By Lexi Weaver || Copy Editor
It’s finally spring, which means there is no better time to start listening to new music. With the multitude of albums out there, it can be daunting to approach the catalog of many artists, especially those with vast discographies or albums that run close to an hour long. Recently, I’ve been turning to EPs to get into bands I only knew a few songs from, or to explore side projects from some of my favorite artists. EPs, which usually feature between 4 and 7 songs and have a shorter runtime than full-length albums, are the perfect way to dip your toes into the wide range of bands releasing music today. As someone who is consistently on the lookout for new music, there’s always a sense of excitement that comes with discovering a song or a certain sound that you can’t get out of your head. From experimental pop music produced during quarantine to catchy guitar rock, here are 5 great EPs to listen to this spring, from some of the most exciting voices in indie.
The French Press – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Run time: 23 minutes
Released in 2017, The French Press is the first EP of Australian indie rock band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. The eponymous “French Press,” which kicks off the 6-song EP, is probably their best known song—and for good reason. The nearly five and a half minute song ends with an extended guitar solo, the catchy riffs pushing the song forward (it’s also a great song to listen to while driving). Beyond “French Press,” I’d recommend “Julie’s Place,” which continues the driving tempo of “French Press,” and the slower-paced “Fountain of Good Fortune,” which closes out the EP. This is the longest selection on the list, but it’s well worth a listen—the jangly, always-in-motion indie rock here has appeal for any fans of great rock music.
Radiolove – Tanukichan
Run time: 11 minutes
Continuing with some great guitar-driven rock, Radiolove, Tanukichan’s 2016 EP, is a perfect entry into the subgenre of shoegaze. The solo project of San Francisco-based artist Hannah van Loon, Tanukichan is one of my personal favorite (and very underrated) musicians producing dreamy, distorted rock. With soft vocals over fuzzy, effects-pedal altered guitar, Radiolove is an ultimately intimate record, especially in “Enough,” the first track off the EP. The more down-tempo “And More” is my personal favorite, featuring sparse instrumentals building up to heavily distorted guitar in the chorus. Radiolove has the shortest run time on this list, so it’s never been easier to kick back with Tanukichan’s low-key take on shoegaze that is as soothing as her vocals.
Sugar & Spice – Hatchie
Run time: 19 minutes
Another solid EP from an Australian artist, Hatchie’s Sugar & Spice, released in 2018, is just as sweet as its title suggests. Hariette Pilbeam’s instantly charming dream pop uses synths and catchy hooks to evoke a strong sense of nostalgia. Each song sounds like it should be soundtracking the end of a movie, and the cinematic feel of Hatchie’s music is on full display on Sugar & Spice. The opening track, “Sure,” is a near-perfect pop song, and has cemented Hatchie as being at the forefront of artists carrying on the dream pop tradition that began back in the 90s. Other stand-outs are the endearing love song “Sleep” and the more stripped-down closer, “Bad Guy.” For anyone wishing it were already summer, the light and airy sound of Sugar & Spice is sure to be the best pick.
Persian Garden – Vagabon
Run time: 20 minutes
For those looking for an emotional EP that feels both intimate and sprawling, Vagabon’s 2014 EP Persian Garden features incredible vocals backed by guitar and distorted riffs. The opener, “Cold Apartment Floors,” which is reworked as “Cold Apartment” on her first album Infinite Worlds, pulls the listener into Lætitia Tamko’s take on indie rock. The stand-out tracks for me are the first and last ones on the album, with the closing song “Sharks” being my favorite on the whole. With intimate lyrics juxtaposed with disruptions of distorted guitar, Persian Garden is packed with emotion, as Tamko’s voice plays against the EP’s more harsh sounds. This sonic element might at first be off-putting, but sticking with this EP is incredibly rewarding—this one’s for anyone who’s been looking for a collection of songs that recognize the pain of heartbreak, but provide a sense of comfort, too.
pop songs 2020 – BUMPER
Run time: 12 minutes
Recorded during the start of the pandemic in 2020, pop songs 2020 is the collaborative project between indie-rock powerhouse Michelle Zauner, best known for her solo project Japanese Breakfast, and Ryan Galloway, who plays guitar in the indie band Crying. On the shorter side, pop songs 2020 packs in 4 quick, chill tracks that are a very relaxing brand of catchy. For two musicians who started in indie rock projects, pop music seems to be an unexpected detour, but pop songs 2020 is a perfect showcase of both their talents. Zauner’s voice drifts over the soaring synths, from the currently-stuck-in-my-head opener “You Can Get It” to the piano-driven ballad that rounds out the EP, the fittingly named “Ballad 0.” It’s a great time for unexpected supergroups and collabs throughout the genre, and BUMPER cements itself as an innovative take on the pop model in a distinctly indie style.
Sophomore Lexi Weaver is a Copy Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.