Fiona Apple, Blake Mills | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Fiona Apple, Blake Mills Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Recommended Sold Out (Music)

When: Sun., March 18, 8 p.m. and Mon., March 19, 8 p.m. 2012

It was clear from the moment that "Criminal" made Fiona Apple a pop star, all the way back in 1998, that she wasn't typical of the breed. First there was the sustained eye contact she made with everyone watching the almost-kiddie-porn video that accompanied it, which skewed the usual performer-audience relationship in an unsettling, un-MTV-like way; then there was her steadfast refusal to soften her frequent prickliness or cover up the even more frequent bouts of raw emotionality that set her apart from her glossier contemporaries. In the years since, she's avoided the spotlight with a canniness that borders on the legendary, reemerging every once in a while to fight with her label over a Jon Brion-produced album that it doesn't want to release. Her most recent record was Extraordinary Machine, which came out in 2005 after Brion's contributions were almost entirely replaced by substantially less-engaging hack work. (The superior original version isn't hard for crafty folks to find online.) The latest, which Apple claims to have finished, is titled The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (at least it's shorter than the one with the pawn), and it's tentatively scheduled for release in late June. —Miles Raymer

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