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Neko Case performing at the Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles, 2007
September 8, 1970 |
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
|Origin||Tacoma, Washington, United States|
|Genres||Indie rock, alternative country, folk-rock, americana|
|Instruments||Vocals, percussion, piano, guitar|
|Labels||Mint, Bloodshot, Lady Pilot, Matador, Anti-|
|Associated acts||Neko Case and Her Boyfriends, The New Pornographers, The Corn Sisters, The Sadies, Cub, Maow, The Dodos|
|Gibson TG-O tenor guitar|
Neko Richelle Case (pron.: / /; born September 8, 1970) is an American singer-songwriter, best known for her solo career and her contributions as a member of the Canadian indie rock group The New Pornographers.
Case recorded and toured for several years as Neko Case & Her Boyfriends before performing solely under her name. She primarily performs her own material, but also performs and has recorded cover versions of songs by artists such as Harry Nilsson, Loretta Lynn, Tom Waits, Nick Lowe, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Scott Walker, Randy Newman, Queen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Sparks and Hank Williams.
Early life 
Case was born in Alexandria, Virginia, to teenage parents of Ukrainian ancestry. The original family name, changed before she was born, was Shevchenko. Her family traveled around while she was young before settling in Tacoma, Washington, the city she considers her hometown. She left home when she was fifteen. Her father was in the United States Air Force.
In 1994, Case moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, to attend the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. While attending school she played drums in several local bands, including the Del Logs, the Propanes, the Weasels, Cub (which featured I Am Spoonbender's Robynn Iwata), and Maow. All of these bands were local punk groups except for Cub and The Weasels, which Case described as a "country music supergroup".
In 1998, Case graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, which meant the loss of her student visa eligibility. She left Canada for Seattle, Washington. Before leaving, Case recorded vocals for a few songs that ended up on Mass Romantic, The New Pornographers' first album. Her lead vocals on songs like "Letter from an Occupant" are straightforward, full-volume power-pop performances, entirely shedding any country elements. Released on November 28, 2000, Mass Romantic became a surprise success. Although the band was originally conceived as a side project for its members, The New Pornographers decided to tour and eventually to record a second, third, fourth, and fifth album.
In addition to recording with The New Pornographers, Case frequently collaborates with other Canadian musicians, including The Sadies and Carolyn Mark, and has recorded material by several noted Canadian songwriters, in particular on her 2001 EP Canadian Amp. As a result, she is also considered a significant figure in Canadian music—both CBC Radio 3 and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada have referred to Case as an "honourary Canadian".
"I hope I can comfort people a bit—maybe show people that making music is fun and accessible to them as well. I'm not out to become Faith Hill, I never want to play an arena, and I never want to be on the MTV Video Music Awards, much less make a video with me in it. I would like to reach a larger audience and see the state of music change in favor of musicians and music fans in my lifetime. I care very much about that."
Case fully embraced country music on her 1997 album, The Virginian. The album contained original compositions as well as covers of songs by Ernest Tubb, Loretta Lynn and even the 1974 Queen song "Misfire". When the album was released, critics compared Case to honky-tonk singers like Lynn and Patsy Cline, and to rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson, particularly in her vocal timbre.
On February 22, 2000, Case released her second solo album, Furnace Room Lullaby. The album introduced the "country noir" elements that have defined Case's subsequent solo career. That tone was evident even from the cover photo, featuring Case sprawled out corpse-like on a concrete floor. On the album itself, her vocal style moves away from outright honky-tonk but retains her twang, garnering comparisons to musicians such as Cline, Lynn, Hazel Dickens, Tanya Tucker, and Dolly Parton. The title track was included on the soundtrack to Sam Raimi's film The Gift, and "Porchlight" was featured on the soundtrack to The Slaughter Rule.
Case sometimes tours with her friend Canadian singer and songwriter Carolyn Mark, as The Corn Sisters. One of their performances, at Seattle's Hattie's Hat restaurant in Ballard, was recorded and released as an album, The Other Women, on November 28, 2000.
Case's first work in Chicago was an eight-song EP that she recorded in her kitchen. Canadian Amp, her first recording without Her Boyfriends, was released on her own Lady Pilot label in 2001. She wrote two of the tracks, with the remaining six being covers, including Neil Young's "Dreaming Man" and Hank Williams' "Alone and Forsaken". Four of the covers were written by Canadian artists. The EP was initially available only at Case's live shows and directly from Mint Records' website, but it eventually saw wider release.
Case recorded her third full-length album, Blacklisted, in Tucson, Arizona. Her first album credited to Case alone, without Her Boyfriends, it was released on August 20, 2002. Some believe the title Blacklisted alludes to Case being banned for life from the Grand Ole Opry because she took her shirt off during a performance on August 4, 2001 at one of their outdoors "Opry Plaza" concerts, though Case herself has denied this. Asked about the incident in 2004, Case said "I had heatstroke. People would love it to be a 'fuck you' punk thing. But it was actually a physical ailment thing."
