Though the love and grandeur of the year end list is bestowed upon the LP (check out our top 50 from 2014 here), short form collections are just as important and certainly worthy of our love. With that in mind, here is SIMGE’s Top 12 EPs of 2014 in this better late than never listicle.
12. Cackhander Happy – Too many to name (He put out five this year)
Asbury Park’s own Matt Lambert is better known around the basements and backrooms of the Jersey Shore as Cackhander Happy in a troublesome 2014 in which this workhorse songsmith went on hiatus, he still managed to churn out five short-form collections, each one possessing the grit and fire of a Fucked Up offering with emotionally challenging tidings of your favorite poet (flame-licked those lyrics may be). We at SIMGE hope 2015 treats this artist better so we may slam dance further to his scorched earth police rock.
11. Glycerine Queens – Sleep Deprivation
Under the watchful eye and guidance of one Nicole Atkins, the Asbury Park-based Glycerine Queens and its psychedelia-laced brand of fuzzed-out shoegaze made great strides in 2014 and Sleep Deprivation is the captivating documentation of all that was achieved, and the a small taste of what’s to come.
10. EdTang & The Chops – S/T
Sometimes you need a soundtrack to knock back a pint too and Asbury Park’s EdTang & The Chops provided such a collection with is 2014 self-titled EP. Boot stomping Folk-Rock anthems aplenty live next to songs of sullen reverence on this short-form collection, making it a beautiful sampler of this outfit’s writing capabilities.
9. Son of Dov – Spartan And Free
Son of Dov followed up an impressive 2013 collection in Gone To Seed with another revealing short-forma collection that discusses the challenge of overcoming ones hang ups and vices, and the slow trudging process of obtaining total freedom. It’s powerful, and came to this penman at a time when a helping hand was in need.
8. Smalltalk – I, II, III
The Neptune City-based supergroup featuring Pete Steinkopf (Bouncing Souls) and Zak Kaplan (Worthless United) is not an extension of the members’ preceding punk-rock projects. But rather, Smalltalk is a new creative outlet exploring the softer, janglier, and quite frankly Brit-pop influenced side of these songwriters. Smalltalk dropped three collections of conspicuously unmarked vinyl releases; mysterious in nature, but ultimately a pleasure for the open-minded.
7. The Off White – S/T
Long Beach Island’s own The Off White are everything that’s great about The Black Lips, FIDLAR, The Orwells and the likes, but rather than bask in the slacker-rock apathy often exhibited by the aforementioned, this burgeoning collection of garage-rock auteurs operate in an air of exhilaration and angst capable of tearing to shreds any local art space and mosh pit…and in time, larger riots will undoubtedly be incited.
6. Deal Casino – Heck
Seven months ago the members of Deal Casino dropped out of ollege, left work, and immersed themselves completely into their craft. There’s a certain sort of self-assurance to that last sentence that not every group of musicians possesses. The byproduct of that bravery is Heck, a handful of Asbury Music Awards and further confidence to make this music career thing work…and what’s more, Deal Casino has the catalogue to pull it off.
5. Modern Chemistry – Self Help Guide for Being Alone
A sold out Starland Ballroom full of Taking Back Sunday and Menzingers fans can’t be wrong. Modern Chemistry emerged in 2014 as one of the most buzzed about outfits in New Jersey, and ended the calendar year in Sayreville, tearing down one of the Garden State’s most prized venues. With Self Help Guide for Being Alone, and an explosive single in “Never Scared”, as an impressive foundation to build upon, this former New Brunswick basement dweller is destined for greater heights in the new year.
4. Krill – Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears
Frantic arrangements and a fearlessness to explore their fret board highlight the latest EP the Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts based Krill. However, most prevalent and outstanding upon this short-form collection is literary lyricism of frontman Jonah Furman and his Francis Black-inspired delivery, which smoothly transitions from a quivering snarl to a roar capable of scorching the earth.
3. The Front Bottoms – Rose EP
The first installment of an apparently ongoing “Grandma series”, The Front Bottoms rolled through Asbury Park and Lakehouse Music Academy to cut this six track collection of re-recorded, reworked, an revitalized tracks that were never officially released. A makeover was provided setlist staple “Flying Model Rockets”, while “Lipstick Covered Magnet” and “Twelve Feet Deep” quickly became fan favorites in 2014.
2. ROMP – Sorry, Not Sorry
Pulsating rock rhythms paired with a powerful vocal performance via ROMP front-woman Madison Klarer made for one of the best first impressions – Sorry, Not Sorry - SIMGE has received since this outlet’s inception our years ago. The burrowing hooks of “Drive”; the frenetic energy of “If Your Head Gets Any Bigger You’ll Float Away”; the calculated beauty of “Portrait”; and the intriguing word play of this short-form collection’s title track makes this New Brunswick outfit one to watch in 2015.
1. Seaside Caves – S/T
Music can be a very glamorized art-form and offer a glitzy landscape to traverse. However, Asbury Park’s own purveyors of Dark-Wave magic, Seaside Caves, works in the opposite end of the spectrum, opting for less cryptic depictions of what ails you. Seaside Caves doesn’t just tell you about sleeping in the gutter, they show you the rat scurrying up next to you for warmth. They don’t tell you about fear and addiction, but paint portraits of the vivid nightmares that follow close. This isn’t merely one of the top local releases of 2014, but weighs in on the national scale.