Albums are great, but don’t overlook the EPs!
With genres ranging from R&B, pop, garage rock, soul, rap, lo-fi, house, folk, EDM, and indie rock, you’re bound to discover at least one new favorite amongst our top EP picks of the year. All of the projects selected here are in English, and they come from places from all across the world. As a bonus, we’ve even added a small “Recommended if you like” section for each EP for those of you in a hurry.
So what are you waiting for? Get listening!
Dumbfoundead – CAFE BLEU EP
[Born Citizen / Transparent Arts]
Korean-American rapper Dummie (previously known as Dumfoundead) warmly welcomes listeners to his own all-inclusive space at Cafe Bleu, also the title of his latest EP. Jazz-esque instrumentals artfully overlaid with chill beats meets Dummie’s more mellow (compared to his previous works) rapping style, coming together to form a truly sonic treat.
Think elevated lounge music of the finest caliber. – Clarissa Aben
Recommended if you like: Rap with slick production, cool cafes, smoky lounges, K-Town, “Michael Jackson eating popcorn”, getting WEIRD
Grrrl Gang – Not Sad, Not Fulfilled EP
Indonesian trio Grrrl Gang’s debut EP Not Sad, Not Fulfilled is cheerful 60s-inspired garage rock about love. But be wary, these songs pack a punch!
“Won’t you stay a while and break my heart?”
Recommended if you like: Peach Kelli Pop, Bleached, The Archies, 60s rock groups, Sylvia Plath, jamming out in the garage
keshi – THE REAPER EP
“Through his thoughtfully penned lyrics, he somehow captures the raw emotions we all know too well, yet can’t find the words to express. So give the EP a listen— there’s a little something for the angsty romantic in us all.” – Clarissa Aben
Recommended if you like: John Mayer, lo-fi chill beats, slight Drake and Post Malone references, confused relationship statuses, screws and chimes, crying in your bedroom
Liance – The Rat House EP
Brighton-via-Michigan musician Liance (James Li) chronicles his journey throughout Michigan on The Rat House EP. It’s a contemplative memory album filled with meticulously layered folk songs, filled to the brim with references to lesser known local landmarks and universal experiences.
RIYL: Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, mandolins, wintery snowscapes, grabbing a chicken salad and iced coffee for lunch
NIKI – Zephyr EP
[Indonesia / USA]
Indonesian singer NIKI’s debut EP Zephyr is modern, stylish R&B project packed with a fun #throwback aesthetic and instantly quotable lyrics about rocky relationships. At only 19, she’s already the epitome of cool.
Recommended if you like: R&B, 88Rising, Aaliyah, vintage clothing, screaming the phrase “OH MY GOD, I’M SO GONE” at the top of your lungs, raising your heart rate like it’s interest, gossiping with people named Nina, Jenny, Lisa, Chrissy and Cassandra
NYK – UNLOVABLE EP
[Sony Music Malaysia]
Malaysian artist NYK’s debut EP is hot and fiery, filled with high-key bangers. At once bouncy, chill, and catchy, UNLOVABLE EP might be the year’s sexiest EP.
Recommended if you like: Pop music, radio-ready jams, sexy vocals, FWB, nostalgia about art exhibitions
Peggy Gou – Once EP
Berlin-based DJ Peggy Gou is one of a few rising artists mixing Korean/English lyrics with hypnotizing house beats, pioneering a genre. Soundtrack your night drive with Once EP and mellow out.
Recommended if you like: Yaeji, park hye jin, the rising genre of K-house, funk, Boiler Room, flailing around in a dark European warehouse
RINI – After the Sun EP
Slow things down with the sultry After the Sun, Filipino-Australian RINI’s first official EP. Seductive, slow, and chill, it perfectly sets the mood for a romantic night out with a lover.
Recommended if you like: R&B, soul, Olivia Escuyos, Brian Puspos, sultry love songs, vacationing in Amsterdam, Greek mythology
Robotaki – Science EP
On his 6-track EP, Science, producer Robotaki (Preston Chin) effortlessly blends jazz and funk-inspired melodies with modern electronic elements to create a timeless masterpiece that has us grooving all night long. – Clarissa Aben
Recommended if you like: Manila Killa, yetep, Nevve, EDM, slow flashing lights, getting lit on a weekday night even though you have an exam the next morning
San Mei – Heaven EP
[L X V I]
Australia’s San Mei (Emily Hamilton) makes “dream-pop with riffs”, which is a very understated way to say that her music fucking rocks. The four songs off of Heaven EP are classic indie rock hits makes us excited for what’s to come next.
Recommended if you like: fun indie rock with catchy choruses, guitars, Japanese Breakfast, SASAMI, cosmic references, ending your sentences with “Yeah”
Here’s a nifty little playlist filled with our picks:
Li-Wei Chu is a recent graduate from UC Davis who majored in Cinema and Digital Media who also briefly studied film at Queen Mary, University of London. Li-Wei is obsessed with horror films (especially the ones that give him nightmares), films from East Asia, and really, any film that makes you stop and think.
He loves talking about film and indie music with others. He’s also a record collector and cross-stitches when he has free time. In the future, he hopes to be able to write about film and wants to find a job in the film industry that can support his record buying habits. Maybe one day he’ll also be able to play the guitar.