Most of the album's fourteen songs are originals; the exceptions being covers of "Running Out of Fools", previously a hit for Aretha Franklin, and "Look for Me (I'll Be Around)" previously performed by Sarah Vaughan. Blacklisted finds Case even deeper in a "country noir" mood, and was described by critics as lush, bleak, and atmospheric. Case cited filmmaker David Lynch, composer Angelo Badalamenti, and Neil Young's soundtrack to the film Dead Man as influences. One track, "Deep Red Bells", was inspired by Case's memories of being a vulnerable young woman in the Seattle area while the Green River Killer was at large.
In April 2003, Case was voted the "Sexiest Babe of Indie Rock" in a Playboy.com internet poll, receiving 32% of the vote. Playboy asked her to pose nude for the magazine, but she declined their offer. She told Entertainment Weekly that "I didn't want to be the girl who posed in Playboy and then—by the way—made some music. I would be really fucking irritated if after a show somebody came up to me and handed me some naked picture of myself and wanted me to sign it instead of my CD." In later interviews, she declined to discuss the survey at all.
New Pornographers follow-up albums 
On April 3 and April 4, 2004, Case played two shows with longtime collaborators The Sadies at Lee's Palace in Toronto, which were recorded for release as a live album, The Tigers Have Spoken, in October of the same year.
Twin Cinema, the New Pornographers' third album, was released on August 23, 2005, with Case again providing vocals on several tracks. In addition to providing backing vocals on several songs, Case performs lead vocals on two ballads, "The Bones of an Idol" and "These Are the Fables". She opted out of most subsequent touring duties with the band; however, her parts were taken over by Kathryn Calder.
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood 
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood was released on March 7, 2006. The album was recorded primarily in Tucson, over the course of two years as Case worked on the live The Tigers Have Spoken and continued to play with The New Pornographers. Critics hailed the record not only for Case's trademark vocals but also her use of stark imagery and non-standard song structures. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood wound up on many "Best of 2006" lists, such as No.1 on the Amazon.com music editors' picks and No. 2 on NPR's All Songs Considered. The album debuted at No. 54 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. It contains Case's most autobiographical song, "Hold On, Hold On". Case said: "the song is actually about me. It's not metaphorical about other people. It's not little pieces of my life made into a story about someone else or someone fictitious."
Middle Cyclone 
Case's latest album, Middle Cyclone, was released on March 3, 2009. In advance of a U.S. and European tour, Case appeared as a musical guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Later in 2009 she also appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Amazon.com rated Middle Cyclone the number one album of 2009. Case performed "This Tornado Loves You" from the Middle Cyclone on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on June 11, 2009.
Middle Cyclone debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard charts in its first week of release, making it Case's first album ever to reach the top ten in the United States. When released no other record from an independent record company had debuted at a higher position in 2009.
Case was honored as the Female Artist of the Year at the Plug Independent Music Awards on February 2, 2006 and nominated for two Grammy Awards for her album, Middle Cyclone, including Best Contemporary Folk Album and Best Recording Package (with Kathleen Judge).
Television appearances 
On January 28, 2008, Case's voice appeared in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Sirens". Case is also scheduled to participate in a new series with Aqua Teen Hunger Force co-creator Dave Willis titled Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fantabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge.
On March 3, 2010 Case appeared as a guest on the Australian musical quiz show Spicks and Specks. Her team, led by Alan Brough, won 18-16. At the end of the show she sang a cover of Heart's "Magic Man", backed by Kelly Hogan and Paul Rigby.
Case appeared on Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... in season two.
