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Playing Around: Nina Gorden 

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Screw Charlie's Angels -- what we need is Jon Brion's Angels. The prolific producer and musician has laid down his heavy influence on such ass-kicking butterflies as Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, Macy Gray, and most recently, ex-Veruca Salt co-founder Nina Gordon.

While not the driving force of her new album, Brion and his angels -- especially Mann -- have had quite the influence on Gordon and her persona. After years of standing on the Riot Grrl side of the street watching the popular, non-controversial good girls walk by, Nina Gordon has become one of them. Once a female punk rocker, she has tapped into the disco pop vein currently coursing through Top 40, remodeling herself into a vocal mirror ball.

Her new sound glints off of Madonna's voice circa Ray of Light, off of the slightly zealous emotional lyricism of Tori Amos, off of the sentimentalism of Jewel. Not that this is bad thing -- the common thread running throughout the music of all of these aforementioned female artists is the high level of intelligence of their songs, something Gordon shares. Her lyrics are neither too angry nor too despondent, nor are they happy to the point of being goofy.

Nina Gordon is on tour in support of her first solo album, Tonight and the Rest of My Life. She plays the Music Hall on Sunday; tickets are $10. Call 447-9797.

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