5 BEST EPs of 2018
Albums get the glory, but some of our favorite music moments from 2018 came in the form of EP’s. The smaller size makes for a quicker listen, and every song counts. Check out the EP’s on this list and you won’t find any filler. At their best, that precision makes for projects with distinct and outsized identities leaving lasting impressions. A chance for artists to swing for the fences and get creative. Our favorite EP’s out of Chicago this year are still spinning around our heads.
Rachel Faith
It isn’t often that we find artists completely in their bag on their debut body of work. But singer-songwriter Rachel Faith, who has contributed and edited for These Days, pulls out all the stops for her three-track Codependency EP. It’s a project caressed with lulling melodies, catchy lines, and evolving soundscapes. On Codependency, Rachel Faith covered all of her bases, with Elias Abid taking on the role of Executive Producer and Closed Sessions’ Boathouse and Mike Kolar on the engineering tip. It’s no wonder Rachel’s captivating voice and savy lyrics had no trouble leading the charge. From the playful taunting of “DFM” (Dance For Me), the melancholic waves of  “Skeleton”, down to the burden-shedding mantras of “Tired”, Rachel Faith uses Codependency to give her audience a front row seat to what some relationships ultimately become, a mistake. It’s exciting to know how much of a hand she had in this project from start to finish. And going forward expect to see Rachel take on more hats as her career progresses.
Written by
Franky Dono
Tobi Lou and the Loop
Tobi Lou
To say 2018 was a big year for Tobi Lou would be an understatement. Dropping an array of EP and singles, none shined brighter than his Tobi Lou and the Loop EP. From the elementary style artwork, to the song titles, to the audio clips from The Office, this project is pure fun. Coming in at 13 minutes, the EP flies by with Tobi floating over each beat, from the standout track “Buff Baby” to the heartbreak of “The Blue”. Tobi’s flow blends with the eccentric beats produced by Juice Bangers, LEJKEYS, SWRLY, Chatroom, Facer (and co-production from Tobi himself), creates a project with immense replay value. If The Loop EP is any indication, expect even bigger things from Tobi in 2019.
Written By
Luis Hernandez
Appleby’s whispery vocals throughout this year’s Happiness EP underly just how moving this collection of seven tracks can be. Happiness gives off chill surf-rock vibes without the hokey gravitas that inherently comes with gathering together at the fire, due in part to Appleby’s own history with music, or mostly to the level of comfort he found within him while recording the project. As he told These Days earlier this fall, “It was just like, this feels right, this feels natural”. it’s this natural aura of comfort and self permeating through each track that define the EP’s title and justify its inclusion on our list this year.
Written by
Geoff Henao
Lies After Love
"Lies After Love" title is brilliantly transparent to the thematics of this EP. The convincing and intimate delivery on dancey house jam "Majid" is the stand-out track. Producer Na'el Shehade has pulled in all your favorite micro moments of pop, dance and house music (like those hand claps on "Assume The Worst") for a 5-song EP. That energy isn’t just found on the EP, either - make an effort to see DRAMA live in 2019. The level of flawless execution that vocalist Via Rosa delivers in person is an instant goosebump stimulator. She sounds like a studio recording in your best set of headphones -- every last note and she smiles at you the whole time. And if you don’t already know, Lies After Love is a great way to find out.
Written by
Patrick Welby
Ravyn Lenae
Ravyn Lenae completely personifies the word “dreamy,” possessing a powerful voice with a strong, compassionate mind to back it. This year, she released Crush, a 5-song EP following the musings of a heart struck by, well, a crush. The lyrics tell a tale of intense infatuation mixed with a hint of resistance. What could go wrong? Or, better yet - could this be right? Each track is both intimate and fun. “4 Leaf Clover” skims over an unrequited love, yet somehow remains the perfect dance-in-the-shower song. Ravyn’s vocal range dominates “Sticky” - along with a strong yearning for a certain someone. She invites us in - we get to become familiar with her desires, to understand how she loves. And, to top it off - we get five back-to-back goldmines.
Written by
Nina Clevinger