Friday, 3 April 2009


It's been hinted to me that I should write more on here rather than just putting up the playlists (although I can't see how you could not be excited by arbitrary lists of song titles and band names) so here's some thoughts on the EP as a format. I'll post more rants/musings from time to time if I can be bothered. Comment and tell me what you think otherwise this will be futile.

EPs are good. I sometimes think they're my favourite kind of release, just because they're insignificant enough that they don't need to be taken seriously at all, either by the band or by the audience, but they can still be an interesting opportunity for bands to play around with new ideas or just to have fun. Sometimes bands' best work is on EPs. Maybe it's because they're freed from the pressure to repay lots of studio time, or from the necessity of making something the label thinks is going to be commercially succesful enough to warrant them promoting it as they would a full-length album. The other geat thing about the EP is how cheap it is to make - many (most?) really great bands' first release, at least since they started to get current again in the punk period, is an EP or a single of some sort (e.g. Buzzcocks - Spiral Scratch).

Some of my favourites:
Pavement - Watery, Domestic
Nothing particularly revolutionary about this one (beyond the fact that Pavement were moving so fast at this point - just after Slanted and before Crooked Rain - that they pretty much couldn't put a foot wrong) but it does contain at least three of the very best Pavement recordings for my money. Their next EP, Pacific Trim, is pretty great too, in a much different mould. Apparently Spiral Stairs didn't turn up to the recordings for whatever reason so it's a reduced version of the band playing some of Malkmus' most playful songs - Saganaw especially has to be a piss take, and because it's an EP it just doesn't matter. Also, "I Love Perth" off Pacific Trim is the best pop song they ever released.

Rites of Spring - All Through A Life
...being the one where Rites of Spring shifted from their pure hardcore roots (as seen on the classic End on End) and moved in a more considered, thoughtful direction: there's chiming guitars on this which remind me of something as far removed from DC hardcore as early REM. An example of the EP as pointing a new direction in a band's songwriting and sound, maybe, although they sadly broke up before they released anything else.

Belle and Sebastian - Dog on Wheels
Where it began for B&S. 4 songs including a different version of my own favourite B&S track, "The State I Am In" whose recording predates Tigermilk and as such shows the band still in a formative state but with most of the elements in place. Murdoch's songwriting is already great. Plus it has Joanne Kenney on the cover (same as Tigermilk) which is obviously a good thing.
The compilation of the B&S EPs, "Push Barman to Open Old Wounds", is very much worth getting as some of their best stuff's on there and not the albums I think.

Deerhoof - Green Cosmos
My favourite Deerhoof release, I think it's because the EP is a perfect length for their schizophrenic kind of crazed indiepop. A full album's length I tend to get a bit exhausted after half an hour or so but this hits the spot perfectly. Also the first Deerhoof I ever heard.

What do you think about the EP as a form and what are your favourites?


  1. I like EPs as a way of having a good sample of a new band, where you can get a sense of their variety without the effort you need to put into listening to an album and without the necessity for some kind of overall 'statement' which can often derail new bands (eg Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Eponymous). Alternatively, established bands are able to put out material on EPs that does not fit with their other songs well enough for it be considered as part of an album, but is still worthy of release, as well as interesting covers and experimentation etc (eg Okkervil River - Overboard And Down).

  2. Despina dello Stagno5 April 2009 at 21:29

    Extra-perrestrial? Faux gnome!

  3. Round of applause to anyone who can make any kind of sense of the above comment.

  4. I like EP's too, mostly because they're great ways to tie up all the b-sides/loose ends after a particularly fruitful recording period that produced an album but they couldn't fit all the tracks on. Like 'Black Sheep Boy Appendix' which I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU LEFT OUT seeing as it is easily one of the best EP's ever made.

    Here's some others I like:

    Radiohead - Airbag/How Am I Driving
    Arcade Fire self titled EP
    Modest Mouse - Everywhere and His Nasty Parlor Tricks
    Modest Mouse - Interstate 8
    Fleet Foxes - Sun Giant
    Deerhunter - Fluorescent Grey EP
    Grizzly Bear - Friend
    REM - Chronic Town EP
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Is Is EP
    TV on the Radio - New Health Rock EP
    TV on the Radio - Young Liars
    Bright Eyes - Four Winds EP

  5. Yeah, Black Sheep Boy Appendix is incredible. I didn't say those were my only favourite releases. :)

    You're right about it being a good way of releasing extra stuff to complement albums rather than as something new necessarily. But when bands do that it can seem almost like a stopgap, just to get something out while they work on the new record. I think the best ones tend to be those recorded as EPs rather than just for the sake of releasing something. Black Sheep Boy Appendix isn't quite the same because that it's got such a strong concept to it I think.