Neko Case: Diva of the Downbeat

In devastating new album, the iconoclastic rocker sings for the heartbroken and haunted

Neko case's voice can do a lot of things. It glides, it twangs, it slashes. But what it does best is ache. Her deepest singing is the sound of resilience: suffering transformed into something stranger and richer. Case was a punk-rock drummer in her youth, and she's been playing increasingly iconoclastic roots rock over the past 15 years. Yet she first made a name for herself in the alt-country scene, and what she's held on to from the Louvin Brothers and Loretta Lynn songs she used to sing is the lonesome, smoldering tone that makes every line throb.

That serves her...

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