Tag Archive for 'Calexico'

The It’s Time to Play B-Sides Top 20 Albums of 2015

Top 20

We’ve made it through another year of music. 2015 was another year of the music industry trying to figure out the future. Heavy hitters like Taylor Swift and Adele removed their music from online streaming services like Spotify– which might be interpreted as an ego move on both parts. Jay-Z’s Tidal enjoyed a bit of press due to Prince releasing two albums exclusively on it, though I still don’t know anyone who is using it.  Adele’s last-quarter release of her much-anticipated 25 album has just surpassed 5 million copies sold. There is a lot of debate about the significance of this as it applies to the general health of the industry. Ultimately, though, I don’t think you can use this as any kind of barometer– certainly not an indicator of “rebounding.”  One thing is for certain, though, her 50+ date tour in 2016 will be the top grossing.

In other re-warmed news, a reformed Grateful Dead with Trey Anastasio as “Jerry” played some high-grossing shows in LA and Chicago showing that baby boomers and Gen X’ers are willing to shell out lots of money to recapture even a brief glimpse of their youth. The shows seemed like a fitting celebration of 50 years and a kind of closure to the promise of the remainder of the band getting back together. The following “Dead and Friends” tour with John Mayer as “Jerry” has been benefiting from the exposure and in my opinion are an improved version of the Dead. His vocals and guitar work are top-notch and add a real polish to the proceedings.

Looking this list over, it shows that I spent most of 2015 listening to local artists. Iowa has really been stepping up its game for music and we’ve got some of the best music around. There were a lot of notable releases outside of Iowa, but I just didn’t find myself putting any of them on repeat. It says a lot– you don’t have to go far from your back yard to get world-class music.

Looking over other Best of Lists, I see some albums that I listened to and thought were good, but they just didn’t stick with me: The Decemberists – What A Wonderful World, What A Terrible World, Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell, Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear, Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly, Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color.

Here is the list in no particular order–

Dickie – Self Titled : Dick Prall moved back to Iowa and started a new project with Kristina Priceman crafting a wonderful string-wrapped package of retro-inspired pop rock. Somewhere between the Beatles, Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly sits this collection of autobiographical songs with heart.

Younger – Self Titled : This one from the new Iowa City band Younger was a late discovery for me, but no less brillant. Former members of The Wandering Bears and Emperors Club have put out a Riot Grrl-ish album that people are drawing comparisons to The Breeders and Bikini Kill. To me it sounds more like Pylon and Throwing Muses. In any event, a fantastic record that I’ll be spinning a lot in 2016, I expect.

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit : Yep. More edgy Riot Grrlish rawk. On almost everyone’s list for 2015.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – Self Titled : I’ve been a fan of Nathaniel Rateliff ever since I saw him on the Daytrotter Barnstormer shows back in 2010 along with Delta Spirit. I’m a sucker for his well-crafted folk albums to date, but his transformation into an R&B powerhouse and seeing the nearly-universal embrace of it is pretty unexpected. Fantastic record and the return of Stax Records!

Holy White Hounds – Sparkle Sparkle : Des Moines band Holy White Hounds are gaining momentum by word of mouth. These guys make some pretty fantastic rock coupled with a great live show. Kind of 90’s throwback metal/grunge reinvented for the new century.

Phil Cook – Southland Mission : Hiss Golden Messenger sideman, member of Megafaun, producer and all-around great guy Phil Cook releases his first solo album with him singing. Due to a stupid security issue at Eaux Claires Festival this year, I missed his set, though it’s on YouTube. Rootsy, bluesy gospel-influenced boogie rock. I could put this album on every day and it puts the same dumb grin on my face every time.

Tom Jessen – Hunting Season : Former Iowa musician Tom Jessen released his first album in years– and that pent-up potential created what has to be the best snapshot of current American dystopia ever. Pretty damn fantastic portrait of how fucked up things are. LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM.

Charlie Parr – Stumpjumper : Speaking of Phil Cook, he produced the latest album from Minnesota retro blues and folk historian Charlie Parr. He was picked up by Red House Records which is a good home for him. This is the first album he’s done with a full band and the fleshing out of his sound really benefits the proceedings. “Over The Red Cedar” gives me goosebumps every time I play it.

Calexico – Edge of the Sun : Calexico tends to swing back and forth between full-on Latin-influenced albums and albums that lean a little more towards Americana-rock. This one ends up being more the latter. For me, I welcome the changes the band goes through– continually pushing the identity of what Calexico is.

