1. Paid to see a Trainwreck – The Paranoid Style
Probably more of a sampler for the (hopefully) forthcoming LP rather than an EP in its own right, but the contents of ‘Paid To See A Trainwreck’, modern Americana combined with irresistible melodies, mean that the album is probably THE most anticipated release of 2013 for MPT.
2. Vanishing Tanks/Now We’re Dancing – Adam Stafford/Rick Redbeard split single
The latest in the series of Gerry Loves split singles, LOVES009 gave us not just the official recorded debut of Rick Redbeard sans Phantoms but also one of Adam Stafford’s best tunes. And a bonus track from each artist. Essential.
3. Intervention – Cancel The Astronauts
If there was any justice in the world, ‘Intervention’, CTA’s catchiest, danciest tune, would have been bought in its millions. Far and way the most commercial thing they’ve done, it was a fine taster for the excellent debut LP. And the B-sides aren’t half bad either.
4. Ace – The Big Sleep
A juddering monster of a tune, ‘Ace’ was the first sign that ‘Nature Experiments’ was going to be the Big Sleep’s best record to date. Not least because non-LP B-side ‘Gas Up The Jets’ is a spooky masterpiece too.
5. Something’s Happening Here – Man Without Machines
An impressive debut release, ‘Something’s Happening Here’ by way of its infectious melodies and boundless energy did exactly what the title suggested and highlights another very heavily anticipated debut LP for 2013.
6. The Handstand Crowd / Low Winter Sun – The Pictish Trail / Kid Canaveral
The first release from the second LP, this 2012 live favourite lived up to all the anticipation. And if the return of Kid C was the selling point for me of this split Fence release, then the Pictish Trail song on the flip finally gave me a route into his music too.
7. Heart, Heart – Withered Hand
Unexpectedly raucous ‘Heart, Heart’ represented the first new WH material in a couple of years. But not the last even of the year as the more reflective follow-up EP ‘Inbetweens’ whetted the appetite for that long awaited second LP.
8. Hermit – Randolph’s Leap
Every bit as infectious at their previous pop tunes, ‘Hermit’ was Randloph’s Leap’s first release for Fence. And as madcap as ever. With many of the records being limited acoustic releases, ‘Hermit’ shows what the full band can sound like and I can’t wait for the in-progress LP to be finished and unleashed on the wider world.
9. In Dreams Lie Guilt – Edinburgh School for the Deaf
In which ESFTD brought their recorded material up to what they were playing LAST summer (2011). A concise EP with several highlight, particularly ‘Of Scottish Blood and Sympathies’(a speeded up second cousin of the song of the same name from the debut LP) and ‘… Alex Johnston’ but none more than the remixed version of ‘Love Is Terminal’.
10. Older Motion Pictures – Letters
A fairly late discovery (this came out as far back as May) but an impressive 4 song collection of majestic, epic rock recalling both Hope of the States and Babygod. Another band with a debut LP slated for 2013.
11. TV – The Wonder Villains
Pure, sparky electro pop from Northern Ireland, the Wonder Villains are unashamedly P-O-P. The capital letters seem appropriate to reflect the irresistible nature of the tunes. World domination surely beckons.
12. The Spanner Works – Mitchell Museum
A welcome return to the fray for the Mitchell boys. ‘The Spanner Works’ hinted that the band don’t have to be frantic at every turn, if it wasn’t quite time to ditch the kitchen sink approach. 2013 will hopefully see the 2nd Mitchell Museum LP.
13. Span / Only Colour – Martin John Henry
Would have been higher had it preceded the LP but the only entirely new track was the admittedly brilliant B-side ‘White Flamingo’. Otherwise this monster 7 track EP contained no fewer than 4 remixes of songs from MPT’s LP of 2011.