Rosy Overdrive’s Top 25 EPs of 2022

You’re probably still making your way through Rosy Overdrive’s to Top 100 Albums of 2022, I know–but there were plenty of good EPs to come out this year, as well! Just like last year, I’ve put together a shorter but still substantial list of my twenty-five favorites for you all to check out. The EP is already an under-the-radar format, and most of these picks feel like they’ve been pretty under-discussed–I’m happy with this list, and I know you’ll find something new to you and very good here.

Here are links to the EPs on this list that are on streaming services: Spotify, Tidal. Look for a Best Compilations/Reissues of 2022 list and at least one more Pressing Concerns before the year’s out. To read about much more music beyond what’s on this list, check out the site directory, and if you’d like to support Rosy Overdrive, you can share this (or another) post, or donate here. Thank you for reading.

25. JUMBO – World As Bad Idea

Release date: July 1st
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Indie pop, lo-fi indie rock
Formats: Digital

Bristol’s JUMBO is the latest project from duo Joe Sherrin and Kane Eagle (of SLONK, Milo’s Planes, and RADIATOR); their latest release sounds bigger than the work of two people, however. World As Bad Idea is made up of five songs of big, sincere, and accessible pop rock that isn’t dumbed down in any way, either. The EP opens with the maximalist seven-minute, horn-laden title track which reminds me a bit of Hallelujah the Hills and other driven, stuck-out-of-time indie rock groups–and the rest of the EP packs no less of a punch in its “normal” song lengths.

24. Big Big Bison – Big Big Bison

Release date: August 12th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: 90s indie rock/alt-rock, fuzz rock
Formats: Digital

Chicago’s Big Big Bison is the trio of Matt Schwerin, Ben Grigg, and Kelly Johnson, who used to all play in a band called Geronimo!. Since then, Grigg has kept busy with Whelpwisher and Babe Report, and Johnson has the underrated Milked, and now they’re all together in a new band with a rock-solid six-song EP to their name. Songs like “Minor Fame” and “Native Sparrows” are loud but catchy alt-rock/power pop, sitting alongside the noise-punk “Blank Communication”, the pounding “Bruiser”, and the seven-minute Louisville-style post-rock closing track “Walking Tour”.

23. Ecstatic International – Ecstatic International

Release date: October 14th
Record label: Sister Polygon
Genre: Post-punk, dance punk
Formats: Cassette, digital

Ecstatic International is a new Washington D.C.-based post-punk supergroup comprised of G.L. Jaguar (Ex-Priests), Laura Harris (Ex Hex), Anno (Olivia Neutron-John), Jacky Cougar Abok (Des Demonas), and Nikhil Rao (Bottled Up). The band’s self-titled debut EP delves into the same strain of groovy but smart post-punk music that Priests were exploring before their breakup; its five songs are all sleek, polished, brim-filled dance-punk tracks. Unemotional spoken-word vocals, bubbling Wire-esque synths, and occasional moments of 80s new wave melody all variously color Ecstatic International. (Read more)

22. Aluminum – Windowpane

Release date: October 7th
Record label: Dandy Boy/Discontinuous Innovation
Genre: Noise pop, shoegaze, experimental rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

The debut EP from San Francisco’s Aluminum is a compelling listen, finding the four-piece band hitting the ground running with a potent sound that pulls from dream pop, shoegaze, and psychedelia. Windowpane’s opening title track is a recognizable piece of Stereolab-esque noise pop in its steady, motorik tempo and the dual vocals of Marc Leyda and Ryann Gonsalves, and its “tuneful wall of sound” feel is rivaled by “Red & Gold” and “Solar” as well.

21. Fuvk – Goodnight, Moon

Release date: November 18th
Record label: Z Tapes
Genre: Indie folk, bedroom pop, lo-fi folk
Formats: Cassette, digital

Austin’s Shirley Zhu has been reliably, consistently putting out quality indie folk through Z Tapes for several years now, but there’s something about November’s Goodnight, Moon EP in particular that caught my attention. Zhu’s second cassette of 2022 is a six-song collection that features several Fuvk hallmarks–sparse but beautiful acoustic guitar picking accompanied by Zhu’s straightforward but still quite emotional vocals and journal-entry lyrics. Goodnight, Moon follows Zhu through long trains of thought, occasionally poking her head out into the world to become demoralized at a first date or resolving not to wait for someone she knows won’t show.

20. Glazer – Civilian Whiplash

Release date: July 26th
Record label: State Champion
Genre: Garage rock, post-punk, noise rock
Formats: Cassette, digital

The latest release from New Jersey’s Glazer is a six-song cassette EP on their longtime home of State Champion Records (Noun, Snakeskin) that delivers a brief but welcome dose of their heavy but frequently hooky fuzz rock. In a mere fifteen minutes, Civilian Whiplash bursts through blaring, dirty garage punk (“Fan of Violence”, “Excited Delirium”), anthemic, big-chorus alt-rock (“Channel Master”), stomping post-punk (“There’s No Lake”), and the surprisingly rootsy closing track. 