Ryan Adams – 1989 : I did listen to this one a lot as soon as it appeared. It’s a really great album, but it seems like it is just an extension of last years self titled release– which isn’t bad at all. I like it, but I just about didn’t include it on the list because, for me anyway, Ryan Adams is a complete musician and songwriter, so I prefer to have more complete work rather than covers. I suppose some of this feeling is due to my relative unawareness of Taylor Swift’s blockbuster album it’s based on.

Dagmar – Afterlight : I can’t say enough about this Iowa duo. Atmospheric and sublime harmonies with unique counterpoint and rhythm. Jawdroppingly gorgeous album– somewhere between Philip Glass and Sufjan Stevens sits this baroque choral folk.

Pieta Brown – Drifters EP : The “lost” tracks from 2014’s fantastic Paradise Outlaw album. Brown is using this to launch her own “underground” imprint Lustre Records. Includes a remix from Justin Vernon!

The Pines – Pasture: Folk Songs EP : A kind of surprise drop from The Pines this year in the form of an EP of covers from Joe Price, Mance Lipscomb, Iris Dement, Mason Jennings & Greg Brown. No new ground broken here, but is a tribute to the songs that The Pines have included in their sets over the years.

Jim Viner’s Incredible B3 Band – COMANGO! : Jim Viner– Iowa drummer extrordinaire– assembled a collection of musician friends to create a retro B3-driven album with influences from The Meters and Booker T and the MGs. A really fun album that recalls the pre-Diplomette-vocals days of The Diplomats of Solid Sound. Destined to be part of the soundtrack to a cable TV show near you!

Kamasi Washington – The Epic – If I have any complaint about this sprawling masterpiece of Jazz, it’s that it can’t reasonably be digested in one sitting. But, if you’re willing to dedicate the time, this album is impressive in its diversity. I consider myself a fan of Jazz, but I don’t listen to much contemporary Jazz as I haven’t found much that really keeps my attention. I hope this signals a new generation of jazz artists who are willing to explore and innovate.

Thundercat – The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam – Thundercat works with Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington, and all three worked on the Kendrick Lamar album How To Pimp A Butterfly — noted for its adventuresome approach to the music. His short album (16 minutes, but Flying Lotus said it’s an album, not an EP) from this year featured him front-and-center singing and leading most of the music with his jazz and funk bass riffs.

Aero Flynn – Self Titled – Justin Vernon raves about Josh Scott as a songwriter. After a lot of years not performing music, he comes back with Aero Flynn. Atmospheric and swirling it sounds like a distant cousin of Radiohead when they made more straightforward songs (OK Computer, maybe).

Beth Bombara – Self Titled – Beth is back with her most polished and accomplished record to date. She continues her shuffling, pining folk and country. Dusty and awesome.

Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free : Brilliant record– literary and scenic songwriting. Isbell continues to impress with one of the great records from this year– almost unanimously agreed.

Lyrics Born – Real People – Lyric Born has never been shy to work with live band. He did one tour with a full band behind him (documented on the Overnite Encore Live album), he contributed vocals to the 2007 Galactic album From the Corner to the Block. His new album Real People includes members of Galactic as well as a who’s who of New Orleans musicians including Ivan Neville, Corey Henry, Trombone Shorty, the Revivalists’ David Shaw and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Typically upbeat and tongue in cheek the album is a funk overload. Great record– not sure why more people aren’t calling it out (see what I did there?).

B-Sides in the Bins #59 – Moondog Music and Mail Orders Week of 9/21/2013

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these. I guess it’s because I tend to post about individual albums via other social media outlets like my Instagram which cross-posts to Twitter and Facebook. But, this week had a lot of new additions to the collection, so I thought I’d collect them for the blog.

I was in Dubuque yesterday helping with some wireless network issues at the family business so I thought I’d run over to one of my favorite record stores, Moondog Music. I had intended to pick up the new sophomore release from Justin Vernon’s (Bon Iver) collaboration band with members of Collections of Colonies of Bees Volcano Choir. Titled Repave, it’s a more cohesive release than their first album. Even though Vernon is the frontman in this band, it isn’t exactly Bon Iver part 2. More direct rock on this album and less vocoder falsetto vocals. I was also hoping that the vinyl version of Wise Up Ghost by Elvis Costello and The Roots would maybe be in the bins ahead of this Tuesday’s release.

Moondog had Repave for $19.99, but they didn’t have Wise Up Ghost on LP (they did have the CD). I had Volcano Choir in hand and was going to buy it until I started digging through the used and came up with a few surprises!

