Neko Case – Canadian Amp

I am THRILLED to report that Discogs has come through, and I have finally (FINALLY!), gleefully snagged a copy of a Grail List item that has, honestly, been on the list since before I even started the list in the first place…

What a GREAT 10th anniversary present to me!

Now, LP copies are still out there, but I wanted it on CD. Presumably because I like to do things the hard way… Anyway, the LP is next, if I ever see one! I’ve only ever seen one copy on CD in the wild, many years ago, and even then it was prohibitively priced. Neko’s website stopped selling them, and when I emailed to ask, they said it was unlikely that more were coming anytime soon. Gah!

But now this EP is here, thanks to a record shop in Connecticut, and it is a beautiful copy. YES! Let’s have a listen, shall we?

Andy (a Mike O’Neill tune) is a simple guitar bit with Neko’s haunting vocals over top. Glory! What a lovely way to start this disc off… Up next it’s Neil Young’s Dreaming Man, again a perfect version with Kelly Hogan on backing vocals, and other players adding a tasteful mix of guitars, banjo, ukulele and accordion as well. How does Neko sing it like Neil yet still sound like only herself? Magic!

Sook Yin Lee’s Knock Loud features Neko singing… and singing harmony with herself. This is not the first track here to feature this phenomenon. The electric guitars here are glorious, percussive yet also spacey and beautiful. The tune builds and crashes and abates again. Wow. Make Your Bed (a Neko/Sadies song) features banjo and Hawaiian guiar, Kelly Hogan on backing vocals again, and Andrew Bird on violin! It sounds like one of those old honky tonk heartbreak/angry at the other woman tunes, something Loretta Lynn or Emmylou Harris would’ve sung, and it’s awesome.

Poor Ellen Smith is a public domain track, and the banjos are having a party on this one! Neko’s voice soars like it so very much can soar. Holy crap that was awesome. Great storytelling. In California (a Lisa Marr tune) floats along gorgeously, Neko’s voice the main focus but the guitars the glue that holds it all together. Loved it loved it loved it.

Hank Williams’ Alone And Forsaken starts with the sound of a thunder and rain storm, the guitars ease in, and then Neko lifts us off the ground and we never look back. I’ve used the word haunting already to describe the quality of her singing voice, but it’s the best word for it. Ethereal would also work… Neko wrote Favorite, which rounds out this disc, and this is one we all know well because it later appeared on The Tigers Have Spoken. What a great track! Oh my yes. The version here is simple, but also completely effective.

In Sum:

This was originally a tour-only EP, but it later saw a wider release than just at the gigs. If this was the first Neko you’d ever heard, and that would have been likely for many as this was released in 2001, you’d be an instant fan. The tracks here are pure molten liquid glory, recorded perfectly with a big roomy sound, and I just wanted it to go on forever. Time to hit Play again…

If you ever come across this in the shops, do NOT hesitate. Buy it!

Some liner notes:

This album was recorded in my kitchen by Jon Rauhouse and myself. It’s so much easier than I thought, and you can do it in your underwear!

PROTECTED UNDER INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT LAWS. NOT INTENDED FOR MP3 INTERNET DOWNLOADING OR REPRODUCTION OF ANY KIND. THIS IS WHAT WE DO FOR A LIVING. WE HAVE KIDS, BILLS, AND RENT TOO. THANK YOU.

Here is the list of players:

  • Andrew Bird – Violin
  • Neko Case – Vocals, electric and acoustic tenor guitars, producer, engineer, mixing, photography, drawing, recording
  • Mike Hagler – Producer, engineer, mastering
  • Kelly Hogan – Vocal harmony
  • Andy Hopkins – Guitar (acoustic), guitar (electric)
  • Jon Rauhouse – Guitar (acoustic), banjo, engineer, Hawaiian guitar, pedal steel banjo, recording
  • Tom Ray – Bass (upright), banjo-ukulele
  • Brett Sparks – Vocals
  • Chris Von Sneidern – Guitar (12 string acoustic)

18 thoughts on “Neko Case – Canadian Amp

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks J.! Finding Grail List items, especially one I’ve wanted so long (this one) is such a fulfilling feeling. It’s like the clouds opened up, a bright ray of sun shone through, and an angelic chorus starts harmonizing… hahah yeah, just like that.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. keepsmealive says:

          Man, if you’ve been finding Grail items, you’re really lucky! I so rarely see them – that was the point of the list! Of course, your chances are increased because you live in a town that has decent record shops… but still…

          Like

          1. J. says:

            Discogs, dude. The record stores here are pretty sucky. Especially if you’re looking for something specific. I’ve been lucky enough to find a couple of things reasonably priced.

            Like

              1. J. says:

                I guess someone else’s town always has been stuff, huh?

                Discogs is pretty much my go-to store these days. Until the other week there, I hadn’t bought anything from an actual store since, eh, some time…

                Like

                1. keepsmealive says:

                  My town’s record shops are generally pretty bad. I have more luck at my work, where people donate stuff for free! Crazy.

                  Discogs is dangerous. They have a lot of what I want. The only things that stop me from having nothing on my Grail List are the high prices for the stuff I’m after, and the cost of shipping going through the roof.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. J. says:

                    Yeah, there is that. I try to find a seller with a couple of things I’m after and hopefully save on postage.

                    But I guess my grail list is more stuff that I just never see in the wild. Not necessarily expensive, just not readily available here.

                    Like

  1. boppinsblog says:

    I am not sure what I am happier about.
    You scoring that grail item, or my brain thinking of Neko Case recording a song in my kitchen in her underwear.

    I was at Cheapies in Hamilton today, and they have the best boxset collection going. Neko Case vinyl set is there. I realllllly want it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Well, I’d say both are things to be happy about! I couldn’t believe my luck when I typed it into Discogs one day, at random, and there was one copy for sale – and in my price range! I just looked now, and there is one other copy, autographed! But it has scuffs (they say play not affected) and over $10 more than I paid for my damn-near perfect copy!

      Anyway, finding Grail List items happens so rarely, saying I was thrilled is understatement indeed.

      The Neko boxed set is glorious. I saw it in Sonic Boom when we were there on the anniversary trip. Oh man, given unlimited funds, I would already own two copies. One for play, and one just to look at. 🙂

      Like

    2. J. says:

      Aw man, that Neko box is quite something. Haven’t seen one in the wild yet, right enough (unlikely I ever will here).

      Like

      1. keepsmealive says:

        I’ll be in Taranna next weekend, and could get you one. Got £200-£250 kicking around loose? The set was (in Cdn) $300, and I figure about $50 or more to ship it safely…

        Like

        1. J. says:

          They have it on Amazon, just not in any actual stores here. Or at least not that I’ve seen. Does look like a great set though… well, I guess you’d expect it to be for £200!

          Like

          1. keepsmealive says:

            Sonic Boom had one, it was on a shelf up behind the counter – can’t let just everyone go fondling it haha. Actually, they have all the LP boxed sets on shelves up around the walls. Looks super cool.

            Anyway, it was one of those “wish I had the disposable cash” situations. It looks soooo lovely.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. J. says:

              It does look really pretty splendid. I dare say if there weren’t so many other albums I wanted I’d already have it…

              Like

Put yer words here:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.