1996. Grunge was on life-support thanks to bands like Bush and Hole, while Alternative-music, ruled by Trent Reznor and Billy Corgan, conquered both transcontinental airwaves as well as the heart/soul of me; a 14 year old wanna-be misfit. But my income was rough at best – $5 to cut the lawn once a week – and since I was a die-hard Pumpkins fan, I became an avid collector of singles and, occasionally, if lucky, EPs.
The EP, also known as the mini-album, was perfect for my newly-born infatuation with recorded music. Like training-wheels for my ears, the EPs (maxi-singles as they were called in the mid-90s) so regularly released by the Smashing Pumpkins were ideal for shaping my interest in how songs should interact in sequence and mood. By the time I was 16 and gainfully employed, I still sought out EPs, as if their shortened running-time was designed for songs that required special privilege and space. These small collections of songs were more intimate in relation to one another… at least to me. And when I hear of news that an artist or band I like is set to release an EP, I recall that teenage excitement all over again.
In celebration of the Extended Play, whether it be album B-sides, a mini-project or tour-recordings, I represent a Top Ten list of essential EPs worth owning. Unfortunately, I unwittingly ordered them #1 through #10, instead of counting them down vice-versa, so I've blown any chance at garnering some anticipation for the top spots. Enjoy.
Seal Beach EP - The Album Leaf
Dusk Log - Mum
Spitting Feathers - Thom Yorke
Westerns - Pete Yorn