Three EPs: Grimes and D’eon, Braids, Adult Jazz

So many really great EPs and 12″ singles were released on Friday. From the Star Wars sountrack to Monster Squad’s limited edition 7″, the short form music world is all a-buzz this week. Three EPs that caught my ear were Adult Jazz‘s Earrings Off!Braids‘ Companion, and Darkbloom by Grimes and D’eon. Both EPs split the difference between experimental pitchiness and pop’s friendly hooks.

Adult Jazz mixes Animal Collective’s mechanistic dissonance with Dirty Projector’s vocal meanderings for an EP that is held together seemingly with gauzy electronics and disjointed beats. The EP starts with the title track which is about as poppy as Earrings Off! gets. The song itself weaves in and out of sync with a goofiness that is nothing short of genius.

Despite the overwhelming electricity of the album (from effect vocals to beats and samples), Adult Jazz manages to preserve an organic feel to their songs. Thinking specifically of “Eggshell,” the band’s ability to meander through their songs while keeping things taut allows them to mix the two feels without short shrifting either.

Braids takes all the weirdness of Adult Jazz and focuses into an intensity that is unmatched. Their latest EP, Companion, is a patchwork of amorphous textures and bopping beats. All the instrumentals work to highlight the vocals–which go from soaring above the aural swirl to twisting through the electronics.

Switching tempos and tones, Braids makes sure that Companion is multifaceted. The band moves from Heron Oblivion-esque soundscapes to Grimes-like art pop, from Bjork influenced diddies to the sounds of 90s electronica. In other words, every track on the EP sounds different, but it’s all held together by Braids’ fantastic vocalist, who, seemingly, can fit her voice into any space.

Grimes and D’eon originally released Darkblooms in 2014, but now it’s available for the first time on vinyl. The EP captures Grimes more vulnerably than Art Angels. Her ability to craft earworm after earworm is spectacular in general and in Darkblooms it is pitch perfect. Her looped voice diffuses over almost 8-bit beats to create a lush field of sound.

One of my favorite Grimes songs, “Vanessa,” gets Darkblooms going. The singer’s voice is almost operatic as it burns above and sinks below the static beat that grounds the song’s rhythm. “Vanessa” is a song that can be heady or grimy (no pun intended) depending on the listener’s mood–a characteristic that is hard to capture.

These three EPs have been on repeat for me this weekend. Whether it’s Grimes’ and D’eon’s avant-pop, Braids’ swerving electronics, or Adult Jazz’s weird electronica, there’s something on these records for any electronica/pop fan. And if that isn’t your thing, then there are plenty more new records out this week.

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