Jan 2015 29

At the beginning of every year, when the time for reflection on the past 12 months is still very much in the minds of many, ReGen Magazine offers its readers a list of 20 Albums voted on by the staff to be the best of the year. However, over the course of the last decade (if not longer), as the means for artists to distribute their music more directly to a wider audience, coupled with the growing demands of that audience for more music to enjoy and consume, the album as a format has taken something of a backseat to the shorter, less cumbersome EP. While not necessarily less substantive in terms of the content presented by the musicians and producers, although certainly offering less material in a shorter time for lower prices… or if not necessarily less material, as evidenced by the abundance of the still popular supplement of remixes, then less original or “new” material. Some use the EP format in lieu of the album in order to maintain a consistent and healthy outflow of material to sate the demands of the audience, releasing as many as three or four EPs in the span of a year, while others take the approach that EPs are a perfect medium to build interest – hype, if you will – in a larger and fuller presentation currently in progress. Both directions offer pragmatic alternatives to the album format to still provide the fans with more bang for their bucks, and 2014 was in no shortage of EP releases from many a prominent act.
So in a marginal change of pace, ReGen Magazine is proud to offer the Top 10 EPs of 2014 – our own shorter companion to the article celebrating the year’s best albums.

 

  1. More Machine Than Man: Something Ventured, Nothing Gained
    Nilaihah Records
    Released 2014-09-18
    Having successfully returned after a nine year period of silence, the duo of More Machine Than Man makes clear that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon; with such names as I:Scintilla, GoFight, and Ego Likeness lending their remixing capabilities on top of MMTM’s sexually charged industrial rock swagger, and with a guest vocal by The Clay People’s Dan Neet, this EP runs very much to the contrary of its title in that there is indeed much to be gained in hearing it.
    Purchase at:
    Amazon MP3
    Bandcamp
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  3. Godflesh: Decline & Fall
    Avalanche Recordings
    Released 2014-06-24
    Veering away from the dreamy and melodic territory carved out by Jesu, this EP marks Justin K. Broadrick’s return to the apocalyptic grandeur and mesmerizing audio torment that is Godflesh; a prelude to the subsequent full-length album, and bringing the influential mix of mechanized beats and guttural doom metal into a new level of production and development.
    Purchase at:
    Amazon CD
    Amazon MP3
    Bandcamp
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  5. Cocksure: TKO Mindfuck
    WaxTrax! Records / Cracknation
    Released 2014-06-14
    As the duo of Chris Connelly and Jason Novak not only revitalize the spirit of the bygone era of the late ’80s, so too does the duo come full circle with the first new release from the eminent industrial label in almost two decades. With Front 242’s Richard 23 adding his own roaring energy to the proceedings, this second EP from Cocksure is a downright in-your-face and sexy affair not to be missed.
    Purchase at:
    Amazon MP3
    WaxTrax! Store
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  7. GoFight: The Moscow Drag
    Pulseblack
    Released 2014-02-19
    GoFight takes its pro-sex/anti-war message to the frontlines with this single in support of the GLBTQ youth of the world against the mistreatment and persecution not only in Russia during the Olympics, but throughout the world; in cooperation with the It Gets Better Project, this second of GoFight’s three EP releases in 2014, this stands as one of the band’s catchiest, most danceable, and sexiest outings.
    Purchase at:
    Amazon CD
    Amazon MP3
    Bandcamp
    Pulseblack
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  9. Hypefactor: 市中心中国
    Division 87 Records
    Released 2014-07-22
    Mysterious though its title may be, Hypefactor’s latest EP delivers more of the band’s signature electronic grooves and pop/rock energies. Taking the new wave sound of decades past into the modern era, complete with catchy hooks that you won’t be able to get out of your head for a long time after you hear it, plus an excellent helping of remixes to suit your DJing needs, there is no mystery as to why this is one of the year’s best EPs.
    Purchase at:
    Amazon MP3
    Bandcamp
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  11. Julien-K: California Noir
    *Self-released*
    Released 2014-07-08
