January 17, 2003

Single Frame Ashtray "Wetheads Come Running"

It's a rare feat indeed for a band to successfully explore numerous sounds and styles over the course of a debut record without sounding self-indulgent, but Austin's Single Frame Ashtray have done just that. If you're a little nervous when you first look at their record, you'll be forgiven; twenty songs--outside of a GBV album or a band's greatest hits--is a very full plate. Indeed, Single Frame Ashtray have covered much ground, with a lo-fi sound that never really betrays the band's talent; indeed, consider the sonic imperfection as a part of the whole, much like listening to vintage blues recordings, the cracks and the pops add depth and dimension.

Don't get too terribly comfortable when first you listen to Wetheads Come Running. Though "Floral Design In A Straight Line" starts off with a cartoon-like melody, it quickly gives into a nice, Sonic Youthy bit, and then returns to that cartoon melody. They then throw you into a new-wave funk with "$7 Haircut," that quickly turns into a weird little sound clip, that segues immediatly into "Post Daydream Forecast Endeavorm," which turns into...well, I'm going to stop here, because that would give away the great pleasure I've had since I've put this record on--the guessing game about what's going to come next. They flow through styles like they own the place, and they have the nerve to make you think they wrote the damn music encyclopedia!

The music here is not only diverse, it's downright unclassifiable. So, to help you out, here are some keywords to help you grasp what you're going to hear when you put Wetheads Come Running: Brainiac, Faint, Coil, indie rock, hip-hop, jibber-jabber, rap, new wave, indiepop, ambient, Sonic Youth, techno, Boredoms, trip-hop, collage, samplers, Blonde Redhead, Fluxus, Ween, Aphex Twin, Kid 606, electronica, noise, free noise, jazz, Tigerbeat6, Butthole Surfers....man, I feel like I'm off the mark on all of these words.

As lazy as it is, I'm going to give you the music writer's utterly worst line to use in a Review Of Any Kind, because it's true, and it's the only thing I can bear to say: GO BUY THIS RECORD, YOU HAVE TO HEAR IT TO BELIEVE IT!. Okay??? Are you happy???? You've frustrated the hell out of me in writing this, Single Frame Ashtray, but I appreciate the hell out of it! I love Wetheads Come Running.

--Joseph Kyle

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