The Smiths – Louder Than Bombs (2 LP, Sire Records, 1987) ($19.98) WOW! On my wish list for YEARS. Really nice and clean copy of this album, which is probably my favorite Smiths album even though it’s technically a compilation of non-album singles. Initially, this was a US-only release used as a way to bring these tracks stateside. The UK had a couple of singles comps on Rough Trade– The World Won’t Listen and Hatful of Hollow— and Louder than Bombs was the vehicle to bring some of those tracks here. UK Smiths fans being what they are, they started importing this release to the UK, so Rough Trade ended up releasing this over there which solidified its position as a regular catalog release.

My friend Julie in college turned me on to both the Smiths and Depeche Mode letting me borrow The Queen Is Dead and Black Celebration— bands very different from my jangly guitar preferences at the time. I distinctly remember buying Louder Than Bombs and Def Leppard’s Hysteria on the same day on cassette. Odd to think that these albums are both from 1987!

The Smiths – Rank (LP, Sire Records, 1988) ($14.98) And, as soon as I get into the band, they break up… Bombs was released in March of 1987, the Smiths’ final studio album Strangeways Here We Come was released in September, 1987 and by that time the band had officially split up. I have the entire studio releases of the Smiths on cassette and CD plus Bombs on cassette and CD and Hatful of Hollow on CD (it was in a used bin otherwise I wouldn’t have picked this up as I consider it to be redundant). When Rank came out in September of 1988, I had pretty much moved on as far as paying attention to new releases and I didn’t think a live album was essential. I still haven’t listened to it, but will. The recording is a distillation from a BBC-1 live concert from 1986. The album was released as a contractural obligation. I decided to buy this because it is rare to find any Smiths in used bins around here and the new 180g Rhino reissues of the Smiths catalog are $35 which is pretty steep for my budget, so I’ll continue to keep an eye on the bins to complete my Smiths collection.

Gift of Gab – Escape 2 Mars (LP, Cornerstone Recording Arts Society/Quannum, 2009)($16.98) An unexpected find– the R&B and Hip-Hop selection at Moondog is usually very thin. I’ve been building my Quannum/Solesides vinyl collection lately– lots of gaps since I had really been focusing on CD’s up until five years ago. That said, I didn’t have this on CD either. Gift of Gab is more recognized as the MC for Blackalicious– his effort with producer Chief Xcel,  but has had a run of solo work that is notable. We listen to 4th Dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up quite a bit in the house, so I imagine that this release will be as good– I totally slept on this release so it will be good to get caught up.

Spoon – Transference (LP, Merge Records, 2010)($9.98) While I was digging through the used section I saw a whole bunch of nearly-new indie releases. Looked like they were opened and maybe played once? Some Sundazed releases, a few Sub Pop releases all for under $10. I didn’t find out what the story was on those, but I picked a couple of great ones including this one from Spoon. Transference wasn’t as good as Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, but still pretty great. I remember listening to this a lot in the car in early Winter 2010. We had a major car breakdown that had Sherry and I commuting together in one car for a few weeks– she was getting her Professional Makeup training so I’d drop her off in the morning and pick her up at night.

Sebadoh – Bakesale (LP, Sub Pop Records, 1994/2011 Remaster)($7.98) Another of the mysterious “new” LP’s in the used bins at Moondog. A grey marbled vinyl release as part of the reissue campaign for the Sebadoh catalog. I loved this album when it came out– I listened to it repeatedly. In 1994, I was working in Dubuque at the time and I think living with my parents following a failed cohabitiation with a girlfriend. I was on the road installing computer systems in the Midwest and East, with a lot of road time, so my CD’s were constant companions. Brilliantly flawed but accessible album. At the time I definately thought that Sebadoh was a better band than Dinosaur Jr was (the band that Lou Barlow used to be in with J Macsis). I’m really happy to have this in my collection– I need to pick up the Harmacy reissue as well.

A really great haul from Moondog Music! While I was there they were playing the new album from Iggy Pop and the Stooges titled Ready to Die which sounded pretty good, may need to check that out.

In the mail this week:

Calexico – Ancienne Belgique Vol. 2 (2 LP, Our Soil, Our Strength, ) OSOS9, 2013)($20 + shipping) 2012 and 2013 has been a year of many releases from Calexico— the brilliant Algiers came out in September of 2011 which included a live album titled Spiritoso if you ordered the box set. This eventually came out as a numbered release for Record Store Day in April in the US. Soon after that the band put out a 2 LP live sequel to Ancienne Belgique (which got the vinyl treatment as part of the Road Atlas box set as well).  Then they announced a Europe tour-only 5-track EP of covers titled Maybe on Monday.  My copy of Ancienne Belgique Vol. 2 delivered this week. I had pre-ordered it in June (I think). They were supposed to have copies of this on tour, but they weren’t done in time for the Iowa City show. (I was out of town and missed that show anyway). Another really nice addition to my growing Calexico collection.

