The EP is an art form by itself. When done correctly, it should introduce a listener to a new band by showing the band’s versatility but, at the same time, the EP should have a “sound,” otherwise it’s just a sampler. Most EPs have a radio-friendly single, a couple uptempo numbers, and close with a ballad. Others are more imaginative. It’s rare that an EP is something a person would actually want to buy; to accomplish that, it must do something an album cannot, by including rare songs, live material, or by taking the artist somewhere where they haven’t gone before. One artist did this better than anyone else this year, and he’s in the number two slot.
THE SIX BEST EPs OF 2008
4. Tulsa-I Was Submerged (Park the Van) (review). True indie rock and roll: Moody, dark and dreamlike.
3. Living Legends-The Gathering (Alternative Distribution Alliance) (review). Murs, the most famous member of the Living Legends collective, has gotten a major label contract, but he wasn’t above being part of this great pass-the-mic EP, showcasing the skills of this most excellent, most underrated underground rap crew. Buy it!
2. Joseph Arthur-Four EPs (artist’s label). One for each season of the year, Joseph Arthur ambitiously preceded a terrific full-length album with four EPs, each of which were wholly unique. There was shoegaze (“Could We Survive”); electronic noiserock (“Crazy Rain”); grimey folk (“Vagabond Skies”); and, finally, “Foreign Girls” (indie rock).
1. MF DOOM and Trunks-Unicron (unknown) (review).
I don’t know if this was ever commercially released, because I can’t find out anything consequential about it. But I do know that it was phenomenal. MF DOOM beats under rhymes by a relative unknown Canadian named Trunks. The content is largely cartoon and superhero, like DOOM’s own best work. Some strange things have happened with the Vaudeville Villain this year, so here’s hoping ’09 will be better for him. And also, here’s hoping we see more of Trunks