Calexican

A total change of pace and style today, a beautiful instrumental from Calexico’s debut album proper The Black Light from back in 1998- catgut guitar strings, rim shots, trumpets. They went on to make several really good albums after this but I played The Black Light the other night and it sounded like their best and most effortless record.

Minas de Cobre

Not Even The Priestess

I asked on Twitter on Saturday night if anyone had heard the new Calexico album (Algiers) and Simon said he wouldn’t listen to them because of their name and Drew said he’d never heard them either and was he missing anything. Their early stuff like The Black Light was great, all slow-mo spaghetti and mariachi influenced stuff, a lot of instrumentals. A couple of albums in they became more song based, with more vocals- Hot Rail from 2000 and Feast Of Wire from 2003 were crackers, full of songs with beauty and drama and horns. At some point more recently (the Garden Ruin lp from 2006, which isn’t that recent really) they abandoned the more Tex-Mexican side of things for a straighter, more mainstream US indie-noir sound which seemed far less interesting to me. So, I’m no nearer to knowing whether the new one is any good but to Drew and Simon and anyone else who hasn’t heard them, start with this one- a song concerning a man about to drive his car over a cliff while listening to Stevie Nicks.

Not Even Stevie Nicks

>Five Cent Deposit

>

Calexico’s 2003 album Feast Of Wire was some kind of career highpoint, featuring the very lovely Just Like Stevie Nicks… among other songs. The cd came with three extra songs, one of them being this one- Corona. It might not be the best thing they ever recorded but it’s a cover of a song by San Pedro post-punk-funk heroes Minutemen, so it can’t be all bad. It even just about survived becoming the theme tune to Jackass, that programme where grown men pushed each other over and laughed.

Bodies Are Missing For Weeks

I got bored to the back teeth with alt-country years ago, but Calexico can often rustle up something good. This 2001 single is stunning and a million miles away from a dusty, croaky singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar- mariachi horns with indie/alt country lyrics and vocals. Spaghetti Western music you can dance to.

crystal-frontier.mp3