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Hype Fiona, stroke Slater

EVERY LITTLE THING CONSIDERED: Seems like you can’t open a magazine or music site without seeing Fiona Apple’s severely beautiful mug, as a torrent of press coverage has led up to and surrounded Tuesday’s release of her concisely titled fourth album, The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do (note the randomly irregular capitalization). The media build-up began in March at SXSW, when Apple came out of her self-imposed exile and introduced some of her new material, which immediately found its way onto YouTube in static, shaky-camera clips shot by her adoring fans. The marketing effort, orchestrated by longtime manager Andy Slater in partnership with the new Epic brain trust, eschewed conventional major label promo, relying instead on the viral spread of awareness generated by Apple’s passionate fan base. Her lone TV appearance was on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, where she did two songs with The Roots. Press was limited to 10 hand-picked interviews, ranging from Pitchfork to  NPR’s All Things Considered to a terrific N.Y. Times profile by Jon Pareles. The team got a bonus when the cover of Spin’s iPad edition was included in a new TV spot. Among the mags with features in their current issues are W, Elle, New York, V, Interview, BlackBook and Billboard, while an L.A. Times Sunday Calendar cover hits this weekend. This carefully calibrated effort has contributed to what’s shaping up as a robust 65-70k debut for the uncompromising artist. (6/21a)

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