Tag Archives: Summon The Octopi

Top 15 EPs of 2014

2014 had a lot of great albums, but what about all those EPs? People tend to let smaller releases slip by unnoticed, but at Planet Stereo, the phrase, “nice things come in small packages,” is muttered throughout the year. (…that may be partly because I’m only 5’2″, but hey! It’s a valid argument!) Here are the Top 15 EPs of 2014. Here’s hoping 2015 brings some good ones too!

 

1. Savannah by Nick Santino – released December 19th, 2014.

Nick Santino

A quality EP that displays both artistry and originality throughout. There is pure character in each track, which gives Savannah  a cinematic quality/value. The stripped down sound provides a quiet, almost hushed tone that carries a lofty emotional weight.

2. Waiting For a Sequel by Beat The Heart – released on May 6th, 2014.

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The epitome of indie/rock. There is an almost tangent energy to the EP, fusing together a cinematic, melodic style with the ballad worthy attitude of the 80s.

3. Strangers In Fairyland by Jocelyn Arndt – released October 27th, 2014.

Jocelyn Arndt

Jocelyn Arndt perfectly delivers wit and attitude, wrapped up in raw power. It’s a debut EP that showcases the pure talent of Arndt and an effortless mystery behind it all.

4. Sweet Talk by Sinclair – released on November 4th, 2014.

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From the opening notes of Sweet Talk, it is obvious there is something very special about Sinclair. I had said in my review that I believed there was a star in the making; that this wasn’t a debut, “this is an explosion,” and I stand by that.

5. It’s So Much Friendlier With Two by The Millenium – released on February 23rd, 2014.

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“[A] memorable EP. The effort and talent put into just five tracks shines through in every line, but, in a surprising twist, it doesn’t sound forced. This EP flows organically and sounds like the product of a group of very creative people collaborating. One listen, and The Millenium are difficult to forget, not that you’d want to. If this EP is anything to go by, we should all be expecting big things from this group in 2015. ”

6. Nonvesations by Summon The Octopi – released on November 17th, 2014.

Summon The Octopi

“Summon The Octopi have figured out how to do something many modern artists would deem impossible: they have managed to speak to listeners without having the need of a voice on every song. There is a true originality to every track, speaking for Nonversations, marking it as more than a debut EP, but more as a launch station for a talented group of musicians. ”

7. As You Were by Arc & Stones – released on June 10th, 2014.

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“The more I listen to As You Were, the more I want to see a tour with Arc & Stones and Thirty Seconds To Mars headlining the bill. The EP is an instant classic, and, considering this is the first time I’ve ever listened to Arc & Stones, a perfect introduction. As far as first impressions go, the band has left a fine one on me, and I look forward to hearing what they come up with next.”

8. Commonweather by Commonweather – released on November 25th, 2014.

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“Chicago is known for being home to some of the best artists, especially in the alternative rock arena, but even hailing from such a city, it is a rarity to hear a band that sounds so developed, and so confident in their sound on an EP. Just listening to Commonweather’s EP, it is obvious that we will see big things from them soon, because they already have enough quality in their work to compete with some of their more experienced counterparts. I, for one, cannot wait to see the results.”

9. Nikos by Nikos – released on October 21st, 2014.

NIKOS EP

As an introduction to the band, it is a wonderful preview at where they are headed, and how certain they are in their sound already. Their self-titled EP is delightfully melodic, energetic, and hauntingly brilliant.

10. All In My Head by Seaway – released on November 4th, 2014.

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“As a debut, All In My Head is pretty much close to perfection, showcasing what Seaway is capable of musically, lyrically, and even style-wise. It is refreshing to hear a group who so obviously knows the direction they plan to take with their career, without imitating their icons.”

11. Thieves & Lovers by Thieves & Lovers – released on September 23rd, 2014

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“Thieves & Lovers are fiercely talented, seemingly avoiding the over-produced quality that so many artists seem to be floating towards these days. With their self-titled EP, the band definitely stands out, and leaves listeners waiting for a full-length album.”

