7 and 7 is

Whenever I prowl around Sound Exchange, I stop at the doorway leading to the back and look at the singles high on the wall. The Bad Livers, the Rev. Horton Heat, Sixteen Deluxe -- all those Sub Pop singles-of-the-month. Then I look at the prices -- $10, $15, $30. Are any of those songs on albums? Probably not. I could wait for the box set, but will there ever be a Shonen Knife box set? Probably not. Looking at my new Starfish Four Song EP (Trance Syndicate), I know what I have is black gold, Texas tea; there's also a white cover of this limited edition 45, and the two were handmade by the band. Though "Burden" and "Local 506" are both on the upcoming Frustrated (due March 11), neither song is the same as what's on the CD; alternate takes, demos, or simply un-overdubbed, they're a little rawer, and in the case of "Burden," I prefer the guitar work. Neither "Tom's" nor "Johnny's Got a Crush on Me" are on Frustrated, but they should be, because together all four tunes make up an EP that will one day be worth twice that Steve Albini crap. The Shindigs' slightly oversized and drop-dead gorgeous pic sleeve -- with green-vinyl 45 -- should blow out of the stores quick, if not for the art, then for this local quartet's girlie punk. (Okay, only Melissa Bryan fits that description, but she's the singer.) And if the A-side, "Boyfriend Song," sounds a little thin, knob man John Croslin makes up for it on the
B-side with "Spaceboy/Gaz." Hear that, Mindy Labernz? "Gaz." As in Supergrass, maybe? That's on Rock Haüs Records. Poopiehead's new four-songer is on Peek-A-Boo, the folks who put out last year's swell Bicycle Rodeo comp, and even if Dean & Anna, the folks who brought Austin the Teen Titans and 1-4-5's, deliver sugary pop so light it makes cotton candy taste like milk duds, then get the single just for the label catalog. Miss Xanna Don't & the Wanted are long overdue for some good press in the Chronicle, and she gets it for her fine "Ode to Punk" single (Ata-Glance), wherein she covers The Real Kids' "Common at Noon" and the Sons of Hercules' "Damaged Goods" -- country style. The results? Libbi Bosworth, look-out. Finally, ol' Parker Valentine of the Valentine Six sent down a couple of 45s from his new digs in New York, "Zombie" b/w "Thin Red Line" and "I Saw a Ghost Face" b/w "Always Is My Name" (V6), and while the band's dark, sax-driven punk bop conjures images of mayhem and madness at Emo's, on vinyl they grate like you faceplanting it onto one on the sidewalk. -- Raoul Hernandez

Trance Syndicate: PO Box 49771, Austin, TX 78765; Rock Haüs: PO Box 242, Austin, TX 78767; Peek-a-Boo: 2502 San Antonio #1, Austin, TX 78705; Ata-Glance: PO Box 3859, Austin, TX 78704; V6 Records: (212) 219-0698

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

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