Arcade Fire (as The Reflecktors) – Reflektor 12″ (12″, Sono Vox/Merge Records, MRG484, 2013) ($8.99, free shipping) Merge put some copies of Arcade Fire’s mysterious “Reflektor” single in their online store. Released under the pseudonym The Reflektors, it was timed with the announcement of the album and single of the same name on September 9th at 9PM (9/9/9). Lots of speculation and rumor about the announcement leading up to the time and an accurate leak of the song the day before. The 45 RPM 12″ has the full version of the song and an instrumental version on the flipside. The song was produced by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and features guest vocals by none other than David Bowie. It’s a pretty decent song and apparently points to the direction of the new album due out October 29th as being, in the words of Win Butler as a “mashup of Studio 54 and Haitian Voodoo.” (S.I.C.)

I also received four of the Daytrotter split LP’s this week, including the amazing Gary Clark Jr. split with Son House, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. We’re up to 13 of 14 of the preorders shipped (still waiting on the Maine one which is #13) I got the PHOX one ordered and will order the Tegan and Sara one in the next couple of weeks.

(Upcoming Release) Calexico – Spiritoso LP – Record Store Day Release

spiritoso

In the list for the Record Store Day 2013 (April 20, 2013) releases I noticed under LP’s that there will be a LP + CD release of Spiritoso by Calexico. The notes say that this was originally available only as a vinyl release on tour. While I’m not sure about that, it was part of the special box set release of Algiers— Calexico’s most recent album release. Here is what City Slang (Calexico’s European label who put out the box set) said about it:

Spiritoso [is] a full album of superb live recordings from two shows in Vienna and Potsdam [last] summer, with full symphonic orchestras. Here’s the tracklisting:

1. Frontera /Trigger *
2. Epic **
3. The News About William **
4. Black Heart **
5. Minas de Cobre **
6. Inspiracion **
7. Two Silver Trees **
8. Para *
9. Quattro (World Drifts In) **
10. Crystal Frontier **
11. The Vanishing Mind *
12. Fortune Teller **

* Live with the Radio Symphonic Orchestra Vienna
** Live with the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg

Here is a video of “Para” with the Radio Symphonic Orchestra Vienna.

Calexico is normally a band with a very complex sound, but having them backed by a symphony is a whole new experience as you can tell from the video above. If you didn’t order or missed out on the box set that included this– here is your 2nd chance!

(Upcoming Release) New Calexico Tour-Only Release : Anceinne Belgique Vol 2

John Convertino of Calexico holding the vinyl LP of the new Ancienne Belgique Volume 2

John Convertino of Calexico holding the vinyl LP of the new Ancienne Belgique Vol 2

This morning via their Facebook Page, Calexico announced that they will be selling CD’s and vinyl of a new tour-only live release titled Anceinne Belgique Vol 2. 

Hey Everyone we have a new tour only album for sale. It’s a live recording from the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels this past September 2012 featuring new songs off of the album “Algiers” as well as some old songs too. Mixed by Craig Schumacher and mastered by Jim Blackwood, it is available on CD and as a double LP on vinyl. Here’s John with a copy hot off the press. We have copies on tour.

This is volume 2, because Calexico released the first album back in 2009 of their October 2008 show, which was also a tour-only release. I wrote about it here. The first volume also got a vinyl treatment in the amazing Road Atlas Box Set of their previously CD-only tour releases. That box is out-of-print and really scarce. I wrote about the Road Atlas Box here, and made a nifty 32-minute mix of tracks from it as a freely-downloadable mp3.

The band will have copies with them on tour— currently underway in Europe and running until March 3rd. In response to all of the people commenting on the post that they wanted to buy it and couldn’t see them on their current tour of Europe, they said that they will have copies in the band’s website store “hopefully soon.” The band helpfully provided me with the tracklisting:

01. Epic
02. Splitter
03. Para
04. Dead Moon
05. El Picador
06. Sinner in the Sea
07. No Te Vayas
08. Maybe on Monday
09. Corona
10. Hush
11. Close Behind
12. Puerto
13. The Vanishing Mind
14. Güero Canelo

 

New Calexico Album – “Algiers” Out on New Label Anti- on September 11th

Back in April, I announced that Calexico would be releasing their first album since 2008’s Carried To Dust. Yesterday, the band announced the details around the new album as well as tour dates.

