Medium Rotation — Dig Me In: A Dig Me Out Covers Album; CAZIMI

VARIOUS ARTISTS Dig Me In: A Dig Me Out Covers Album (self-released) — Starting with the surprise inclusion of 7-inch with two new tunes in the complete-discography box set Start Together as means of teasing their comeback, the second coming of Sleater-Kinney has been a series of shrewd moves. In the current music biz habitat, they understand the need to keep delivering and participating in interesting projects to stay in the mix. (The downside of this steady churn is the corresponding compulsion toward change cost them the services of the best drummer in rock ‘n’ roll when Janet Weiss exited the band following the completion of the 2019 album The Center Won’t Hold.) Their latest flare fired into the night is Dig Me In: A Dig Me Out Covers Album, which brings together an array of artists to rattle speakers with their own versions of the songs on the 1997 studio album that found Sleater-Kinney reaching a whole new tier of punk-fired authority. The compilation is typical of its ilk, slaloming between fairly faithful takes and spirited reinventions. There are a couple examples of the well-worn but still effective trick of taking a pounding hard rock song and rendering it as chirpily ethereal folk (Self Esteem’s pass at “Heart Factory,” Low slumping charmingly through “Dance Song ’97”), but most of the artists clearly reached the conclusion that the originals ain’t broke so there’s not much fixing to done. Even if nothing here will replace what Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Weiss swung like a wrecking ball in the first place, when an artist and song match-up is perfect — Courtney Barnett and “Words and Guitars” or the Linda Lindas and “Little Babies” — it’s like seeing someone collect a well-earned inheritance. In addition to those already mentioned, dig these tracks out: Wilco’s very Wilco-y “One More Hour,” Margo Price’s jamboree rave-up spin with “Turn It On,” Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires finding some X energy on “Not What You Want,” and Big Joanie’s grinding “Things You Say.”

CAITLIN ROSE CAZIMI (Missing Piece) — It was a long time between albums for Caitlin Rose. The Nashville native made a dandy contribution to the alt-country scene with the 2013 album The Stand-In and then largely faded from hearing. Even with the pesky extenuating circumstances (a global pandemic, supply chain issues that make it ridiculous difficulty for anyone not named Taylor or Adele to get physical copies of their music pressed), nearly a decade is quite a gap. On the evidence of CAZIMI, Rose’s new album and fourth overall, her creativity wasn’t stalled out during that time. Instinctive as it may be to declare that Rose kept pace with the ebbs and flows of other artists who dalliance with country and pop and indie — “Modern Dancing” would make a dandy segue in to or out of one of the tracks of melancholy disco twang found on Kacey Musgraves’s past couple albums, “Nobody’s Sweetheart” is kindred to Jenny Lewis when she breaks out the rhinestones — a more accurate conclusion is that Rose kept on keeping on and some of her contemporaries caught up with her along the way. Rose’s sensibility is sharp and melodic, scorched by emotional roundhouses in the lyrics. She’s testifying about modern malaise with an honesty that drenches the songs like a tart dessert topping. The albums comes with ache as assuredly as the vinyl version includes an inner sleeve. For further proof of the piquant poignancy, check out the cuts “Carried Away,” “Black Obsidian,” “All Right (Baby’s Got a Way),” and “Gemini Moon.”

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