Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Decade in Extended Plays, #40-31

Today's entry is kind of a cop-out, since half of it consists of EPs from 2009. So it goes. But hey, '09 was a good year for tunes, and you can expect a few more EPs from last year to show up later on in the week. The other half of this list... has no unifying theme whatsoever, unless you want to try connecting HORSE the Band to Dashboard Confessional in the comments.

Actually, yeah, do that.

Top 50 EPs of the Y2K Post-Apocalypse, #40-31

40. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Higher Than the Stars (2009)

Higher Than the Stars bookended nicely with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, making 2009 a great year for the up-and-coming band. Both releases are hauntingly romantic and romantically haunting. I’m especially interested to see if the remix of the title track is indicative of future stylistic shifts.

39. The Loved Ones - Distractions (2009)

Classic rock-tinged punk. Three spitfire originals. Three covers, two of which are pretty great. “Coma Girl” might be one of those songs that sounds good no matter what.

38. Pregnant - Wanna See My Gun? (2009)

Melvins-indebted grunge from Brooklyn. So sludgy, so good.

37. The Mountain Goats and John Vanderslice - Moon Colony Bloodbath (2009)

It’s a concept album about cannibalism… ON THE MOON! I noticed I listen to this EP a lot late at night, and I rock back and forth while listening to closing track “Emerging.” “I know that sleeping bodies hide / Sweet things inside,” John Darnielle sings as his narrator realizes that he can get away with feeding on scientists stuck in cryostasis. This is one of the most beautiful songs about one of the worst acts ever.

36. Minus the Bear - They Make Beer Commercials Like This (2004)

This was my first Minus the Bear release, thanks to a glowing Alternative Press review that read it was written specifically for me. While the EP isn’t entirely representative of the band’s sound – “Fine + 2 Points” sounds way more techno/keyboard-driven than most MtB tunes – it still hits that sweet spot between prog rock and dance songs. I absorbed the bejeebits out of this disc before moving on to Menos El Oso and Highly Refined Pirates, but I feel a little guilty about not listening to Beer Commercials more often since then. But then, MtB has never really failed to please me, so in that regard, Beer Commercials perfectly fits into the band’s discography.

35. Paint It Black - Amnesia/Surrdener (2009)

FACT: In the time it takes you to read this paragraph, you could have listened to Amnesia and Surrender. Twice. FACT: It takes longer to flip the record than it does to play it. FACT: Paint It Black is still one of the best hardcore bands out there.

34. The Loved Ones - The Loved Ones (2005)

I feel a little bad for The Loved Ones. After their self-titled EP, their music proved too challenging for their fans despite being super fun. While I’ve always been pleased with the Loved Ones’ sound, there was once a time when I wasn’t so sure about them. College best mate Eric Crack of the Next Big Thing and Catch Phrase tried to get me to buy their self-released demo in 2004, but given his knack for fucking with my head, I assumed he was up to chicanery. Turns out he was telling the truth. I got my shit together in time for the band’s Jade Tree debut, which is a good thing. Opener “100k” is so forehead-slappingly awesome that I feel like a damned fool for ever doubting Das Loved Ones. I view ’em as the Face to Face of the aughties – honest, straightforward rock songs that more people should love.

33. Dashboard Confessional - So Impossible (2001)

In a move that was both pathetic and perfectly suited for this EP, I came across So Impossible when I fell hopelessly, stupidly in love with my best friend in high school. Her two favorite albums were Weezer’s Pinkerton and Dashboard Confessional’s So Impossible. We were emo together. The EP perfectly described how I wanted the date that never happened with my friend to go – awkward fumbling turns to deep conversation which leads to sloppy kissings. Of course, none of that happened, I went to college, moved on, and found someone else who, if I’m being honest with myself, is better. Do I still think of my friend when I listen to “For You to Notice…”? Of course. But I don’t regret how things turned out for us or the feelings a band as critically derided as DC made me feel. This one’s a precious little acoustic love letter, a perfect distillation of how na├»ve and, again, pathetic I can be about romance and people.

32. HORSE the Band - Pizza (2006)

OK, here’s a 180 from the So Impossible entry: I FUCKING LOVE PIZZA. As of such, I relate to every track on Pizza, the pizza-themed EP from Nintendocore act HORSE the Band. I’ve been “Crippled By Pizza (Pizzarrhea in the Pizzeria).” I’m been “unmade by anti-pizza / So good it destroyed the world.” Obviously, I’m a big fan of their cover of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song. “Werepizza” is a bit of a stretch for me, but uh… shut up, that’s why. Five tracks about pizza from a deliriously fun metal band that sounds like a video game soundtrack.

31. Catch Phrase - Coloring Outside the Lines (2003)

LOCAL BAND REFERENCE #3 of 8. Catch Phrase was a Lansdale-based pop punk band that consisted of four of my high school chums. My personal trickster god Eric Crack did time with them as well, but he doesn’t appear on this, the band’s second EP. Co-vocalists Nick Gregorio and Andrew Buck hit their pop punk stride with tunes like “Disaster’s My Middle Name” and the uber-catchy “A Better Place.” Sonically, it’s pretty similar to what Drive-Thru Records was putting out at the time. And while Gregorio and drummer Alex McGrath went on to better things with their new band The Next Big Thing, I’m always going to treasure Coloring Outside the Lines. It’s all I have left to remind me of the time CP and Caution! would play sets at Club HP in Philly.



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