Okay. So, these are all EPs that have been released as EPs. They are also all stand alone EPs at that. Meaning they aren’t EPs that are glorified singles, previews of songs on upcoming 2012 albums (sorry Anthony I

So, I just want to say a couple things quickly about my choices this year. They are all really poppy, which is interesting. We’ve had some good pop and electronic EPs to hit this year. You all probably know what my number one is, but I recommend, obviously, anything on this list. Without further ado, here are my top five EPOTYs. Spoilers: none of them are BTBAM.

5. TOKiMONSTA – Creature Dreams

You know TOKiMONSTA, right? That hot Asian girl who makes some pretty damn good instrumental hip-hop (glitch-hop), and similar sounding bleep bloop tunes? Last year’s LP from her didn’t make my AOTY list, but I did enjoy Midnight Menu and there are handful of tracks from that release I think are great. This year, TOKiMONSTA released an ep, Creature Dreams, which, while not vastly different from the Midnight Menu material, is a solid evolution of her work, and certainly her best release yet. The sounds here are fresh, and freeing. Elements of glitch and hip hop come together quite nicely on this release, and the choice of samples and loops TOKi uses add “character” to her music, that makes really solidifies it as her own. While I would argue that there is certainly room for improvement, this EP is still pretty good. Certainly, one of the most interesting releases this year, from one of the most interesting women in music right now. This release is for fans of Gold Panda, Baths, Madlib, and anyone who likes a girl who’s nice on the eyes. Not that that has anything to do with the music. Of course.

Best Songs: Moving Forward and Stigmatizing Sex

4. DJ Newtown – sweet days, sweet memories

This EP was an interesting find. Some way, or another, I stumbled on to a Japanese record label, Maltine Record’s, website, where they offered everything they ever released at random. By chance, I had decided to download DJ Newtown’s new EP (or mini LP, same thing really) sweet days, sweet memories. This release is most comparable to something a long the lines of The Avalanches meets Baths sampling anime. So, sample heavy electronic music between glitch, pop, and house, with some jazz influence. The entire EP is up beat, and quite uplifting. The production on this release is lovely, and you’ll especially get into the sample use if you’re into j-pop on the like. Like a splash of futuristic techno-happy water in your face (which is something I’m pretty sure I wish existed.) sweet days, sweet memories is probably the most refreshing release I’ve heard all year. There’s probably other stuff like it, for instance, if you are familiar with Pogo, who makes songs out of sound bytes from various movies and cartoons and if you haven’t heard his stuff DO IT, this is sort of like that. This music will make you feel like the trendy shibuya advertisement, or that main character of the persona game of your dreams, that you’ve always wanted to be. AND IT’S A FREE RELEASE.

Best Songs: Friday K.I.S.S. and 空をかけぬけて
DOWNLOAD DIS SHIT:http://maltinerecords.cs8.biz/89.html

3. Patrick Stump – Truant Wave

What? A pop EP? From the lead singer of Fall Out Boy? On one of my pretentious year-end music lists? YOU BET. I was never a fan of Fall Out Boy, but I always did enjoy Stump’s voice. When I saw that he released an EP, I decided to BUY it (it was on sale for $3 or something) on a whim, and boy did I make the right choice. This release was Stump’s first solo release, and he releases his first album this year in October, Soul Punk, which I’ve yet to listen to. Though, only one of the songs from here, and a reworked version at that, appeared on that release so this is fair game. Surprisingly, what may sound like an awful idea at first actually turned out to be WONDERFUL. There isn’t too much to say here. Stump made a collection of songs with a HEAVY Soul influence, and his voice is perfectly suited to it! These songs are all CATCHY as hell (as any good pop music should be, as it’s really it’s most redeeming quality) the production is clean, and his singing is great. Even the lyrical content, while not mind blowing, is a step up from most of the other American Pop releases this year. Florence + The Machine is boring, get over it. Try this instead.