    Having firmly established a sexy and smooth electro/rock style with two successful albums, Julien-K takes the audience on a darkly enticing journey into the forthcoming third album with three tracks that simply ooze with electrified grooves and shimmering guitars, topped off with emotive and sensual vocals. As a prelude to bigger and better things, including a successful IndieGoGo campaign to fund the upcoming third album, this brief but powerful EP is a marvelous teaser for even better things to come.
    Purchase at:
    Amazon MP3
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  13. Robohop: Prime Directives 1-4
    Glitch Mode Recordings
    Released 2014-04-20
    Scaling back on the volume but not on the intensity (or any of the nerdiness), and focusing the Glitch Mode Squad’s skills on rhythm and texture instead of outright aggression, Robohop’s brief barrage of industrialized hip-hop simply demands to be heard. Satirical in its usage of sci-fi samples with just a subtle hint of sociopolitical commentary, Robohop does well to engage a whole new audience without alienating established fans.
    Purchase at:
    Bandcamp
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  15. Rabbit Junk: Pop That Pretty Thirty
    Glitch Mode Recordings
    Released 2014-08-29
    Always challenging the audience’s tolerance with a heavy dose of volume and aggression driving the subtle but arresting melodies and songwriting, Rabbit Junk takes its raucous digital hardcore sound to the limit with an EP that is sure to melt more than a few speakers and headphones; if you can stand the noise, you’ll be rewarded with some of the catchiest tunes the Seattle act has yet released.
    Purchase at:
    Amazon MP3
    Bandcamp (Rabbit Junk)
    Bandcamp (Glitch Mode Recordings)
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  17. The Rabid Whole: Problems
    *Self-released*
    Released 2014-09-23
    With tighter songwriting and a polished production sound, this Toronto electro/rock act has been steadily rising in the ranks of the scene, and with this EP offers up some of the strongest set of songs the band has yet created. Catchy enough for the mainstream, edgy enough for the underground, The Rabid Whole’s intensely harmonious and dynamic style is simply not to be missed, and this latest EP offers ample proof.
    Purchase at:
    Amazon CD
    Amazon MP3
    Bandcamp
    Storming the Base CD
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  19. Dead on TV: Creeper
    *Self-released*
    Released 2014-10-16
    As a punk band, it can be hard to improve as musicians without losing the fire first sparked, but Chicago’s Dead on TV does so magnificently as the quartet serves up another six songs of fist-pumping catchiness sure to satisfy even the most jaded. Lascivious, belligerent, and just a little bit goofy, the band demonstrates a tight and polished electro/punk style too goddamn satisfying to ignore.
    Purchase at:
    Amazon MP3
    CDBaby
    Bandcamp
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Naturally, as this list is the crème de la crème of 2014’s EP releases, it is by no means meant to exclude the plethora of other fine releases of the year; as such, ReGen is happy to include these honorable mentions.
Both GoFight and Cocksure had more than a few releases in 2014, with the former’s Turn It Up and Drop a Bomb and the latter’s KKEP proving just as incendiary and as exciting as those on the Top 10, while Deconbrio’s The Art of Violation brought in a healthy dose of guitar-driven coldwave energy that is sure to be taken to the utmost on subsequent releases. Similarly, Cynergy 67 continued to build upon its electrosexual rock style with Afterglow – Pt. 1: Anticipation, staying true to its title and driving listeners to the edge of a climax that is sure to be releases on the impending second part. On the more experimental end of the spectrum, Architect continued with the second set of remixes for 2013’s #7 album Mine, while MultiColor Cyclicity upped the ante for the act’s dynamic and spacey brand of glitchy guitar-laden IDM.
While it is this writer’s keen hope that the album format never disappears and that artists continue to find new ways to present larger and more comprehensive musical packages, the EP has been working well to appease audiences and keep the creative spark lit; and by virtue of the format’s shorter playtimes, it bodes well that the market not get oversaturated. Besides, how can too much music be a bad thing? ReGen certainly doesn’t think so… so let us raise our glasses and listen for even more music in 2015!

 
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
ReGen Magazine Staff
Happy 2015!

 

2 Comments

  1. Chad says:

    Thanks for putting out these lists. I have several of the titles already. Since I hold this magazine with such high regards I will be checking out what I don’t have. Thanks again for such an awesome mag.
    Peace
    Chad

  2. […] Ventured, Nothing Gained EP, released on Nilaihah Records and making the #1 spot on ReGen‘s Top 10 EPs of 2014. […]

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