19. Party’z – Party’z

Release date: January 14th
Record label: Storm Chasers Ltd.
Genre: Fuzz rock, noise pop
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Party’z is the project of Kittyhawk guitarist/vocalist Mark Jaeschke, and it’s rounded out by bassist Clare Teeling (also of Kittyhawk), keyboardist Delia Hornik, and drummer Andy Hendricks. Very little of Kittyhawk’s Midwest emo sound is apparent in Party’z’s four-song debut EP–it’s a record of amp-cranked, fuzzy power pop. These songs are plugged-in and frequently reverb-fests; it sounds much closer to Times New Viking than any fourth-wave emo group. Still, there are four strong, earnest pop songs underneath the feedback. (Read more)

18. Supercrush – Melody Maker

Release date: June 3rd
Record label: Debt Offensive/Flake/Erste Theke Tonträger
Genre: Power pop, alt-rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, cassette, digital

On Supercrush’s latest EP, the Seattle group come off as totally devoted to fuzzy, power-chord-friendly 90s-style power pop. Being power pop scholars is all well and good, but Melody Maker works because it’s a product of enthusiastic believers—Supercrush’s strengths lie less in academically recreating or trying to create some kind of perfect lab mix of these sounds, and more in just letting their faith in these songs speak for itself. And Melody Maker‘s five songs songs are, first and foremost, catchy as hell–from the withering, Matthew Sweet-ish title track to the towering, “Hoover Dam”-esque closing statement of “Helium High”. (Read more)

17. The Sylvia Platters – Youth Without Virtue

Release date: June 24th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Power pop, jangle pop, noise pop
Formats: Cassette, digital

Youth Without Virtue is the first I’ve heard from British Columbia’s The Sylvia Platters, but they appear to have been around since 2015 at least. Judging from the five songs on their latest EP, however, they’re right up my alley—these tracks are expertly-written Teenage Fanclub-esque power/jangle pop touched (but never overwhelmed) by a bit of noise and dream pop distortion. “Blue Juniper” reaches for a bit of 60s psychedelia, closing track “No Quarter” drifts for five minutes, and the title track is nonstop pure, surging power pop–The Sylvia Platters are experts at this stuff.

16. Personal Space – Still Life

Release date: June 3rd
Record label: Good Eye
Genre: Indie rock, post-rock, math rock, soft rock
Formats: Digital

On their follow-up to 2021’s A Lifetime of Leisure, Personal Space feel a little more pointed—they don’t have as much room to stretch out as they did on their last full-length, but Still Life makes the most of its time by covering a wide breadth of sonic and lyrical ground over its four songs. Their blend of “chill” vibes, unusual song structures, and left-wing political lyrics still feels unique—no one else could write a song like “Enron’s Trip”, which echoes Stereolab and Thrill Jockey while sketching its finance-bro subject. (Read more)

15. Ted Leo – For Coit and Killie / The Old 200 / Andy, Come Out

Release date: March 4th/April 1st/October 7th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Punk rock, power pop, singer-songwriter
Formats: Digital

This is a cheat, yes. I usually look down on those who combine several releases by one artist instead of considering each on its own merits. But the casual nature of the three Bandcamp-only EPs Ted Leo released this year makes it hard to choose one over the other, and the quality contained therein makes it even harder to ignore them entirely. Older, unreleased rarities, brand new Ted Leo songs both of the “rocking” and “acoustic” variety, three well-executed covers—put them all together, and you have…well, something that doesn’t exactly measure up to the lofty standard of the full albums Leo made with The Pharmacists, but something quite rewarding in its own right.

14. Buddie – Transplant

Release date: December 2nd
Record label: Crafted Sounds
Genre: Indie rock, power pop
Formats: CD, digital

Buddie is an indie rock group founded by Philadelphian Dan Forrest; the appropriately-titled Transplant is the band’s first work since Forrest moved to Vancouver. The four-song EP continues Buddie’s distinct, sincere sound that’s both fuzzy and poppy and lands somewhere between a softer version of 90s indie rock groups like Built to Spill and a more rough-around-the-edges version of straight power pop. Forrest’s vocals are plainspoken but fully melodic as Transplant highlights the more accessible parts of 90s indie rock without losing the genre’s edge. (Read more)

13. Jobber – Hell in a Cell

Release date: October 21st
Record label: Exploding in Sound
Genre: Fuzz rock, punk rock, alt-rock
Formats: Cassette, digital