The album will be called Algiers, and will be released by their new US label Anti- Records as well as their long-time European label City Slang.

Along with this announcement is a pre-order for a very elaborate German boxset for $99, which includes Algiers on 180g vinyl with tip on and embossed cover, 2 CD (includes a bonus CD) digipack, a photo book, a screen print of the cover art, a sticker and an exclusive live performance on 180g vinyl. If that wasn’t enough, there is a download of three bonus tracks! Calexico did a great job with the vinyl boxset of the tour-only albums, so it’s great to see they are continuing to cater to the vinyl collectors!

Algiers Tracklist:

  1. Epic – 4:16
  2. Splitter – 3:30
  3. Sinner in the Sea – 4:14
  4. Fortune Teller – 3:57
  5. Para – 3:53
  6. Algiers – 3:42
  7. Maybe on Monday – 3:37
  8. Puerto – 4:23
  9. Better and Better – 2:33
  10. No Te Vayas – 4:15
  11. Hush – 4:22
  12. The Vanishing Mind – 3:54
Here is the first track from Algiers, “Para” (and you can download it):

Here is the video for “Para” directed by Jack Spiger:

In conjunction with this release is a fall tour with extensive European dates (from Casa de Calexico)

Date City Venue Country
08/04/12 Montreal, QC Osheaga Festival Canada
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09/14/12 Cologne E-Werk Germany
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09/15/12 Groningen TakeRoot Festival Netherlands
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09/16/12 Paris Le Trianon France
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09/18/12 London ATP Festival United Kingdom
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09/19/12 Brussels Ancienne Belgique Belgium
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09/20/12 Darmstadt Centralstation Germany
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09/21/12 Zurich Volkshaus Switzerland
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09/22/12 Vienna Wiener Konzerthaus Austria
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09/23/12 Berlin Huxleys Neue Welt Germany
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09/25/12 Hamburg Grosse Freiheit 36 Germany
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09/26/12 Copenhagen Vega Denmark
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09/27/12 Oslo Rockefeller Music Hall Norway
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09/28/12 Stockholm Berns Sweden
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09/29/12 Gothenburg Pusterviksbaren Sweden
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09/30/12 Malmö KB Kulturbolaget Sweden
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11/09/12 Madrid Teatro Kapital Spain
Address: Atocha 125BUY TICKETS
11/10/12 San Sebastian Teatro Victoria Eugenia Spain
Address: Paseo de la República Argentina, 2 20004.
11/11/12 Barcelona Apolo Spain
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11/12/12 Montpellier Rockstore France
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11/13/12 Milan Alcatraz Italy
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11/14/12 Bologna Estragon Italy
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11/15/12 Basel Volkshaus Basel Switzerland
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11/16/12 Leipzig Werk 2 Germany
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11/17/12 Wangles Rolling Stone Weekender Festival Germany
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11/18/12 Wiesbaden Schlachthof Germany
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11/20/12 Luxemburg Den Atelier Germany
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11/21/12 Amsterdam Paradiso Netherlands
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11/22/12 Rennes Le Carré Sévigné France
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11/23/12 Massy Espace Paul B France
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11/24/12 Strasbourg La Laiterie Artefact France
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11/26/12 Linz Posthof Linz Austria
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11/27/12 Zagreb Tvornica Kulture Croatia
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11/28/12 Salzburg Republic Austria
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11/29/12 Munich Muffathalle Germany
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New Calexico Album Due in Early September 2012!

Thanks to a post in the Yahoo Casa de Calexico group and thanks to my multi-lingual friend Brian at work, we find out from a posting on their European management’s site that Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico have started work on a new album — their first new studio release since their 2008 album on Quarterstick Carried to Dust. The album is due out on City Slang (Calexico’s European label) in the early part of September.

Here is a rough translation of the first part of the press release:

After a several-year break due to changes in their private lives,  the two leaders of [Calexico] are hard at work in the studio on new material. In fall 2012 Calexico will be back with a new album and two European tours.

The new album by the band appears in early September on City Slang; directly after the album release the band will play the first [of the two] European tours.

This is pretty exciting news! It will be interesting to see where they take the new album stylistically. Although it is true that they took a break from Calexico, they have been pretty busy since 2008. They have worked with Amos Lee on his last album, Iron and Wine on the “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” contribution to the Twilight soundtrack, and the wonderful vinyl box set of their tour releases Road Atlas as well as a bunch of other work that I’m probably forgetting.

