It’s hard to believe but 2021 is officially only four weeks from its big finale. One can only hope that moving forward from here into 2022, that sooner rather than later, we’ll finally be rid of this COVID-19 crap and life can finally go back to what it was. Time will tell. In the meantime, this critic has checked over his calendar for the year’s waning weeks, and surprisingly, there are no more new EPs to go through for the year. That means it is finally time to start in on this year’s “best of” year-ender lists. Of course, as in every year past, the very first of those lists comes in the form of the smallest of the music releases noted.
This year’s list of new EPs features new releases from at least one relatively well-known figure and a number of others who are either up-and-coming or semi-established. They run the gamut from family music to pop to rock and metal to even some southern rock/country. These lists are never easy to finalize because even among the EPs there is so much to appreciate musically and lyrically. That was taken into full consideration with this list, too. Those who have followed this critic’s ramblings for years on end, know how the lists work. For everyone else, they work as such: Instead of just 10 new offerings, this list is composed of 15 titles. The top 10 are the best of the best while the following five are honorable mention titles. This is not a stab at those releases or the acts that released them, either. Far from it. The whole purpose is to give those extras their due credit, too.
So without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks Top 10 New EPs of 2021.
PHIL’S PICKS 2021 TOP 10 NEW EPS
SaulPaul – OK To Be Different
Gabriel & The Apocalypse – Alpha Transcendence
Decent Criminal – Decent Criminal
The Mercy Kills – New Rule
Dirkschneider & The Old Gang – Arising
Repentance – Volume 1 – Reborn
All Hail The Yeti – Within The Hollow Earth
Kulick – Sitting in a Quiet Coffeehouse
Blue Eyed Christ – World on Fire Remixes
Zero Theorum – The Killing II
Sydney Sherwood – Headspace
Christopher Shayne – Ten High
20 Watt Tombstone – Year of the Jackalope
Post Death Soundtrack – Pathless Land
Black TarPoon – The Thad
That’s it for this year’s top new EPs. Thanks goes out to all of the firms that sent out this great music and so much more. No offense is meant to any act left out. For instance Of Mice & Men released a trio of new EPs this year, but they ended up as the new album, Echo, so that album is up for consideration among this critic’s top new hard rock/metal albums of the year. Even more year-enders are on their way as the last days of the year start to wind down, so stay tuned!
Southern rock band Black TarPoon kicked off the weekend by debuting some new music.
The band premiered its new single, ‘Moth Song’ Friday. The song is the band’s first new music since the release of its EP, The Thad, which was released in February.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Moth Song’ is a presentation that will appeal to any country/southern rock purist. At times hinting at influence from the likes of Texas Hippie Coalition, and at others from the likes of so many punk rock acts, it proves quite interesting through that juxtaposition.
No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme. However in listening to the song, listeners are left to infer that perhaps the song centers on someone who feels trapped and needs to get out and see the world. If in fact this is the case, then it is a familiar lyrical theme that will connect with plenty of audiences.
Independent rock band Black TarPoon is scheduled to release its new EP Friday. The record, The Thad EP is the band’s third EP and fourth overall studio recording. The three-song record will come three years after the release of the band’s most recent studio recording, its 7”, Blacked Out at Muddy Roots. Its nine-minute body will appeal to a very targeted audience while the lyrical content that accompanies each song adds its own, even more wide appeal. Each item will be discussed shortly. The sequencing of the record’s limited content brings everything full circle, rounding out its most important elements. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Thad EP. All things considered, they make this record a presentation that Black TarPoon’s targeted audiences will find fully enjoyable.
Black TarPoon’s new EP The Thad is a presentation that while brief, will find appeal among the band’s target audiences. That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements. All three of the record’s featured arrangements feature a sound that will appeal to any southern rock and country music fan. Speaking specifically, the songs’ arrangements will appeal to fans of acts, such as Hank 3 and Texas Hippie Coalition. That is obvious in the twang in the guitars and the vocal delivery of Jesse James. Each arrangement boasts its own unique identity from its counterparts. This will be discussed at more length in the examination of the record’s sequencing. The importance of that selection of stylistic approaches in each arrangement means that while the songs each boast the same sort of southern/sludge/country rock approach, each work sounds slightly different from the other songs. That subtle change in each arrangement’s sound against the stability in the stylistic approach will ensure listeners’ engagement in its own right. When the record’s lyrical content is considered along with the noted musical content, that engagement and entertainment increases even more.
