7 and 7 is

Lots of 45 hounds prowling the floor of the Austin Record Convention this past weekend. Ol' Don McLeese was hawking a couple boxes of singles that contained a local gem or two, and since we're both retail boys from way back (as are most rock crit types), I'm wondering when I'll be ready to unload some of these musical shackles that make moving akin to childbirth. (In a crate, a record might as well be a manhole cover). Alas, I could never part with my Thomas Anderson singles, and his new one on Propeller is no exception (green vinyl!). "Hippie Literature," is a steamrolling "Orange Crush" rocker about government brainwash, while "Song for the People" is the Don McLean-sounding acoustic B-side. Good balance. To accept this local stalwart is to overlook the occasionally awkward fusing of lyric and melody and embrace his comic book sense of wry wit. John Croslin gets plenty embracing these days and "Ball of Yarn" from Silver Scooter's new Swingline single is indeed the self-described "epic tale of happiness and beer drinking" -- Wannabes-like in its motoring beat and good pop sense. Along with the Eric's Trip B-side, it edges out the local group's other single, "Cup and String" b/w "Whatever Happened to Me" on Crank, some four-tracking that also spins on its good pop sense and melody. It's good, but forced to choose, I'm going with Croslin. Another Austin group that's a four-track slut is Monroe Mustang, who gets big points on their debut 7-inch for the artwork and white vinyl as well as just having a three-song mini album (on Framed!) that works like an excerpt from your favorite Guided by Voices album. The A-side in particular, "I Was Eighteen, It Was Hate" will leave anyone who was ever 18 snorting back the memories. Wookie also clock in with three tunes on their new 45 from the On Fire label, but only the Smashing Pumpkins-ish "Fireflies" (on the Corgan-sounding "Stardozer" side) really matters, and while the other two songs could just as well go into McLeese's box, the cool sticker will stay on my wall of fame forever. -- Raoul Hernandez

Propeller: POB 3010, Austin, TX 78764; Swingline: POB 95888, Seattle, WA 98145-2888; Crank: Wilshire Blvd #173, Santa Monica, CA 90403; Framed!: POB 49961, Austin, TX 78765; On Fire: 1202-A Marshall Ln., Austin, TX 78703

"7 & 7 Is" reviews all local and national singles. Send to: "7 & 7 Is," The Austin Chronicle, POB 49066, Austin, TX 78765

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