I came into contract with FLY ASHTRAY not long after this 1990 7”EP, their second release called “Extended Outlook”, and I was hooked right away. This New York-based group existed (should I say exists) way sub-underground, and have been churning out weird, sometime heavy, psychedelic pop music for two decades & change. The band’s MO in their heyday, which I’d roughly date as the first half of the 90s, was by turns whimsically brilliant and annoyingly infantile. At its best, like on this excellent single, FLY ASHTRAY took an oblong approach to the jagged edge of loony psychedelia manifested in weirdos like Henry Cow, Slapp Happy and, at times, Captain Beefheart. They then married it to a propulsive sort of simple pop music the likes of which were best made popular by dozens of New Zealand bands in the 1980s. Their closest ideological soulmates during this early 90s period were the west coast’s THINKING FELLERS UNION LOCAL 282, at that time one of the best bands on the planet. I never did get to see Fly Ashtray play, and that bums me out.
At its worst, Fly Ashtray’s “art” was a who-cares sort of in-jokery that’s off-putting to just about everyone not in on the joke. Whimsy and silliness for the sake of same wasn’t something I felt like I needed to spend a lot of time with, and I guess I tired of the band when I grew tired of humoring their ridiculous song titles and intentionally strange in-song musical interludes. Same thing happened with me & the Thinking Fellers – I think some people call it “growing up”. As it so happens, I’m still really fond of that early stuff, and so I’d like to present the band’s second record to you today. Not too long from now I’ll re-post the third single “Soap” as well, since it was taken down by my fascistic former hosting provider along with every other pre-mid 2008 file.
Play Fly Ashtray, “Ice Cream Cone”
Download FLY ASHTRAY – “Ice Cream Cone” (A-side)
Download FLY ASHTRAY – “My Teeth are Looking at you and they are Smiling” (B-side)
Download FLY ASHTRAY – “President Stoned” (B-side, Track 2)