From the Intercom: The 13 Best EPs of 2021
What were your favorite EPs of 2021?
For From the Intercom, EPs are usually an introduction to a new artist for us — which makes coming up with this particular list especially difficult. This year, 10 of our favorite EPs came from artists who we discovered this very year… pretty good, considering how many great debut projects just barely missed the cut!
To count down our favorite EPs of this year, we decided to switch it up and try something a bit different — the one-sentence review and a short “recommended if you like section.” Don’t get fooled though — all of the projects listed here are well worth your time despite what the RIYL section says. Check them out! –Li-Wei Chu
Alice Longyu Gao – High Dragon and Universe EP
Bumpy hyperpop bangers that bounce back and forth with white hot intensity.
Recommended if you like: REI AMI, Lil Mariko, Alice Glass, yeule at 150+ BPM, drunkenly yelling KANPAI, throwing an impromptu party on a weekday, having more than one boyfriend, the way the lines “CANCEL WHITE BOYS CLUB / I’M NEVER COMING BACK / YOU’RE A SIMP AND A SUB” are incorporated into a song
Tiffany Day – THE DEPENDENCY PROJECT EP
Hit after hit appears on Tiffany Day’s THE DEPENDENCY PROJECT, a vehicle for a young pop star in the making.
Recommended if you like: being cooler than your friends by name dropping Tiffany Day before she becomes crazy famous, Conan Gray, the next big TikTok song, spelling the word cologne in an interesting way (no shade, CALONE is a banger), not leaving people on read, being okay with not being okay
ASHWARYA – NOCTURNAL HOURS EP
Bubbling pop with a dark twist that feels larger than life.
Recommended if you like: Billie Eilish, whispering, spooky inspo, casting spells, unexpected switch-ups in the middle of songs, biryani more than you like people, sitting in a dark corner of a room and manifesting… things
Brandon Liew – Virtual Candy EP
Energetic, kawaii electronic music for your second life online.
Recommended if you like: Shawn Wasabi, Snail’s House, Kero Kero Bonito, kawaii aesthetics, soda pop, the Internet, the magic of technology, meeting people online and then “using your special move to make you think that I’m cool,” music that can make you feel invincible when you’re clicking heads in an FPS
DPR LIVE – IITE COOL EP
South Korean singer and rapper DPR Live’s 3rd EP is pure energy, swaying and bouncing with chill, feel-good energy from start to finish. Sit back, relax, and splash.
Recommended if you like: summer tights, gettin’ frisky, icy hoops, casually using the phrase “iite cool” in your everyday conversations, Bruno Mars, that feeling of euphoria when you hear a song that makes you feel “Awesome!,” fangirling/fanboying over how amazing DPR LIVE is (cause trust me, you will)
Wallice – Off the Rails EP
Promising indie pop launchpad with some of the catchiest hooks in the game.
Recommended if you like: spill tab, Jelani Aryeh, the Malcolm in the Middle theme song, cowboy hats, being the cowboy, hating on Pulp Fiction and Tarantino fanboys, having an existential crisis at 23, imagining what your life would be like if you just settled down, got a dog, and made your partner get a job
Ninda Felina, Hilang Child, Prabumi – Seimbang / Balance EP
Ambient field recordings with an important environmental message that lingers.
Recommended if you like: Hilang Child, Ana Roxanne’s ~~~ EP, musical projects with a conscious narrative, documentaries, the sounds of nature, Hans Zimmer booms, learning about what’s going on in the forests of Indonesia
Hongza – Gen Z EP
Jangly, scrappy indie rock that bursts with personality, and could soundtrack anyone’s coming-of-age movie.
Recommended if you like: beabadoobee, James Ivy, 90s rock bands, shoegaze, introspection with a side of rock and roll, social media cleanses and living in the moment, teen movies where the protagonist ends up with their love interest after a few trials and tribulations
Bestfriend – places i’ve lived EP
Dreamy, low-key bedroom pop that tells stories about a cast of characters which feel universal.
Recommended if you like: SALES, cushy bedroom pop, musical collaborations from across the country, drowning in nostalgia, name-checking your friends in your musical projects, thoughtfully staring out of car/train windows
DACEY – SATIN PLAYGROUND EP
Smooth, head-bobbing R&B can be found on DACEY’s stellar debut SATIN PLAYGROUND — a project that allows lead singer Dacey Andrada to testify about what love is like in your early 20s.
Recommended if you like: SZA, The Insecure soundtrack, sick wordplay, songs about relationships, reading other peoples’ diaries, summer flings, broccoli, eating salad, finding dope songs for your next smoke sesh
Luna Li – jams EP
Luna Li shows off her instrumental prowess and keen ear for composition on these quick, bite-sized tunes that loop around in your head.
Recommended if you like: Japanese Breakfast, harps, guitars, chill indie jams to vibe to, Instagram/Twitter/TikTok short-form videos, instrumentals, the brevity and concept of Tierra Whack’s Whack World, relaxing and vibing whilst lying down on a chaise longue (or any piece of furniture, really)
Ginger Root – City Slicker EP
Inspired by the funky 70s and 80s Japanese city pop scene, City Slicker is Ginger Root’s slickly produced EP that snugly fits next to EPO, Anri, and Tatsuro Yamashita in your dedicated record collection.
Recommended if you like: city pop, watching VHS tapes for fun ironically, watching VHS tapes for fun unironically, walking late at night, bopping during the day, dancing, having a good time, old-school digital equipment, being someone named “Loretta,” spreading the good vibes, late night ramen
Laufey – Typical of Me EP
Old school vocal jazz meets crisp contemporary production on Laufey’s stylish and gorgeous debut Typical of Me EP — a classic in the making.
Recommended if you like: Ella Fitzgerald, jazz, orchestras, daydreaming, soul-soothing music, walking along blue rivers and cityscapes, hating on people named “James,” taking back your life, exploring museums, Magnolia (the flower, and probably the movie too)
DPR Live blurb by Johan Qin, all else by Li-Wei Chu. Banner and graphic design by Derrek Chow.