- I Ruv Me Too (7" EP) (US: Twist Like This Records, 1995)
- Unforgiving Sounds of Maow (CA: Mint Records, 1996)
As Special Guest 
- Well Have Yourself A Meaty Little Christmas, There (2009). (Williams Street Records) song: "Santa Left A Booger In My Stocking" guest to: Meatwad
Neko Case 
|US Indie||US Heat||US||US Rock||CAN Country||CAN|
|1997||The Virginian (with Her Boyfriends)|
|2000||Furnace Room Lullaby (with Her Boyfriends)||27|
|2001||Canadian Amp (EP)|
|2004||The Tigers Have Spoken (live album)||19||14|
|2006||Fox Confessor Brings the Flood||4||54||46|
|2007||Live from Austin, TX (live album)||22|
The Corn Sisters 
- The Other Women (CA: Mint Records, 2000)
The New Pornographers 
- Mass Romantic (CA: Mint Records; US & EU: Matador Records, 2000)
- Electric Version (CA: Mint Records; US & EU: Matador Records, 2003)
- Twin Cinema (CA: Mint Records; US & EU: Matador Records, 2005)
- Challengers (CA: Last Gang Records; US & EU: Matador Records, 2007)
- Together (US: Matador Records, 2010)
The Sadies 
- Make Your Bed/Gunspeak/Little Sadie (7") (US: Bloodshot Records, 1998)
- Car Songs My '63 / Highway 145 (by Whiskeytown) (Split 7") (US: Bloodshot Records BS 037, 1998)
Other contributions 
- "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" on New Coat of Paint: The Songs of Tom Waits (Manifesto Records, 2000)
- The Band of Blacky Ranchette – Still Lookin' Good to Me (Thrill Jockey, 2003)
- Touch My Heart: a Tribute to Johnny Paycheck - If I'm Gonna Sink (I Might as Well Go to the Bottom) SugarHill Recording Studios, 2003)
- Fields & Streams (Kill Rock Stars compilation) - "Knock Loud" (Sook-Yin Lee cover), 2003
- Sweetheart 2005: Love Songs - "Buckets of Rain" [Bob Dylan cover] Live More Musically, 2005)
- "Hwy 5" (with John Doe) on the CD "Forever Hasn't Happened Yet"
- "Yon Ferrets Return" (with Carl Newman) - Esopus 10: Good News (Esopus (magazine), CD insert, spring 2008)
- "Santa Left a Booger In My Stocking" (with Meatwad) - Have Yourself A Meaty Little Christmas (Williams Street Records, 2009)
- Jakob Dylan - Women and Country (Sony Music Entertainment, 2010)
- Sarah Harmer - Oh Little Fire (2010)
- Peter Wolf - "The Green Fields of Summer", (2010)
- Fran Healy - "Sing Me To Sleep", (2010)
- Andrew Bird - Fiery Crash
- The Dodos - Tracks "Going Under", "Good", "Sleep" "Don't Try and Hide It", and "Companions"
- I Want a Dog - All songs performed by Neko Case
- Journey to the End of the Night (Mekons)—backing vocals by Neko Case
- The Killing - S1/Episode "What You Have Left" Song: Hold On, Hold On (2011)
- She's Not There—cover of The Zombies song with Nick Cave used at the end of the first episode of the fourth season of True Blood. (2011)
- "Nothing to Remember", a song written and recorded for The Hunger Games Soundtrack. (2012)
- Live from Austin TX Neko Case (DVD) (US: New West Records/Austin City Limits/KLRU, 2006)
See also 
- Blows Against The Empire, Time
- Doole, Kerry. "Neko Case Timeline". Exclaim!. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- Michael Berick, "Neko's Gripping Tale," Entertainment Weekly, Feb. 11, 2005. Retrieved on 01-11-09.
- "Neko Case interview". Furious.com. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
- Neko Case: Honourary Canadian, Proud SOCAN Member, Socan.ca. Retrieved on 05-21-07.
- Neko Noir: Darkness Propels Case into Limelight, The Stranger. Retrieved on 08-14-08.
- THE SEATTLE TIMES: Country singer Neko Case is moving on, seattletimes.com. Retrieved on 11-21-12.
- COUNTRY BEAT: Terri Clark, Neko Case, Tracy Byrd ..., Vh1.com. Retrieved on 05-21-07.
- Cooper, Leonie (13 March 2009). "The banned played on". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- Neko Case's Country Lust, Rollingstone.com. Retrieved on 05-21-07.
- This week in local music: Neko Case, Richmond.com. Retrieved on 08-13-08.
- Matos, Michaelangelo (14 October 2002). "Neko Case: Thrice All American". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
- Q&A: Gloves Off: Lovably foulmouthed Neko Case sounds off, EW.com. Retrieved on 08-13-08.
- "Together Credits".
- Ryan, Kyle. "Neko Case | Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
- "Easy Come, Easy Go track listing". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- at 10:19 AM (2009-11-06). "Amazon says Neko Case put out the best album in 2009". Brooklynvegan.com. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
- "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien: Norm MacDonald, Jim Gaffigan, Neko Case - TV.com".
- Huntington, Tom (April 10, 2009). "Neko Case Retreats to Vermont". Times Argus. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
- And the Winners Are..., Plugawards.com. Retrieved on 08-14-08.
- "Aqua Teen" Co-Creator Talks Neko, Homme, T-Pain, Pitchforkmedia.com Retrieved on 1-28-07
- Cub - BandToBand.com
- "Esopus : MP3 Player". Esopusmag.com. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
- Calamar, Gary (24 June 2011). "KCRW Exclusive: Neko Case + Nick Cave Duet on She’s Not There for True Blood". KCRW Music Blog. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
- "The Hunger Games (Songs from District 12 and Beyond) Various Artists". iTunes Music. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
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