What a weekend. I spent a lot of it with a shovel in my hands—determined to remake our bad-mojo-infested house back into a cozy home, we ran a 48-hour Living Space Renewal Marathon. Most of Saturday was Backyard Prep—digging, turning, weeding, and feeding the dirt. Then we went back yesterday and planted: New strawberry plants, to replace the raggedy old ones; tomatoes; a cherry tree; a grapevine. Then I attacked the grass with our brand new electric mower, the Lawn Hog (really, that’s what it says on the box).

There was a bunch of stuff to do inside, too, from scouring and re-sealing the kitchen floor, to steam-cleaning the guest bathroom, to—well, I won’t bore you further with the details. Suffice it to say that it was with great pride and back pain that I went to bed last night. We were a little worried about the new plants after last night’s high winds, but everything still looks happy out there.

I also gave Danny his 90-day notice on the room. I realize this wasn’t the smartest thing to do, since it frees him up to look for other arrangements before we want/need him out of here on July 1, but it seemed like the right thing. He said he was going to start looking, and I saw him come home with a newspaper the other day, but we’ve got his basic lack of motivation and/or bad credit on our side. Whatever happens, happens. We’re in the home stretch now. Fewer than three months ’til Bethany and Ethan arrive on our front steps. We’ll have a family living here, rather than a random assortment of people. The difference is profound.

This morning, I wrote about applesauce; this afternoon, it’s about Apple. Fiona Apple, specifically. She’s an artist I’ve never been a huge fan of—in fact, I loathed Tidal with every corpuscle of my being—but When The Pawn: had its cool moments, I sort of dig Jon Brion, and I’ve been keeping a curious eye on this long-in-gestation third album.

The Reader’s Digest version of the story is that Sony decided to shelve it, some fans got pissed and started a website, and now the album (titled Extraordinary Machine) has been leaked to the Internets. I don’t normally piggyback onto stories covered by sites like stereogum, because they’re into hipster indie artists I hate (see: Eyes, Bright), but in this case, there’s some overlap, and a chance for me to do a public service of sorts.

The point: I haven’t listened to the whole thing, and you can certainly find it other places, but there are never too many hosts for unreleased albums, so if you’re interested:

Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine (full album)

By the by, if you’re finding it a pain in the ass to download large numbers of files from me (like when I do those long career retrospectives for artists), getcherself a download manager. It makes life easier in all sorts of ways if you’re the downloading type. I myself use ReGet.

Anyway, I’m not sure how long I’ll keep Fiona up—depends on how quickly the fanboy army descends upon my bandwidth. Get it while the getting’s good.

Speaking of good—as in oh my God, this is so bad it’s good—Mr. Paul Anka has a new album out. It’s called Rock Swings, and it must be heard to be believed. If you aren’t at all familiar with Paul Anka, just think of the stiffest, least hip ballroom schmaltz you can possibly imagine, square it, and you’ve got yourself some Anka. On the new one, P. Ankie decides to mimic Pat Boone’s desperate mid-’90s bid for relevancy, by releasing an album of rockish, relatively recent Top 40 covers.

To wit:

Paul Anka – It’s A Sin
Paul Anka – Eye of the Tiger

About the Author

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles is the founder and editor-in-chief of Popdose and Dadnabbit, as well as an entertainment writer whose work can be seen at Rotten Tomatoes and a number of other sites. Hey, why not follow him at Twitter while you're at it?

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