Various Artists

Single Wish

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Saddled with the rather unwieldy subtitle "A Benefit Various Artists Compilation Presented By: Caffeinated Robots," Single Wish is doubly worthwhile because it is a top-notch compilation on its own merit and because it happens to support a good cause. The inaugural release from Sprite Recordings -- a label set up to raise awareness and funds for the non-profit mail-order organization Caffeinated Robots (whose sole purpose is to support and highlight the work of local and regional Ohio artists) -- proceeds from the sale of the CD go to the Martha Millard Robinson Scholarship Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping underprivileged children to appreciate and take part in the arts. The label solicited work, irregardless of theme or style, from its favorite artists, who all came through with something significantly more than throwaway tunes. Some of the recordings certainly qualify as lo-fi: Tobin Sprout, who beautifully reworked his Guided by Voices classic "Atom Eyes" as an echoey piano ballad; a baleful acoustic strummer from Robert Pollard's basement file; the folk picking of Mark Kozelek's instrumental "78 Seconds in August"; the one-man blue-eyed soul seduction of David Garza's "Hearts Beat Black"; and Ron Sexsmith, who contributed a gorgeous live performance of "Wastin' Time" off his first record. But there are no toss-offs among them. And the lesser-knowns avail themselves marvelously, especially Nick Kizirnis with the new wave pulse of "Stood Looking Both Ways," a dead ringer for the Cars; the soaring "Who Are You" from the Candy Butchers; Kingsbury Manx's dreamy lullaby "Summer Teases"; and an oddball, see-sawing fairy tale from the Impossible Shapes ("Dancing in Heaven"). Every song here satisfies.

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