Watch my site for any updates as the story progresses! Here’s hoping for a U.S. tour!

(Upcoming Release) Calexico Maps Alternate History in “Road Atlas” Vinyl Box Set Out 11/22/11

 

The dusty desert highway of Tuscon-native band Calexico’s 15-year career is dotted with a notable collection of passionate Latin infused Americana (for lack of another general category to place them). While the band may not be familiar to most, their music shows up in many places– from interstitial music in NPR to movie soundtracks and in their many collaborations (including one fantastic album with The Iron and Wine). If only for these works, Calexico will stand as one of the important and influential American bands.

Along this same highway of releases are the roadside attractions of Calexico’s self-released albums. These generally “tour-only” albums were released under Calexico’s own imprint Our Soil, Our Strength and served sometimes as a clearing house of studio demos and projects that didn’t make it to other albums, live albums or other experiments. Ironically, maybe, it was through one of these albums that I was first exposed to Calexico. Someone posted the instrumental collection Travelall as mp3’s on the internet newsgroup alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 which left me initially of the opinion that Calexico was an instrumental post-rock similar to Tortoise. (I didn’t know it at the time, but Travelall has Thrill Jockey artists Rob Mazurek (Isotope 217, Chicago Underground), Doug McCombs (Tortoise, Brokeback, etc.), and Noel Kupersmith (Brokeback, Chicago Underground Quartet) on it which lends some weight to that idea).

This misconception was quickly dismissed with the 2006 release of Garden Ruin which quickly made me a fan of the band and motivated me to get all of their albums, including the tour-only releases which were all limited releases and quickly fell out of print, so I had to resort to Amazon and eBay to track the ones down I couldn’t get from the band’s website and from the band during the Garden Ruin tour. All of these releases are essential to the fan of Calexico, as they provide valuable insight to the band’s creative workouts. Not forced into an album format that would have appeal to a more casual listener, we are treated to a much richer view into the true heart of the band which include an audio treasure trove of atmospheric instrumentals, audio experiments, home demos, live performances, one-off collaborations and outtakes.

After the announcement of Touch and Go/Quarterstick records– Calexico’s US label– in early 2009 that they would stop distribution of albums for a while I was concerned about the future of the band’s releases. The label managed to squeak the brilliant Carried to Dust in 2008, but that wasn’t the last release from the band– they put out the live album Live at Ancienne Belgique in 2009 on their own label, and produced the soundtracks to the documentary Circo, and the soundtrack to Don Cheadle-Brendan Gleeson Irish crime flick The Guard.

So, you can imagine my excitement hearing that Calexico is releasing a vinyl box set titled Road Atlas 1998-2011. Encased in a cloth hardbound box and limited to 1,100 hand-numbered sets, Road Atlas 1998-2011 collects the tour-only releases, plus the aforementioned live release and the Circo soundtrack as well as a 40-page book by music journalist Fred Mills. In addition to the 12-LP’s, the box will include mp3-downloads of all the tracks, PLUS BONUS other unreleased music not found on the LP’s or the band’s regular releases! Here is the breakdown:

ROAD ATLAS 1998-2011
Limited Edition Hand Numbered 12 LP vinyl boxset of Calexico’s tour only CDs
Includes:
98-99 Road Map LP (originally released on CD 1999)
Travelall LP (originally released on CD 2000)
Aerocalexico 2xLP (originally released on CD 2001)
Scraping 2xLP (originally released on CD 2002)
The Book And The Canal 2xLP (originally released on CD 2005)
Toolbox LP (originally released on CD 2007)
Ancienne Belgique-Live in Brussels 2008 2xLP (originally released on CD 2008)
Circo- A Soundtrack By Calexico LP (originally released on CD 2010)
MP3 download codes for all the albums
MP3 download code for previously unreleased Calexico tracks
A 40-page perfect bound book of photos, handwritten notes, and extensive liner notes
A heavy duty, linen wrapped, screen-printed slip case to house it all!

Priced at around $130, the box will be available via the band’s website, Touch and Go, Amazon and Insound.com. For those that don’t want to drop that kind of cash, there is also a great compilation CD of tracks from the box available as well.

