EPs, splits, and other small releases have been a key part of punk since the genre's inception, and even today, those types of releases are often some of the best. We included a handful of EPs on our list of the 50 best punk albums of 2021, but since it was largely an album-centric list, here's a list with 40 of the best EPs, splits, and singles that the punk world had to offer in 2021. Some of these were also on our punk albums list, but most weren't, and as with that list, I'm using "punk" to mean anything across hardcore, post-hardcore, emo, screamo, metalcore, ska-punk, pop punk, indie-punk, and some of the hard-to-define stuff in between. Not only is genre a vague and subjective thing, the very definition of an EP vs an album is becoming less clear too. For example, this list does not include Home Is Where's I Became Birds (six songs in under 19 minutes), because the band describes it as an album, but it does include Knocked Loose's A Tear in the Fabric of Life (six songs in 21 minutes), because the band describes it as an EP. You can spend all day arguing about what should count and what shouldn't, but most importantly, there was just so much good music in this realm released this year and I made this list as a way to highlight even more of it.
40 might sound like a lot, but hundreds of EPs in this realm came out in 2021 and even capping it at 40 meant leaving off some of my favorites. (A list's gotta end sometime!) So if your favorite punk/hardcore/emo/etc EP of the year isn't here, leave it in the comments. Maybe we just haven't heard it yet.