Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Underrated's Top 5 EPs of 2006

While compiling my list for Top 25 albums of 2006, I realized that we were fortunate enough to find some breakout artists through EPs this year. They cannot, and will not be forgotten. I actually quite like EPs. It's like a little taste of a yummy desert. If you have too much, you'll feel sick. But just a few songs to let you know, okay, this is going to be good is just enough. Below are my top 5 EPs of 2006 with my favorite tracks from each.

1. Cold War KidsUp In Rags
It only took one song for me to fall in love with this band. "Hospital Beds" was played an obnoxious amount of times, and it took all my strength to actually listen to any other songs. But I did. I bought the EP and listened with full attention. There's something inherently special about this band that many don't want to admit. It comes down to a little bit of carelessness. Not many bands can get away with these types of vocal execution. It's almost as if every song is a first take, performed live, in front of you. There's power. It's raw. And it's got soul. There's never a dull moment when it comes to this band, even in their slowest, most quiet songs. Because you actually can hear the spark behind it all.

  • Cold War Kids - Hang Me Up To Dry

    2. VoxtrotMothers Sisters Daughters & Wives
    Voxtrot is basically the king of the EP and I wouldn't have it any other way. It's perfect. While I don't think they could ever live up to the utter appeal of their first EP, they matured a bit on this one and I like the direction we are heading. It's got the same charm -- pop as its finest, with sing-song choruses that are stuck in your heads for days. They aren't attempting to hide behind their simplicity and I do respect that. Plus, these songs make you jump up and down like an idiot. That's always fun.

  • Voxtrot - Soft & Warm

    3. The Little OnesSing Song
    This is an example when an EP is definitely definitely DEFINITELY not enough. All I want to do is listen to this band over and over again, because frankly, they make me happy. You know I'm a fan of the happy-go-lucky indie pop and this band has got it to the tee. I remember the first time I heard "Lovers Who Uncover" and I am pretty sure I declared this band to be the best thing since sliced bread. More clich├ęs ensued. I couldn't help myself. There are bells, cha-chas, and oh so much more. I want an LP, and I want it now.
    Lovers Who Uncover

    4. Bishop AllenJune
    Easily my favorite story of the year, Bishop Allen took on the ambitious task of releasing an EP every month. I was so skeptical from the beginning. There's no way they could consistently put out great songs every month. But boy was I wrong. Each one I loved more than the last, but if I had to pick one I'd go with June. It reminded me so much of why I fell in love with the band in the first place. Their album, Charm School was brilliant and "The Same Fire" felt like it was a lost track. In fact, most of them did. "The Light Of The Lost" makes me drunk with envy, from the saxophone to the repetitive chorus, and "Black Suburbans" with its harmonica, "Number 39" teetering on electronica.....I'm just honestly impressed. How did they do it? I'll never quite know. But man, what a story to tell.

  • Bishop Allen - The Same Fire

    5. Ennui - Inchoate
    Okay, so this EP came out in 2004, but I needed to include it in my list. I'm a little late to a lot of games, but as long as you show up eventually that's cool, right? Right. So I still will never be able to pronounce this band's name right, but I will listen to them until my ears forsake me. It's a very interesting type of pop music that this band has conducted, not as accessible I'd say as the others. A bit darker, a bit more rainy-day-esque. Nevertheless, I quite like it. "Time and Place" has that piano hook that is immediately catchy, while "Rukus" and "Change" swing by too quickly, deserving of many repeat listens. In fact, the whole EP does. Maybe that's why I'm so late to the game.

  • Ennui - Time and Place

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