EP’s OF THE YEAR – 2021

Yes, you’re in the right place – Spinning Thoughts is doing a collaborative Top 5 EPs of 2021 list with some of the amazing contributors on the team. Yes, this is the first time we have done a best-of list for EPs and yes, we should have done this sooner.

What are your favorite EPs that dropped this year? Let us know on Twitter! Here’s our Top 5 EPs of 2021!

Dawn Anna Trout

5. Royals – A Spark to Ignite

  • Royals – June 2021
  • Standout track: “Worldwide Catastrophe”

4. Heart Attack Man – Thoughtz & Prayerz

  • You Did This/Triple Crown Records – November 2021
  • Standout track: “Pitch Black”

3. Hot Mulligan – I Won’t Reach Out to You

  • Wax Bodega – May 2021
  • Standout track: “Please Don’t Cry, You Have Swag”

2. First And Forever – Let this Love Lie Dead

  • Adventure Cat Records – March 2021
  • Standout track: “Alone In the Dark”

1. Headspace – Find Me Where the Light Ends

  • Headspace – July 2021
  • Standout track: “Back In Time”

For me personally, there were so many EPs that came out this year and it was hard to choose just five for this list. Headspace easily takes the number one spot, not only because of them being one of my favorite artists, but it also contains five songs, each with a different feel but that all go together cohesively. They are all really good. First And Forever and Hot Mulligan also both didn’t have any songs I didn’t like. First And Forever even took the #1 track spot in my Spotify Wrapped with “Let This Love Lie Dead.”

Skylar Cleland

5. Glimmers – Worlds Apart

  • Common Ground Collective – April 2021
  • Standout track: “By the Lips”

4. Rosie Darling – Coping

  • Nettwerk Music Group – April 2021
  • Standout track: “Reruns”

3. Valley – Last Birthday

  • Universal Music Canada – October 2021
  • Standout track: “Like 1999”

2. Lost Stars – Blacklist

  • Lost Stars – August 2021
  • Standout track: “Here’s to Being Single”

1. Charlotte Sands – Special

  • PIVTL Projects – February 2021
  • Standout track: “Blame it On My Ex”

EPs have traditionally been my most and least favorite things. It’s a great taste of what is coming from the artist, but it never seems to be enough. I’ve found so much music on TikTok this year, including three of my Top 5 EPs. I’ve loved to see so many great things happen for all of these artists this year and know that 2022 is only going to get better for them. I have to give special mention to my #5 pick, glimmers, which is led by a Spinning Thoughts alumni, Maggie Schneider. They’ve grown exponentially this year and it’s only the beginning for them. I also have to shout out my #1 pick, Charlotte Sands. She is incapable of putting out a bad song and her energy on stage is contagious. From doing a few dates of Sad Summer Fest this year to touring with Yungblud next year, I think it’s safe to say she’s going places. I can’t wait to see a full-length album from her.

Sammi Mika

5. Cherie Amour – Internal Discussions

  • Equal Vision Records – October 2021
  • Standout track: “Imposter”

4. Creeper – American Noir

  • Roadrunner Records – July 2021
  • Standout track: “Ghosts Over Calvary”

3. Vended – What Is It/Kill It

  • Vended – November 2021
  • Standout track: “Antibody”

2. A Better Hand – Cheap Smokes and Champagne

  • Mutant League Records – February 2021
  • Standout track: “Silhouettes”

1. Awake At Last – ARMAGEDDON

  • Awake At Last/The Fuel Music – April 2021
  • Standout track: “Dead to Me”

Similar to my albums of the year list, these EPs span over different genres, but somehow correlate together. Some of these EPs are debuts for the bands while others are reintroducing fans to what the band has to offer after the pandemic. Each EP on this list showcases the strength and impact instrumentation and lyrics have on the listener. Some of these EPs I combed over and wrote reviews for while others I found on my own accord, but all of these impacted me in a way that made 2021 a little easier to bear.

Dan Bowyer

5. PRONOUN – OMG I MADE IT

  • Wax Bodega/Sleep Well – June 2021
  • Standout track: “SOUND THE ALARMS!!!1!”