The lyrical content that is featured in Black TarPoon’s new EP is accessible in its own right. ‘Sarita,’ which opens the EP, puts forth what comes across as a story centered on the all too familiar topic of a broken relationship. That is made clear as James sings, “You broke my heart/I’m in love with you/You’re like a drug/I keep crawling back to you/Wish I could wash away/Every thought of you.” This is just a portion of the song, but the lyrics and the melancholy mood in the song’s musical arrangement leave no doubt as to the topic here. This all too familiar topic is one to which every listener can relate. To that end, it is a clear example of the importance of the role of the EP’s lyrical content. The lyrical theme featured in ‘Gloom,’ the EP’s second song, is another example of that importance.
‘Gloom’ presents its own, moody, introspective theme in its lyrical content. The lyrics to this song are not quite as decipherable without a lyrics sheet to reference as those for the EP’s opener. From what one can decipher though, and the added insight from the song’s video, the song’s lyrical theme seems to hint at someone battling depression. James even makes mention of dealing with a “dark depression” and the “forward I will not go.” If in fact this is what the song is addressing lyrically, then it too will find itself relatable and in turn accessible to listeners. Regardless of whether this is in fact the case, there is no doubt the song’s lyrical content will generate its own share of discussion among audiences. To that end, it is yet another example of what makes the record’s lyrical content important. It still is not the last way in which the record’s lyrical content shows its importance. ‘He Sleeps With…,’ which closes out the EP, is one more example of the importance of the record’s lyrical content.
‘He Sleeps With…’ is clearly an angry composition. It is another work whose lyrical content is somewhat difficult to decipher sans lyrics sheet to reference. That aside, what can be deciphered is enough to infer that this has to do with a woman who has cheated on a man and the anger felt by the wronged man. James even sings from man’s vantage point that he is going to “kill the son of a b****” after noting that what happened was “not my fault.” He even goes so far as to call the woman in question “a sweet small devil.” Now if this is not enough to infer the noted theme, then nothing is. It is another classic type of lyrical presentation. It harkens back to the timeless song about Frankie and Johnny, just in a unique fashion. Keeping that in mind along with the inferred lyrical themes in the record’s other songs, the whole of that content shows even more clearly, the importance of the noted content. When said content is considered along with the EP’s musical arrangements, the collective in whole makes clear why the noted audiences will find appeal with the album overall. They are still just a portion of what makes the record engaging and entertaining for its target listeners. The EP’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
The sequencing of The Thad is easily understood, considering that the record has only three songs. It starts out with a mid-tempo vibe in ‘Sarita.’ That is despite the song’s melancholy nature. That melancholy but mid-tempo continues on in ‘Gloom’ even despite the mood that the song sets. The whole thing closes out in high-energy fashion in ‘He Sleeps With…’ The nearly three-minute opus is full of frustration and anger. The fire in the arrangement and the song’s lyrical theme keep the EP from getting monotonous, and in turn offers up even more engagement for listeners. It is a good way to close out the EP, considering the controlled nature of the EP’s other two songs. It shows that a certain amount of thought was put into the record’s sequencing. That thought paid off in its own way, too. Keeping this in mind along with the impact of the EP’s lyrical and musical content, all three items collectively make the record a work that will appeal easily to BlackTarPoon’s target audiences.
Black TarPoon’s new forthcoming EP The Thad is a presentation that will generate plenty of engagement and entertainment. Its musical arrangements are certain to connect with a very directed audience base what with their southern/country rock approaches. The lyrical themes (assured and inferred alike) will generate their own interest. That is because if in fact the interpretations are correct, then they will certainly prove accessible with that ability to connect to audiences. The EP’s sequencing puts the final touch to its presentation, making sure the record’s energy and general content prevents it from becoming monotonous. It ensures that the record changes just enough in terms of the songs’ energies and their sounds. When it is considered along with the EP’s other noted items, the whole of the presentation becomes a work that will definitely tide the band’s targeted audiences over until it releases its new LP, which is expected for release later this year. The Thad is scheduled for release Friday. More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at: