Top 10 Alternative Rock EP’s

With Foo Fighters’ recent surprise free Saint Cecilia EP release, Alternative Nation has decided to take a look back at the top 10 greatest alternative rock EP’s.


10. Smashing Pumpkins – American Gothic (2008)

American Gothic was an under the radar release, featuring acoustic based songs written during the Zeitgeist era. The EP features “The Rose March,” one of the best songs Billy Corgan has written in the last decade. The EP gives just a taste of Billy Corgan recording acoustic songs, which was also teased with Djali Zwan.


9. Foo Fighters – Saint Cecilia (2015)

Foo Fighters’ Saint Cecilia was spontaneously recorded in Austin just a few months, and while it doesn’t feature any songs that stack up with the band’s all time great hits, there is a laid back feeling to the EP that you can hear. It sounds like friends just sitting around the campfire writing music, without any pressure from record labels for commercial success.


8. Green River- Dry As A Bone (1987)

Green River is a fascinating listen for Grunge fans who discovered the band after Pearl Jam and Mudhoney’s formation. The band merges the sound of the two bands with Mark Arm bringing his punk rock sensibilities to Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament’s arena ready sound.


7. Soundgarden – Fopp (1988)

Fopp largely consists of covers, including a cover of Green River’s “Swallow My Pride.”


6. Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988)

Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Bigmuff may be the band’s most famous release, featuring their signature song “Touch Me I’m Sick.” Superfuzz Bigmuff strips down the Grunge sound to its barest bones, and is one of the greatest examples of the eras punk influence.


5. Tool – Opiate (1992)

Opiate was Tool’s first ever release and immediately showcased the band’s brooding sound, despite the raw recording quality. Maynard James Keenan’s lyrics are some of the darkest and angriest of his career, singing about his frustration with God, murder, among other subjects.


4. Soundgarden – Screaming Life (1987)

Soundgarden’s Screaming Life features one of the band’s most underrated songs, “Nothing to Say.” Despite the production quality, the soaring riff and Cornell’s wailing vocals show that the band were destined to headline arenas.


3. Alice In Chains – Sap (1992)

Sap was an important EP for Alice In Chains, with the band exploring their more melodic stripped down side for the first time after their heavy metal leaning debut album Facelift. The EP features ‘Alice Mudgarden’ on standout “Right Turn,” with Chris Cornell and Mark Arm lending guest vocals. “Am I Inside,” featuring Ann Wilson from Heart, is one of Alice In Chains’ best songs. “Got Me Wrong” had incredible staying power, becoming a hit two years later when it was featured on the Clerks soundtrack, and finding new life again when Alice In Chains performed a stellar version of the song on MTV Unplugged in 1996.


2. Nine Inch Nails – Broken (1992)

Broken is the bridge between Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral, and sees Trent Reznor’s songwriting reach a whole new level, further developing the heavy industrial sound that would come to define Nine Inch Nails. Grammy winner “Wish” remains a fan favorite to this day.


1. Alice In Chains – Jar of Flies (1994)

Despite being an EP, Jar of Flies is regarded by many fans as their favorite Alice In Chains’ record, and also as one of the greatest releases of the 90’s. Alice In Chains came into the recording sessions for Jar of Flies with no material at all ready to go, and within a week they had a classic EP featuring some of their greatest songs. Layne Staley’s vocal performance and melody on “I Stay Away” are some of the most inventive and impressive of the 90’s, as well as his vocal part of “Don’t Follow.”

  • Felonious Punk

    See? What did I say?


    Saint Cecilia has been out just over a week and already it’s making “Top Ten Best Rock EPs of All Time” lists.

    Most of you claim I’m just sucking Dave Grohl asspipe with these sweeping statements, but ol’ Felonious knows what he’s talking about…

    • Chris Cornell’s Mustache

      you did say it.

    • halcyon

      I like the fact that you upvoted your own post. I, too, tend to most often agree the most wholeheartedly with myself 🙂

      • Felonious Punk

        I figured that rare self-upvote would be an obvious tipoff that I was just completely taking the piss here. But I’m sure someone will take it literally and then lose their mind over it..

        • halcyon

          Well, I wasn’t being sarcastic. I just appreciated your idea which I found amusing.

          • Felonious Punk

            I’m wrong all the time, I bet. I just refuse to admit it 😀

  • Cozz

    For me Superfuzz Bigmuff should be No.1 also Change Has Come by the Screaming Trees should be on there.

  • intheshadow

    Here in the UK Nirvana issued Blew as an EP with Love Buzz/Been A Son/Stain. That’s a pretty good record if you ask me. Mother Love Bone – Shine?

  • Chris Cornell’s Mustache

    Nirvana’s Hormoaning EP didn’t even make this list.

  • JS7

    Jar Of Flies was also the first EP to ever go number 1.

  • Jimmy Intense

    NIN is not considered an alt rock group by any means. Just helps prove Top 10 lists are a joke

  • Rizz

    I think we can all agree that Jar of Flies is a timeless classic that touches a nerve. If this community does not agree I would be surprised.

  • kris08

    “Dirt” by Alice in Chains should be on here. It was (and still is) a classic and is their best work.

    • Bilbo

      Great album, but the list is called Top 10 Alternative Rock EP’s. To be honest, my favourite AiC release by far is Jar of Flies, as it’s absolutely perfect from the first to the last note.

      • kris08

        Yeah, you got a point …