Sunday, March 26, 2006

I mentioned last week on a rainy day I went on a book-and-music-buying rampage. When I buy multiple cds, I'll choose one to start with, and then I hold the others in reserve, hoarding them back like little rarities, each to be enjoyed as its own experience, not all squandered in one swell foop. Knowing my favorite would be the Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, I started with the wonderful island magic of Martin Denny's exotic world. Great stuff, that. I mentioned that would be the essential lounging-by-the-pool music this year, in addition to the Spongebob Squarepants soundtrack which has great stuff from the likes of Motörhead.

Neko Case has turned out to be an astonishing find for me. Her powerful vocals are womanly yet vulnerable, with occasional moments of pure heartbreak that are evocative of the great classic queens of country music like Kitty Wells and Donna Fargo and the venerated Patsy Cline - the stuff I grew up hearing in the car on road trips - classic country/western swing. Click here to listen on Amazon

For me by far the most bewitching track on the cd - Star Witness - sandwiches details of a fatal car crash with narrative about a likely unhealthy juvenile relationship:

My true love drowned in a dirty old pan of oil
that did run from the block
of a Falcon sedan 1969, The paper said '75
there were no survivors, none found alive...

achingly beautiful, the refrain says there's such dandy wolves round town tonight...

...hey pretty baby get high with me, we can go to my sister's if we say we'll watch the baby
the sound of your voice yanks my neck on a chain
and I would do anything to see you again...

You can feel the static in her cheap polyester nightgown as she sings the final words with a pure, plaintive clarity that is evocative of Dolly Parton's sweetest moments:

My nightgown sweeps the pavement
Please
Don't let him die
Oh how I forgot

We are left to wonder if she died in the wreckage too, or if she only lost a piece of her heart - there were no survivors, none found alive. All this bittersweet heartbreak is underpinned by gorgeous guitars that call to mind faded photographs and dusty western sunsets. Great road music.

Anyway, incredible cd, this. Grab your bonnet and sashay right out and pick this one up - you'll thank me.

12 comments:

Ben Heller said...

I reviewed "Blacklisted" for a music magazine about 3 years ago. I think I gave it 9/10. My elder brother is a major fan of hers. He lives in Tasmania and travelled to see her in Australia a while back.

nongirlfriend said...

I may have to add that to my Ipod.

"the sound of your voice yanks my neck on a chain"

Awesome lyrics. The girl looks pretty hot, too.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Great review.
I adore Neko Case, and have been listening to Fox Confessor a lot since I got it a couple of weeks ago. I thought she couldn't get any better than on Furnace Room Lullaby, but I was wrong.
Check out her work with the New Pornographers as well. Mass Romantic is a great cd to start with. I saw the New Pornographers in concert a few weeks ago and was soooooo disappointed that Neko didn't tour with them - she was missed.

Liz said...

You need to get some Kelly Hogan, stat! She's on Bloodshot as well, and has a dreamy voice.

phlegmfatale said...

Ben & barbara - She's playing Dallas April 17, and if there are any tickets left, I'm getting them tomorrow.

nongirlfriend - Yup, she am hot. Mo debly.

Thanks for the rec. barbara - will check out the NP stuff. I noticed she was in your ultimate dream band.

thanks liz - will check her out!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Let us know if you get tickets, so I can plan to be insanely jealous.

LJ said...

"You can feel the static in her cheap polyester nightgown as she sings the final words..."
Wow.
What a great description.

phlegmfatale said...

barbara - i'll be giddy with anticipation and gushing, no doubt!

lj - thanks honey - it's just what I pictured as I heard the words - she's a great balladeer

Rocky (Racquel) said...

hey Phlegm, is that your car? if so, you need to get busy on those quarter panels with some glitter paint and faux fur!

phlegmfatale said...

heehee, rocky - I'm a chevy person, actually. The photo is a 1969 Ford Falcon. Yeah, this car could use some gussying up!

Charlie said...

I dropped in after your comment on my blog about 100 Years of Solitude, and lo and behold, you mention the Neko Case album I picked up just last night.
I will be spending today listening and picking up the words . . .

I must be either psychic or psychotic; I tend to believe it's the latter.

"Pooper"

phlegmfatale said...

pooper - by the way - best avatar photo ever - this cd - prepare to fall in love. psychotic works for me!