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Middle Cyclone

by Neko Case

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1.
MY LOVE I AM THE SPEED OF SOUND I LEFT THEM MOTHERLESS, FATHERLESS THEIR SOULS DANGLING INSIDE-OUT FROM THEIR MOUTHS... BUT IT'S NEVER ENOUGH I WANT YOU I CARVED YOUR NAME ACROSS THREE COUNTIES AND GROUND IT IN WITH BLOODY HIDES BROKEN NECKS WILL LINE THE DITCH TIL YOU "STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP THIS MADNESS!" I WANT YOU I HAVE WAITED WITH A GLACIER’S PATIENCE SMASHED EVERY TRANSFORMER WITH EVERY TRAILER TIL NOTHING WAS STANDING SIXTY-FIVE MILES WIDE BUT STILL YOU ARE NOWHERE, STILL YOU ARE NOWHERE, NOWHERE IN SIGHT COME OUT TO MEET ME, RUN OUT TO MEET ME COME INTO THE LIGHT CLIMB THE BOXCARS TO THE ENGINE THROUGH THE SMOKE AND TO THE SKY YOUR RAILS COULD ALWAYS OUTRUN MINE SO I I PICKED THEM UP AND CRASHED THEM DOWN IN A MOMENT CLOSE TO NOW CAUSE I MISS, I MISS, I MISS, I MISS HOW YOU'D SIGH YOURSELF TO SLEEP WHEN I'D RAKE THE SPRINGTIME ACROSS YOUR SHEETS CHORUS MY LOVE, I'M AN OWL ON THE SILL IN THE EVENING BUT MORNING FINDS YOU STILL WARM AND BREATHING THIS TORNADO LOVES YOU, WHAT WILL MAKE YOU BELIEVE ME?
2.
I HEAR THE TINIEST SPARKS AND THE TENDEREST SOUNDS DIVING MUSIC DROWNING THE SOUND WALTZING WITH THE HAIRS UPON MY ARMS THEN YOUR FIGHT OR FLIGHT ALARM THEN YOU TREMBLE THEN YOU STUMBLE AND YOU SCRAPE UP YOUR PALMS I CAN'T STAY HERE TO HOLD YOUR HAND I'VE BEEN AWAY FOR SO LONG I'VE LOST MY TASTE FOR HOME AND THAT'S A DIRTY, FALLOW FEELING... TO BE THE DANGLING CELING FROM WHEN THE ROOF CAME CRASHING DOWN PEELING IN THE HEAT VANISH IN THE RAIN THE NEXT TIME YOU SAY "FOREVER" I WILL PUNCH YOU IN YOUR FACE JUST BECAUSE YOU DON'T BELIEVE IT DOESN'T MEAN I DIDN'T MEAN IT YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN I'LL SHOW YOU THE NEVER
3.
AS THE SAYING SAYS "AN ELEPHANT NEVER FORGETS" STANDING IN THE CONCRETE CAVE SWAYING SAD AND INSANE THEY WALKED OVER THE OCEAN IN THEIR DREAMS THEY DREAM AWAKE UNTIL THE LIGHT GREW DIM UNTIL THE COP CARS CAME EVERYBODY TELLS ME THIS IS CRAZY YES, I KNOW IT I'M A MAN-MAN-MAN, MAN-MAN-MAN-EATER AND STILL YOU'RE SURPRISED WHEN I EAT YOU YOU KNOW THEY CALL THEM "KILLER" WHALES?! BUT YOU SEEM SURPRISED WHEN IT PINNED YOU DOWN TO THE BOTTOM OF THE TANK WHERE YOU CAN'T TURN AROUND IT TOOK HALF YOUR LEG AND BOTH YOUR LUNGS "WHEN I CRAVED I ATE HEARTS OF SHARKS, I KNOW YOU KNOW IT" I'M A MAN-MAN-MAN, MAN-MAN-MAN-EATER AND STILL YOU'RE SURPRISED WHEN I EAT YOU IT WILL END AGAIN IN BULLETS, FRIEND
4.
