Monday, November 17, 2008

EPs of 2008...

I find categories with many competing possibilities particularly difficult by dint of the selection criteria: on one hand I don't want to appear biased but, on the other hand, that is exactly why I'm writing it!

This is the easiest category to deal with as there are relatively few contenders. Last year the selection process was pretty easy and this year it has not been too difficult either but there still are important differences: last year both artists/acts came from the UK and sung in English but this year that is not true!
The problem with doing this is that, having listened to the contenders for the category, what to listen to while writing that is not apt to influence the decision and is yet complementary? My answer, available on CD and well worth a listen, is Kiln House - Fleetwood Mac (1970, 12" vinyl, RSLP9004).

In 2008 one of the two doesn't come from the UK and one doesn't sing in English (on the EP)! At least you can't say that I've not chosen two that are in a similar genre, though that was not true last year either. Here they are, in no order:

  • Sun Giant - Fleet Foxes
Released in the US in late 2007 and, following their signing to Bella Union, in the UK in early 2008, is this EP by Seattle all-male five-piece 'Fleet Foxes'. They made tight vocal harmonies cool again - even before the release of their eponymous d├ębut album later in 2008 - and they sing in English.
  • Edrych Yn Llygaid Ceffyl Benthyg - Cate Le Bon
The long promised album, apparently to be entitled Pet Deaths, has still not appeared but in early summer 2008 this 5-track EP, released only on 10" vinyl and sung entirely in Welsh, more than made up for that! Some of the tracks are far more complex than those she has show-cased before.
I can't yet quite explain why I think this but the final track, O Bont i Bont, sounds like one of the very best modern French pop songs that has never actually been written!

Two incomparable but equally innovative and worthwhile EPs; demonstrating beyond doubt that the genre is still well and truly alive.

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