Neko Case

The Dodos are set to release their new album No Color on March 15th and will celebrate in Austin at SxSW 2011 with several day parties and showcases. Neko Case, who sings on half of the album’s songs, recently picked her favorite track to release as a free download. This is it.

The Dodos – Don’t Stop

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I was first introduced to the music of Neko Case around the time of the release of Fox Confessor Brings the Flood in 2006.‚  The first adjective that sprung to mind was haunting.‚  How else can one describe such darkly melodic tracks such as “Margaret Vs Pauline” and “Star Witness” (which starts out with Case crooning, “My true love drowned in a dirty old pan of oil”)?‚  The album had a kind of Roy Orbison as storyteller feel that extended well past the alt-country label that had been pinned on her, at times revealing traces of folk-punk and indie pop.‚  And her vocal range was stunning. Enlightened listeners agreed and the album peaked at #4 on the U.S. indie charts.

Neko just released her first studio album in nearly three years under the title Middle Cyclone and the recipe that made Fox Confessor such a success has thankfully not been altered. Collaborators on this record included M. Ward, members of the New Pornographers (Neko’s part-time side project), and Calexico¦a nice mix for sure.‚  Furthermore, all the same musicians that have backed her since Blacklisted reappear including the enchanting backing vocals of Kelly Hogan.‚  One added benefit is the interesting choice of cover art previously discussed on this site.

The album consists of 15 tracks, assuming that you consider “Marais la nuit” a track, which is actually 31 minutes of crickets recorded on her farm.‚  The first three tracks are wonderfully vintage Neko Case and easily could have been included on Fox Confessor.‚  On “This Tornado Loves You”, Case narrates an up-tempo number from the perspective of a tornado that crosses three counties leaving destruction in its wake.‚  Is she personifying a deathly storm or is it meant to be allegorical?‚ ‚  We don’t know for sure, but you have to appreciate lyrics like:

My love, I am the speed of sound, I left the motherless fatherless,
Their souls dangling from the insides of their mouths.

On the second track, “The Next Time You Say Forever,” she shifts gears slightly and introduces a nice backdrop of strings and mid-temp guitar strums behind lines like, “I’ve lost my taste for home and that’s a dirty fallow feeling.”‚  Finally on the third track, and quite possibly the best on the album, she introduces her most memorable lyrical hook with “I’m a man, man, man-eater¦”‚  Each song is a story, whether its animals gone berserk, high school hallways or twisters, they’re all unique and interesting.‚  And all told from the perspective of a ruby-voiced narrator.

This is one of the great indie musicians around today and, given her past catalogue, fans and admirers of her music have every reason to expect the most from a new album with a 3-year gestation period.‚  But take my word, she doesn’t disappoint.

Neko Case – People Got A Lotta Nerve

Neko Case – People Got A Lotta Nerve

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I’ve been looking for another reason to post the cover art for Neko Case’s upcoming release Middle Cyclone, due out on March 3rd. Now I have it.

Every time a blogger posts the new song, “People Got A Lotta Nerve” as a free download, Neko and Anti Records will donate $5 to Best Friends Animal Society, an animal rescue organization. I dig viral marketing and I like animals. If you own a blog, spread the word and save a puppy. If you are an iLike user, just add the track to your profile and you’ll feel the same sense of gratification.

Click here to download the mp3 from Anti.

Sample here:

Neko Case – People Got A Lotta Nerve

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New Years 2009

The artwork above was found at Colorcubic, an ultra-hip design firm that handles multimedia, print, branding, etc. This poster will be made available in their online store.

We may say good riddance to 2008 as a nation, but as we posted our top 50 albums of 2008, it was easy to reflect on an amazing year in music. I have a feeling 2009 will be even better. Here are the albums we’re looking forward to in the new year.

1. The Deep Dark Woods – Winter Hours (February 2009)

The first single, “All The Money I Had Is Gone,” is now streaming on their MySpace page. If the album is as good as that track, we’re in for a special treat. Their last album, Hang Me Oh Hang Me, is one of my most listened to of the past two years.

