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Baker's Dozen

Rediscovering Mystery: Neko Case's Baker's Dozen
Emma Madden , May 15th, 2018 10:23

With her ninth full-length album set for release at the beginning of next month, Neko Case takes Emma Madden on a trip from The Cramps to Joanna Newsom, as she calls at 13 ports of strangeness for her Baker's Dozen.

"My instinctive time signature is the waltz" Neko Case says, "A lot of the time I even have to take songs out of that time". Yet the American singer-songwriter's application of the time signature is often pleasingly disruptive, and she uses it to turn true horror to pantomime and true love to gunk.

A similar sense of discombobulation is heard on her new album Hell-On "I miss the smell of mystery. Reverb leaking out of tavern doors and not knowing how the sounds were made" she sings on 'Curse Of The I-5 Corridor', alongside guest vocalist Mark Lanegan. Now nine albums in and three decades working as a producer and musician, Neko Case is the most sentimental we've ever heard her ("There's no way I could tell you how much I could love you, 'cause I've never been so sure of anything") and the next she's undermining herself entirely: "I use major chords to make this a sadder song, an effective manipulation."

Neko Case left her parent’s house in Tacoma, Washington at the age of 15 before dabbling in the Northwest’s punk-rock scene. She played drums for local bands before releasing her own record in 1997 with ‘Her Boyfriends’. “I sacrificed a family, marriage, kids for music” she says. And now, three decades in, she's as peripatetic as she was at the beginning. The fire which burned down her house in Vermont last year now has her roving between friends' houses, shows, interviews, rehearsals. She selects her Baker’s Dozen on a sleep deprived flight to London.

Neko Case's Hell-On is out June 1st on Anti-. She Plays London's Barbican on 8th November. You can get tickets for all her dates here. Click the image of Neko Case below to