Fans of alternative country rock should drop by Schuba's in Chicago Friday night to catch alt-country veteran Mary Lou Lord, who is about to release a new album on Rubic Records. Labelmates Gingersol, a band that has had its songs used on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and in the movie Bounce will open. Gingersol sounds like a laidback, mellow version of Dinosaur Jr., and is touring to promote its new release, Eastern.

Confessions of a Teenage Drama QueenLindsay Lohan turned heads with her acting and musical performance in Freaky Friday, and now she's back with Disney's Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. This time around, she contributes four songs to the soundtrack, featuring the same upbeat bubblegum guitar sound as her song "Ultimate" from Friday.

The Confessions soundtrack doesn't offer nearly as much guilty pop pleasure as Freaky Friday did, though the Lohan-sung titletrack is instantly catchy, and the crunchy "A Day in the Life" holds its own. The producers should have avoided having Lohan do a medley that includes David Bowie's "Changes," however.

Other artists on the soundtrack include Simple Plan, Lillix and Superchic(k), who offers the fun stick-your-tongue-out anthem "Na Na." Cherie delivers "Ready," whose one memorable trait is a background sample of Foreigner's "Urgent." Atomic Kitten joins Kool & The Gang to reprise "Ladie's Night" and Diffuser closes the disc with a punky track from their recent album, "Only In The Movies."

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Nellie McKay Nellie McKay
Get Away From Me
(Columbia)
½


 

How Nellie McKay scored her record deal is a mystery, but I'm glad she did. A 19-year-old pianist and songwriter with an ascerbic wit and a predilection for classic piano bar jazz stylings, McKay's debut doesn't fit into any mold and it's a double-CD set to boot!

Most artists with track records don't get to release double CDs, but here unknown McKay comes along with a major label deal, a double CD and a batch of songs that will no doubt defy any attempts to punch them into the Top 40. Go figure.

Born in London and raised in Harlem, McKay apparently picked up an odd range of influences for a Y-generation-er. Get Away from Me opens with "David," a sassy little love song with a cosmopolitan feel ("just pour me a drink/right outta the can/I don't wanna think/I just want my man," she croons).

Then there's "Manhattan Avenue," an iceberg-cool jazz piano ballad that sounds lifted from a 1940s movie. But then comes "Sari," an infectious, strutting mix of walking bass and amusing rap: "I'm sorry for the mess/the stupid way I'm dressed I'm sorry for the time/the stupid way I rhyme" she sings, before exploring the philosophy of being "sorry."

If Get Away from Me sounds wildly varied, it is; yet somehow it all works, and those songs only lead into "Ding Dong," which could have come from a 1950s musical and "Baby Watch Your Back," a disco-rhythmed, whispery stalker theme. Then there's the jazzy "The Dog Song" ("I'm justa walking my dog/singing my song/strolling along").

And that's all just on disc 1. Disc 2 includes a song about clones, and a hysterical marital warning in "Won't U Please B Nice."

Get Away from Me is a fun collection unlike anything you're likely to have in your CD collection. If you're not afraid of a musical adventure, it's definitely worth a listen.

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