April 07, 2003

Single Frame Ashtray "Burn Radio Airtest"

Single Frame Ashtray are a band that makes me very, very excited. I loved their debut album, Wetheads Come Running, and though I felt like it didn't sit still enough, I certainly couldn't fault them for its lack of awesome music. Words cannot explain, though, the utter shock and awe I felt when this record showed up in my mailbox. To say that it made my day is an understatement. I didn't think they'd have a new record so SOON! What makes it even funnier, though, is that I'd been thinking about them, because last night I read a not-so-nice review of Wetheads, and though I understand the basis of the criticism, all I could think about was, "just wait until their next record--it's going to be awesome!

Burn Radio Airtest is not an album, but with eight songs, it's too long to be a single, and at only seventeen minutes, it's too short to be a mini-album. Once again, Single Frame Ashtray have defied previously-set notions of what should be and they come out the victor, too. They don't really vary any from their formula, which is a very good thing, indeed. That formula, in case you missed it, is punk rock new wave with a hint of something we call talent and packaged together in a futuristic style that sounds like the rock and roll record that people thirty years ago would have labeled "the sound of robots getting together and making some pretty hard and interesting rock and roll music."

Burn Radio Airtest contains two remixes of songs that appeared on their debut album. "Been To A Party At This House" was one of the stronger tracks, but this remix version really doesn't sound that different, and "Eavesdropper," which was one of the albums lesser tracks. They're still good, mind you, so you really don't mind the repeats. "Burn Radio Airtest," "Dry Lips Usually Crack" and "Without Pens" are pure new-wave punk, but they're stronger than what Single Frame Ashtray have done, so it's good to see the band progressing. "New Car Remix" and "Eavesdropper" are darker, slower, more brooding electronic numbers which also sound great. The only bum track here is the final number, "100,000 Troops," a little experimental clip that lasts less than two minutes and is easily forgettable.

Single Frame Ashtray are a band to watch, my friends. They're young, fresh, and are Austin's brand new stars. This is a nice little collection for those who loved the debut album, and a handy little tease for those who want to know what Single Frame Ashtray are all about. (Oh, and it's got pretty rad clear artwork, though this picture above--cool in its own way--doesn't show it.)

--Joseph Kyle

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