The core of New York’s Jobber is guitarist/vocalist Kate Meizner and drummer/vocalist Mike Falcone, who also both play in Hellrazor, and those who enjoyed the noisy and catchy alt-rock of the former band’s Heaven’s Gate will find plenty to enjoy on Hell in a Cell as well. The group’s debut EP offers up nothing less than four incredibly strong wrestling-themed grunge-y fuzz rock tunes (and one amusing throwdown of an introduction track). “Entrance Theme” is the one that veers into straight-up power pop, but everything on Hell in a Cell’s got a tight hook. (Read more)

12. Posmic – Sun Hymns

Release date: March 11th
Record label: Let’s Pretend
Genre: 90s indie rock, psychedelia, indie punk
Formats: Cassette, digital

Sun Hymns is the most substantial release thus far from Baltimore and D.C.’s Posmic—it’s an eight-track collection of brief, curious indie rock songs. The songs on Sun Hymns feel like mini-quests: they’re all trying to achieve a specific combination of sounds, and they bow out just as soon as it feels like they’ve gotten there. There aren’t many bells and whistles on Sun Hymns, either— it’s lifting music that’s confident enough to do what that genre does in the clothes of 90s indie rock and little else. (Read more)

11. Lawn – Bigger Sprout

Release date: July 15th
Record label: Born Yesterday
Genre: Jangle pop, post-punk
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Bigger Sprout is comprised of three songs that were originally released early on in Lawn’s career (as Big Sprout), combined with four brand new ones. I thought about putting it on the reissue list, but since the majority of these tracks are new, it goes here. Wherever it is, it sounds great—the New Orleans band split themselves pretty evenly between sprinting post-punk (“Night Life”, “Medicine Forever”) and Flying Nun-esque sweet jangle pop (“Down”, “Running My Luck”) on the EP, and they’re adept at both.

10. New You – Candy

Release date: June 24th
Record label: Lonely Ghost
Genre: Power pop, fuzz rock
Formats: Digital

Candy is the second EP from Seattle four-piece group New You, and as its name implies, it veers hard into a muscular power pop sound, evoking “Super-” bands like -Crush and –Drag. Bandleader Blake Turner remains interested in the hooky side of 90s alt-rock, and his newly-formed band (New You had previously been a solo project) gives an edge to these monsters of pop songs like “Listerine” and “Fairweather”. Laser-catchy lead guitars, big choruses, and Turner shining over blaring fuzzy rock abound throughout Candy. (Read more)

9. Quinn Cicala – Arkansas

Release date: September 23rd
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Alt-country, folk rock, country rock, “post-country”, emo-country
Formats: Digital

I was a big fan of Cicala, last year’s self-titled release from Quinn Cicala and their South Carolina-based band. Since then, it appears that Cicala is a solo act now, and they’re based out of Atlanta, and they’re still making good music. Their latest is the five-song Arkansas EP, which continues Cicala’s streak of quality emotional alt-country-flavored (they call it “post-country”) tales. The breezy-sounding “Don’t Call Me” sweetens the dagger in its title, and “New York Times” and “I Wish Life Worked Like That” show that Cicala can deliver a good holler when the song calls for it.

8. Remember Sports – Leap Day

Release date: September 23rd
Record label: Father/Daughter
Genre: Indie pop, bedroom pop, lo-fi indie rock
Formats: Digital

Remember Sports released one of the best albums of last year with Like a Stone—it was a nice surprise to hear from them again so soon, and Leap Day is another quality release from them, albeit one that sounds pretty different from their last full-length. The four-song EP is a low-key release, especially compared to Like a Stone—drummer Connor Perry is no longer in the band, and these songs recorded as a trio veer into synth-and-drum-machine-aided bedroom pop rather than attempting to seamlessly replace him. Still, songs like the slacker rock of the title track and the busy, sunny pop of “Supervise” capture the best in Remember Sports.

7. Old Moon – Under All Skies

Release date: September 16th
Record label: Relief Map
Genre: Post-punk, jangle pop, dream pop
Formats: Cassette, digital

Old Moon is the project of Burlington, Vermont’s Tom Weir, and with his latest release, he fully commits to the sound of 80’s alternative rock. The six songs on the Under All Skies cassette EP fall between classic college rock and melancholic post-punk, and Weir’s writing takes advantage of the best of both styles. Old Moon’s embrace of reverb and Weir’s plainly emotive vocals conjure up dream pop, but these songs are (for the most part) more grounded and propulsive in a post-punk way. Under All Skies may be one of several Old Moon releases this year, but it feels like a fully-realized collection of multi-dimensional pop songs. (Read more)

6. Cashmere Washington – Almost Country for Old Men, Electro Country for They/Them

Release date: February 25th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Lo-fi indie rock
Formats: Digital

