing, speaker-blowing self-titled debut. Combining their individual abilities for mining creative sounds with precision, the duo abandoned chin-stroking electro mixes for mind-blowing Southern rap-indebted trap work. The result was a career-making explosion that will undoubtedly lead to more opportunities (it already landed Mohawke a spot on Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music album Cruel Summer). (J.H.)