by Neko CaseNeko Case


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Neko Case is an artist incapable of sounding like anyone other than Neko Case. She's certainly not adverse to collaborating with artists she respects; she's been a long-time participant in the New Pornographers, and has contributed her estimable vocal talents to albums by Calexico, John Doe, Kelly Hogan, and Giant Sand, among others. But on 2016's case/lang/veirs, an album she recorded in tandem with k.d. lang and Laura Veirs, Case found herself working as an equal with two creative peers for the first time, and while her work on the album was strong, it was an example of the whole not being all you'd expect from the sum of the parts. It's impossible to say if the experience informed Case as she recorded 2018's Hell-On (and since lang and Veirs both make guest appearances, their relationship is apparently cordial), but the album finds Case firmly taking the reins and seemingly relishing the experience. Case produced Hell-On (Bjorn Yttling co-produced five tracks) and co-wrote all 12 tunes (except for Eric Bachman's "Sleep All Summer"), and the rich, deeply atmospheric sound of this music has her personality written all over it. Case has a voice that's warm and engaging but speaks from a position of strength, and her instrument dominates Hell-On, expressive and emotional but never histrionic. The arrangements are beautifully detailed, with layers of guitars and keys giving the melodies full-bodied support without sounding cluttered or intruding on Case's spotlight. Even when Case shares lead vocals with Mark Lanegan on "Curse of the I-5 Corridor" and Bachman on "Sleep All Summer," she meshes beautifully but cedes nothing, and Hell-On is a superb example of an artist who can shine bright while giving others room to do their best work. And if Case's lyrics are often enigmatic, they also feel revealing and personal, from the bittersweet nostalgia of "Curse of the I-5 Corridor" and the troubled memories of "My Uncle's Navy" to the playful cynicism of "Bad Luck" and the celebration of strong and empathetic women in "Winnie" and the title cut. With Hell-On, Case has once again given herself an ideal showcase for her talents as a vocalist, songwriter, and producer; it's lush but intimate, and one of the strongest and most satisfying records she's delivered to date. Which, given her catalog, says a great deal.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/01/2018
Label: Epitaph
UPC: 0045778741229
catalogNumber: 87412
Rank: 31056


  1. Hell-On
  2. Last Lion of Albion
  3. Halls of Sarah
  4. Bad Luck
  5. Curse of the I-5 Corridor
  6. Gumball Blue
  7. Dirty Diamond
  8. Oracle of The Maritimes
  9. Winnie
  10. Sleep All Summer
  11. My Uncle’s Navy
  12. Pitch or Honey

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Neko Case   Primary Artist,Guitar,Piano,Tambourine,Vocals,Background Vocals,Kalimba,Claves
Robert Forster   Background Vocals
Mark Lanegan   Vocals
Steve Berlin   Baritone Saxophone
Joey Burns   Synthesizer,Bass,Piano,Strings,Cello,Vibes,Pump Organ,Upright Bass,Wurlitzer
Matt Chamberlain   Percussion,Drums
Barbara Gruska   Percussion,Drums
Kelly Hogan   Vocals,Background Vocals
k.d. lang   Background Vocals
Sebastian Steinberg   Bass,Autoharp,Electric Bass
Thom Monahan   Tuba,Tambourine
Eric Bachmann   Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Doug Gillard   Guitar,Harpsichord
Chris Schultz   Loops
Jon Rauhouse   Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar
Nora O'Connor   Vocals,Background Vocals
Laura Veirs   Background Vocals
Rachel Flotard   Background Vocals
John Collins   Synthesizer
Peter Morén   Guitar
Björn Yttling   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Keyboards
Tom V. Ray   Bass
Beth Ditto   Vocals
Paul Rigby   Guitar
Luke Reynolds   Guitar
Kathryn Calder   Background Vocals
Kyle Crane   Percussion,Tambourine
Dan Hunt   Percussion,Drums
Joe Seiders   Background Vocals
Allan Carl Newman   Background Vocals
Tobias Tagesson   Drums
Jeff Galegher   Guitar,Kalimba
Sandy Schwoebel   Bass Flute

Technical Credits

Barbara Gruska   drum machine
Thom Monahan   Engineer
Neko Case   Composer,Producer,Artwork
Eric Bachmann   Composer
Tucker Martine   Engineer
Chris Schultz   Engineer,Soundscape
Michael Parnin   Engineer
Adam Pike   Engineer
Laura Veirs   Composer
Paul Santo   Engineer
John Collins   Engineer
Björn Yttling   Producer
Paul Rigby   Composer
Mark Ephraim   Engineer
Emily Shur   Cover Photo
Thomas D'Arcy   Engineer
Donny Phillips   Assistant Photographer
Alex Hall   Engineer
Trevor Hernandez   Print Production
Hans Stenlund   Engineer
Kathleen Judge   Artwork
Brendan Kennedy   Engineer
Allan Carl Newman   Composer
Jenna Pfefferle   Producer
Jeff Galegher   Composer,Engineer
Paul Harris   Sculpture

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