Top 25 Austin EPs of 2011: #15-6

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In this next installment of our EP list countdown, you’ll find local pop sensations, orchestral pop, synthy throwbacks and more. For #25-16 of our EP countdown, please click here.

15. Songs of Forgiveness - 'Songs of Forgiveness' - The Noise Revival Orchestra

The Noise Revival Orchestra are a collective of 8+ musicians that play classical instruments orchestrated into small pop symphonies. With the EP Songs of Forgiveness, the orchestral collective have veered away from avant-garde beginnings and have instead embraced a more pop-oriented sound. Throughout the EP, you’ll hear lush soundscapes and bright melodies that highlight the breadth of their instrumentation.

14. Muerta - 'Muerta' - The Boxing Lesson

For the 4-track EP Muerta, The Boxing Lesson, a synth fueled psychedelic progressive band, reworked some previously recorded songs and also recorded new material. The result is a great release that showcases The Boxing Lesson at their best. Highlights from the EP include the first two tracks: “Darker Side of the Moog” and “Muerta.” which are the standout singles. Also, be sure to check out the video for “Muerta” here. It’s a trippy journey to the bottom of the sea that further highlights the cinematic and emotional qualities of the song.

13. Twin Daggers - 'Sick Girls' - Moving Castles

Moving Castles on Twin Daggers have created some very infectious pop-rock that is reminiscent of bands from the early 90s. Think Ween or early Flaming Lips. While all the songs on the EP are fun, they are definitely not fluff. Lyrically these songs explore themes of introversion, the status of generation Z and misplaced love while making literary references and sharing what seem like personal experiences. With Twin Daggers, Moving Castles have shared their unique perspective on pop-rock and the world and we can’t wait to hear more.

12. The End is Knifight - 'Never Coming Home' - Knifight

With The End is Knifight, this group of electro-rockers have continued to hone their dark wave sound. This EP is jampacked with glimmering synthesizers, grooving drum machine beats and unique vocals. The combination of baritone vocals with soaring guitar parts and interesting synth parts definitely secured this group a place in our top 20.

11. An Introduction To… - 'The Big Idea' - Black Books

This is the type of EP we love to hear. On this four track by the band Black Books, we gained a brief snapshot of their songwriting, viewpoint and style. An Introduction To… shares Black Books’ version of southern dream pop in a masterfully recorded and mixed package. For fans of Sparklehorse and Grandaddy, be prepared for epic soundscapes, excellent guitar work and gently exploding crescendos.

10. Human Beast - 'Razberry Wine' - Sphynx

Released this past February, Human Beast was Sphynx’s introduction to the world. Along with local acts Speak and The Shears, Sphynx are leading the way in Austin’s recent pop movement. This deep 7 track EP is filled with enormous hooks.

9. Two Matchsticks - 'Two Matchsticks' - The Wooden Birds

With previous roots in indie superbands American Analog Set and Broken Social Scene, The Wooden Birds have had a lot of hype surrounding them. But with an acclaimed debut LP and this teaser EP released before its second full-length, the band has lived up to if not broken past the hype. The standout single, “Two Matchsticks” and a mellowed out cover of Hall & Oates’ “Maneater” made this EP a great listen.

7. New Roman Buffalo - 'New Roman Buffalo (Part 1)' - The Couch

The Couch were certainly prolific in 2011. Releasing 3 EPs, 1 LP and various singles must have kept this quartet remarkably busy these past 12 months. Certainly all of the releases were stellar but we were most drawn to the New Roman Buffalo EP. The epic two part title track and the closing song sold me on this release of blues-rock that highlighted the band’s significant depth.

6. The Colors and the Kill - 'You Can't Hide From It' - Sad Accordions

Sad Accordions’ first release after 4 years, The Colors and the Kill is an intricate and rich follow-up to their debut which drew comparisons to Wilco and U2. On this release, the group has created a diverse set of songs that range from 80s jangle rock to gentler folk rock. The wide range of Sad Accordions’ influences have come to the fore on this EP and we’re thankful.