April 10, 2006 |
Neko Case is no dainty country princess. Can't imagine some Nashville-size songbird ceding the spotlight to a burly lap steel player while sneaking offstage for a break as Case did Saturday night at the Trocadero. Case's bathroom respite arrived midway through a set so captivatingly mellow, even the back-of-the-room stragglers kept the conversation to a minimum so as not to miss a reverb-soaked utterance. (Except for that couple exchanging heated words as "I Wish I Was the Moon Tonight" drifted over the room on a cloud of dark twang.
April 7, 2006 |
Some artists break the rules, others rewrite them. Some find their voices in acts of rebellion, some operate on the fringes because that's where they're from. Neko Case, a quiet maverick with an intrepid alto and no use for standard procedures, didn't select the outsider's life. Her fixation on detail is no more a matter of aesthetics than the scarcity of food on her childhood dinner plate was a matter of choice. That Case's memory of a loved one's death boils down to a fleeting image of the hem on her nightgown is telling: The beautiful, haunted songs on her country music albums are made of just such odd, earth-shaking snapshots, and they offer the same sort of strange comfort Case found years ago in the dark, in her room, with the radio on. "If you think about it it's crazy, that somebody you've never met who writes a song could save your life," said Case.
September 28, 2013 |
Neko Case's new album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You , is one of those works that benefited from the personal torment of its creator. Worse , which brought Case and her five-member ensemble, including assistant front woman Kelly Hogan, to the Electric Factory on Wednesday, is not a breakup album. It's a collection of original songs - plus a cover, of Velvet Underground singer Nico's "Afraid" - spurred by the death of Case's parents and grandmother.
October 23, 2000 |
Here's the problem with modern country music: It stinks. Sorry to say, there's no more elegant way to diagnose the problem. Long ago, the soul of the tradition that spawned the likes of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline was sold off to the highest bidder, diluted into suburban rock music wearing a cowboy hat, and used to sell beer and pickup trucks. Thankfully, there is a whole emerging movement peopled with young twangers who are looking to steal the torch back. Take for example Saturday night's exemplary bill of Neko Case and Kelly Hogan at the Upstage.
July 23, 2016 |
The XPoNential Festival , WXPN's younger, hipper cousin to the Philadelphia Folk Festival, returns to Camden for a weekend of top-notch tunes from up-and-comers as well as vets, such as Mavis Staples and the supertrio of Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs, whose new album, case/lang/veirs , was released last month. They'll play Sunday at the BB&T Pavilion during XPoNential. Although case/lang/veirs sounds like a comfortable reunion of old friends, full of casual beauty and joyful harmonies, it is the product of much uncertainty and conflict.
August 19, 2011
My Morning Jacket / Neko Case My Morning Jacket and Neko Case share a deep, abiding appreciation for the power of reverb. Case and MMJ's Jim James (or, as he now prefers, Yim Yames) possess two of the most flexible and dynamic voices in rock; their voices soar like Roy Orbison's, and they soar higher on the wings of the almighty reverb. Both MMJ and Case have developed from alt-country beginnings into something more mystical and wide-ranging, MMJ working elements of soul, reggae, and catchy pop into their guitar jams, Case favoring torch songs and fablelike narratives (she saves her power-pop proclivities for the New Pornographers)
April 7, 2006 |
On "That Teenage Feeling" from Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Neko Case sings about holding out for that unconditional, unquestioning devotion, that youthful feeling of being transported outside oneself by another person. In a voice that's more nuanced and seductive than when she sings with the indie rock group New Pornographers, Case gradually climbs to her upper register for some trills that thrill. The song is spacious, but bathed in reverb, like a classic girl-group ballad or a Platters record.
October 17, 2005 |
The New Pornographers create over-the-top pop built from zippy power pop guitars, buzzing retro keyboards, and layered AM-radio vocals. The compact songs usually contain three or four distinct sections, but they don't build: They detonate. At the packed Trocadero Friday, the Vancouver-based band fired off 18 blasts of high-spirited ecstasy, but only some of the band members seemed to enjoy the experience. The band split evenly between the dour (guitarist Todd Fancey, bassist John Collins, keyboardist Blaine Thurier)
August 22, 2003 |
On Electric Version (Matador), Vancouver's New Pornographers overload each ultra-catchy song with buzzing guitars, whirring keyboards, and soaring harmony vocals. It's almost too much of a good thing, but songs such as "The Laws Have Changed" and "Testament to Youth in Verse" offer an irresistible sugar rush of over-the-top pleasure. "They would probably be considered relatively tasteless if you didn't actually care about them," says Neko Case, one of the band's three lead vocalists, on the phone from Arizona.
October 14, 2015 |
Brandi Carlile was an atmospheric folk doyenne from Washington - on a Jesus kick, and inspired in equal part by Neko Case and Patsy Cline - when her 2007 album The Story hit. Its powerful title track wound up in commercials, and Carlile was a smash. She's released several albums since (most of them better than The Story ), including this year's The Firewatcher's Daughter . On Sunday, she packed The Fillmore Philadelphia 10 days after its opening. Sunday also welcomed the opening of The Foundry, Fillmore's club-within-a-club, with Philly-born Tonight Show drummer Questlove commencing his once-a-month DJ residency that lasts through 2015.