“Hey ho, away we go” said Neil Young when he graced the lives of Pearl Jam in 1995’s ‘Song X’.
Hi, I’m the deputy editor Orestes P. Xistos and this is my late “best of.” It’s not late because you need it to be late, it’s late because you deserve it to be late. Or something. I’m still obsessed with The Dark Knight. Not The Dark Knight Returns. That sucked balls. I mean, Bane as a lapdog again? Jebus almighty playing Xbox in the manger. And what the frijoles is the deal with Batman being more useless than James Blond-ey in Skyfall. 2012: the year our heroes failed. Discuss.
Oh, right, EPs. Okay, in the tradition of quirky analogies we do (i.e. not giving a shit anymore), we present you 18 EPs/Minialbums that we enjoyed thoroughly. We are putting them in 3 groups of 6*, so they are not necessarily in order, we just really, really, really liked them. We also are a bunch of brown-nosing pansies. But you already knew that.
We obviously (!) went for three categories based on the best Scooby Doo mystery ever: the three ice cream ghosts!
You know them as them as the accomplices of Sammy the Shrimp, the best villain in Scooby Doo history. Oh, shit, spoiler alert. Anyways, they all get 6 EPs…
Chocolate Technicolor Phantom: The mysterious, unnamed accomplice. You know this is the sniper of the trio. He is not a muscle bound brute, but an expert, ninja-like pro who sneaks everywhere undetected, like Val Kilmer in Heat. Flavoursome and with a great aftertaste, his choices are:
Firesuite – Red World A fierce, brutal punch to the feelings and senses. The physical release includes some gorgeous artwork.
Everyone an Army – The Thundering Triumph of Knowing What’s Right Anger in three expansive, slightly proggy, very powerful math rock songs. Not a single dull moment in this trifecta where bass, drums, guitar and vocals create a monster.
Retribution Gospel Choir – The Revolution It’s no secret we are utter fans of this band (heresy alert: we might like them more than Low), so this extremely short but very sweet EP clicked. ‘Maharisha’ is very catchy and ‘I’m a man’ is a perfect explosion.
Highlands – Singularity Shoegaze and psychedelia well mixed in a cocktail of trippiness. It’s the sound of the wind roaring over grassy hills. “Viene tormenta.”
Trojan Horse – Fire #IFOWONPRO A few curveballs with some rather excellent acoustic numbers, these Mancunians deployed this sherbet while we wait for the next delivery of prognouveau.
Cleft – Whale Bone “Honey, I might not be worth two dollars but I feel like a millionaire.” A well kept secret from Manchester (with love).
Vanilla Technicolor Phantom: Mr. Grizzley himself, aka Sammy the Shrimp. This devious bastard took the guise of the holiest of all ice cream flavours, the one lazy ass fuckers can do quite badly, hence the unjustly bad reputation this delicious flavour has. Good vanilla rules and so does Sammy the Shrimp. His fine crafted selection of music is:
Wickerbird – The Crow Mother Our rather excellent scribe Keith How said it best : “Please do not expect to shake your tail feather to this record, instead wrap up warm and go out for a walk into nature maybe watch the sun set then go home, make some tea and toast, light a candle and play this.”
Easy Tells – Got what you paid for Raucous and catchy, it’s that late night sing along you need when a bad day has ocurred. It will lift your spirit and tickle your soul with its playful nature. 70s swagger included for your listening pleasure.
Captives on the Carousel – The Garden Loud music is good. We like loud. We like it even more when there’s nary a distortion on sight. Lose yourself into this fairy tale, atmospheric EP.
The White Album – Conquistador One of the best surprises from last year. It even got a short story review from us. It’s a quiet one for a quiet day.
Mooi – Mooi There’s a lot of great music being made in México and this is but one of the many talented bands. Renée Mooi has a beautiful voice and the snippets of new songs we’ve heard are delightful.
The Jonathan Arellano Project – El Viajero I’d like to say it’s a 4 way tie, as this gentleman and his trusty compinches released 4 EPs last year. All are quite enjoyable but if pressed to choose just one, this one would be the winner. Why? Experimentation, range and a lot of powerful stuff.
Strawberry Technicolor Phantom: Another unknown henchman. He might not be as wiley as Chocolate nor as scheming as Vanilla, but it has the strength of 20 Totoros and the imposing presence of a well armed Minotaur. With a +2 against Bless spell. This means it’s tough, yo!
Picardy III – Lonely Songs Subtle and introspective, Picardy III is running around with the Slocore flag quite unfurled. A spiritual EP.
Echodrone – Bon Voyage Lovely, swirly Dream Pop from the West Coast. Makes me want to tape it and drive around the beach at dawn. One day I will.
Speedy Ortiz – Sports Yes. Simply yes. I was fed alt rock in the 90s and my fave bands included Pet, Helium, Letters to Cleo and Mazzy Star. This EP might contain traces of all the previously mentioned, while still being fresh.
Ninetails – Slept and did not sleep The definition of a curve ball, this is a surprise of an EP. Whereas their previous outings were mostly math rock, this one abandons the odd time signatures and flippin’ cool tappings for something more ethereal and spacey. Ladies and gentleman, we are walking slowly in space. With Converse shoes.
Tribal Fighters – Brave men can’t party Thank God I’m a coward, because I partied with this EP. Lovely and charming (just like the band!)
Great Deeds – Disastrochimp Jebus almighty telefragging you in Unreal Tournament. Look at the name! They play punk with jazz! They might be serial killers/exhibitionists! They rock and roll while playing in odd time signatures. EP includes a sheet of paper with the cover so you can colour it too. Long live physical media, people.
So, that’s it, right? Actually, no. Because we need to take into account the Scooby gang. So, our fave singles of 2012, with their corresponding member of the gang.
Dead Sons – Hangman is obviously Freddy. The stoic leader of the pack, rocking the cravat and keeping calm (mostly) in the face of horror.
Psychic Twin – Gonna get her is Velma. The brains of the whole place, the one member of the gang who actually solves the crimes.
Gunning for Tamar – Astronaut/Abort is Daphne. Swanky, full of panache and with more than meets the eye on tow. Good sense of fashion too (see: releasing an EP with a wristwatch).
Cats:For:Peru – Three brothers/A million colours is Shaggy. Trippy, multitalented and ever so misunderstood. Arguably the one with the sensible style of clothes for the line of work. Might be eccentric, but that’s how it should be.
Ninetails – Bluebottle flu is Scooby. Of course. Because a line like “I take you home because you’re made of sugar” is as addictive as those Scooby Snacks. This song fucking rules.
There we go. We are nerds. We know. Thanks for reading.
Words: Orestes P. Xistos.
Research and general geekery: Sam J. Valdés López
*Feel free to take this as a hint of our association with Ol’ Scratch. HA HA HA. I for one welcome our new horned sulphurous overlord.