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Erin Frank

Fiona Apple
"The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw & Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do"
Epic

Seven years after releasing her last album, Fiona Apple has returned with a familiarly dark, introspective album full of heady rhythm and scraps of autobiographical allegory.

Humidity. Beer. Hose water splashing over the edge of a galvanized steel swimming pool. Mosquitos. More beer. Cooler doors slamming shut, the oily odor of burning citronella, and as it gets dark, blocks away, the faint wail of police sirens. Beer.

If you came to this review wondering if the Shins could put on a bad show, then I'm sorry to disappoint you because I don't think that's possible.

Best Coast
"The Only Place"
Mexican Summer

On Best Coast's second album "The Only Place," singer-songwriter Bethany Cosentino's ultra-polished voice gives the power to L.A.-based power pop duo Best Coast, and, stripped of the fuzzy lo-fi quality of their last album, sometimes sounds a little too perfect for a band with a retro California/slacker reputation.

Silversun Pickups
"Neck of the Woods"
Dangerbird

As a Silversun Pickups record, "Neck of the Woods" sounds exactly like you'd expect it to: cascading guitars, distorted shimmer and Nikki Monninger's breathily-insistent vocals cosseted in waves of reverb that wash through the speakers.

Alina Simone
"You Must Go and Win"
Faber & Faber

By her own admission in the essay collection "You Must Go and Win," Alina Simone has a very small fan base, and that fan base is comprised mostly of depressed Jews. Not a terrible fan base to have in my opinion, as it could potentially include Larry David, Woody Allen or pre-dental veneers Ben Stiller.

In her book "Bossypants" Tiny Fey describes "30 Rock" co-star Alec Baldwin's "Irish Negotiating Technique" as Baldwin saying "they offered me more money and I told them to go f**k themselves." Baldwin might have too much money to care by this point, but his technique is not terribly different from that of Calvin Johnson, frontman of the Hive Dwellers.

While some exceptions could be made for background, I'm willing to bet that for a lot of people, being a fan of Tom Waits from a young age was a lonely feeling.

Mike Doughty
"The Book of Drugs"
Da Capo Press

Like any self-respecting musician's autobiography, Mike Doughty's "The Book of Drugs" does not deprive the reader of sex, the titular drugs, or rock 'n' roll.

Craig Finn
"Clear Heart Full Eyes"
Vagrant

Craig Finn left Brooklyn to record "Clear Heart Full Eyes" in Austin during a four-month break for the Hold Steady. While he arrived in Texas with songs in hand, the actual recording process -- including meeting up with producer Mike McCarthy and introductions to musicians Josh Block, Jesse Ebaugh, Ricky Ray Jackson and Billy White -- took only three weeks.

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Karate Bikini - A Simpler Sugar

Wed November 26
Karate Bikini is an eight piece ensemble who's members hail from St. Louis and the metro area. They are a large band with a large sound. Their latest album A Simpler Sugar is full of upbeat pop songs,…