Friday, June 03, 2005:


Calexico are the latest band to smite me with their greatness. As you'd guess, they mix guitar, horns, scrapers, and the rest of the typical shebang together, but somehow it comes out sounding new and energetic rather than rote and tired. Maybe that's because they also toss in cellos, banjos, mandolins, and synthesizers. Or maybe it's that some of their tracks channel Radiohead and Portishead, full of distortion and menace and ill omen, and others seem to have been lifted from the "happy ending" track off an unmade Sergio Leone film. From what I've heard so far (Convict Pool, Feast of Wire and The Black Light), it all works.

Calexico's cover of Love's "Alone Again Or" (off Convict Pool) is immediate and impressive, but I'm going to run on the assumption that you've all heard that one and thought it was a fluke. ^_^ (You have all heard it, right?) So here are two that maybe you haven't.

Calexico -- Minas De Cobre (For Better Metal)
This one has an arpeggiated guitar line you'll recognize from "Malagueña" and other mariachi songs. If the track were a play it would go something like this:
Scene One
1: Wow, everything's just great!
2: Damn right. Let's ride our horses in the sunset and build a bonfire on the beach.

Calexico -- Black Heart
And the play to this one:
Scene One
1: Wow, everything's just great!
2: [too weary to laugh, too indifferent to argue] You just go on ahead and think that.

... In other news, Oscar Brown Jr. died May 29th at 78. BET has a good writeup; The NY Times does also; and John at the Tofu Hut had a good post about him in March of last year. I can't add much to that except to say that it's a real loss to music.


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