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Middle Cyclone (Bonus Track Version)

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iTunes Review

For those who have already fallen under her spell, singer/songwriter Neko Case’s voice is a wonder. So when the fluttering guitar at the beginning of “This Tornado Loves You” ushers in Case’s mellifluous singing on her new release, Middle Cyclone, it’s like a comforting scent from junior high. Her fifth album has widescreen ambition coupled with an intimate-sounding execution. In addition to usual suspects the New Pornographers and Calexico, she also collaborates with everyone from Los Lobos to M. Ward to Garth Hudson (of the Band fame). The easy-swinging “Magpie to the Morning” sounds like a lost folk song once learned at summer camp, while her surprising interpretation of the Sparks’ “Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth” is as fresh and topical as ever. It's the ideal meeting of craft (strong arrangements and orchestrations) and art (Case's singular brand of singing plus inspired instrumental contributions) that made this highly anticipated album ultimately worth the wait.

Customer Reviews

Neko Keeps Getting Better and Better

This album had me at the first track. After checking out the rest of it, I am in love with her work all over again. Her previous albums are fantastic and unique, but Middle Cyclone really takes her work up several notches. What is really amazing, is that she seems to have this endless reservoir of dazzling songs, and the capacity to craft an alum vs. a record of singles. It tells stories; this time about the world outside. It's not her usual blend of melancholy gloom, but, rather, has a mix of pop hooks and 40's country charm. The Dark Neko is in there too, in a couple spots... She is again joined by a dream line up of musicians: Jon Rauhouse, Paul Rigby, Garth Hudson, Joey Burns, John Convertino, Barry Mirochnick, Dallas and Travis Good and Kurt Heasley to name a few. Jon Rauhouse's pedal steel work alone is worth the price of Middle Cyclone, and what can possibly compare with Garth Hudson? Overall, it's a tremendous album. If you don't buy it, you are truly missing out on one of this life's finest pleasures: Neko Case.

Intensity of a twister combined with the calm before the storm

After Neko's brilliant and critically acclaimed Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, I don't think anyone expected her to top it. However - take shelter because Middle Cyclone will blow you away (I'll keep the tornado references to a minimum). Neko has crafted an album that plays to her strengths as a vocalist and songwriter, as well as introduces a softness and tenderness both her delivery and subject matter that is not seen on previous Neko Case records. Fans of Fox Confessor... will be drawn to tracks such as I'm an Animal and Magpie To The Morning while new and old fans alike will adore the title track and the rich in imagery, fierce in vocal performance, and her best opener yet, This Tornado Loves You. What separates this album from her previous efforts is the vulnerability in her voice, present on such songs as Middle Cyclone, Vengeance Is Sleeping, and Don't Forget Me. This album solidifies Neko's status as one of the most musically gifted and brilliant musicians living today.

Once again, an amazing work from Neko Case

As I think back through music history, I cannot remember an artist who consistently gets better and better and better with each concurrent album, Neko Case has done that once again with Middle Cyclone. Just when you think you have her figured out and where she will take you musically, she completely surprises you with something deeper, bigger, and with her phenomenal haunting imagery. It's hard to think of anyone today who is writing more wicked cool lyrics. Middle Cyclone is full of songs that can both crush you and uplift you and make you sit back and just think on them. Her once in a generation voice is the hook, her tight as hell band is the kind, and the Shakespearian depth of the lyrics (and yeah, her lyrics ARE that good) is one of life's rich rewards. Neko Case and her band are the complete music package. Neko's previous albums were beacons in a fog of fluff and statutory pop artists, and faux rock wannabes we've been spoon fed ad nauseum. It's an album like Middle Cyclone that takes me back to the great old days where you'd wait and wait for your favorite artist's albums to drop, an album you HAD to have above all else. Middle Cyclone simply plays with incredible seamless ease from front to back like albums used to. This is no collection of 13 singles like the way seemingly almost all music is done today. This work flows perfectly. Songs near the end like my favorite track, 'The Pharoahs' are as strong as the front and middle of Middle Cyclone and reflect Neko's sharp eye and ear for track placement. That is something you feel and it shines through. This album is a complete and exceptional work. If there was something such as a six star review, I'd have clicked that button.


Born: September 8, 1970 in Alexandria, VA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Alternative country singer/songwriter Neko Case won a large and loyal audience for her smoky, sophisticated vocals and the downcast beauty of her music. Born in Alexandria, Virginia, Case moved around often as a child, spending the largest part of her youth in Tacoma, Washington. She left her parents at age 15, and three years later she started playing drums for several bands on the Northwest's punk rock scene. Case moved to Vancouver in 1994 to enter art school, and simultaneously joined the punk...
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