Top 20 Kansas City/Lawrence EPs of 2016

Last year's EP list only included 15 releases, but there was an insane amount of short releases that we loved in 2016. Local punk bands put out some of the best demos the city's heard in years, rappers proved that Kansas City may very well be next up on a national level, and several other factions released tunes worth getting excited about. Below are our 20 favorite local EPs and demos of 2016, along with a slew of honorable mentions.

- Warm Bodies - "Domo"
Kansas City has never heard a band quite like Warm Bodies. The Kansas City punk supergroup dropped their "Domo" in early March and have been setting basements ablaze ever since. Each member brings a different playing style to the table and punks around the world have taken notice. A vinyl reissue of the demo will be out early this year, followed by a 7" filled with new material.

- Kye Colors - "00"
Kye Colors is the best 16 year-old rapper and producer in the city. After releasing his debut EP in 2015, the Southside kid's second release "00" helped him grow his audience and landed him his first handful of performances. An early version of "Get Right" -- which was every local hip-hop fan's song of the summer -- was included, along with more soulful tracks like "Greatful."

- Zarin Micheal - "Fuck You"
Aside from Rory Fresco, who has already signed a major label deal, Zarin Micheal seems to be next in line for hip-hop stardom among local acts. The 18 year-old rapper's "Fuck You" EP came out in May and quickly turned heads with its abrasive, modern production style and Micheal's intense lyricism.

- Beta Boys - "Real Rockers"
One of Kansas City's most prolific punk bands of the last several years may have relocated to Olympia, Washington, but not without a parting gift. "Real Rockers" came out in February and solidified the group's legacy as the area's most out-of-control band. The band wore their Germs influence on their sleeves and let their freak flags fly.

- Spine - "Deny"
Spine may now be the city's longest-running hardcore band. Formed in 2011, the group has gained a fanbase throughout the Midwest and on both coasts due to constant touring. Vocalist Antonio Marquez's performances are among modern hardcore's most terrifying and his band has their mix of Boston hardcore and West Coast powerviolence down to a science. Many bands begin to run out of steam after their first LP, but "Deny" assured fans that they're still pissed off as ever.

- False Brother - "False Brother"
Kansas City has its new favorite post-punk band. False Brother's gloomy self-titled debut is a tribute to the bands that came before it and a direct manifestation of 21st century America's many sorrows. Ian Flowers' poetry, combined with the band's perfectly gravelly tone are sure to attract any fan of the genre. Don't be surprised this year when they're a household name among national publications covering underground rock music.

- Youth Pool - "Dive In"
Following a strong demo release in 2015, Youth Pool returned with an even stronger EP. "Dive In" is Youth Pool hitting dreamy, '90s-loving shoegaze right on the head. The band will be releasing another EP in 2017 and word is it's going to get heavier.

- Inner Altar - "Vol. II"
Formed from the ashes of Blood Shaman, Inner Altar emerged as a sister band to stoner metal duo Keef Mountain. The quartet released their second EP in 2016 and dug even deeper into their bag of charming proto-metal jams.

- The Deacons - "After Dark"
The Deacons -- along with Beta Boys -- made the move to the Pacific Northwest this year. Coinciding with the move was a split cassette between the two punk bands. The Deacons' half of "After Dark" is the snottiest output yet from the group.

- AGENT - "Demo-2016"
2016 saw Kansas City's d-beat torch being passed from No Master on to AGENT. Howls of "ruthless future!" are traded out for "midnight fucker!" as the chaotic, raw punks rage on and destroy every stage they come in contact with.

- The Vitamens - "The Vitamens"
The Vitamens dissolved fairly quickly after they began due to the Great Kansas City Punk Exodus of 2016, but gained a cult-like online following in the short time they were rocking. The Vitamens' demo features an unshakable mixture of early West Coast punk and imported powerpop played at a comfortable medium pace, custom fit for maximum creeping and crawling. The band's final show is set to take place during the upcoming Wayne's World II Fest at The Blind Tiger this summer.

- Nubiles - "Red Shift"
The band dissolved over a year ago now, but this EP just saw the light of day in 2016. "Red Shift" is three songs of snappy, unrelenting punk rock written by hardcore punk veteran Nic Allred. Each of the three tracks offers a unique twist as well. Opening track "Red Shift" sounds like a handful of different contemporary British post-punk acts, "Ringing" calls to mind 80's Midwest hardcore, and the EP's closer "Rotten" is a danceable powerpop number (not unlike the songs Allred now plays with The Whiffs).

- A'Sean & J-Tone - "Take This Ride"
"Take This Ride" premiered on Shuttlecock two days before the year's end. The Kansas City duo and Gee Watts mentees pulled influence from multiple decades and locations to create one of the most unique and organic local hip-hop releases of the year.

- The Drippies - "Live And Uncut"
The songs on The Drippies' demo were some of the best local punk songs of 2016, but regrettably sounded like they were recorded with a rusty pipes being used as microphones. While the quality on "Live And Uncut" is far from hi-fidelity, listeners can more easily pick up the band's grooves and start dancing to the city's best young punk band.

- Riley & City Watts - "The Speez"
Several of Kansas City's best hip-hop releases in 2016 took on sounds that the city had never heard before. One acts that took an existing Kansas City sound to new heights was City Watts & Riley. The two "gritter" rap veterans and Caviart associates dropped "The Speez" late in the year and reminded the city not to forget the streets.

- Dead Dads Club - "Tboye"
Seeing that most of the KCrew punks are nearing the age of 20, it's safe to say that Dead Dads Club's Alice Ryan will soon be the best teenage songwriter in town. Ryan released her first EP "Farmbaby" in October and already showed growth on her second EP "Tboye" the following month. Fans of charming bedroom pop by acts like Girlpool and Frankie Cosmos will immediately become fans.

- It's Okay To Feel Alone - "Sometimes"
Overland Park hasn't birthed any thrilling bands in the past several years, but It's Okay To Feel Alone has changed that. This emo quartet makes Midwest emo the way it's supposed to be made: with twinkly guitars and cheesy song titles.

- Iddy Vice - "Christflow"
Another impressive hip-hop release that emerged late in the year was Iddy Vice's "Christflow." The young rapper showcased transatlantic flows and hazy, nocturnal vibes through the entirety of this six song release.

- Mentira - "Demo"
This thing is vicious. Mentira's demo is speed obsessed Spanish-language hardcore with bits and pieces of d-beat madness thrown in for good measure. The release sounds like it could be the masterpiece produced at the end of a punk band's long run, but this is only the beginning for Mentira.

- Aprilmist - "Bleak"
The band with the heaviest EP on this year's list goes to Aprilmist. "Bleak" is the Kansas City via Lawrence group's debut effort and offers four songs of gorgeous and blistering atmospheric black metal.


Honorable Mentions:

SuperShaqGonzoe - "One Day," Aaron Alexander - "Radiant Redone," Killakee Kat - "Demo," Samurai - "Samurai Flames," Bedroom Wounds - "Bedroom Wounds," Chasm - "Demo II: Demolition," The Drippies - "Demo," Kolumbine Kids - "Demo," Ricky Roosevelt & Alccalh - "Legacy," Chess Club - "Hi Sad.," Weaver x Conductor Williams - "Lunar Codex," Dom Chronicles - "Moonshine," Gee Watts - "Sketches," Gene - "America Was Never Great," Contrast - "World Of Sand," A'Sean/J-Tone/WontoN - "[Explicit Content]"

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