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Austin's Bill Baird a high point for lo-fi

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"Blonde" Bill Baird's records are the kind every musician daydreams about making: totally spontaneous, just you in a room with a 4-track, guitars and shit, lotsa bad whisky and good weed. And his just might be good for your health.

Starting with a 29-song collection in 1999, the Austin, Texas-based Baird's cranked out a handful of lo-fi, handcrafted records, but without the preciousness that often infects such endeavors. He's also the bassist for well-regarded Austin rockers Sound Team, which released Movie Monster on Capitol earlier this year.

His latest brace of solo records, Silence! and Sunset, is simply jaw-dropping. Want to hear what a piano sounds like fed through 24 stereo-delay effects? You bet you do -- try the ambient soundscapes of Silence!

The more '60s-pop, song-based Sunset opens with "It's Already Here (Everything You're Waiting for Is Gone)," reminiscent of prime John Lennon in both melody and sentiment. And from there it only gets better, from Baird's frosty tenor on "New York Love" to the nearly nine-minute "My Woman Hates My Guts," which channels Beck circa Stereopathetic Soul Manure.

"Ain't life a RAD thing?" Baird queries in Sunset's photocopied liner notes. "Grab yrself a honey, cherish those good thoughts, they're just like $." And that openness in his music seems so natural, you never feel like you're insulting your intelligence with passive-aggressive indie-folk drivel. Music this free-and-easy could add years to your life.

There are only 200 copies of each, and I'm not giving mine up; you've got a fighting chance at the other 199.

Bill Baird with For Greater Consciousness, Devin Russian and Dean Cercone. 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 16. Garfield Artworks, 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $6. All ages. 412-361-2262 or www.garfieldartworks.com

Bill Baird contemplates a change.
  • Bill Baird contemplates a change.

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