HE TAKES HIS DINNER IN THE BED LOVE SICKENED AND INFIRM-ED THE ORDERLY FOUND HIM THERE FILLETED ON THE MARBLE STAIRS HAT STILL IN HAND, HIS SMOKING REMAINS BLOWN OUT BY A KISS FROM NURSE SOMEDAY SOON.......SOMEDAY SOON HIS EYES ARE CLOSED HE MOUTHS HER NAME THE ROSARY HER LIPS AND TOUNGE SHE IS THE CENTRIFUGE THAT THROWS THE SPIRES FROM THE SUN THE SISTINE CHAPEL PAINTED WITH A GATLING GUN POLAR NETTLES SET ON END MOVE LIKE STARLINGS UP A CLIFF ANTENNAE OF HER FOGGY TOUCH THE FORCE FIELD ROUND HER FROSTY HIPS WHO'S SHAPE RECALLS THE WICKED SPADE THAT BURIED HIM BUT ON HIS LIPS THE LAST RIGHTS OF NURSE SOMEDAY SOON
5.
I DID NOT KNOW WHAT A BRUTE I WAS I DIPPED MY CIGARETTE AND RODE THE BUS VENGEANCE BUILT ME HASTILY AND I DRAGGED THE CLANGING NOTION I WAS NOBODY, NOBODY ...NOBODY ALL I HAD WAS MY INVENTION AND MY LOVE INVENTED ALL OF YOU OH, LOOK WHAT THOUGHTS CAN DO WHAT THOUGHTS CAN DO IF BY NOW YOU ARE NOT DEAD AND BURIED YOU ARE MOST CERTIFIABLY MARRIED, OH MARRIED I'M SURE YOU'RE SLEEPING SOUND WITH THE MISTRESS OF THE HOURS THE HOURS THAT GRIND YOUR LIFE TO DUST YOUR EASY LOVES YOU KEEP LIKE PETS DENIED THEM YOU ARE POWERLESS WHATEVER KEEPS YOU SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT I'M NOT THE MAN YOU THOUGH I WAS MY LOVE HAS NEVER LIVED INDOORS I'VE HAD TO DRAG IT HOME BY FORCE HIRED HOUNDS AT BOTH MY WRISTS DAMP AND BRUISED BY STRANGERS KISSES ON MY LIPS BUT YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I STILL MISS YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I STILL MISS AND IT'S RUTHLESS THAT IT COMES AS NO SURPRISE I'M NOT THE MAN YOU THINK I AM
6.
7.
OH BABY, WHY AM I WORRIED NOW? DID SOMEONE MAKE A FOOL OF ME BEFORE I COULD SHOW THEM HOW IT'S DONE? I CAN'T GIVE UP ACTING TOUGH IT'S ALL THAT I'M MADE OF CAN'T SCRAPE TOGETHER QUITE ENOUGH TO RIDE THE BUS TO THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE FACT THAT I NEED LOVE THERE WERE TIMES THAT I TRIED ONE FOR EVERY GLASS OF WATER THAT I SPILLED NEXT TO THE BED RETCHING PENNIES IN A BOILING WELL IN A DREAM THAT AT ONCE BECOMES A FOUNDRY OF MUTE AND HEAVY BELLS THEY SHAKE ME DEAF AND DUMB SAY SOMEONE MADE A FOOL OF ME ‘FORE I COULD SHOW THEM HOW IT'S DONE IT WAS SO CLEAR TO ME THAT IT WAS ALMOST INVISIBLE I LIE ACROSS THE PATH WAITING JUST FOR A CHANCE TO BE A SPIDER WEB TRAPPED IN YOUR LASHES FOR THAT, I WOULD TRADE YOU MY EMPIRE FOR ASHES BUT I CHOKE IT BACK, HOW MUCH I NEED LOVE
8.
Fever 03:15
