In music, albums and singles are praised all the time–whether it be at the Grammys or by an arts and entertainment magazine or just some dude’s blog.
However, EPs (extended plays for you those of you not with it), the no man’s land between singles and albums, often go unrecognized. After thinking about it, I confirmed that I did, in fact, listen to enough of them to put together a little list.
These are the ones that have stuck with me.
Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988)
I imagine when all the hair metal bands in LA heard this, they just collectively shit their pantaloons.
Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden are the bands that get credit for starting the grunge movement, but Mudhoney was really the heart and soul of that scene. Before the success of Nevermind, this is the record that put Sub Pop on the map.
Mission of Burma – Signals, Calls and Marches (1981)
I remember hearing “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” for the first time and thinking this is one of the best things I’ve ever heard.
Mission of Burma were all trained musicians (in a scene where that wasn’t necessarily positive) and thus knew where to bend the rules. The complex compositions (relative to contemporaries) and strategic use of noise and feed back created a one-of-a-kind sound you’re not likely to forget.
Minor Threat – Minor Threat (1981)
When you get into punk music there are a few bands you’re required to listen to, Minor Threat is one of them.
It only clocks in at about 9 and a half minutes, but Minor Threat’s first EP is a powder keg of aggression and exuberance.
At this age, it’s hard to get behind some of the youthful righteousness of the EP. But, when I have a rough day at work, “I Donna Wanna Hear It” is the perfect form of catharsis.
Fugazi – Furniture (2001)
Fugazi is another Ian Mackaye band that seems to be required listening. The band was rooted in punk but moved away from the brevity and bluntness of the hardcore scene.
I think most Fugazi fans might be inclined to favor the band’s first self-titled EP or Margin Walker, but it’s always been Furniture for me.
It’s only three songs, but it’s 8:51 of brilliance. “Number 5” is one of my favorite instrumental songs because it’s so unrelenting.