Casiotone for the Painfully Alone is the lo-fi solo project of Owen Ashworth, a Portland-based songwriter who mixes sensitive Bright Eyes-styled balladry with Atom & His Package battery-operated antics. His weapons of choice are the Casio SK-1 and several hot rod Casiotones, while his lyrics are a coy-edged blend of Stephin Merritt's sarcasm and the Mountain Goats' earnestness. Ashworth released his first recording, 1999's Answering Machine Music: A Brief Album in Twelve Parts -- loosely a concept album of clever musical voicemails -- on his own label, Cassingle USA. Some of the tracks, including "Theme from David Hanna," were first recorded into his machine. Pocket Symphonies for Lonesome Subway Cars followed in 2001 on the Tomlab label and featured several "real" instruments, including cello and drums. Twinkle Echo arrived in 2003, and 2006's Etiquette expanded Ashworth's sound even further by adding more analog instruments. While remixing songs for the likes of Dudley Benson and Headlights, Ashworth found time to continue his work with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, whose fifth album (the diverse Vs. Children) arrived in early 2009. ~ Daphne GA Carr, Rovi