It’s hump day for 2016 in Review! Part three of five lists a handful of EPs that I enjoyed this year:
1. Moses Sumney — Lamentations
Just as Moses Sumney’s voice can reach up and up, his music seems to find new heights of beauty with each song he releases. I’ll take a choir of looped Sumneys over just about any other vocal group out there.
2. Phil Cook — Old Hwy D
What a perfect companion to the outburst of joy found on Southland Mission. This compact set of pensive guitar tunes is great for working, driving, running… anything where you want to turn your active mind off and let the quiet murmurs of your soul bubble up.
3. Spencer Tweedy — Geezer Love
Apologies for getting all parental about this, but my heart was warmed by Geezer Love in part by the combination of Spencer Tweedy’s voice — how much it sounds like his dad’s — and how he’s managed to make something all his own while building on his dad’s songwriting strengths. That thing Tweedy Sr. does by offering ear-pleasing patterns and then subverting them slightly via structural tweaks and manipulation of phrasing — Tweedy Jr. has it down pat. There’s a wonderful irony at work here: If the style you inherit is dependent on offering variation, you’ll never be a copy of what came before. In “Fawn,” Spencer sings “I want to be what you want me to be/I want to do what you want me to do,” and I can’t help thinking that in being himself, he’s already being and doing what his dad would want.
4. Heartracer — Eat Your Heart Out
I had an opportunity to write a quickie review of this for RVA Magazine. Here’s a snippet:
Eat Your Heart Out’s literal centerpiece, “I Just Want U,” is an expertly crafted pop ballad that’s a joy to get lost in — lost in the harmonies, the guitar, and in time.
5. Thunder Tillman — Jaguar Mirror
I love how narrative Thunder Tillman’s music is. I was hooked halfway through the EP’s first song, “Exact Location Of The Soul,” in large part because I felt like added elements and changes in mood were advancing a story.