EP Roundup Edition: Michael Hollis, The Shacks, Mouse On The Keys, Tross & The Cobra Lamps


Michael Hollis: Lost And Found

Sometimes an EP is a great way to discover a new artist, just enough to get a taste, but not a huge commitment. This week I’ve got a handful of EPs, some brand new, some released sometime over the past year, all worth a listen. First up is Michael Hollis’ new release, Lost And Found. The first track on this, “Oh October” is pure songwriting delight: simple, catchy, but with enough of a twist to make it unique. The rest of the six tracks mix Hollis’s combined jazz and indie-folk sound with some dreamy songs and plenty of weirdness mixed in for good effect.


The Shacks: The Shacks EP

The Shacks are the (very) young duo of Shannon Wise and Max Shrager. The first thing that grabs you when you pop on their debut, self-titled EP is Wise’s voice, a sensuous whisper that tough to resist. But the Shacks are more than just a pretty voice, blending styles with a talent and wisdom beyond their years. Even over a handful of tracks, their sound seems to circumnavigate the world of genres, feeling old fashioned and forward looking, groovy and poignant. They just put out a second edition of the EP with all instrumental versions of most of the tracks, because they all work on both levels. The Shacks feel like a band destined to go places, but you can tell your friends you heard ‘em first.


Mouse On The Keys: Out Of Body

Out Of Body is the perfect title for this brand new EP from Japanese post-rockers Mouse On The Keys. While it has an electronica and almost hip-hop undercurrent, with a constant, twitchy drumming in the forefront, this is definitely music for the mind. Atmospheric and peaceful, but never disengaged, the five tracks contained within feel more like a passing emotion, a mix of melancholy and hope. For lovers of unique jazz music, ambient journeys or something new. Enjoy!


Tross: The Walrus

This one actually came out in the middle of last year, but I was never able to fit it properly into a RecommNeds column. It’ll be worth the wait for you, I hope. The EP is called The Walrus, the band is Tross, and if you’ve followed this gig for any length of time it will surprise you little to learn they are from Sweden. This one is four concise tracks of excellent, instrumental outer-space krautrock, just the right balance of funky and psychedelic from start to finish.


The Cobra Lamps: The Cobra Lamps EP

Here’s another one from last summer that possibly didn’t make it onto your radar. This is a new project from Barrie Cadogan, whose main focus over the past few years is RecommNed alum, Little Barrie. It’s called The Cobra Lamps and is a nice dreamy four-song set of psych-rock with Cadogan’s characteristically gritty garage rock guitar and voice. Not sure what the future holds for this group, but if this is a taste of things to come, it should be worth keeping an eye out for.