The medium of choice for rising stars, an invaluable tool for up and coming artists, EPs are the oft overlooked lifeblood of the music industry. It’s always been our most hotly contested list as the wealth of great EPs often represents the very best and brightest new acts on the scene. In a music industry decimated by Covid-19 however, these artists are amongst those hardest hit. So as we reel off our favourite EPs from our least favourite year, if you stumble across a release that resonates with you, we ask that you do your bit to support the artists in whatever way you can.
10. Sophie Morgan – Marmalade
This fantastic folk record has the same sublime golden glow and evocative imagery that has made her a firm Belwood favourite over the past few years. On Marmalade her signature sound takes a more wistful turn, offering nostalgic reflection on the past and sharing wishes for a brighter future.
9. Honorary Astronaut – EP. 001
On this solo side project Casey Crescenzo brings the lush immaculate arrangements and sense of theatricality from The Dear Hunter, and injects it with an extra hint of whimsy and psychedelica. Drawing from the likes of Elton John and ELO, it’s light and playful without losing any of the intricacy and attention to detail.
8. Orla Gartland – Freckle Season
Another brilliant release from the Irish marvel with the Midas touch. Further showing her range with everything from fuzzy riffs and bass breakdowns to piano balladry and rustic folk, all stamped with her own singular style. Fingers crossed that her long awaited debut album is just around the corner!
7. Natalie Shay – Naked
Fusing retro 80s vibes with polished indie pop production, Naked is a dazzling milestone for one of Britain’s most buzz-worthy rising stars. Natalie delivers sparkling synths, boundless energy and earworm melodies in abundance on this addictive and endearing release.
6. Lawson Hull – Dreaming Is Easy
Reminiscent of the likes of The War On Drugs and The Paper Kites, Australian singer/songwriter Lawson Hull strikes a sublime balance between warm welcoming folk and hazy dream pop on his excellent debut EP. Expansive, enthralling and beautifully bittersweet, I just adore getting lost in this record.
5. Francesca Louise – Melancholic Antidote
Tender soulful vocals, refined folk arrangements, and above all the way she pours her heart and soul into each track – the fantastic Francesca Louise nailed it with this charming record. An absolutely stunning listen from start to finish that has established her as a real ‘one to watch’ in my books.
4. Simon Alexander – In The Rust
Swedish singer/songwriter Simon Alexander has absolutely smashed it this year, delivering two great albums that I’ve had in heavy rotation. Before all that though came In The Rust, which proved to be the perfect taster of what was to come. A marvellous little microcosm of his wide-ranging talents.
3. Cristina Hart – Sell a Dream
Infectious indie pop bangers, with raw relatable lyricism, memorable hooks and polished production, are the order of the day here. This Belwood favourite has really come into her own this year, delivering a confident and uncompromising debut EP packed with some of the biggest bops of 2020.
2. Tiny Castle – Perspectives
Drawing inspiration from all the right places, from synth driven Americana and airy indie rockers to moody post punk and everything in between, Perspectives touches your heart like it’s a record you’ve been listening to all your life. This Aussie outfit have made an EP more cohesive and engaging than many full albums.
1. Camp 8 – Everything
Australian acts have been killing the EP game this year, but none more so than Reuben Apirana under his Camp 8 moniker. On the stunningly cinematic Everything he crafts a record that manages to seem as grand and opulent as a great cathedral, while also feeling as intimate and personal as a handwritten love letter. It’s one of the most moving explorations of heartbreak you could hope to hear, and one of the most ambitious EPs I’ve yet come across.