MOST bands that labor in producer Don Dixon's North Carolina dream-factory produce wistful, bittersweet reveries. Fetchin' Bones, however, careens out of Dixon's garage like the rambunctious "Chicken Truck" it celebrates in the song of the same name, ignoring the speed limit and leaning on the horn.
Paced by Hope Nicholls' assertive yelping, the quintet's "Galaxy 500" claims shards of funk and metal for a sound that might as well be called -- as Nichols howls on the opening track, "Stray" -- "punk rock!" Though not as distinctive as either band, them Bones are a creditable successor to the skewed dance-party beat of Pylon and the B-52s.
Miracle Legion are dream-weavers, though from the Connecticut rather than the North Carolina school; musically, the quartet's "Surprise Surprise Surprise" will hardly be that to anyone who's heard R.E.M. and their imitators. But singer Mark Mulcahy (who writes the songs with guitarist Ray Neal) delivers on the promise of titles like "Paradise" and "Wonderment." The band's painfully earnest evocations of childhood validate its ethereal melodies. This may well be the year's most affecting neo-folk-rock record.
FETCHIN' BONES -- "Galaxy 500" (Capitol CLT-46953).
MIRACLE LEGION -- "Surprise Surprise Surprise" (Rough Trade ROUGH US 27).
Both appearing Saturday at the 9:30 club.