With a penchant for varying her production style at each stage of her career, Fiona Apple once again sets out for new sonic terrain on her fourth album, The Idler Wheel. A partial return to the acoustic-based instrumentation of her 1996 debut, Tidal, Apple’s new material nonetheless rarely revisits that album’s courtly brand of jazz pop. Instead, The Idler Wheel veers much closer to what Apple might sound like if she landed somewhere between modern experimental theater, the unabashed pomp of Broadway, and the bustle of a frontier saloon or Prohibition-era speakeasy.
Jazz bassist Melvin Gibbs is an extremely diverse musician, and this musical diversification is exemplified by his new project, Melvin Gibbs’ Elevated Entity.
Hailed by some as the “best bassist in the world,” Gibbs expands his palette further on his forthcoming record, Ancients Speak, including tastes of Brazilian hip hop and African Yoruba culture.
Drone, Drugs, and Harmony, the self-released debut by Kanas City, Missouri’s I Love You is unlikely to inspire the (unwarranted) hand-wringing, post-colonial guilt in which critics indulged over Vampire Weekend this last year, but both groups are equally indebted to past masters of African pop.