Top EPs and 7-inches of 2014

Phil Collins - December 22, 2014

Plain Words

The last days of 2014 are quickly dissolving, so it is time again to look back on the year in music. What we have here is a collection of some of my favorite EPs and 7-inches from 2014. I am not going to attempt to rank these or to hit any magic number. By the way, we have our 32 choices set for the best albums of the year bracket. The matchups will play out in a few days and you will see the outcome sometime in the next couple weeks. Keep your eyes open for that one.

Dead Work - Plain Words

First up is Plain Words, the second EP from Boulder, Colorado's Dead Work. This release builds on the band's earlier work. The band's sound fits into the folk punk genre with ska influences occassionally bubbling to the surface. Plain Words shares some elements in common with its predecessors. "Eternal Oblivion" and "Thrall" were previously released songs for one. Here they were re-recorded with a full band. Dead Work was mostly a one-man operation before this release. The EP's screen printed, spray painted packaging carries on the attention to physical detail that was so evident with the release of Scabs. In an era of streaming music, these are releases you want to hold in your hands. That being said, you can stream the new songs, the old songs and a welcome Bomb the Music Industry! cover at Dead Work's bandcamp.

Community Support Group

The Bruce Lee Band - Community Support Group

The Bruce Lee Band returned in a big way in 2014. Community Support Group may be the release I listened to the most times all year. Granted, it is less than 10 minutes long so racking up a lot of plays doesn't take very long. These five songs are pure, uninhibited ska. Mike Park of Asian Man Records anchors the band again and this time everyone is on the party including Jeff Rosenstock, Dan Potthast, Chris #2 of Anti-Flag and Sean Bonnette of Andrew Jackson Jihad. The band's full-length album ranks among my favorites of the year, but these five songs remain the most infectious. Stream Community Support Group here.

Sisterhood is Powerful

Bad Canoes - Sisterhood is Powerful

Bad Canoes showed up unexpectedly in late 2013 with a five song demo. Sisterhood is Powerful arrived a few months later in all its screechy, acidic glory. Bad Canoes features Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females on vocals in an all-girl lineup. The songs are tightly wound bundles of energy released in quick bursts. There is not a whole lot of information about this band online, which makes me think this may be a one-off project. Let's hope that's not the case. Stream Sisterhood is Powerful at Bad Canoes' bandcamp.

No Affinity

Ritual Control - No Affinity

Ritual Control was another band to surface in 2013. No Affinity was one of the many releases to come out in a stacked January 2014. I happened upon this in a record store and it quickly became one of my favorite pick-ups of the year. This is female-fronted hardcore from the Bay Area. If you close your eyes and turn up this 7-inch loud enough, you might think you are at a basement show by the end of four songs. No Affinity was released on Chicago's Residue Records. Stream it here.


Dead Ending - DE III

The third EP from Chicago hardcore supergroup Dead Ending embodies old school, fast and straight-ahead hardcore. Naturally, Dead Ending execute this 12" EP like the punk veterans they are. Derek Grant of Alkaline Trio, Joe Principe of Rise Against, Vic Bondi of Articles of Faith and Jeff Dean of The Bomb make up the band. They are joined here by guests Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun and Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers. DE III packs the punches you want to hear when throwing on a hardcore record. Stream it at Bridge Nine Records' bandcamp.

Seasonal Men's Wear

Seasonal Men's Wear - Seasonal Men's Wear

The eponymous effort from our friends Seasonal Men's Wear exudes the feeling of getting home from work and cracking open a beer. From the opening guitar licks of "Theme Song For a Quarter Life Crisis," it's time to shed the worries of the workday. "The Wine of Youth" carries on with the theme of embracing a lifestyle that manages to change and remain stagnant at the same time. Seasonal Men's Wear play their 10th anniversary show at the LiveWire Lounge on Saturday. Stream their self-titled EP here.