Despite having a title that suggests an early Liz Phair-style sense of ironic detachment, Shitty Hits from Katie Von Schleicher, out today on Ba Da Bing Records, is a heartfelt record, and the closest thing to an Aimee Mann LP we're likely to get this side of Ms. Mann herself. Tuneful and lushly disconsolate in equal measure, the album is something to be savored and embraced.
On something like "Midsummer" Von Schleicher delivers a Peggy Lee-like slow-burn number, while the building "Paranoia" suggests early Fiona Apple if Jon Brion had had an even bigger role in the composition of the cuts. If "Soon" earns some lazy comparisons to Lana Del Rey that's understandable, as is the near-shoegaze-like sense of abandon that pervades "Nothing", beautiful despair atop a lush arrangement. Elsewhere, the brighter "Life's A Lie" suggests the material of Springtime Carnivore, while the sparse "Isolator" nods in the direction of both Victoria Williams and Laura Nyro, despite an ornate arrangement that suggests near-glam rock aspirations in Katie Von Schleicher and the other players here. Shitty Hits succeeds despite a certain sameness among the down-tempo tracks, even as the few upbeat ones display more interesting bits of instrumentation. That's a minor criticism, really, as so much of this is affecting that it seems churlish to fault parts of it.
[Photo: Bao Ngo]