The second in Cashmere Washington’s debut trio of EPs continues Thomas Dunn’s blend of indie rock with “beat-making and lo-fi production”—think music made by somebody equally inspired by math rock and J. Dilla. Almost Country for Old Men… feels more relaxed and confident than last year’s The Shape of Things to Come, not reaching as far into the emo tinge that appropriately colored that EP’s formative recollection. Instead, the new EP casts a wide net, ranging from piano ballads to slacker rock to pop punk over the course of six songs. There’s been a lot of promise in Cashmere Washington since its inception, and it’s already being realized. (Read more)

5. La Bonte – Grist for the Mill

Release date: April 29th
Record label: Anxiety Blanket
Genre: Slowcore, alt-country, folk
Formats: Cassette, digital

Los Angeles’ “quiet rock band” La Bonte is led by its namesake, singer-songwriter/guitarist Garrett La Bonte, and backed by a stable of musicians including Darto’s Nicholas Merz on pedal steel and Chase Petra’s Evan Schaid on drums. Their latest release, April’s Grist for the Mill EP, is emotional, widescreen California slowcore that also feels indebted to glacial-paced spaciousness of bands like Songs: Ohia and early Low. EP opener “Angel” is six minutes of pure sweeping beauty, and, somewhat paradoxically, it’s the record’s two covers (“Gracie Gray’s “Oregon in a Day” and Townes Van Zandt’s “Colorado Girl”) that sound the most intimate. (Read more)

4. Jon the Movie – A Glimpse That Made Sense

Release date: January 5th
Record label: New Morality Zine/Cauldron of Burgers
Genre: Lo-fi indie rock/punk
Formats: Cassette, digital

Long Island, New York’s Jon Gusman is perhaps most notable musically as being the vocalist for hardcore group Rule Them All, but he debuted his solo project Jon the Movie at the beginning of the year with A Glimpse That Made Sense. Jon the Movie falls nicely into the category of “dude with hardcore background making more melodic alt-rock”—Gusman cites Fugazi, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Guided by Voices, and I’ll be damned if the first five songs on A Glimpse That Made Sense don’t sound like the exact center of that triangle.  “I Can’t Help” is MacKaye and Jimmy Chamberlain-evoking, “Soul Tied to a Stranger” is particularly Pollardesque, and ten-minute closing track “Quest for Materiality” veers hard into prog opera. (Read more)

3. ME REX – Plesiosaur

Release date: June 17th
Record label: Big Scary Monsters
Genre: Indie pop, singer-songwriter, synthpop, folktronica
Formats: Vinyl (with Pterodactyl EP), digital

Outside of last year’s Megabear (one of my favorite albums of 2021), ME REX has pretty much entirely operated in the realm of four-song EPs—and in that context, Plesiosaur is their strongest work yet. Songwriter Myles McCabe remains a compelling bandleader, sounding sometimes frantic, sometimes euphoric, and always passionate as he rushes to get out lyrics about “catatonic monuments” and other singular turns of phrase. The rest of the band really feel like they’re matching McCabe, exploding alongside him when the song calls for it and counterbalancing his outbursts with tightly-constructed piano pop rock when that’s what’s most effective.

2. Oblivz – Managers

Release date: May 23rd
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Synthpop, post-punk
Formats: Digital

After over a decade of marking post-punk/power pop-inspired indie rock as half of Fox Japan, the duo of Charlie Wilmoth and Andrew Slater have formally forged something different with Oblivz. The group’s debut EP was 2021’s Uplifts, but its follow-up Managers sounds like a commitment to the newer group, the debut of Oblivz as something more than a “Fox Japan side project”. The songs sound fuller and denser, with Slater and Wilmoth finding a New Order-ish medium between guitar rock and electronic music. The black humor and undercurrents of corporate unrest and horror that marked Uplifts and Fox Japan are both present in Managers, particularly in the grim execution bureaucracy of “Out of Time” and the manic “Dr. Y”, and even in the disco-flavored synthpop banger “Up in the Air”, Wilmoth finds a way to touch on feeling isolated in the middle of the bustle. (Read more)

1. The Laughing Chimes – Zoo Avenue

Release date: November 18th
Record label: Slumberland
Genre: Jangle pop, lo-fi power pop
Formats: Cassette, digital

The Laughing Chimes are comprised of Evan and Quinn Seurkamp, two brothers who play vintage-sounding jangle rock that recalls the best of classic Flying Nun Records and the mid-fi, wide-eyed sound of early Guided by Voices (which began a couple hours west of the duo’s home of Athens, Ohio). The guitars on their latest EP, Zoo Avenue, are always chiming; they soar in the record’s first two, single-ready songs, and they shade the more pensive songs as well, like the slightly-more-psychedelic “Airplane Under Water” and the closing acoustic ballad “King with the Hawthorne Crown”. Evan’s vocals are melodic and enthusiastic while wavering a little bit in a melancholic, wistful way that suits the “lost in nature” nature of The Laughing Chimes. (Read more)

 Honorable mentions:

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