Kelly Hogan, I Like to Keep Myself in Pain – My now-wife and I used to see Neko Case at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia pretty often back before she graduated to larger venues. At one show, she was accompanied by her friends and compatriots Carolyn Mark and Kelly Hogan, each great performers in their own right. They’re both primarily country artists, but while Mark’s work tends to be upbeat and comical, Hogan prefers sad songs. I Like to Keep Myself in Pain is Hogan’s first album in more than ten years, but the style is much the same as on earlier ones. Her voice is what really makes the performances. Songs on the album are written by a variety of musicians, some of them pretty famous in certain circles. The titular song is by Robyn Hitchcock, although I can’t say it sounds like his work. I guess that shows his versatility. Hogan’s frequent collaborator Jon Langford contributed the catchy “Haunted,” and “Golden” is Hogan’s own composition. And as a fan of Hogan’s earlier cover of the Magnetic Fields’ “Papa Was a Rodeo,” I appreciate that she covered another song of theirs on this record. “Plant White Roses” was originally released on vinyl versions of the band’s first album, Distant Plastic Trees, but for some reason didn’t make it to the compact disc. Last year’s Obscurities included a re-recorded version of the song, and this year we get Hogan’s excellent cover.
By the way, Hogan has both a Twitter and a Tumblr that I recommend, and I’m not just saying that because she’s replied to me before. Check them out!