From Hang Me Oh Hang Me:

The Deep Dark Woods – Hang Me Oh Hang Me

2. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

The best whistler on the planet. Hands down.

Video: Andrew Bird – Oh No (from upcoming album Noble Beast)

2. Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid (February 10th, 2009)

Ever wonder what The Black Keys might sound like acoustic? Dan Auerbach’s leadoff track on his upcoming album appears to be adding a bit more country and acoustic tastes on his upcoming solo album, along with the signature blues sounds. Look for Hacienda backing him on his upcoming tour.‚  Stream some tracks at Nonesuch Records.

3. M. Ward – Hold Time (February 2009)

This guy can do no wrong. Hold Time features guest performances by Lucinda Williams, Jason Lytle (ex-Grandaddy) and the ‘she’ of She and Him, Zooey Deschanel.

4. Alela Diane – To Be Still (February 17th)

I really loved her debut, The Pirate’s Gospel.‚  She has a soulful voice and a knack for songwriting. Here’s the first track from the upcoming album.

Alela Diane – White As Diamonds

5. Justin Townes Earle – Midnight At The Movies (March 2009)

Early reports from inside Bloodshot Records indicate that Justin Towne’s Earle’s upcoming release is better than his debut. Check out our live session for some songs from his previous album, The Good Life.

6. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (March 3)

I’m most excited about her cover art.

Video: Neko Case – Making of Middle Cyclone

7. The Decemberists – Hazards of Love (March 24th)

They get better with every album. See no reason why that trend shouldn’t continue.

8. Ox – Burn Out (Spring 2009)

The title track was released recently and it’s another alt-country peach of a tune.

Ox – Burn Out

9. The Thermals – Now We Can See (April 2009)

Found a new label (Kill Rock Stars) but still looking for a new drummer. Get ready for the follow up to The Body, The Blood, The Machine.

From The Body, The Blood, The Machine:

The Thermals – Pillar of Salt

The Thermals – Here’s Your Future

10. Lucero -TBD Title (Summer 2009)

The Tennessee lads signed to Universal Records and will be releasing their sixth studio LP in the summer. Until then, listen to Ben Nichols solo album, Last Pale Light In The West, inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s book Blood Meridian.

Ben Nichols – Toadvine

11. The Everybodyfields – TBD Title and Release Date

We were late to the game but now that we’ve found them, we’re obsessed. They are unreal. We were lucky to get an early taste of two of their new tracks during our live session with The Everybodyfields.

Exclusive: The Everybodyfields – Gun

Exclusive: The Everybodyfields – Mardi Gras

Exclusive: The Everybodyfields – City Noise

12. The Avett Brothers- TBD Title and Release Date

The boys left Ramseur Records for Rick Rubin’s label, American Imprint (under Columbia Records’ umbrella), and are recording a new full length album with Rubin at the controls.

13. Tulsa – TBD Title and Release Date

I Was Submerged has been a favorite for two years, but it just teases us. It’s time for a full length. The band is currently recording in Chicago as we speak.

From I Was Submerged:

Tulsa – #2

14. Ha Ha Tonka -TBD Title and Release Date

Bloodshot Records newbies killed their sets at SXSW 2008 and put out one of the best albums of 2007. We’ve got high hopes for their sophomore effort.‚  Check out our live session to hear some older tracks.

15. Wilco -TBD Title (Spring 2009)

Wilco – One Wing (Live at Lollapalooza via Stereogum)

Video: Wilco – One Wing (also Live at Lolla)

Other notable releases are also coming out from U2, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, The Gourds, Built To Spill, The New Pornographers, Handsome Furs, and The National (maybe).

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Do they give Grammys for cover art? If so, Neko Case will win in 2009.

December 4, 2008

I liked Neko before, but now I’m in love. She’s in a three-point stance on the hood of a car with a sword for chrissakes. Unbelievable. Middle Cyclone comes out on March 3, 2009 on ANTI Records. Here’s four older songs. “Hold On Hold On” is a personal favorite of mine. Neko Case – If […]

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