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Shearwater Message Board - View topic - Neko Case



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 Neko Case 
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Joined: 09 Nov 2008 13:14
Posts: 157
Location: San Diego, CA
I've not heard anything from her, but I've read a lot of articles about her lately (Spin, NYtimes, Rolling Stone)

The talk of the 6 broken pianos in her barn is very intriguing...

and I'm getting very interested. I thought I'd see what you all have to say about her because I see that she's doing a show or two with SW

any comments?


23 Mar 2009 12:44
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Joined: 05 Oct 2008 13:53
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Location: Decatur GA
Here's a link to her NPR music archive

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... d=14950679

I definitely think of her solo work as country - her voice has a bit of a twang, and I prefer a more bluesy sound. And I seem to recall that you don't like country :) Everyone I know loves Neko, but I haven't really jumped on the bandwagon. She also sings with the New Pornographers, and I like her better there. But you should definitely give her a listen.


24 Mar 2009 08:19
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mmmmk

thats what I was kind of figuring (about her being sort of country) and you're right, I'm not a big fan of country. :P
But I'll check that out, thanks for the link too!


24 Mar 2009 10:41
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wow, I'm not sure what to think, I still want to hear something from Middle Cyclone,
and the one song I heard from her last album was pretty good. Her voice might have just a little too much twang for my taste, like you said, but it's also got this rich sound to it that is really nice...
I'd prefer some piano to the guitar, thats why i'm intrigued by what i've heard of the new album.
also, I got a little taste of the New Pornographers from that link. I heard a few songs from Challangers, and I liked it a lot!

I have Mass Romantic, which I do not like very much lol. But I'll give them another chance.

thanks again! :)


24 Mar 2009 11:04
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While I really like her country-esque stuff (Blacklisted is a favorite), her new album just blows everything else out of the water. The melodies on it are absolutely fantastic. I'm glad she debuted at #3 on the charts!

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24 Mar 2009 21:14
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Ok, I'm listening to Middle Cyclone right now, I think I like it. It's pretty amazing, but then every once and a while there's a twinge of country that spills over that tells me I shouldn't be here...
But everytime, I keep listening lol.
Ya I like most of the songs a lot!
Thanks guys!


31 Mar 2009 10:56
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H'aint nothing wrong with a little country now and again.

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03 Apr 2009 18:50
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As long as its good country ;)

(which excludes almost everything that is contemporary country that gets radio play IMO)


03 Apr 2009 21:30
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Agree with both of you. One of my favorite country/Americana bands is the Emma Gibbs Band, although I think the lead singer Will Straughan has gone solo. Their CD is required listening anytime I head up to the North Georgia Mountains. You can listen to Will's solo stuff here:

http://www.myspace.com/willstraughan

I especially like Never Been to Heaven. This makes quite a few Wills in my musical orbit (along with Sheff and Oldham and you might as well through Willie Nelson in there for good measure).


03 Apr 2009 21:46
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04 Apr 2009 01:43
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04 Apr 2009 08:52
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And I didn't mean to indict anyone in particular, I just sometimes reach breaking point. At least one of the other commonly-used, irritating statements didn't happen here: I don't like country music except for Johnny Cash. And another one is to refer to any good country as alt-country, even when there is nothing "alt" about it, it just happens to not fit in with a person's idea that they don't like country.

I think much of people's problem with country music is prejudice. I happen to be a northerner, and by far my favorite American accent is a southern one (I'm not schooled enough to necessarily state which part of the south; people definitely sound different in Texas vs. Mississippi vs. Kentucky). I also happen to know plenty of intelligent and left-leaning people from the south so I don't carry that prejudice with me. My mom was a country music fan so I grew up listening to the biggies: Cash, Cline, Jones, Lynn, Parton, etc. which were the ones played on the radio at the time just as The Beatles, Stones, and Dylan were on top 40 radio back then. As an adult, like I did with rock music, I've explored the smaller, independent artists. There is still some real country music being made.

Chicago only has one country station so I wouldn't know about whether more specialized stations exist. It is odd that you're probably right and I find it hard to believe there isn't an oldies country radio station. And while community and college radio stations focus a lot on independent rock and pop music, independent country tends to get a single, weekly, hour-long show, if at all.

