REVIEW: Neko Case “The Worse Things Get…”/Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout

THE RECORD: Neko Case The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You-  2013 Anti-

I was so excited when the first two tracks from Neko Case’s latest record were available on Spotify, and even more excited when I listened to them and they were AWESOME. This is a wonderful record. The lyrics resonate well with me, and most likely anyone else who has ever loved and lost (so you know, pretty much everyone). “Night Still Comes”, which you can check out the lyric video for below, is my favorite track on the record. The refrain of “You never held it at the right angle” is just one example of the quotable lyric mantras found throughout the album.

“Man” picks up the pace a bit. There are a lot of little nuances on this song that I find to be reminiscent of math rock, such as the complex drumming and the clean, quick guitar riffs. The lyrics reiterate the fact that Neko Case is, in fact, a total badass “you didn’t know what a man was until I showed you”.

I think that’s why I think Case is so great, because she blends such strong lyrics with such beautiful musical orchestration. In so many pieces of music, the strength lies more with either the music or the lyrics, but Case manages to maintain a balance of both on this record.

The vocals are very cool on “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu”, oscillating between a single voice and chorus. The simplicity makes this song truly beautiful. “Where Did I Leave That Fire” is similarly beautiful, with soundscapes at the beginning that sound like field recordings in the woods. The soft brushes on the drums give the imagery of feet on the forest floor.

Basically, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You makes me want to write better songs. It’s a quietly inspirational, while being easy to listen to.

THE BEER: Wolaver’s Organic Oatmeal Stout- Middlebury, VT

This beer is delicious, and one of my favorite varieties, the oatmeal stout. Delicious flavors of coffee and dark chocolate, with some earthy notes in the aroma. Slightly hoppy, to balance out the sweet flavors.

Pours a deep espresso color, with a cream-colored head. Really awesome with food, looking forward to drinking it with some beer-brats and smoky cheeses.

THE PAIRING: I chose a beer from the state Neko Case resides in, Vermont. She pretty much lives in my dream house, which you can take a tour of here.

Neko’s latest is an album you can sit with. Even though it’s only August, the already falling leaves and pumpkin beers lining the shelves tell us that autumn is on its way. We can get back to drinking frothy oatmeal stouts and curling up with a good record that has great lyrics that you can reflect upon. Preferably while sitting in a room like this.