New Tunes Reviews, September 3: Neko Case, Okkervil River, Glasvegas, Nine Inch Nails

photo from Amazon

Neko Case‘s The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You is another departure from her alt-country roots records. It is more of a rock album but there are quiet moments. The intro to “Calling Cards” is a soft-track reminiscent of Gaslight Anthem’s acoustic gem “Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts.” “Bracing for Sunday” is an example of Case’s story-telling.  “Man,” is a hard/fast song representative of Case’s energetic and fierce songwriting and vocal style. “Madonna of the WASPs” features guest vocals from M. Ward. “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu” was the weakest track. Overall, great album, Neko! 

Is there a more Scottish band than Glasvegas? Their new album Later…When the TV Turns to Static is nothing short of a deep bunch of moody, rainy-day, emotional, bitter lyrics with dark, wintery, moody melodies. C’mon, the album includes a song called “I’d Rather Be Dead (Than Be With You).”  Depressing as always but intricately melodic, if you are in the mood for that type of sound, check this album out.  Or their excellent self-titled album from 2008.  

photo from amazon


Okkervil River‘s The Silver Gymnasium is another one of their concept albums.  This time the album centers on characters living in Meriden, New Hampshire in the mid-1980s (according to this NPR post from All Songs Considered)). The album is conceptual but real. It doesn’t have any interludes like The Stand-Ins. “Pink Slips” and “Down Down the Deep River” are very good.  It is a more straight-forward pop-record.

Nine Inch Nails released their first album in almost over 4 years. Entitled Hesitation Marks, it is a great example of how to do industrial, goth dance pop successfully.  I was enchanted from the moment “Copy of a” began and never bored as the record moved along. 

As I mentioned last week, I also recommend Julie Ruin’s Run Fast, which was released yesterday.  

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