IN AN OPEN FIELD AT DUSK TO FOOTFALLS I AWOKE MARCHING ANTS ACROSS MY TEMPLES, OH THEIR FEET HAD NO INTENTION THEY FOLLOWED SOME MAGNETIC DRUM PRISONERS OF THEIR DESTINATION FROM THE SLATS OF THE FACTORY COME WHERE ONCE THEY DID MAKE RAILS OLD DEATH'S PECULIAR SONGS HE DIDN'T KNOW I WAS LISTENING SO HE CROWED OUT NICE AND LONG TO THE SPIDERS AND THE LUMBER AND THE DUST OF HIS CONQUESTS AND HIS HUNGER, HIS LUST I HEARD HIS FEET REJOICE I HEARD HIM TAP HIS CANE AS IF HE HAD HIS OWN REVIEW ON STAGE AT THE ATHENAEUM I CAUGHT HIS WORDS WITH MY OPEN MOUTH I GAGGED AND CHOKED AND SPIT THEM OUT I HEARD HIM TURN AS HE DID HEAR MY TINY HEARTBEAT IN HIS EAR I WAS ALREADY RUNNING I HEARD HIM COMING SHRAPNEL SPITTING FROM HIS WHEELS HIS SCYTHING ARMS RAKE FOR MY HEELS I DOVE AND ROLLED AND HID MY FACE AND I SAID THESE MAGIC WORDS: "MY DOVE IS HOME, HER BREAST IS WARM, MY DOVE IS HOME" I SPOKE THESE MAGIC WORDS AND FELL DOWN, DOWN, THE ANTHILL FOR DAYS "MY DOVE IS HOME, HER BREAST IS WARM, MY DOVE IS HOME" "MY DOVE IS HOME, HER BREAST IS WARM, MY DOVE IS HOME"
9.
MAGPIE COMES A CALLING DROPS A MARBLE FROM THE SKY TIN ROOF SOUNDS ALARMING "WAKE UP CHILD" "LET THIS BE A WARNING" SAY THE MAGPIE TO THE MORNING DON'T LET THIS FADING SUMMER PASS YOU BY BLACK HANDS HELD SO HIGH THE VULTURE WHEELS AND DIVES SOMETHING ON THE THERMALS YANKED HIS CHAIN HE SMELLED YOUR BORING APEX ROTTING ON THE TRAIN TRACKS HE LAUGHED UNDER HIS BREATH BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT THAT YOU COULD OUTRUN SORROW TAKE YOUR OWN ADVICE THIS THUNDERING AND LIGHTNING GETS YOU RAIN YOU RUN AN AIRTIGHT MISSION A COUSTEAU EXPEDITION TO FIND A DIAMOND AT THE BOTTOM OF THE DRAIN MOCKING BIRD SINGS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT ALL HIS SONGS ARE STOLEN SO HE HIDES HE STOLE THEM OUT FROM WHIPPOORWILLS AND SCREAMING CAR ALARMS HE SINGS THEM FOR YOU SPECIAL HE KNOWS YOU'RE AFRAID OF THE DARK COME ON SORROW TAKE YOUR OWN ADVICE HIDE UNDER THE BED TURN OUT THE LIGHT THE STARS THIS NIGHT IN THE SKY ARE RINGING OUT YOU CAN ALMOST HEAR THEM SAYING "CLOSE YOUR EYES NOW KID" "CLOSE YOUR EYES NOW KID" "MORNINGS TEETH ARE LIT" THEY ARE WAITING
10.
YOU COULD SAY IT'S MY INSTINCT YES I STILL HAVE ONE I DON'T SECOND GUESS IT AND YES, THERE ARE THINGS THAT I'M STILL SO AFRAID OF... BUT MY COURAGE IS ROARING LIKE THE SOUND OF THE SUN CAUSE IT'S VAIN ABOUT IT'S MANE AND WILL REVEAL THEM TO NO ONE I'M AN ANIMAL, YOU'RE AN ANIMAL TOO PICK UP THAT ROCK, DRINK FROM THAT LAKE I DO MY BEST BUT I'M MADE OF MISTAKES AND THERE'S STILL A FEW THINGS THAT I'M SURE OF I LOVE YOU THIS HOUR, THIS HOUR TODAY AND HEAVEN WILL SMELL LIKE THE AIRPORT I MAY NEVER GET THERE TO PROVE IT BUT LET'S NOT WASTE OUR TIME THINKIN' HOW THAT AIN'T FAIR I'M AN ANIMAL, YOU'RE AN ANIMAL TOO
11.
Prison Girls 05:23
