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Shoegaze and Dream Pop EPs of 2014

2014 was a heady year for new music, much of it released in EP form. Between the listener poll and the DJ polls, it’s no surprise there’s so little agreement. It would seem any item from all three lists could easily swap out with another’s list, and nobody would argue too much. So, without further adieu, we present the best shoegaze and dream pop EPs of 2014.

DJ Heretic
1. To The Wedding – Silver Currents
To paraphrase Jeff Tweedy, she is trying to break your heart. By and large she succeeds on this achingly dreamy jewel of an EP. Worth more than you’ve paid for it. So say we all.
2. Airs – L.A. Blues (Part Time Punks Session)
You could accuse Airs of seeming haphazard and sloppy at times. They probably wouldn’t argue. But from a tortured recording session, of which maybe 60% was useable, Airs brings their chaotic sound into sharp focus. And guess what? It cuts. Deep.
3. Whirr/Nothing – Split EP
Say what you will (and people do) about Whirr, and to a lesser extent Nothing, if this quality of songwriting is what we can expect from both of them going forward, both of these bands may be unable to be stopped in 2015. Might as well just get out of the way, they intend to rule.
4. Screen Vinyl Image / Bloody Knives – Split
Given the length of the effort here, it may seem a cheat that this qualifies as an EP. But on this effort, both bands have offered some of their most compelling tunes to date. Give quality its due, this is amazing.
5. Conheartist – Surrounded By Drones
We were early adopters. We can’t claim credit for their success. But we can pretend we can. One of our most-played EPs in 2014.
6. Dead Mellotron – Winter 2014
Might have charted higher had it not arrived so late in the year. Dead Mellotron continue to bring deep, hazy, wonderful textures and songwriting, and this is their most mature effort to date. No corners cut here, get in and be absorbed.
7. Wildhoney – Seventeen Forever
Tasty treats from Baltimore. Cavernous, transcendent, lovely. There needs to be much more of this in the new year.
8. The Enters – Small Town Love
While we were sitting around waiting for the new (and ultimately final) album from Brighton’s Toy, The Enters snuck in with this EP. We weren’t prepared to fall in love, but it didn’t take long. Two singles charted on our air in the first half of the year, and with good reason. Music for all seasons, and easily in discussion for best of 2014.
9. Blush Response – Dead Air
A heady, spacious landscape. Should it be any surprise that Australia again produces such compelling textures? Not their only effort of the year, probably their most satisfying, and leaves you wanting still more.
10. Jaguwar – Jaguwar 1
Not everyone adored this as much as I did. Tough. This is immense, challenging, aggressive. Also, multiple layers of brilliant. Not for the faint of heart, perhaps, but if you’re that weak, we’re probably not friends.
Special Mention:
Balms – EP
Didn’t see this coming. No siree. Balms have graduated to the next level. Intricate, lovely, mature, different.
Magic Love – Dawn EP
No clunkers here, all shine. “Growing Organism” ALONE is worth opening a vein for, much less spending 500 Yen. Torrid.
Keep – Hypnosis for Sleep
Good old fashioned American loud shoegaze. Any damn day of the week.
Dead Leaf Echo – True Deep Sleeper
Only left us wanting more.

Ariel
1. To The Wedding – Silver Currents
2. Dead Mellotron – Winter 2014
3. Sounds of Sputnik – New Born
4. Dead Leaf Echo – True Deep Sleeper
5. Kindling – Spike & Wave
6. The Yellow Traffic Light – Dreamless
Heretic was right. All of it is good. “Care” is catchy as hell.
7. Youth in Bloom – Shell
8. Tuques – slushpuppie
9. Contrast – Less Than Zero EP
10. Blood Sister – S/T Cassette

Listener Poll
1. Airs – L.A. Blues (Part Time Punks Session)
2. Sounds of Sputnik – New Born
3. Hideous Towns – Hideous Towns EP
4. Bloodhounds on My Trail – Escape EP
5. Contrast – Less Than Zero EP
6. Bleak Boys – Corrosive
7. Luna Ghost – Luna Ghost EP
8. Miss Mobile Home – Phototaxis EP
9. Whirr/Nothing – Split EP
10. The Enters – Small Town Love

Full 2014 listener poll results found here.

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