4. Young Culture – Godspeed

  • Equal Vision Records – July 2021
  • Standout track: “Godspeed”

3. Action/Adventure – Pulling Focus

  • Pure Noise Records – April 2021
  • Standout track: “Barricades”

2. Arm’s Length – Everything Nice

  • Arm’s Length – February 2021
  • Standout track: “No Sleep”

1. Real Friends – Torn in Two

  • Pure Noise Records – September 2021
  • Standout track: “Storyteller”

Although they may be shorter than full-length records, 2021 produced some absolutely amazing EPs, such that there are many more of them deserving to be on this list.  The EP that stood out the most however, came as suburban Chicago quintet Real Friends made their triumphant return with “Torn In Two.”  Contained within it is the absolutely perfect “Storyteller,” which is very clearly the song of the year in 2021 without question.

Tyra Brunz

5. Boston Manor – DESPERATE TIMES DESPERATE PLEASURES

  • Sharptone Records – October 2021
  • Standout track: “Carbon Mono”

4. Heart Attack Man – Thoughtz & Prayerz

  • You Did This/Triple Crown Records – November 2021
  • Standout track: “Pitch Black”

3. Meet Me @ The Altar – Model Citizen

  • Fueled By Ramen – August 2021
  • Standout track: “Now Or Never”

2. Pinkshift – Saccharine

  • Pinkshift – April 2021
  • Standout track: “I’m Gonna Tell My Therapist On You”

1. Magnolia Park – Dream Eater

  • Magnolia Park – March 2021
  • Standout track: “TDH2S” (feat. Oliver Baxxter)

Starting off my EP list are two of my long-time faves, Boston Manor and Heart Attack Man. Both dropped EPs that further solidify their unique sound and give space for a bit of experimentation before they drop their next full lengths. Holding solid in the middle is the new Meet Me @ The Altar, Model Citizen. MM@TA is tearing through the scene right now and their uplifting lyrical positivity served up with face-melting riffs and insane hooks have just really made this EP stick with me all year long. Another fresh band rocketing to the top of the scene is the one and only Pinkshift with their collective EP, Saccharine. I had the opportunity to review the surprise EP drop, which you can check out here. At the top of my 2021 EPs AOTY list is Magnolia Park because they really gave us the world this year: they blessed us with nostalgic hooks, fresh blends of genre bending, and absolutely god-tier collabs-all in one neatly bundled EP, Dream Eater. I find myself going back for more even after the band dropped a new mixtape later this year- that’s just how good it is!

So, that’s it folks!

How does your top EP list compare to mine?

Let’s connect and yell about music on the bird app or the ‘gram.

Angelo Gargaro

5. Heart Attack Man – Thoughtz & Prayerz

  • You Did This/Triple Crown Records – November 2021
  • Standout track: “Leap Year”

4. Young Culture – Godspeed

  • Equal Vision Records – July 2021
  • Standout track: “Hum”

3. Magnolia Park – Dream Eater

  • Magnolia Park – March 2021
  • Standout track: “Love Me” (feat. Kellin Quinn)

2. Cherie Amour – Internal Discussions

  • Equal Vision Records – October 2021
  • Standout track: “2NICE2SAY”

1. Pinkshift – Saccharine

  • Pinkshift – April 2021
  • Standout track: “Mars”

I think this is the first time ever Spinning Thoughts has done a best EPs of the Year list and I’m glad we’re making up for lost time. It always felt unfair to not shine a spotlight on the bands that dropped amazing EPs throughout the year, especially as the music industry continues to navigate the wild world we’re living in. For a lot of artists, releasing EPs makes more sense financially and creatively. I’ve seen this trend grow and expand due to the pandemic. I feel like I could write about this idea/trend for hours, so I will save that for another time.

A lot of the bands on my Top 5 EPs of 2021 are friends of mine/Spinning Thoughts and that alone blows my mind. It’s been a dream to work so closely with bands that I admire, and at times create bonds that carry over distances and through airwaves. Witnessing the rapid growth of bands like Pinkshift and Magnolia Park is so inspiring. Seeing Cherie Amour head in a new direction and signing with Equal Vision Records was one of the highlights of my year and I’m not even in the band! Scene staples Young Culture and Heart Attack Man leaned into what they do best while still pushing their creativity forward. All around, 2021 was challenging, inspiring, shitty, hopeful, hopeless and everything in between but what I will remember the most from this year is all the amazing music released into the wild for our listening pleasure.

And there you have it, the very first Spinning Thoughts Top 5 EPs of 2021 list! Let us know if you want to see us continue with this content next year, tell us your thoughts on our picks and shout out your favorite EPs of 2021 on Twitter!

Don’t miss our 2021 Albums of the Year content dropping Monday December 20 at Noon ET!

From all of us at Spinning Thoughts, have a safe and happy Holiday season and remember to share music, spread love.


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