003_02.htmlTEXTR*ch̸MmBIN ROCKIST: reviews
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The Bird Circuit Lemoneverything
In the wake of the demise of Muler, singer Dave Baumgartner has a new band called The Bird Circuit. He says that this record is a bit more quiet than their live show. While less rockin' than Muler's pop-rock (except for the CCR meets the Allmans meet Camper Van Beethoven-ish "St. Anthony and the Tuesday Night Blues" and "Miss Nadine," a tune that updates the R.E.M. Document-era, complete with falsetto back-up vocals) this record has some real nice moments on it. I'm especially fond of "Paris Hill Road," which reminds me of Compound Red at points. (nelson126@yahoo.com)

Bluetip Hot Fast Union EP and Polymer
Got the EP at their show with Bluebird and the new full-length at their show with At the Drive In and Murder City Devils. The EP is one of the hottest slabs of jagged rock to come out this year. The title track is one of Bluetip's top three tunes and "Spit Up Kid" ranks up there as well. Throw in a cover of the Damned's "Anti-Pope" and you got yourself a winner.

Polymer is a solid record, though not nearly as cohesive as their last full-length and a must-have, Join Us. This record does have some stand-out tracks, "New Young Residents," "Stereo Tinnitus," and the explosive "Getting In," but it also has a number of songs that don't live up to the pretty high standard the band has set for themselves. (bluetip@maggadee.com; Dischord Records 3819 Beecher Street NW Washington, DC 20007 www.dischord.com)

Bonfire Madigan Saddle the Bridge
I could imagine this album being very powerful in the live setting. On record, it comes off a bit too oppressive for my tastes, with the exception of the first song, Mad Skywriting which is one of the coolest songs Ive heard in a while. I like the way that singer/cellist Madigan Shives voice takes on a Sinead OConnor lilt to it. That track is a nice showcase for her voice, I would say far better than the others on the album, which are much darker and weigh heavy like a lot of PJ Harveys songs. I do like what theyre trying to do here, though to mix the soulish pop (featurning drummer Tomas Palermo laying down some great beats) with the chamber sounds (Shive and contrabassist Sheri Ozeki). And I commend Kill Rock Stars for taking a chance on something like this. (www.butterflydreams.com/bonfiremadigan; KRS pmb 418, 120 State Street NE Olympia,WA 08501 www.killrockstars.com)
Bratmobile Ladies, Women, and Girls
Their first album since their break-up in 1994, thought they've been playing shows together again since Feb 1999, what a return. It may be my memory, but I really think they're sounding better than they ever did before. The guitar lines are tight as hell (see especially "It's Common (But We Don't Talk About It)" and the opener and my favorite, "Eating Toothepaste") and the drumming is incredibly powerful (especially on the opener. Allison Wolfe's vocals and lyrics, which may have made your skin crawl (for good or bad) back in 1991, sound fresh and solidify their attack. (Lookout! Records PO Box 11374 Berkeley, CA 94712-2374 www.lookoutrecords.com)

Brian and Chris s/t
Brain and Chris used to live in Chapel Hill, where Brian played in Tractor Hips and Chris played in Jobys Opinion. The recently moved to San Francisco, but they really should have moved to Chicago if theyre going to keep playing the blips-and-beeps-and-beats instrumental music thats so big there these days. Pretty decent stuff, like Tortoise or Sea and Cake without vocals with some weird noises thrown in on top. (252 Chattanooga St.. #4 San Francisco, CA 94114 brian_and_chris@hotmail.com)

Burning Airlines Identikit
BA's previous record, Mission Control, was one of my favorite records of the past few years, a remarkable debut album from a trio of D.C. veterans. It's a work-out, a record that shines from start to finish. This time out J. Robbins (ex-Jawbox) and Pete Moffett (ex-Government Issue) opt for more a collection of songs than an album with fluid continuity and in the process vary up the sound a bit with some vocal and instrumental experimentation.

Observe: the great echo on Robbins' crime scene vocals in the brilliant "Morricone Dancehall"; the nice little Delta blues rhythm before breaking into the big chorus in "The Deluxe Baby"; the strange alien noises in the behind the great Joe Lally (Fugazi)-esque bass-line in "Everything Here is New"; the fact that chorus of "Paper Crowns" sounds like it could be an XTC out-take; the stuttering guitar part in the verses of "Blind Trial"; the tender vocal parts and steel-sounding guitar of "Earthbound."

Robbins sounds great as do Moffett and new bassist Mike Harbin (ex-Shiner, ex-Trusty) who has replaced orginal B.A. bassist Bill Barbot. While this record has taken me about ten listens to appreciate, I have to admire the trio's tenacity in experimenting with their own sound. (burningair@aol.com; DeSoto Records PO Box 60932 Washington, D.C. 20039 www.desotorecords.com)
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