This month, our resident music critic Kevin O’Conner agreed to give his harried editor a break and handle the lion’s share of the reviews. His one requirement was that we give him a crack at the new Fiona Apple album. Happy to oblige, Kevin…

FIONA APPLE

The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

(CLEAN SLATE/EPIC)

 

The release of a Fiona Apple album is always an event. Her second album (When the Pawn…) directed a middle finger toward mainstream conventions with its 90-word title. On 2005’s Extraordinary Machine, debates raged regarding the source and quality of a leaked version of the record (not to mention the inexplicable hype surrounding the whole “Free Fiona” campaign).

The latest round of TNB Music Staff Picks. Dig it, baby…

 

PHILM
Harmonic
(IPECAC)

Stunningly complex atmospherics from an unlikely legend

When Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo recently talked to TNB Music about his three-piece side project Philm (with guitarist/vocalist Gerry Nestler and bassist Pancho Tomaselli), he gamely addressed the various sounds the band have incorporated into their forthcoming debut: “heavy,” “bluesy” and “diverse.” Having finally sat down with that record, Harmonic, we realize that words cannot begin to approach the spectacular brew of genius, madness, terror and ecstasy that fuel one of the more fascinating releases of 2012. Harmonic is a relentless 15-song campaign that storms through the fields of Coltrane, Santana, Gilmour and Hanneman, and while attempting to identify a singular sound is a fool’s errand, punk vocals, jazzy dissonance and of course, masterful drumming appear in ample doses.