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Austin Chronicle 7 and 7 Is

MARCH 8, 1999:  Thanks to the affordability, convenience, and proliferation of compact discs, vinyl singles have become largely a promotional tool, or worse, a vanity project. Once the cheapest, easiest way to get one's music heard, today manufacturing 45s can be costlier and more time-consuming than putting together a CD. And yet one thing they'll always have over CDs -- like their big brother, the LP record -- is artwork. Take the new 45 by Meg Hentges for instance, issued by her major label benefactor Robbins Entertainment. While both "This Kind of Love" and "Bob on the Waves" can be found on Hentges' new album Brompton's Cocktail, the artwork that graces the single cannot. Twice as big as a crummy CD insert, it's also twice as good -- brighter, bluer, more eye-catching. Lovely. The music is of course the same, but pairing Brompton's brawny and Breedersish lead-off track and single, "This Kind of Love," with the blithely sunny flipside makes it a great single that was acknowledged as largely promotional by local record store giveaways. Silver Scooter, who also have a new album out -- Orleans Parish -- put the same principle to work on their recent 45, "A Tribute to the Phone Calls" (Peek-a-Boo). The single's artwork looks to be a charcoal sketch of what became the cover's color illustration for the CD insert. Nice effect. The A-side, "Tribute to the Phone Calls," is also the album's lead-off track, a slice of pop that reaffirms Silver Scooter's status as one of the best pop bands in Austin. The B-side is a Cure cover not found on the album, "In Between Days," which says more about what musical era the members of this trio grew up in than anything else. Speaking of good pop, Subset, another local trio, know it when they hear it, because you can hear Spoon all over their new single, "Circuitis" b/w "Fingered" and "City Sent Man" (self-released). Or Spoon lo-fi as the case may be, since the single proudly proclaims "all songs recorded at home." From the sound of things, Subset is still a young band exploring its sound. The Palaxy Tracks have apparently found their sound as, according to the press release, they're working on their fourth full-length album, but being a home-recording project usually means nobody's heard of you (they're apparently playing out more these days). According to the A-side of this finely screened single, "The Family Tree," guitars by the layers are the name of the game, which is being lost to a plodding melody and bad vocals. The B-side, "If I Were Julie London," is better, the song taking off on some strong guitar work that ends too soon. Nothing goes by faster than the The Collegians' single, "The Collegians Are Go!" on, hehem (somebody call the lawyers), the new Puke-a-Booze label, which like all Peek-a-Boo singles, comes complete with corporate mumbo jumbo inserts. A quick and dirty punk assault, the single's booklet states "Teen Uncool" and "Now Dig" are "like the bad case of syphilis you'll never forget." I don't know about you, but to me that sounds bad. Like the artwork on the single.--Raoul Hernandez

Robbins: 30 West 21 Street, NY, NY 10010, info@robbinsent.com
Peek-a-Boo: PO Box 49542, Austin, TX 78765
Grey Flat Records: PO Box 650018, Austin, TX 78765, greyflat@texas.net
Subset: PO Box 650101, Austin, TX 76765, Subset@commoner.com
Puke-a-Booze: 912-A West Elizabeth, Austin, TX 78704, flojo@jump.net

"7 & 7 Is" reviews all local and national vinyl-only 7- and 10-inch singles. Send to: "7 & 7 Is," c/o The Austin Chronicle, P.O. Box 49066, Austin, TX 78765.

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