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?