I created a special 32-minute mix of tracks from the box to get you in the mood including these tracks:

“Hushabye” from Aerocalexico
“Ghost Writer” from The Book and the Canal
“Waitomo” from Toolbox
“Escrito En La Piedra” from Circo
“Two Silver Trees” from Anceinne Belgique – Live in Brussels 2008
“Dona Lupe” from Circo
“Chachaca” from Travelall
“Griptape” from The Book and the Canal
“Wind Up Bird” from Scraping
“Glowing Heart of the World” from 98-99 Road Map

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ROAD ATLAS MIX – A MIX BY PLAYBSIDES.COM

(Upcoming Show) Cordero Brings Their Rock en Espanol to Landfall Music Festival in Cedar Rapids, IA 9/24/2010

picture by Cody Ranaldo

The Landfall Music Festival starts this week. The Landfall Music Festival is the Legion Arts’ World Music festival that has taken place since 2008. Like last year, the festival will take place at Greene Square Park in downtown Cedar Rapids. Boasting 16 bands from all around the globe, it will run from Wednesday, September 22 to Saturday, September 25.  There will not be any performances at CSPS as it is under construction due to remodeling.

One of the bands I’m looking forward to see is Cordero from Brooklyn, NY. Cordero is a Rock/Latin Rock band fronted by Ani Cordero.  Following a very busy run touring in a blur indie bands– including a stint as the drummer Tweety Tone for Man Or Astroman? all-girl “clone” band the Gamma Clones— she moved to Tucson for a brief time. With help from Tucson music scene regulars Howe Gelb of Giant Sand, Joey Burns of Calexico, Naim Amor of Amor Belhoum Duo she self-released her first album Deserter in 2000. Shortly on the heels of this she moved to Brooklyn to assemble what would become Cordero, the band. The band signed to  Amy Ray of Indigo Girls record label Daemon Records where they released two albums: 2002’s Lamb Lost in the City and 2004’s Somos Cordero.

In 2006 Cordero signed with Bloodshot Records (home of Alejandro Escovedo, Neko Case, Split Lip Rayfield and Ha Ha Tonka among many others). They have released two albums here: 2006’s En Este Momento and 2008’s De Donde Eres. Up until De Donde Eres, the releases from Cordero have been largely bilingual– in an interview around the release of En Este Momento, Ani said that she is comfortable writing in either Spanish or English. To that end, she said that she doesn’t even plan which language she’s going to write a particular song in. With De Donde Eres the whole album was in Spanish. Ani found that writing this album in her native tongue a catharsis following a string of unfortunate events in her life and those around her. The result is a particularly moving album and possibly her most personal effort to date.

Ani reports from the Cordero Facebook page that they have finished recording the follow-up to De Donde Eres. Produced by Sergio Eres of the venerable Os Mutantes, Cordero has left some hints about the album in the wall feed. Back in March, Ani reported that she had just returned from Las Vegas with material recorded there as well as some field recordings from Puerto Rico– so we can expect some interesting texture to these recordings.

Cordero will be finishing up the Friday night lineup of the Landfall Music Festival starting at 7:30PM. The Landfall Music Festival does not have a cover charge– but graciously accepts donations.

Cordero, “Ruleta Rusa” from Bloodshot Records on Vimeo.

Click Here to visit Cordero’s Website

Click Here to visit Cordero’s MySpace page

Click Here to visit Cordero’s Facebook page

Click Here to listen to “Ruleta Rusa” from De Donde Eres.

The Landfall Music Festival Schedule is: (borrowed from the Legion Arts Website)

Wed Sep 22 Dragon Knights, various times
Barbara Furtuna (France), 6-7:15 pm *
Mahala Rai Banda (Romania), 7:15-8:45 pm
Thu Sep 23 Dragon Knights, various times
Red Baraat (India / USA), 6-7:15 pm
Barbara Furtuna (France), 6:45-8 pm *
Cimmarón (Colombia), 7:30-8:45 pm
Fri Sept 24 Kenge Kenge (Kenya), 6-7:15 pm
Portico Quartet (England), 6:45-8 pm *
Cordero (Mexico / USA), 7:30-8:45 pm
Sat Sept 25 Turkana (Turkey / USA), 1:35-2:45 pm
Salaam (Iraq / USA), 2-3:15 pm *
Calle Sur (Colombia / Panama / USA), 4-5:15 pm
Zedashe Ensemble (Georgia), 5:30-6:45 pm
Salaam (Iraq / USA), 6:30-7:45 pm *
Nation Beat (Brazil / USA), 7-8:15 pm
The Sway Machinery (USA), 8:30-9:45 pm
Performances marked * take place in First Presbyterian Church. Artists and schedule subject to change. For the latest updates visit this Website.