WHERE AM I TONIGHT? MY HOTEL ROOM WON'T REMEMBER ME AND THIS DREAM WILL DIE, DIE BY MORNING AND THIS DREAM WILL NOT REMEMBER ME AWAKENED BY A DRONING VOICE "I LOVE YOUR LONG SHADOWS AND YOUR GUN POWDER EYES"... IS IT A LADY? OR IS IT A MAN? HUMMING HELICOPTERS THROUGH THE BLADES OF A FAN I LOVE YOUR LONG SHADOWS AND YOUR GUN POWDER EYES I LOVE YOUR LONG SHADOWS AND YOUR GUN POWDER EYES ON MY FEET TO CHASE IT DOWN THE LIGHT SWITCH SPOOKS AND RUNS AWAY I STUMBLE BACK AND HIT THE FLOOR LONG SHADOWS CRAWL BENEATH THE DOOR TO A PASSAGE SO POORLY LIT THERE ARE MOTHS FLYING AWAY FROM IT WHO AM I TONIGHT? MY HOTEL ROOM WON'T REMEMBER ME FROM DARKNESS ENTER PRISON GIRLS PUSHING MOPS AND KICKING PAILS NOW'S MY CHANCE, I CLASP MY CHEST AND DECLARE UNTO MY AUDIENCE "I LOVE YOUR LONG SHADOWS AND YOUR GUN POWDER EYES" THE PRISON GIRLS ARE NOT IMPRESSED THE ONES WHO HAVE TO CLEAN THIS MESS THEY'VE TRADED MORE FOR CIGARETTES THAN I HAVE MANAGED TO EXPRESS FILING PAST MILES LONG MY CHEEK IS FROZEN TO THE FLOOR THE PRISON GIRLS HAVE FILLED THEIR BEDS THEIR THOUGHTS TO DRY ABOVE THEIR HEADS (I'LL WEAR THEM IN THE MORNING) I LOVE YOUR LONG SHADOWS AND YOUR GUNPOWDER EYES
12.
13.
The Pharaohs 03:33
WE WERE MARRIED IN THE MIRRORED HALL WHEN I WAS SIXTEEN YOU SPOKE THE WORDS "I LOVE GIRLS IN WHITE LEATHER JACKETS" THAT WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR LOVE IT WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME I LISTENED IN WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE ALONE CALLING THE SPHINX ON A TORNADO'S PHONE WHO KNOWS WHAT YOU MEANT? I ONLY HEARD WHAT I WANTED YOU SAID I WAS YOUR BLUE, BLUE BABY.....AND YOU WERE RIGHT YOU SAID I WAS YOUR BLUE, BLUE BABY.....AND YOU WERE RIGHT YOU WANDERED THE HALLS ALL THE NIGHT TIME MY BODY BURNED, MY LEGS ACHED BUT YOU NEVER CAME TO BED, YOU JUST LEFT ME THERE AWAKE YOU KEPT ME WANTING, WANTING, WANTING LIKE THE WANTING IN THE MOVIES AN THE HYMNS I WANT THE PHARAOHS BUT THERE’S ONLY MEN I WANT THE PHARAOHS BUT THERE’S ONLY ME YOU SAID I WAS YOUR BLUE, BLUE BABY.....AND YOU WERE RIGHT YOU SAID I WAS YOUR BLUE, BLUE BABY.....AND YOU WERE RIGHT
14.
Red Tide 02:36
THERE'S A SMELL HERE THAT STANDS MY HAIRS ON END DOG HAIR IN THE HEATER, GAS PUMPS AND CEDAR AND JACK KNIVES ON THE 9 AND SEA BIRDS CHOKED IN FISHING LINE THE CLOUDS SAY HUSH BUT THE CHAINSAWS MUSH ON THROUGH CUSTER AND COLUMBIA SALTY TENTACLES SHRINK IN THE SUN BUT THE RED TIDE IS OVER THE MOLLUSKS THEY HAVE WON THERE'S A SMELL HERE OF GRAVEL AND CIGARETTES LIT WHEN THE MATCH MADE THEM SWEET WHEN THE ENGINE TURNED OVER AND BEAT UP OUR STREET OH, THAT WAS A DAY TO REMEMBER I REMEMBER BECAUSE OF THE FIRES THAT LEFT FROM THE CAVES OF THE THINGS THAT HAVE NOT HAPPENED YET WHEN I THINK OF THEM NOW THEY SMELL TO ME QUITE SINISTER I WANT TO GO BACK AND DIE AT THE DRIVE-IN DIE BEFORE STRANGERS CAN SAY "I HATE THE RAIN" "I HATE THE RAIN"
15.

