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Mixed bag.

Three new indie CDs for your three different moods: wild, homespun, and just plain fun

Uninhibited

* Exhibition

* Akashic Records

Home Grown

* Michelle Malone

* Strange Bird Songs Records

The Best of Mrs. Fun

* Mrs. Fun

* Daemon Records

OK, maybe not so wild. Uninhibited by Exhibition, fronted by guitarist Andrew Wilson and openly gay vocalist Sean Niles, is strictly circuit-party material. The duo does surprise with a lovely ballad, "Tomorrow the Rain," and the dance cut "Universal Thread" takes an appealing instrumental turn by using the sound of pealing church bells, but their lyrics are ponderous ("Identify with the masquerade before it starts to rain on your parade"). But words won't matter once you've reached trance state.

For the less trippy-minded, Atlanta folk rocker and Indigo Girls buddy Michelle Malone--previously of the bands Drag the River and Band de Soleil--goes solo with Home Grown. Malone's latest effort is tinged with a guitar-strumming melancholy about lost dreams and downsized aspirations. "But this is home," she sings of her plaster-peeling apartment, "where I grew up much too late." Cheery melodies and Malone's sweet alto voice counteract any lyrical gloom, but her music, although pleasant, remains unremarkable. Only the bluesy "Learn to Cry" rises above the other offerings, suggesting that an edgier singer lurks within.

Last and best, The Best of Mrs. Fun delivers the funk along with the fun. Drawn from four of the Milwaukee-based girl duo's albums, the CD features Connie Grauer's deadpan vocals and cool keyboards alongside Kim Zick's kickin' drums. Think Luscious Jackson playing straight-ahead jazz. The omnipresent Indigo Girls figure on this CD too: Emily Saliers and Amy Ray sing backup lines like "Keep it to yourself" on Grauer's angry diatribe against "Gossip." Grauer and Zick's enthusiastic music makes you want to simultaneously laugh and tap your feet--and what better way to usher in the next thousand years. Only complaint? I wish Mrs. Fun had included a lyric sheet so that listeners could catch more of the wry observations.

Kort is writing a biography of singer-songwriter Laura Nyro for St. Martin Press.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Kort, Michele
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Feb 15, 2000
Words:342
Previous Article:GAYE OL' TIME.
Next Article:Christopher cooks.
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