For her first album in over a decade, Kelly Hogan called in some favors. The Wisconsin-based singer-songwriter, who has toured and collaborated with close friends including Neko Case, Andrew Bird and Wilco, spent two years amassing a collection of songs penned exclusively for I Like to Keep Myself in Pain, a lilting display of rootsy folk-pop. The album features songs written by, among others, M. Ward, the Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt and the late Vic Chesnutt.
Calling on fellow musicians was the idea of Anti- label boss Andy Kaulkin, who paired up Mavis Staples with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy for 2010's You Are Not Alone. Yet it was only after sending out approximately 40 song-request letters to her talented peers that Hogan suddenly marveled at her impressive Rolodex, as she tells Rolling Stone: "I was like, 'Damn, I've worked with a ton of awesome people!'" she says, chuckling. "I wanted to call the record I'm Not Worthy."
Hogan was soon in for another surprise. Last April, upon arriving at L.A.'s famed EastWest studios – the same site at which the Beach Boys recorded 1966's Pet Sounds – she was greeted by an all-star band that included Booker T. Jones and Dap-Kings founder Gabriel Roth. "It was a mind-blowing, crazy, baseball-fantasy-camp type of thing," she says of the five-day recording process, which spawned 15 songs. "I thought I was being punk'd!"
I Like to Keep Myself in Pain will be available June 5th, but you can download "Plant White Roses" now.