Well, 2020’s been shit ain’t it? From global pandemics to Tiger King to horrifying incidents causing worldwide protests, this year has given more reasons to have an existential crisis than the last 26 years of my life. Including the college years.
Here on Sounds Good, it’s all about celebrating good music and good vibes, always. So I thought I’d share a list of (some of) my favourite EPs of 2020 (so far!). Is this an article about distracting yourself for a bit as well as celebrating some good music? Absolutely.
Below is a list of 10 of the best EPs that have graced my ears over the last six months. Thank you to all of the artists who sent over their EPs on Twitter. I’d love to have featured all of them but that would result in the longest list ever. Keep an eye out for those end of year lists in December though. I hope you enjoy the list and get stuck in to some new music you might not have heard before.
THE RAD TRADS / 99 IN OCTOBER
Despite releasing two albums already, Brooklyn band The Rad Trads dove into the EP genre to release one of the most entertaining EPs of 2020. 99 in October is made up of five songs that radiate a soulful energy that’s so uplifting, performed with horns and melodies that’ll stick in your mind. The dynamic intro of the title track, the wistful romance of ‘Let’s Go Walking in the Moonlight’, this EP has something for everyone.
GOODWILL, GOOD WILL / AM I BETTER IN YOUR HEAD
I haven’t explored the genre of Emo over the years but Goodwill, Good Will delivered something that made me want to with am I better in your head. The second EP from the US trio deals with anxiety and depression, leading into explosive moments throughout. I was hooked the second the guitars came crashing in on ‘Always, Often’ and was blown away by the sheer passion behind the vocals.
LAUDA / COFFEE & CAREFUL HUGS
Lauda became the first band to takeover Sounds Good on Instagram and for that I hold a special place for them. After loving their new single ‘Bored’ I went on the search for more material and discovered Coffee & Careful Hugs. Much like the title, the EP contains some of the sweetest songs I’ve heard. They’re songs that pop with endless hooks, and have this infectious quality about them that always puts a smile on your face.
CRANKLIN & MOUSE SUCKS / GOO LAGOON
Mouse Sucks is responsible for one of the most entertaining reviews I’ve written because of the seminal Justatethebootyandifeelgreat, and this year he returned with Goo Lagoon. He and fellow artist Cranklin came together to release something that blends Hip-Hop with Spongebob-inspirations. As if that isn’t enticing enough.
LOOSE FIT / LOOSE FIT
Everybody likes a bit of anarchy, and Loose Fit certainly delivered that on their debut EP. I was obsessed with the Australian outfit from the release of their first single ‘Pull the Lever’ and that obsession continues to this day. The thumping basslines that ring throughout really drives home the grit the EP has, and paired with the emphatic vocals and off-kilter guitars, it’s a match made in heaven.
DECO / REAL LIFE
The debut EP from duo Deco is a glorious collection of throwback 80’s tunes that dazzle with Indie-Pop goodness. It’s full of larger-than-life choruses and lyrics worthy of booming out loud. The shimmering synths of ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’, the pure joy of ‘Real Life’ and the sombre farewell of ‘Beaches’, Real Life is a beaut.
DON’T CALL ME ISHMAEL / SUMMER
With three albums released, it was a surprise to see Staffordshire’s Don’t Call Me Ishmael drop an EP. Summer is a wonderful surprise however. Opening track ‘Prague by Night’ is a bright, upbeat number that kicks things off beautifully, introducing us to a world of interesting song titles. I love the little sparks of melody that cut through the heaviness of ‘The Night Chung Ling Soo Died’, and the straight up riffs on ‘Vegan Love Song’.
LUCKY IRIS / TURNS OUT WE SHOULD HAVE STAYED AT HOME
Another debut from a duo, Turns Out We Should Have Stayed At Home introduces us to the sound of Lucky Iris. It’s a dramatic sound that brings emotion to the forefront, but this duo pair it with moments of flair to really drive home the accessibility it has. I’ve had the beat of ‘Get Ready with Me’ in my head for weeks now, and am always struck by the pianos in ‘Take 5 (Why Can’t You See Me?). It’s a very assured debut, and one that proves Lucky Iris have a hold on the music they want to create.
PROPS / WIRED
This modest collection of three songs goes far beyond its track listing. Props appeared out of nowhere to deliver a debut that mixes synths and guitars together in a way that produces something great. Wired’s title track glitches with vocal loops and percussion that sounds straight out of a warehouse, leading into the poppier ‘You Don’t Care’. The EP closes with ‘House on Fire’ which is a wonderful collision of noise that celebrates the left-field nature of Props’ sound.
DO NOTHING / ZERO DOLLAR BILL
2020 has been a great year for fans of Punk and Post-Punk, and Do Nothing is a band who certainly proved why. The onslaught of guitars that forms the basis of ‘Comedy Gold’ sets up the entire EP as one that’s determined to knock you out. Zero Dollar Bill is a chaotic listen with tons of off-kilter ideas and instrumentals that sound demented in parts. I love the way it sounds like it’s falling apart, and that makes me want to continue diving into it every time.