12. I Woke Up by Nominee – released on October 14th, 2014.

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Nominee’s sophomore release is wonderfully original; a well-made addition to the band’s discography. The EP had an irresistible style, with a dynamic and infectious attitude that further emphasizes the overall quality.

13. Balloons by Ruby My Dear – released on October 14th, 2014.

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There is a soulful beauty to this EP, and every track had something to offer. The music and lyrics of Balloons work together, fitting like pieces of a puzzle; there is not the typical competition of which will win the heart of the listener.

14. At Night by Choir Vandals – released on October 27th, 2014.

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Between the mixture of emotional intensities, explosions of raw power, and a brooding undertone, Choir Vandals are the musical Heathcliffs of the scene…if, you know, stages could stand in the moors. The intricacy of their sophomore EP makes them one to watch.

15. HEART by Alexz Johnson – released on February 18th, 2014.

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“One thing I really enjoy about HEART is the raw, melodic tone each track has. Unwaveringly honest and powerful, this EP encourages listeners to not only sing along, but to feel what is being sang about. Alexz Johnson is an artist who has a very recognizable voice, and her songwriting rivals some of the greats. HEART is more than an EP; it is a statement. It might say different things to different people, but one thing is undeniable: whatever it’s saying is coming through loud and clear.”

 

 HONORABLE MENTIONS

The Acoustic EP by Jake Furia

Move Now by Marshall Crenshaw

Lucy Scholl by Lucy Scholl

Chemistry by Plaid Brixx 

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REVIEW: Summon The Octopi – ‘Nonversations’

Summon The Octopi

 

With the cinematic, transient, “Intro,” Summon the Octopi perfectly slide into “Slobodan The Sloth,” beginning Nonversations, an EP that sees little need for words, focusing more on the feeling of the music.  “”Slobodan The Sloth” carries on with an entrancing instrumental, that gives the song a special kick that makes it so striking; it may be the slow beginnings and the edge that gives the sensation of striking slowly, yet suddenly. Bass-heavy, rhythmically driven, exploratory, in a beautifully creative sense, the song manages to shift between tones that fade into each other perfectly, acting like a spectrum throughout the track, adding depth and character.

“It’s Been Sick, So I Tried To Feed It Some More” is possibly my favorite. A stand-out track, there is a distinctive quality to it, with a more evident shifting in tone, all at once while maintaining overall emotion. Instrumentally, it is the guitars, filled with a such a soulful sound, they almost seem to be singing, that pull the listeners in, creating a short, but gripping track. Just as distinctive, the one track with vocals on it, “Rehabosaurus Rex.” It is odd, but until the vocals come crashing in, it was almost as ifI hadn’t noticed the lack of singing. Paired with enchanting guitar and stunning imagery, quietly delivered, yet powerful, lyrics and raw emotion seep through, giving it an unusual clarity.

“Apricots Apricate (Alligators Alligate)” may be a silly name for a song, but with a sound that is reminiscent of lazy summer days by the pool, floating on your back, staring up at the sky, half bored, half transfixed, Summon The Octopi prove that silly names are nothing more than the title (“a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”). Melodic and, above all, inspired, the song has originality in every note, which is much appreciated in a world where many artists sound exactly alike.

 

Thankfully, Summon The Octopi don’t sound like every other band; that being said, their songs don’t even carry an imitative bone. “Lulling Waves, Sullen Gaze (All Is Space)” is a cocktail of a careful, soft sound, and an edgier, darker outlier that seems to match the title of the song perfectly. Heavy instrumentals, boisterous, clashing cymbals, and a subtle aggression make up the backbone of the track, appealing to a wider audience, while also refreshing the idea of versatility.

Summon The Octopi have figured out how to do something many modern artists would deem impossible: they have managed to speak to listeners without having the need of a voice on every song. There is a true originality to every track, speaking for Nonversations, marking it as more than a debut EP, but more as a launch station for a talented group of musicians.

 

Nonversations is due out on the 17th of November.

For more on Summon the Octopi, click HERE.

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