Friday, November 7th, 2008
Carried To Dust
CONTEST – Calexico @ The Phoenix – November 18, 2008
Bill CarterI had any number of reasons to be feeling good after seeing Calexico on their last visit through town in July. There was the fact that I’d just seen a terrific live band in a venue half the size from what they normally play, or also the fact that without a particular album to promote they’d opted for a set list that ranged all across their career. But what was most exciting was the fact that the new material that got showcased sounded terrific, and proved that the band had gotten the ill-suited songwriter-pop out of their system and had returned to the sun-bleached Tejano-rock that they do so well. Their next album would be cause for anticipation, not trepidation.
And that album, Carried To Dust, doesn’t disappoint. From the opening notes of “Victor Jara’s Hands”, there’s an unmistakable atmosphere and earthiness that was absent from Ruin and is a fundamental part of Calexico’s sound – the titular Dust, perhaps. Similarities can be drawn to their previous highwater mark, Feast Of Wire, but even in recalling their past Calexico still plough forward. They capture the musical ranginess and restlessness of that record but cast it in a ghostlier, more slow-motion context. They also maintain the focus on song structure and vocals that came out of Garden Ruin, in fact Dust features a wide range of guest vocalists to compliment Joey Burns and all of whom manage to enhance the proceedings, never detract. Once again making the sort of music that only Calexico can make, they may have rebounded from the worst record of their career with what could well be their best.
Calexico are returning to Toronto on November 18 for a show at the Phoenix, and courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. If you want them, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to be carried to dust” in the subject line and your full name in the body and get that in to me by midnight, November 13.
Mojo features the band that opened up for Calexico that night at the Mod Club, Calgary’s Woodpigeon, and also offers a track from their Songbook album which was just-released in the UK but isn’t available at all in Canada. Go figure.
Another Canadian band that’s been opening some US dates for Calexico is The Acorn. Their November 27 show at Lee’s Palace with Ohbijou – already guaranteed to be a fantastic evening – just got that much more fantastic with the addition of The Rural Alberta Advantage to the bill. Best lineup ever? Quite possibly.
Sam Roberts will be playing an in-store at Sonic Boom on November 15 at 3PM in advance of his show at the Music Hall, the last of a four-night stand.
Pitchfork reports that Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff and one-time Okkervil River guitarist and full-time Wren Charles Bissell will cover each other on a long-awaited, oft-delayed 7″ release with Sheff doing the Wrens’ “Ex-Girl Collection” and Bissell doing Okkervil’s “It Ends With A Fall”. It’ll be in limited release (shows, mail order, etc) on December 9 and in wide release sometime in January.
Gotham Acme talks politics and music with Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers. The New York Daily News sticks to the music. The Truckers are at the Phoenix on Tuesday night with The Hold Steady – congrats to Kim and Luke who won the passes to the show.