So it begins and a bunch of pointless, way too long and entirely subjective end-year lists are heading your way during the coming weeks. Sorry about that. The plan is to make The Finnish albums of the year list on Wednesday and international albums next weekend and then take a little breather before the songs of the year lists. No definite promises though. Things might take far longer. Anyway, time to get it all started with Top 10 EPs of the year 2017. I didn’t make separate lists for Finnish and international.
TOP 10 EPS OF THE YEAR 2017
10. Paper Beat Scissors – All We Know
Montreal-based Paper Beat Scissors aka Tim Crabtree always challenge my own taste. When I have his music just playing there on the background, I might not find a whole lot to hold on to and I might feel like that there’s nothing for me here. However, when I put the headphones on and devote myself to the music, I begin to see the light and the haunting melancholic beauty of the songs eventually lure me into a magical and dazzlingly beautiful atmosphere. Didn’t Know and The Weather Station cover are my particular favorites on this new EP.
9. Pinkerton/Black – How’s the Weather Over There
Henry Black could easily have his debut ep Folk is Dead on this little list as well, but I kind of prefer this tour ep he did with Riley Pinkerton. Maybe this is not really even a proper release, but hey my list my rules and I’m very fond of this. Due to reasons that a) Looked Like Eve is my favorite Henry Black song I’ve heard so far b) this one has 3 excellent songs from both artists.
8. Michael Nau – Load
Michael Nau’s Load EP contains songs from same the pool as the ones that formed his Some Twist album, but somehow these didn’t fit into the full-length. It certainly doesn’t sound like the reason was the quality of the songs, because these are just as lovely.
7. MAITA – Waterbearer
MAITA’s debut EP came out in January and kept its charm throughout the year. I like the whole thing and I’m passionately in love with the title song Waterbearer that reminds me of Laura Veirs. I look forward to hearing more songs from this Portland-based indie-folk songwriter.
6. Hip Hatchet – Hellhound in the House
Hip Hatchet released a wonderful Hellhound in the House EP in January. These are all protest songs and we would all be better off, if the world was in a state where there wasn’t a need for these songs to be born. Unfortunately that’s not the case and therefore we must live, love and resist. The other two songs are really good too, but Burden of an Empath is the song that I really love wholeheartedly. One of my absolute favourite 2017 songs. Despite all the overwhelming sadness, I still feel like the beauty, warmness and love is able to overshadow the darkness in that song. That is where the hope lies and that is what we are also seeing taking place. People coming together and standing up against the lack of compassion and empathy. To love is not a weakness. Love is the way.
5. Matt Paxton – Hunter Street Station Blues
Canadian Matt Paxton is a long time favourite and claim a place on these lists nearly every year. His 2017 release is a marvellous EP Hunter Street Station Blues. I’m a big fan of his songwriting and that voice always grap my attention. I think this lead track Baby Don’t Go is actually the worst song on the EP. The worst meaning still pretty amazing in this case of course.
4. Verandan – Verandan EP
Ville Hopponen is stepping under the spotlight with his own songs. He has been or is a member of such great bands like Cats On Fire, Le Futur Pompiste and The New Tigers and therefore the man is partly responsible of some of the finest Finnish indie pop albums ever. Verandan shows that besides being a skilled musician, he is also a really good songwriter.
3. Julie Arsenault – Softness
This is a last minute entry in a sense that I just bought it. I had this Julie Arsenault EP on the shopping list for months and thought that it’s time take appropriate action and support the artist by buying the release. Now I’ve been listening to it for hours and it’s even better than I remembered. Chain and Monsters are sort of phenomenal and the whole EP is a treasure.
2. Bone Moon – The Writer
The other Finnish entry to this list and therefore this would be the Finnish EP of the year, if I had such a category Bone Moon is a new group led by Lauri Myllymäki. Ochre Room called it a day, but no worries because Bone Moon is equally wonderful. Sure I miss Minttu’s vocals a little bit, because I loved how beautifully they sang together. Hopefully Bone Moon will release a full-length in 2018, because I sure would love to hear more after this tremendous EP.
1. Charlie Whitten – Playwright
Playwright by Charlie Whitten is the EP of the year 2017. Actually it’s one of my favourite releases of the year in general. Probably only The Weather Station album mattered more to me than this magnificent EP. I can listen to these four songs repeatedly for hours. These are timeless, heartfelt and beautifully arranged folk songs. It feels like a lot of thought and love went to each line, note and detail. The songwriting is magnificent, but the way he warmly and softly carries them into my heart is even more impressive. A perfect EP on all accounts.