Neko Case sings a haunting song about another Northwest celebrity, the Green River Killer.
"That has a lot to do with growing up in Washington state during the time when the Green River Killer was active, when I was in junior high. It's frightening. It has a lot to do with when you're a kid and you see that stuff on TV all the time---the news definitely made the distinction that these women were prostitutes, in fact they didn't talk about them like they were women much at all, which made me feel really bad for the women. Myself and many, many other young women that I knew at the time were very, very scared of the Green River Killer. It was very much a part of our psyche, and it still is, when you grow up with that kind of stuff. Washington had a lot of serial killers---a lot. The whole time I was growing up, there was Ted Bundy, or the guy in Spokane. And when I was in Vancouver, they finally caught the guy---all these prostitutes were disappearing from downtown, and nobody gave a shit about it. Actually, the people of Vancouver gave a shit about it, but the local government didn't, because a lot of them were prostitutes, some of them were drug addicts, so they figured they were lost anyway. I actually think there's a civil suit in Vancouver---you might want to check on the facts on that---because they could have figured out who this guy was a long time ago, and they didn't bother to do it. The government would make up these wild claims---'Well, we might think it might be a white slavery ring,' blamed it on Asian gangs---it was really gross. Same thing with the Green River Killer: they knew who he was for a long time, but they couldn't bring him in on technicalities. I'm sure that it upset the people who had been looking for him that long just as much as the parents of the people he had killed. These women's lives just never seemed that important; they weren't really made that important on the news. It was all about fear. I guess the song is basically me just thinking, 'What are their lives? What would their families do?'"
Neko Case travels between alt country and indie rock, between Patsy Cline and the New Pornographers. Her voice is arresting--equal parts honey and cayenne. She just released Middle Cyclone, which may be her most fearless album yet. This time she brought along her friends M Ward and ex-Band member Garth Hudson, as well as members of Giant Sand, Los Lobos and Calexico.
Read the AV Club review here.
Read the Pitchfork review here.