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EP Reviews – Pt. 2

June 25, 2011

Part 1 of my EP reviews featured some of my favorite EPs from this year. I’ll start Part 2 alphabetically & follow up each review with my favorite track from the album.

The Appleseed CastMiddle States (EP)

The Appleseed Cast is a post-rock band from Kansas. They have been making music since ’97. I was not familiar with them going into this EP, & might not have even listened to it if a friend had not let me borrow it.

This EP has 4 new songs, 2 instrumental all clocking in at about 28 minutes. The last song treads on jam band or Pink Floyd territory at a whopping 14 minutes long. That song is half of the EP right there. While I don’t think I’ll be listening to this EP much anymore, doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t like it. From what I could gather, if you liked the band before, you will probably still enjoy this new EP.

For me, I found it boring at times & the tracks they were singing on didn’t really do much for me either. I thought the song “Middle States” was decent. But I’m not one that likes to listen to instrumental rock & that was what 60% of this album contained.

I give The Appleseed CastMiddle States (EP), 5.5/10

The Appleseed Cast “Middle States”

Dum Dum GirlsHe Gets Me High (EP)

This may the shortest EP I’ve come across all year. This EP is only 4 songs that total less than 14 minutes. I just purchased the mp3s of this EP. I think I would have been a little pissed if I’d have paid for the cd or vinyl. ($7.50 & $12 on Amazon) Unless you are a HUGE Dum Dum Girls fan, I suggest you do the same as me. The EP is great, but at 13 minutes & 45 seconds, you aren’t really getting much for your money on this if you purchase a physical copy.

I give Dum Dum GirlsHe Gets Me High (EP), 7.6/10

Dum Dum Girls “He Gets Me High”

Grouploves/t (EP)

Grouplove was a band I found because it was KEXP’s Song of the Day on March 2nd. The opening track “Colours” was the song featured. I was didn’t think it was too bad. I later ran across their EP on Emusic & downloaded it. When I got it, I was thinking that Grouplove was one of the other bands that I had also listened to that morning. Ah well, I already had it so I gave it try.

It turns out the song “Colours” was my favorite track on the EP.  BBC said this about Grouplove’s EP:

“….like Dinosaur Jr. meeting The Moldy Peaches in a secret cove at sundown.”

They are a hard band to describe, so that description is as good as any. While, I did enjoy parts of this EP, I don’t feel it’s one I will be coming back to anytime soon. Unless their storytelling lyrics or unique pop sound is something you are really enjoying, I’d just recommend that you to download “Colours” and call it done.

I give Grouplove Grouplove (EP), 6.3/10

Grouplove “Colours”

The WeekndHouse of Balloons (mixtape)

This one technically is not an EP & is actually long enough to be considered a full length, totaling 49.5 minutes. The Weeknd just came out of nowhere, created a website & then dropped this free mixtape on the world in March. It quickly began circulating the indie music blogs & then even going into the mainstream after Drake posted the album on his twitter account.

I think it is safe to call House of Balloons the best R&B album of the year. His dark & fresh take on R&B is something you don’t come across very often. There is no reason for you not to own this album. 1- It is awesome & 2- it’s freakin’ free!

I thought the last paragraph of the Pitchfork review summed the album up best:

“What makes this whole thing work in an album context is that all the thematic and sonic pieces fit together– these weird, morning-after tales of lust, hurt, and over-indulgence (“Bring the drugs, baby, I can bring my pain,” goes one refrain) are matched by this incredibly lush, downcast music. It’s hard to think of a record since probably The xx’s debut (definitely a touchstone here) that so fully embodies such a specific nocturnal quality. And even though the image of nightlife painted by the Weeknd isn’t a place you’d ever want to live, it’s one that’s frankly very hard to stop listening to.”

Grab The Weeknd’s House of Balloons for free, here.

I give The WeekndHouse of Balloons (mixtape), 8.4/10

Be sure you listed past the 3 min. 30 sec. mark of this track, the beat changes completely. And besides that, this is one of the phattest tracks of the year!

The Weeknd “House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls”

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