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2012 Year Of Aids: Top 25 Eps

2012 was a year that saw me start with one of the best months of my life, volunteering near Cape Town, and take me all through southern and eastern Africa. Later it was Europe for a month (all my bank account could permit at this point) before working in Southwest England for the summer tourist season. The last three months have seen me try to re- find my feet in Vancouver, and start to attempt a second shot at this whole being a grown-up business. There have been ups and downs, but the one constant has been music's omnipresence. Here are the 25 short players that most helped to fill the soundscape of my journey this year.
26Dot Hacker
Dot Hacker

ok I lied. 26 EPs cause this one needs an honourable mention. Someone told me that this band includes the guy that took over for Frusicante in RHCP so that piqued my interest (though I'm still not sure if that's actually true). It's pretty cool, and some of it is really impressive, but it's so disjointed an inconsistent that I can't dig it that hard. It's better than their LP that they put out this year though by quite a substantial margin.
25Ghost Ship
Golden Girls

Adam Downer plays drums for this kinda post-punk group and wouldn't you know they're pretty cool. Downer-core for the masses, you have no sput-cred if you haven't jammed this already.
Hello Darkness

hello darkness, my old friennnnnnd. No, wait, this is pretty much the exact opposite of that. Is this dubstep? I don't know, I think so. It's Dutch and it's really damn awesome so get it in you.
23Sun Glitters

This guy was busy in 2012, but this is his most worthwhile offering. Let the warm bass melodies surround you and get lost in the cool chillwave stylings of Luxembourg (who knew?!!?!?!?!).
22Sorrow (UK)
Art is Dead

Art aint dead so long as groups like Sorrow keep the UK Bass scene fresh and interesting.

"this goes hard" but seriously if you don't like this at least a lil bit then I probably would hate partying with you. The era of Trap music is upon us, let us rejoice and share jaggerbombs while we exclaim loudly that these beats do, in fact, go hard.
20Frightened Rabbit
A Frightened Rabbit EP

Do Scottish folk-rockers Frightened Rabbit have another masterpiece up their sleeves? Time will tell, but for now we have this EP: a definite step in the right direction following The Winter of Mixed Drinks. State Hospital, their other EP released this year, is also worth listening to.

More delightfully danceable "video game IDM" from Arizona's bansheetbeat. Let's hope that 2013 is the year that sees young Dylan Browne produce his much- anticipated full-length debut. (bansheebeat is the musical project of sputnik user TheReverend724...or something. It's Dylan you guys, he rules.)
18Ulrich Schnauss and ASC

"but is it techno?"

Colorado Progressive Rock outfit Solterra were busy in 2012, producing a marvelous LP as well as Umbra. For me, this is the band at their best. Their sound is deliciously crisp (I want to bathe in the guitar tones). The guitar lines are interesting and dynamic and the music is exciting in all the right ways. Never are you bored when listening to Umba, for Solterra do not want you to be. (Solterra are sputnik user Twlitchy's band)

This kid is sure to be a name to watch in 2013. He's just finishing school now, and his craft is already sounding like something special on this, his "amateur" release. 2-steppers, take note: ETCH is a name to know.
15Jacques Greene

While 90% of emerging electronic music producers in North America are replaying the same dozen songs over and over, some are committed to moving their scenes forward. One of these artists is Montreal house musician Jacques Greene. The era of EDM is over, Deadmau5 is dead. Time to turn off the crap and get some intelligent, forward thinking music into the spotlight.
Five Years With The Sun

My iPod crashed when I was in Namibia, and for a week this was all I had to listen to, but I did not mind one bit. For the most part, this is more of the same mellow alt. rock that Arranged offered listeners with 2011's full-length Plantation. However, it does see them begin to dive deeper into the world of electronic sounds.
13Maya Jane Coles
Easier To Hide

This chick knows the score. Coles creates some captivating deep house music that I dare you to not get lost in. Perfect for coming down, or working yourself back up for another big night. (also, DJ Kicks did a Maya Jane Coles mix this year and it's really, really good.)
The Future Is Now

Japanese math-rockers Toe continue to impress. This is a bit of an expansion on their progressive rock sound, while still staying true to their core of math/post-rock build ups and dynamics.

