Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Train of Thought Lounge: Neko Case

Right alongside Johnny Cash, Neko Case is the answer to people who think they like everything but country. With just about the best voice outside of opera, long red hair and an often hard, deeply personal, occasionally nonsensical songwriting style, it's almost impossible not to fall a little in love with her. Here's how she describes her life in the introduction to her new website:

It’s late and I have exactly 100 miles in the dark to write this. I am headed Westward on Arizona Highway 60, one of the most treacherous stretches of road in the land; scary hairpin turns and bottomless canyons, smashed, exploded fragments of autos from all eras littering the cliff sides round nearly every corner. It’s like a James Bond movie, which is funny, because so is my life, observe...

I was born on an Air Force base in Virginia to some teenage children. After a short classified assignment for the president, my family returned home to Washington State. From about age four to age fifteen, I was raised by dogs and cats. I occasionally intersected with my parents by accident. “Oh it’s you?! I have to make you a lunch, don’t I?” As I grew into a young adult I was very confused and lacked direction. My parents very much wanted me to become a crack-whore, but I gravely disappointed them by graduating from college. Though they did not notice until years after the event, they still take my failings personally.

And now, here I am, humbled before you dear readers, begging your attention from such things as reality television and Wendy’s bacon cheeseburgers so that you might notice my rock band. Yes, my rock band. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I, Neko Case, could be part of something so grand. I have become equal parts truck driver, gladiator, and mule. It has been no bed of roses, and clean gas station toilets are few and far between, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And in America no less! It just goes to show that if you keep plowing away, extraordinary things can happen. Why just today in this beautiful part of the country I’ve seen two wolves, an elk, four javelinas, a fox, a coyote, and a great horned owl. Wow! Wealth indeed! By far the wildest thing I’ve seen today however was a KFC day-manager named “Shelly” wearing a floor length leather trench coat sporting a very serious tattoo of a vampire bite/neck puncture wound. She had her KFC baseball cap on too. I wonder what kind of fantasy mate Shelly is trying to attract? To me, the tattoo says “I’m lookin’ to date make-believe Draculas.” That’s the kind of pioneering spirit I’m talking about. Just out there waving in the wind. Rock is my make-believe Dracula. I just don’t have a tattoo of it on my neck, I have a website.

Last week, Neko released a new album called Middle Cyclone. There isn't too much online yet, but here's a strong version of the single. It's called "People Got a Lotta Nerve:"

To give you a bit more flavor, here's "Hold On" from her previous completely unbelievable album, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. In one interview, she described the album as "about losing your faith in every possible way. Which is, seems to me, the most American feeling there is these days."

Well, whatever it's about, it's hauntingly beautiful. Enjoy:

Bonus: Neko also serves as the female lead for the New Pornographers, an explosively poppy Vancouver-based group. Sadly, I couldn't find a good version of "Mass Romantic" on YouTube, which is a definite contender for my favorite song of all time. But it is on their MySpace page, if you want to check it out. In the meantime, here's the video for "Letter from an Occupant:"

1 comment:

  1. man, that last one gets in your head. It's not right.