Since EP's can't make it on my list because I think it's unfair to judge them based on a compilation of longer material, I thought I'd make an EP list. However, there weren't more than maybe five or six EP's that I really enjoyed this year, so I thought I'd single out the best Extended Play of 2011.
Best EP: Industries of the Blind - Chapter 1: Had We Known Better
I know I'm breaking the Giant Squid blood brothers bond by now naming their fantastic release, Cenotes, the second best EP of 2011, but hear me out. This is one of the best post-rock releases I have ever heard. This little known group out of Brooklyn released their first work completely free on their website earlier this year and I haven't been able to keep it out of my head since. They take the sad feeling of another pro-bono artist, Colour For A Rebel and add in a Sophie Trudeau (of GY!BE and A Silver Mt. Zion fame) sort of instrumentation and plop in the crescendo and decrescendos that make post-rock what it is. There are only three songs that comprise this EP, but it totals out to 31 mins of a violin making your heart ache. By the time "I just wanted to make you something beautiful" expanded, I couldn't help but physically begin to feel it all. Truly an EP that has had no one talk about it, and I can't think of a release that deserves it more. I think I will freak out if I don't hear this band expand on what it's done with Had We Known Better in the future.
Check it out for free here: http://www.industriesoftheblindmusic.com/