Lazy music fans often lump Fiona Apple often with her breakthrough-era contemporaries, usually rat-in-a-cage alternarockers or Lilith Fair chanteuses. Truthfully, she's closer to Nina Simone in her delivery and arrangements, bridging jazz, rock and tin pan alley with a post-punk flair. She doesn't tour or release music often (her last full-length was in 2005,) but she's a master of quality control, proven by her recent club tour and "Every Single Night."
Watching her flail, scream and coo through an hour-long set at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last month, I was too entranced to tell if her new songs would hold up when committed to tape. "Every Single Night," the first listen from her upcoming album The Idler Wheel, bodes well for the album. You can hear her grit her teeth through her delivery, over a melody that could be a lullaby if not for Fiona's hardened performance. Her songs keep getting catchier and her lyrics less self-conscious, but she still expresses vulnerability with a kick in the gut. No wonder metalheads enjoy her music.