I got a big kick out of this Neko Case/Kelly Hogan goof on Sci-Fi and Fanboys and such.
And because I was sitting at the kitchen table on a late afternoon, I decided to go to the basement and pull out some of my older Neko Case records, like "Furnace Room Lullaby."
It's been a while since I'd gone back to the Neko Case of the 90s. The think that struck me was that on top of loving the record as much as ever, I just couldn't get over how little-of-a-clue that record offered, as to what Neko Case would sound like in 2014.
I mean, the voice is still there. The mystery. The confidence. The sly humor amid the darkness.
I guess I'm mostly talking about the country references, which are pretty much gone without a trace now.
In the late 90s, Neko Case seemed like she was going to be an enigmatic Patsy Cline for the modern age, crafting timeless, country-tinged dark ruminations.
And while the music of 2014 still feels timeless and dark, there is a complete absence of twang.
The strangest part about it is that it happened slowly and quietly, subtly. I mean, there's still a bit of twang in Case's voice in current songs like "City Swans." Just not in the instrumentation.
I was trying to think of another artist who so quietly, easily slipped out of country, without calling attention to it---so much so that you kinda forgot that's where they came from.
Wilco came to mind at first. But I do recall an interview with Jeff Tweedy, pre-"Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," where he was contemplating a future "zero Country reference" record.
Maybe Joe Henry? He was alt-country before alt-country was alt-country. Now he makes records as timeless and dark and somewhat-uncategorizable as Case.
Anyway, just an observation. It's nice to still be surprised by an artist.
Hear the song on Youtube.