Top 20 EPs of 2011 (#5-1)
5.) Sleepwalkers - Your Hell Looks Like Heaven to Me / Bury My Bones
The only Hardcore scene in the US right now that comes close to the quality of bands in Europe is in Boston. Half of the Hardcore albums I loved this year were from Boston. When I listened to Sleepwalkers first EP, Your Hell Looks Like Heaven to Me, I was shocked. “White Cotton Gods” nailed me to the floor with the riffs that open this beast up, and the vocals instantly remind you of Jacob Bannon’s “clean” singing. When a band releases an album that gives me the shock I need to grab my attention, I usually have high hopes for any follow up material. Well Sleepwalkers did not wait for the dust to settle before releasing their second EP, Bury My Bones, just a few months after the first. The only downside to BMB is that it only features two actual songs out of it’s three tracks. Your Hell Looks Like Heaven to Me were the first jabs to soften you up, while Bury My Bones was the uppercut to finish you off. Take notice of this band!
4.) Mall’d to Death - The Process of Reaching Out
Mall’d to Death’s follow up to Can’t Make a Living is more catchy Gruff Midwest Pop Punk, with the slightest hints of Ska upstrokes. If the band would only tour the country, then everyone would be more exposed to their fantastic brand of music. “Hardcore 64” is a song about Nintendo 64, and how the rest of the world has gone digital much like the current wave of video game platforms. Social commentary, politics, carefree fun, all subjects that Mall’d to Death sing about on here. This band should be more well known than they are, so until then I’ll keep telling everyone I know about these guys.
3.) The Clippers - An Evening With…
While trying to think of ways to talk about The Clippers I thought of one analogy. Imagine if Bob Nanna grew up listening to Superchunk and then joined Joyce Manor as their new vocalist. It might be silly to make comparisons like that, so I’ll just say that An Evening With has everything to be a classic album. Everything about this album sounds polished, but not in a overproduced fashion. Like every note was painstakingly recorded to sound as good as it possibly could. Not too bad for a two piece out of Boston.
2.) Childish Gambino - EP
Donald Glover is a modern day renaissance man. Rapper, singer, producer, comedian, actor, writer. Very few people are capable of doing one of those things well. Donald does all of them. Childish Gambino is a project that Donald has been working on for a few years. He released a few mixtapes and some independently released albums. All of them are good, but something happened on this EP. I had seen the video for “Freaks and Geeks” a month or so before the album came out, and enjoyed it but didn’t think much about it. Then I stumbled across this EP while blogwalking and decided to give it a chance, and that was it. I was hooked. I shared it with my friends and they both loved it. Hip-Hop is a genre where humor doesn’t always get the respect that it deserves, but Donald manages to make his songs funny as well as have some really killer word play. His flow is pretty impressive, and it shows that he really puts a lot of effort into his lyrics. I don’t listen to a ton of Hip-Hop, but I know what I like and CG has what it takes to get my attention.
1.) Mixtapes - Hope Is For People / How to Throw a Successful Party
2012 is going to be known as the year that Mixtapes blow up. They’ve been building buzz for a few years and after the positive reaction they’ve received so far bodes well for their first proper full length on No Sleep. So why are they getting so popular? It probably has to do with the amazing songs the write. Sweet, sad, funny, and so god damned catchy! Hope is for People came out in the earlier part of 2011 and mostly plugged in and light hearted. How to Throw a Successful Party came out in October as a bonus for Maps and Companions, and it’s all acoustic tracks that are a bit more melancholy. So which one is better? I hate to cop out, but they are equal. Both EPs showcase how well Mixtapes are at playing acoustic and electric. For me, Mixtapes were the soundtrack to my Fest experience this year. Their set on Saturday at the Double Down was incredible, and when they invited everyone on stage for the last two songs, they cemented themselves as legends of The Fest. Expect to see Mixtapes play a huge stage at Fest 11.
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