This grew off me a little bit, as it absolutely raped me on first listen, but it's still settled in nicely as one of my favourite dubstep albums of 2012. This mahfucka knows how to work a bass grove, he gets REAL. (Tell your parents no.)
10The Antlers

The Antler's new EP continues to take them in the direction that Burst Apart hinted at: a more cohesive, subdued indie-rock sound, based on lush melodies and brooding jams. I saw them tour this EP and even the longer songs came out great live. As a super-fan, I have no objective analysis of this record. All I can say is that The Antlers continue to be one of my favourite bands in 2012. All hail Silberman.
Truant/Rough Sleeper

I'll level with you: this guy could fart into a mic for 20 minutes and as long as he still gave it a lil click-clack and included a sample with some variation of "loooooooovin u" I would 4.5 it easy.

A rising star in the instrumental hip-hop scene (I won't say "Wonky" in case a certain staff member is reading), Sholhmo has been touring the globe hard and repping the Los Angeles sound all the way. His sets are mainly based on old-school west-coast rap and pop/r&b music, more often than not resulting in an explosively entertaining party. However the highlight of his eclectic mix is always one of his originals, the breathtaking Wen Uuu from 2012's Vacation EP. That song is without a doubt, one of the standout pieces of electronic music from 2012. Get it in your earholes on the ASAP.
Two Way

A deep and haunting journey into the world of Biome's warped mind. My foray into dubstep has seen Biome emerge as one of my early favourites, and this EP displays everything I like so much about him. (Tell your parents no.)

(Yes this is a single technically, but so is Truant/Rough Sleeper so step off.) Deep dubstep is where it's at, and I jam stuff like Biome, Proxima, Kryptic Minds, and Killawatt on the daily. Two huge tracks right here, guaranteed to make any bass enthusiast groove. (Tell your parents no.)

I spend three months working for a living, going fucking stir crazy in Cornwall this summer. It's definitely the most beautiful area of England I have seen, but I'm from a town of 80,000 and live in Vancouver. Cornwall is tiny tiny tiny, and there was NOTHING to do at night. I was frustrated that here I was, finally living in England, but I couldn't go to any shows because no one played fucking Bodmin Parkway. If only I had known that this melodic hardcore outfit were based in Newquay, I would have tried to catch a show. But alas, alas. Anyway, this is super solid melodic hardcore for those that are into the current rise of UK melodic bands like More Than Life. Great tones and super good vocals.
Lie Detection/Brainstem

My beginner's journey into the world of deep, dark dubstep has not yet seen me find my solid ground as I twirl around trying to absorb the dozens of producers, DJs, and scenes to be aware of. But at the end of 2012, two songs keep me coming back more than most: these two absolute bangers by Proxima. As with the other entries on this list, I won't attempt to go into detail as I don't know what the fanny I'm talking about, but if you're mildly interested in the sound, this might be the best place to start exploring. (Tell your parents no.)

RIYL: tripping hard, hazy beats, catchy sounds, dancedancedance, Flying Lotus
2Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson
Small Changes We Hardly Notice

This Norwegian post-rock/emo group first caught my attention with their 2010 LP. "Small Changes..." are their first recordings since then, and their craft has been refined and improved greatly. Few bands can pull off this sort of sound with such overwhelming success: the texture-based (post) rock instrumentation and song compositions fit well with the band's increased use of vocals and indie/emo aesthetics. This is likely THE sleeper hit of 2012, and you'd be doing yourself a great disservice if you missed out on hearing it.

After my month volunteering in Muizenberg finished, I began backpacking again. This meant staying in hostels and paying for food, but it also meant access to wifi once more. The buzz around Kindred had been killing me for weeks, but one sunny day in mid-February, I finally had the songs in my possession. I could hardly wait another second, but I was to be heading up to the top of Table Mountain that day, so I knew I should wait. For those who don't know, Cape Town is fucking gorgeous, maybe the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen, and Table Mountain is a large plateau situated right in the middle, offering incredible 360 degree views. (Interjection: I had the tracks mixed up for the longest time, so my experience started with Loner). As that amazing synth line came out of the ether, my gondola was just reaching the top and Cape Town's astonishing glory presented itself to me, somehow combining perfectly with Will Bevan's surreal, otherworldy sounds. For the next half an hour, I stumbled around in a daze, taking in all I could see, but trying to come to grips with the pure magnitude of what I was hearing. Throw any preconceptions about "hype" out the window, because this is something else entirely. Simply put, Kindred is three sprawling pieces of fluid garage music, each a masterpiece in its own right, presented over 30 minutes of pure, unrelenting creativity and vision from a man who has long been seen as on the leading edge of innovation in electronic music. Some will say that this album isn't worth the mounds of hyperbolic claims it receives, but some people are wrong. The race for short- player of the year was over almost before it began - for me, it was always Kindred: my favourite piece of music from 2012.
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