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Arts & Culture

First Listen Live: Neko Case, 'Hell-On'

Neko Case performs her newest album <em>Hell-On </em>live for WFUV Public Radio and NPR Music at Littlefield in Brooklyn, New York.
Neko Case performs her newest album <em>Hell-On </em>live for WFUV Public Radio and NPR Music at Littlefield in Brooklyn, New York.

The ever-evolving artistic journey of Neko Case takes new turns and hits new heights with Hell-On, an album borne of life's curveballs and collaborations, triumphs and surprising influences.

Case set herself towards making her new record with the goal of getting outside of her comfort zone. That impulse brought her to a collaboration with Björn Yttling (of Peter Björn and John) in Stockholm. While working there on a new song called "Bad Luck," Case learned that her home in Vermont was on fire. It burned to the ground. All the living creatures survived, but all the stuff did not. It was a powerful start to mark a new chapter.

It's been five years since the last Neko Case release, with a New Pornographers album and the lauded case/lang/veirs project in between. Case drew inspiration from both, and brought her co-artists on board for Hell-On.

The new songs are lyrically rich, telling stories that walk a line between fables and true life. It's a forceful and confident performance from an artist who digs deep to explore history and myth, nature and fate — bringing forth songs to show us new ways of looking at the world and ourselves.

This live set kicks off with the classic "Man" — setting the stage with as strong a statement of intention as anything you can find in a song — before debuting a slew of new material. The crowd squeezed in, rapt, and listened to every word.

SET LIST

  • "Man"
  • "Last Lion of Albion"
  • "Hell-On"
  • "Halls of Sarah"
  • "Bad Luck"
  • "Curse of the I-5 Corridor"
  • "This Tornado Loves You"
  • "Gumball Blue"
  • "Dirty Diamond"
  • "Oracle of the Maritimes"
  • "Winnie"
  • "Hold On, Hold On"
  • "Loretta" (Nervous Eaters cover)
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