From the Intercom: The Best EPs of 2019
EPs, to us, serve one of two purposes for a band. For some, they’re an experimental stomping ground to test out new ideas without completely committing to a new artistic direction. For others, they announce the arrival of a musical artist in full force long before a full-length feature is dropped. While we’ve selected some projects that have remained From the Intercom favorites, the EPs that we’re most excited about fall into the latter category… signaling the arrival of some artistic forces that will undoubtedly blow up in the years to come. There’s plenty of talent here to get excited about. Record labels, take note!
Here are our favorite EPs of 2019, sorted by alphabetical order.
Ana Roxanne – ~~~ EP
Los Angeles based musician Ana Roxanne’s celestial debut ~~~ EP floats. There’s a feeling of grandiose awe that strikes you when you listen to Roxanne’s glacial, immensely echoing compositions–many of them sample earthy tones that remind you of humanity in relation to the vastness of the galaxy. Hazy, unearthed memories are blurred and unfocused, expanding a hundredfold by Roxanne’s choral, devotionally infinite music. ~~~ EP belongs in a chamber or a museum, where its expanding echoes will resonate throughout time and space.
Recommended if you like: lounging around in art museums, feeling infinite, pondering life’s mysteries, seeing things with your third eye, questioning memories and the very concept of music
beabadoobee – Space Cadet EP
On Space Cadet EP, beabadoobee is living out her rockstar dreams. Through the five squelching, high-reaching, bratty rock songs on the project, beabadoobee shows off just what she’s capable of with the right people and an enthusiastic backing band. Though Space Cadet EP largely sees beabadoobee working out her own identity as a musician, it outlines exactly what her aspirations are (“She Plays Bass,” “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus”)… and she’s already well on her way there.
Recommended if you like: Clairo, promising young artists who have already proved why they’re going to be the next big thing, Pavement, aliens & outer space, Dirty Hit, the sun
Keren Ilan – This Morning, Yesterday EP
On Tel-Aviv-based singer-songwriter Keren Ilan’s debut EP This Morning, Yesterday, Ilan’s lyrics hold a heavy weight, signifying the emotional depth that she puts into each carefully worded folk-rock tune. Both “This Morning, Yesterday” and “Heavy \ To Let Go” bookend the emotionally charged project, enveloping its listener with brooding, dramatic glimpses of romance. Meanwhile, personal chugging anthems “Take Her Down” and “Lost” give us a glimpse of Ilan’s introspective point of view–filling out the rest of the devastatingly gorgeous project.
Recommended if you like: Haley Heynderickx, folk rock, lyrics that hit you hard, introspection
keshi – skeletons EP
Texas-based lo-fi producer turned major label signee keshi returned in 2019 with skeletons EP, a ramped-up follow up to 2018’s THE REAPER EP. From the fleeting “summer” to the decaying relationship murmur “xoxos,” skeletons EP secures keshi’s place amongst the current pop greats. R&B fans rejoice!
Recommended if you like: listening to songs recommended by BTS, K-POP ballads, sad feels, regretful nights out, having angry and sad sex
mmmonika – Very American! EP
The five people who make up mmmonika must be great friends. At least, that’s the impression that I get when I listen to their joyfully accented debut Very American! EP: complete with exclamation marks on every single song title. Even on the EP’s more pensive moments, there are only brief flashes of sadness (“I’m dying!”) before the quintet picks up the pace and gets back into their jaunty groove. Happiness emanates from within, and all of the cheerful indie-pop songs on Very American! EP exudes exuberant joy even when things are looking down.
Recommended if you like: Common Souls, exclamation marks(!), getting excited, hanging out with friends, synths that are cheesy but not too cheesy, comparing yourself to vintage audio ware, smiling through the pain
Monsune – TRADITION EP
Neo-funk artist Monsune (Scott Zhang) really likes his samples. Throughout the soul-sampling, fiery tracks on TRADITION EP, you can practically hear the tape recorder working overtime as it reworks all of Zhang’s musical influences into a modern, cohesive context. Coupled with Zhang’s own soulful singing voice, TRADITION EP is a project that already feels timeless.
NIKI – wanna take this downtown? EP
If there’s a polar opposite to the NIKI’s braggadocious hit “Indigo,” it can be found in NIKI’s similarly captivating sophomore EP wanna take this downtown?. While the young R&B diva announced her flamboyant arrival in full force on the former, wanna take this downtown? EP finds NIKI in a more emotionally vulnerable state… as well as the losing side of love. Filled with subtle bangers (“move!”, “odds”) and budding romances (“lowkey,” “urs”), NIKI proves that she’s remarkably able to keep it “lowkey” just as well as she can be high-key.
Recommended if you like: divas, keepin it lowkey, sad bangers, emotional bangers, apprehensive bangers
No Vacation – phasing EP
Brooklyn-via-Bay Area dream-pop favorites No Vacation returned this year with yet another fuzzy, lush project in the form of phasing EP. Sunshine chords intertwine with soft vocals to form a breezy set of delightful songs.
Recommended if you like: dream pop, unwinding after a long day, chillin’, just hangin’ out and cruisin’
park hye jin – IF YOU WANT IT EP
As much as we dislike the fact that Internet algorithms are subtlely dictating our musical tastes, on occasion it can be a great thing. For South Korean DJ Park Hye Jin, that was especially the case. Back in December 2018, the DJ’s debut IF YOU WANT IT EP quietly slipped its way into worldwide YouTube recommendations for a good reason. Mixing hypnotic Korean verses, English one-liners (“I DON’T CARE” goes one particular song) with ghostly, echoey house beats, IF YOU WANT IT EP carved out a space for musical domination.
Recommended if you like: Peggy Gou, Yaeji, house music, crisp beats, spectral commands
susurrus – Ultra Orange EP
Screamo emo meets sunny math rock in Singaporean trio susurrus’s debut Ultra Orange EP. While the band’s sharp melodies will lure you in at first, there’s a clever juxtaposition between pleasant-sounding guitars and frenzied, strained vocal exercises that make each song dimensionally vibrant. It’s just as vocalist Ahmad Hedzir and his bandmates scream during “Ganzfeld”– “Everything is nothing.” Within the context of the album, that much we know is true.
Recommended if you like: screaming at your problems and rocking out, tricot, cues, having a healthy outlet for your frustrations, the color orange
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Li-Wei Chu is the chief editor of From the Intercom. When he’s not editing drafts and searching for new artists to cover for the website, he loves watching cult films, cooking, and listening to his ever-growing collection of vinyl records. You can follow him on LetterBoxd and make fun of his taste in movies here!