» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Neko Case
Mint Records

Rating: 9/10 ?

October 1, 2004
For some reason Neko Case's picture doesn't appear next to the word "chanteuse" in my Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. There must be some sort of licensing issue holding up the illustration, because there could be no other true visual depiction of the word. Man, oh man, what I wouldn't give to meet a sultry vixen like Case in a roadside dive somewhere on the road north out of Havre, Montana. Like the great expanses of the American mountains and Great Planes, Case's voice is a string of warm, hyper-rich snapshots of hard work, cold nights and hot love.

This is the one album of Case's that I hadn't picked up after hearing her in Chicago a few years pack, and brother I tell ya, what a blunder that was. The thunderous power of Case's sultry voice throughout the tracks of Blacklisted makes the booming on The Virginian and Furnace Room Lullaby sound like handclaps in comparison. To put it simply, Case has gone from undeniable to unstoppable on Blacklisted.

Her deeply impassioned vocals resonate with clarity and stark beauty, like a long-exposure photograph of a clear Montana night sky, over the dark, occasionally demonic instrumental backdrop provided by a host of competent musicians - luminaries like Joey Burns and John Convertino (Calexico), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), Brian Connelly (Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet) and Kelly Hogan. With such a powerful supporting cast Blacklisted would be a failure if it were anything but, well, powerful. True to form, Case delivers a masterpiece.

On the opening track, "Things That Scare Me," Case unloads her secret fears atop the plucking of banjo, the strumming of guitar and the nimble, brushed percussion of a bizzaro backwoods jam. The song is short but serves as the perfect intro to the much more macabre "Deep Red Bells," a retro-styled noir track reminiscent of the work of one of Case's longtime supporters, Nick Cave, with an eerily down-tuned guitar that could walk straight into an episode of Twin Peaks without anyone batting an eye.

Later on the familiar tale of forbidden love rears its jealous head in "Tightly," the self-reliance of a strong woman speaks out in "Pretty Girl," and the deep, reverberating melancholy of "Deep Red Bells" appears again in the title track, a dark and cinematic number that resonates like a beautiful mixture of Loretta Lynn and Giant Sand.

What an amazing, beautiful album, full of deep heart ache, coated in fifty year-old whiskey and caked in high desert dust. Neko Case's voice is unrivaled in its ability to completely fill the air and still feel empty, detached and too distant to touch.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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