Best Songs: Porcelain and Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)

2. ME + LP – Chez Raymond

In my opinion, ME + LP was a pretty big deal, and I wish it had gotten more attention than it had gotten. It is a lovely EP made by two very talented musicians: Matt Embree (of Rx Bandits and The Sound of Animals Fighting fame) and Lisa Papineau (of Big Sir, and has also worked extensively with m83.) RxBandits broke up earlier this year, and that was a pretty big thing for me. They are one of my favorite bands, and one I’ve had the pleasure of seeing four times. Matt Embree was their front man, and IS one of the most amazing musicians I know. So, in the face of the breakup of RxBandits, at least he had a new EP coming out, with the lovely Lisa Papineau no less. So, I was looking forward to this thing, and I was not sure what really to expect from it. Thankfully, the result of their efforts did not disappoint. Lisa primarily does most of the vocals, against Matt’s acoustic guitar playing. Though, this is not just some acoustic guitar + singer project. There’s a lot of subtle instrumentation to these tunes, and that really makes each of these songs feel fully fleshed out. The range of influence on these songs are also vast, with clear influences from traditional tropical music, to folk, to even hints of ambience in their sound. Some of the beats are almost hip-hoppy too. This EP, for being so concise and well put together, is vast yet unified. I really hope to hear more collaborative work from these two fantastic musicians, as their first foray is WONDERFUL.

Best Songs: La Bella Toca and Bonnie Says

AND FINALLY, FOR MY NUMBER ONE, THE BEST EP OF 2011 (and probably my 3rd favorite EP period)

EPOTYAY: きゃり〜ぱみゅ〜ぱみゅ - もしもし原宿

Yep. For Reals. Honto. My EPOTY is a J-Pop release. One that relies on production, image, tone, and catchiness instead of talent and moving lyrical content. I know, this is quite unlike me, but I just can’t deny how much I’ve listened to this thing over the last 6 months. I should probably start talking about why I like it, instead of the fact that I probably shouldn’t. In a world dominated by K-Pop in the last couple years, J-Pop has seen some decline in popularity. Even though most J-Pop singers have better, and more full voices, than their Korean counterparts, pop-culture decided to stick with catchiness, outfits, and cuteness, opposed to decent singing, catchiness, and any semblance that the people involved with making the music give a damn. Then, this year, the song Pon Pon Pon came out, and no, it didn’t destroy girls’ generation or Big Bang, but it, at least in my eyes, certainly beat out every k-pop song I’ve ever heard at their own game; Catchiness, cuteness, and “image”. Kyary’s songs blow all the K-Pop I’ve ever heard out of the water, as not even Gee is as infectious as Pon Pon Pon. This, in my opinion, is thanks to Kyary’s producer, Yasutaka Nakata of capsule and perfume fame. He, in my opinion, is the best electropop producer in the world (capsule’s More! More! More! is a necessary album) and, while Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s is not too similar to capsule or perfume, his attempt at an even more “poppy” is still wonderful. Not only is it very pleasing to the ears, as stated, Kyary’s music is infectious. Crack for your ears, heart, and body. It’s up beat and happy j-pop with full fleshed production with a bit of ingenuity and an addicting bite. For me, it really does help keep my mind off anything I feel down about, and it brings me to some magical place, which, in the end, is a determining factor in all my favorite music. Even though it’s produced pop for the Japanese masses, complete with videos that only exist to sell Kyary’s name, it’s successfully put itself into place as one of my absolute favorite pop releases. If you need music you don’t want to think about, or get too emotional over (though, I did have a pretty big feel listening to Pon Pon Pon, this one time. ONE BIG ARTIFICIALLY INDUCED FEEL) Moshi Moshi Harajuku is the pop release for you. It. Is. Magical.

Best Songs: Pon Pon Pon and Jelly (even though it is a cover)

THERE YOU HAVE IT! ALL THIS POP MUSIC, how can I hold it? It’s so heavy! and I think all my spaghetti is falling out =[ Seriously though, dat Kyary is fantaaaastic.

Hip-Hop AOTY, top 25 tracks, and AOTY lists are coming soooooooon!


~ by Cimi on December 31, 2011.

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