It can be easy to take local musicians for granted when they’re performing regularly around town. Sometimes it takes them moving on to make you realize what was really lost. It’s been several years since jazz singer Roxi Copland left Des Moines for Milwaukee, but her latest album, “Bad Decision,” serves as a reminder of what her departure cost the city’s music scene.
Copland’s smoky voice floats over the album’s 11 tracks, displaying a strong handle of every note. Sometimes they’re torchy, like “Poison Ivy,” sometimes playful, like “If Heaven Don’t Play No Music” and “What Were You Thinkin’,” and sometimes they are dark like “Thirteen Corners.” It’s an impressive assortment of songs that play to Copland’s vocal and instrumental strengths.
Copland is playing several shows this month at venues around Iowa. Stop out to see her and make sure you pick up a copy of “Bad Decision” to make her musical absence a little more bearable.
There are two kinds of musical albums an animated TV show can produce. The first is like “The Simpsons Sing the Blues” and “Family Guy: Live in Vegas,” attempts to translate the feel of the show into an auditory experience. The second is an assortment of songs culled from the show, like “Songs in the Key of Springfield.” The former is almost always a disappointment. Thankfully “The Bob’s Burgers Music Album” is the latter.
The cast aren’t great singers (with rare exceptions, like Kevin Kline and Megan Mullally), but the fact that they throw themselves into the musical material so whole-heartedly is what sells it. H. Jon Benjamin and Kristen Schaal have distinctive voices (to put it kindly), but they commit so completely to a ridiculous (but well-composed) song like “Bad Stuff Happens in the Bathroom” that it’s immensely listenable.
As an added bonus, the album ropes in actual singers for some of the songs, like Cyndi Lauper on “Taffy Butt,” a take on “Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough,” as well as “Bob’s Buskers” versions of songs from the show by St. Vincent, Stephen Merritt and multiple songs by The National. The end result is 112 earworms that are worth multiple listens. ♦