Here at the arts department, we occasionally get sent a package suspiciously shaped like a square Frisbee. Inside these packages are those lovely relics of music’s past: real CDs. Some are from local artists, some come in fancy packaging and some of them never get listened to. Cue Mix Bag Friday to change that. On weeks we get CDs, we’ve decided to share with you their delights.
Cisco Adler Aloha
You may know Cisco Adler best as Mischa Barton and Paris Hilton’s ex, but this former Whitestarr member is back with a solo album that celebrates his Hawaiian and Californian roots. With tracks as varied as the sunny lyrics and upbeat guitar of opening track “You’re A Fool” to the reggae-esque “Boom Boom Boom” to the piano-intro’ed hip-hop track “Sunshine or Rain,” the only word that accurately describes every song is “easy,” as in easy to listen to. It is definitely a summer CD; next week’s release date may strike some as a little strange, but many of the album’s tracks definitely wouldn’t be out of place on a Langdon party playlist. With guest appearances from G. Love, Don Carlos, Mod Sun and others, the album is worth a spin, though only if the idea of a peppier Jack Johnson sounds appealing.
Stephen Lynch Lion
What happens when you combine a stand-up comedian with a microphone and a famed producer? Lion happens. Comedian Stephen Lynch’s fifth album is set to come out in November and features delicate vocal harmonizing, guitar strumming and completely ridiculous lyrics. The two-disc CD (one live and one studio) features such tracks as “So This is Outer Space,” which proclaims, “You’re on acid/Oh that’s right let’s go to the arcade,” “Lion,” with lyrics of a similar sentiment to Meatloaf’s famed “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), and “Whiskey Dick,” whose opening line is “Oh my God/I feel sick/drank too much/whiskey dick.” If that doesn’t convince you to check out the CD, we don’t know what will, except maybe the fact you can see it live at the Barrymore Nov. 16.
Ida Jo Uncharted
While violin is not always an appealing sound to collegiate ears, this album’s mix of unwavering vocals, varied percussion, plucky bass and yes, violin, makes us want to keep listening. Minnesota native and Madison resident Ida Jo brings a unique sound that is not quite folk and not quite indie to her third album. With a voice as gripping as Grace Slick’s of Jefferson Airplane and lyrics that are both hopeful and revealing, Ida Jo’s album has plenty of tracks that will resonate with the Vanessa Carlton and Michelle Branch fans among us.
Hometown Sweethearts Hometown Sweethearts
While you may not think you’ve caught Hometown Sweethearts, there’s a pretty good chance they’ve played a wedding or two you’ve attended. If the bride and groom put their name on the waiting list soon enough, that is. This self-titled CD is the first compilation of original work from Madison’s “Best Cover Band,” who has been playing weddings and private parties across the country (and even in movies and on National Public Radio) for the last decade. Self-declared as indie rock, the album is undeniably catchy, with electric guitar hooks, earnest and honed vocals and electronic touches sprinkled amid uptempo percussion. Best bets are “Set The World On Fire” and “Worlds Apart,” but with tracks as varied as their wedding sets, the album has something for everyone.