I’ve often caught myself saying that EPs are better than LPs. While probably being a bit of an exaggeration, I do often find that a quick sampling of songs serve some bands better then the long form of an album. With albums the band often runs out of A-list material and has to resort to filler and gimmicks. The EP is a nice middle ground between the album and the single; giving you more then just a brief taste, but not so much that you’re full.
There are some bands who I feel have released their best material on EPs, which unfortunately often cripples them in the public’s eye because we focus so much on the album and often pass over the EPs.
The Clippers – An Evening With…
The Clippers are a band from LA that have a cleaner guitar sound mixed with Danzig like vocals (lots of Woahs). Every song of this is catchy, but a lot of the songs begin to sound the same, which makes the EP a good form for this band.
Sharks – Shallow Waters
This is the first thing Sharks put out, it has a few of their best songs. The EP takes on a more police-like reggae on this one, the band has since moved on to a more straight ahead rock sound.
Terrible Feelings – Blank Heads
Terrible Feelings is a band that has put out a lot of EPs and 7 inchs that have been met with a lot of excitement in the underground. Their sound is poppy with a touch of rockabilly. I love how the singer’s voice almost breaks at lyrical climaxes.
NOFX – The Longest Line
This was the first release from Fat Wreck Chords, it features a few NOFX live staples like “The Longest Line” and “Kill All the White Man”. It also has some classic songs that don’t get played live or talked about much, “The Death of John Smith” and “Stranded”.
The Clash – The Cost of Living
On this early Clash EP, the band covers a lot of musical ground. This is the first release to include their classic cover “I Fought the Law”. It also includes the harmonica driven “Groovy Times” and the folky “Gates to the West”, the first glimmer of the band’s diversity we later got to see on London Calling.
Against Me! – The Disco Before the Breakdown
Against Me! is a band who have 3 or 4 EPs that could have been included in the list. For much of their early work they choose to release on EPs. This is probably their last great one, it has a more emotional less political feel to their others. The guitar leads are more prominent in this one, the band is beginning to drop their folk-punk label and find themselves with something new.
Dead to Me – Little Brother
After Dead to Me dropped the classic Cuban Ballerina we were left with a long period of no activity from the band. Jack, the bands guitarist and co-singer, was starting a family making his commitment to the band a secondary part of his life. This is the last release he is on, he takes lead vocals on three of the songs. I often refer to this as the perfect EP, all the songs could have been singles.
Obviously this isn’t a complete list, let us know what EPs blew your mind in the comments below.