credits

released March 3, 2009

Thanks a’ hoy to all of you! Thank you for listening!
Thanks to all the kind and talented musicians who took the time to help out.
I love you!

Thanks to Harvey at Rainbow and Pete Weiss in Vermont for loaning me gear.
Big thanks also to James Ogilvie for home-made music box inspiration.

All drawings and photos by Neko except the old ones whose copyrights have died…
-photos of Neko by Jason “Sandy” Creps, make-up by Erin “E-Dog” Collins
-owl photo courtesy of Robert Myers-
“Middle Cyclone” photo courtesy of Lewis Stillwell
-paintings by Amy Casey – amycaseypainting.com
Art put together by Judge + Neko
www.nekocase.com

Amy Lombardi at Beekeeper Corp in Chicago is my manager and helps me out in every way. Thank you Amy!
Ali Hedrick at the Billions Corp. of Chicago is my booking agent. She does an amazing job. Just please don’t ask her to try and get me to play your wedding. No offense. www.billions.com
Legal – I own all the songs I wrote and they are protected by copyright law. My lawyer is not to be trifled with and will most definitely sue you. I won’t be able to stop him, so if you get something in the mail from Goldring, Hertz, & Lichtenstein, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I, Neko Case, acted alone in the creation of this album, except when I recruited the help of these folks…
I have veto power because I paid for this recording, which technically makes me the “executive producer”, but that’s kind of a bullshit term because everyone involved contributed to the sound of this recording. For example: Darryl Neudorf and I mixed it together at “The Woodshed” in Toronto, and “Operation Northwoods” in Mono, Ontario. We had a great deal of help from Chris Shreenan – Dyck at The Woodshed. The bed tracks and countless overdubs were recorded at Wavelab in Tucson, AZ by Craig Schumacher, Chris Schultz, and Nick Luca. They were great! And lucky for me lots of vocals were done at Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn with Phil Palazzolo, who also recorded the piano orchestra in my barn with help from Ryan Boyles. Dan at Wall to Wall in Chicago also recorded Kelly and Nora’s pretty singing. Mitch at Batty Steer in Mono Center, Ont. also recorded some additional vocals on short notice. Thank you all! And also the ladies at Starfish Entertainment for taking such care in all they do. Also to Brendan for putting us up! Good folks! Big hearts!
Mastering was done by the mighty Peter Moore at the E Room in Toronto, as usual!
My good looking band are:
Kelly Hogan, Barry Mirochnick, Jon Rauhouse, Tom V. Ray, Paul Rigby, and let’s not forget Judge.

The piano orchestra are:
Kathryn Calder, Neko Case, John Collins, Garth Hudson, Blaine Thurier, Paul Rigby and Ryan Boyles.

Carolyn Mark Esq. appears courtesy of Mint Records, Kurt Heasley courtesy 3TA, Carl Newman courtesy Matador, as do John Collins, Kathryn Calder and Blaine Thurier, Joey Burns courtesy Quarterstick Records, and so does John Convertino! Howe Gelb courtesy Yep Roc, Sarah Harmer courtesy Rounder/ Cold Snap/ Universal Canada, Nora O’Connor courtesy Bloodshot, Steve Berlin courtesy of Los Lobos! Yeah! And last, but first, M Ward courtesy of Merge.

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