November 28, 2008

The slowburn of Calexico

On Monday afternoon, I called the bowling alley at Moe’s BBQ, next door to the Gothic Theatre, to reserve a lane before the concert. “Big show tonight?” the man (sadly not named Moe) asked me. “Yeah, Calexico is playing next door,” I replied.

Bowling Man was unfamiliar with their music and asked me to describe it. “Well … there’s a southwestern element in there, but it’s not country. There are mariachi horns and steel guitar — I guess it’s indie-minded with kinda a wild desert streak.” That’s the best I could muster; Calexico is a difficult band to describe to someone who has never heard them because they straddle so many genres and defy easy characterization. This makes their live show stunning, an ever-shifting blend of enormous sounds and complex layers of melody. I’d never seen them live before, and I was riveted.

Here are some pictures from their gorgeous multi-hued set Monday night — with mp3s from one of my favorite concert collaborations below:

Live on NPR, November 2005
Yours and Mine – Calexico
Panic Open String – Calexico
Alone Again Or (Love cover) – Calexico
Deep Down – Calexico
Bisbee Blue – Calexico
Crystal Frontier – Calexico
All Systems Go – Calexico
He Lays In The Reins – Iron & Wine/Calexico
Red Dust – Iron & Wine/Calexico
All Tomorrow’s Parties (Velvet Underground cover) – Iron & Wine/Calexico
16, Maybe Less – Iron & Wine/Calexico
Prison on Route 41 – Iron & Wine/Calexico
History of Lovers – Iron & Wine/Calexico
Always On My Mind (Willie Nelson cover) – Iron & Wine/Calexico
Burn That Broken Bed – Iron & Wine/Calexico

Wild Horses (Rolling Stones cover) – Iron & Wine/Calexico
Dead Man’s Will – Iron & Wine/Calexico


Calexico’s new album Carried To Dust is out now on Touch and Go Records.

[poster img credit, huge thanks to Kevin for the mp3 help]


  • This post couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. I just bought the In the Reigns EP last weekend and, never having listened to Calexico before, I’m really digging them. Thanks!

    allison — November 28, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  • Yay, have dowloaded a good live set of them in Seattle playing for some radio station but it lacks 16 maybe less and now I have a live version of it. Thank you

    Fergus — November 28, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

  • Music snob comment here, but I noticed you did not list “alone again or” as a Love cover.


    Anonymous — November 28, 2008 @ 11:55 pm

  • thanks Johnny! I had missed that.

    heather — November 29, 2008 @ 7:45 am

  • Their records are great, but live they ascend to a completely different level. For my money the best live band out there today. There are tons of live shows of theirs out there on the interwebs, you’d be well served to seek them out. Or, contact me off list and I’d be happy to YSI a show to you.
    Welcome to the party!

    bpfastball — November 29, 2008 @ 10:31 am

  • Iron and Wine and the Band of Horses frontman are both come from Columbia, South Carolina. It’s my home town and I just bought plane tickets for Xmas. I wonder if they will be on the plane. Forgive us for Hootie and the Blowfish. No one in S.C. knows who Iron and Wine and Band of Horses is anyway. They are still proud of Hootie though.


    Anonymous — December 6, 2008 @ 1:31 am

  • heather –
    really enjoyed the article on music archaeology. as a vocational archaeologist and music enthusiast, i often wonder what elements of our current civilization will survive in a thousand years. thanks for the thought-provoking web site.


    ron c — March 9, 2009 @ 7:50 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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