Skip to main content

Neko Case: First Listen Live 2018

Neko Case and band at Littlefield (photo by Gus Philippas/WFUV)

Neko Case and band at Littlefield (photo by Gus Philippas/WFUV)



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.

Life can take unexpected turns, and in the right hands, that sparks creativity. Case set herself towards making her new record with the goal of getting outside of her comfort zone. That brought her to a collaboration with Bjorn Yttling (Peter Bjorn and John) in Stockholm. While working there on a new song called "Bad Luck," Neko learned that her home in Vermont was on fire. It burned to the ground. All the living creatures survived, 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 WFUV and NPR Music First Listen 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 at Littlefield squeezed in, rapt, and listened to every word.

You can hear the full show on WFUV (90.7FM and at 6 p.m. tonight, on Monday, June 4 at 8 p.m., or anytime below. My backstage interview with Neko is also available in our online Vault.


  • 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

[recorded: 5/23/18]