New Tour CD from Calexico – Live in Brussels 2008

In what has been a treat for collectors like myself Calexico has been providing “Tour Only” releases since 1999 on their in-house label Our Soil Our Strength.

Their last tour release was in June, 2007 with Tool Box— a recording of instrumentals with just Joey and John rather than the full band.

This morning on the casadecalexico Yahoo group, Calexico/Giant Sand Archivist, KUAT jockey Jim Blackwood announced that there will be a new Tour CD Ancienne Belgique – Live in Brussels 2008.  It was recorded in Brussels on October 13th, 2008, and mixed at Wavelab by Craig Schumacher. It will be available during the summer Europe tour and casadecalexico.com as well.

Here is the tracklisting:

1. Bisbee Blue
2. Roka (w/ Amparo Sanchez)
3. Bend To The Road
4. El Gatillo
5. Two Silver Trees
6. Inspiracion (w/ Amparo Sanchez)
7. Minas de Cobre
8. Man Made Lake
9. Alone Again Or
10. Fractured Air
11. Red Blooms
12. Victor Jara’s Hands
13. Crystal Frontier

14. Crumble [Bonus Track]

Here is the full setlist of that show from The Caliposa Setlist Archive:

01 Bisbee Blue
02 Across The Wire
03 Roka (w/ Amparo Sanchez)
04 Bend To The Road
05 The News About William
06 Writer’s Minor Holiday
07 Black Heart
08 Slowness (w/ Francoiz Breut)
09 Ballad of Cable Hogue (Francoiz Breut)
10 El Gatillo
11 Two Silver Trees
12 Inspiracion (w/ Amparo Sanchez)
13 Minas de Cobre
14 Man Made Lake
15 Alone Again Or
16 Fractured Air
17 Red Blooms
————————————-
18 Victor Jara’s Hands
19 Les Jeunes Pousses (w/ Francoiz Breut and her band)
20 Guero Canelo (w/ Amparo Sanchez and Francoiz Breut’s band )
—————————————–
21 Crystal Frontier

It is interesting to see what songs they had to cut. All of the songs that had Francoiz Breut and her band in them were edited out.

Still, a nice selection of songs and the Carried to Dust songs have been sounding really good on tour. Amparo Sanchez from Amparanoia reprises her part on “Inspiracion” from Carried to Dust and adding her vocals to “Roka.”

The website doesn’t mention where the bonus track “Crumble” was recorded.

Here are some YouTube videos of the performance– which are gorgeous (what, no DVD release??)

“El Gatillo” from Ancienne Belgique – Live in Brussels 2008

“Inspiracion” (with Amparo Sanchez) from Ancienne Belgique – Live in Brussels 2008

“Fractured Air” from Ancienne Belgique – Live in Brussels 2008

“Red Blooms” from Ancienne Belgique – Live in Brussels 2008

Click Here to order Ancienne Belgique – Live in Brussels 2008 ($18 US, $21 World)

Calexico “Live from Austin, TX” DVD of 2006 Austin City Limits Show Out 1/20

Photo by Gerald von Foris

Photo by Gerald von Foris


I was pretty happy to hear about this release. Back in 2006 during their Garden Ruin tour, Calexico taped an Austin City Limits show– part of which was aired with part of a Sufjan Stevens performance. As much as I like both acts, I was disappointed that Calexico didn’t get a full hour. On January 20th, this is fixed as New West is releasing as part of their “Live from Austin, TX” series the full Calexico performance from Austin City Limits expanding the show from the seven tracks aired to 15!

Tracklist (I’ve included whether each was originally aired and what order):

“Convict Pool”
“Across The Wire” (originally aired as 1)
“Cruel”
“El Picador” (originally aired as 3)
“Sunken Waltz” (originally aired  as 4)
“Not Even Stevie Nicks” (originally aired as 2)
“Stray”
“All Systems Red”(originally aired as 7)
“Sonic Wind”
“Alone Again Or”
“Roka”
“He Lays In Reins”(joined onstage by the Iron and Wine) (originally aired as 6)
“Guero Canelo”
“Letter To Bowie Knife” (originally aired as 5)
“Crystal Frontier”

This is a nice mix of (at the time) old and new songs. With a catalog like Calexico’s it’s interesting to see which tracks the band chose for their set at ACL, and which tracks ACL chose to air. Considering that “All Systems Red” from Garden Ruin is about the frustration of second Dubya election, it’s sort of fitting that this DVD is released at the Inauguration of President Obama.

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