And all of that isn't to say there aren't some people who "legitimately" don’t like some of the unifying characteristics of what makes country music. People who cringe at the sound of a pedal steel or the least bit of nasal voice the way I have yet to hear even one song I can stand in the genres of ambient or techno. But there's a difference in the way people tend to stand together against country (and hip-hop, but that's not the subject here) -- one person makes a comment and then it snowballs with a bunch of people jumping on the bandwagon. I've seen it on every non-alt-country music list or forum I've been on over the years.

Tying it back to the original subject, I actually prefer Neko's Blacklisted and Furnace Room Lullaby by far to her most recent two. As great as I think those 2nd and 3rd albums are, it's a shame I still haven't gotten around to picking up her first, The Virginian.

And on a related note, I am a HUGE fan of her harmony vocalist Kelly Hogan, who is sadly one of the most underrated performers out there and sings an assortment of genres, including her great alt-country album Beneath the Country Underdog. A native Atlantan, she is also possibly the most colorful speaker I've ever heard. The southerners are America's Irish in that regard.

Despite being underwhelmed with her new album thus far (I seem to stand alone in that regard, but I've only listened a couple times so hopefully it will grow on me), I'm really looking forward to Neko's show here in a few weeks. She may be the artist I've seen grow the biggest, as I used to see her play The Hideout (cap. <200) while she was still a bartender there and now she's playing The Chicago Theater (cap. 3,600).

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04 Apr 2009 11:01
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Ya, heather I didn't mean to target country as the only genre that has bad music. And don't get me wrong, there are some older country artists that are great. But I too don't care for the "twang" of a southern accent in a song. I don't think I carry any prejudice towards southern accents in general though.

I agree that rock has its share of terrible popular artists. Nickleback makes me want to hurl. And I'm sure there are plenty of others (but I wouldn't know because I've stopped listening to the radio as well). I don't like any pop music, and while I used to like some rap, I can't ever find myself in the mood for it anymore (I also don't care for most of the rappers attitudes or personas).

Also, I sort of know what you're saying about it being cool to bag on country. I've seen that happen a few times.

I also don't know exactly what should be considered country. I've always grown up thinking the Eagles - which I love - come extremely close to being country. I consider Cash, Cline, etc to be oldies country. (Anyone know Tom T. Hall? I grew up with a best-of LP of his and I love it!) I consider Keith Urban and company to be modern country, and I can't stand it.

Then there are the indie bands which I love, and don't know how to categorize. The Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes, Frontier Ruckus (Neko too!) etc. I suppose most of them are close to rock, or folk at times, but think they're a sort of country IMO


04 Apr 2009 20:16
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I agree with Cruzichick's statement about radio. Where I live in Upstate New York (about 45 minutes from woodstock) there is one top 40 pop station, one modern rock station, one 'classic rock' station (but it also plays modern music, but good stuff), and about 3 country stations that all play the same mainstream garbage. In my area, in unless you're part of a very specialized group of people, you get tired of all the super-conservative (and bordering on racist) stuff that comes out of these stations every day, from the day you're born on up. And, because of that, locally, a whole scene has basically grown up to hate country music. I myself, for awhile, shared the feelings, as I really, honestly, despise alot of modern country radio music.
But as time went on, I discovered stuff I really liked in country music: they had great lyrics, great melodies, and the twang actually worked. It wasn't overproduced pop-music with twang; it was country! However, it's hard to get this across to other people. I know I had an argument with a friend recently about which genre was worse: Christian Rock or Country. She said country, I said Christian Rock, because you can actually find good country music, whereas, excluding about 2 bands, you'll never find any good christian rock (and not rock made by christians, rock made to praise a christian god). She said she couldn't name any good country, but when you bring up stuff like Neko, Drive-By Truckers, Calexico, Magnolia Electric Co., etc, most of the people who claim to have heard too much country have no idea who you're talking about.

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06 Apr 2009 10:28
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could someone explain "twang" to me? is it just the nasal voice or the southern accent or what?

anyways, there sure are some great country(-influenced) bands/artists, e.g. lambchop, herman düne, iron & wine, songs: ohia, calexico, devotchka, cat power, cowboy junkies, red house painters, vic chesnutt and so on. but i'm not too sure about the limits to that genre, since i surely didn't grow up with it.

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06 Apr 2009 19:02
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