Calexico are one of those rare groups who are perhaps more famous for the work they’ve done with other artists than on the strength of their own work. They released an album with Iron and Wine, they featured prominately on the soundtrack to the Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There and they’ve contributed music to several compilations.
This is unsuprising, since they’re one of the most musically talented and interesting bands in the country. They effortlessly blend Tejano, Country, and Rock music into an energetic and compelling mix that could only come from the American Southwest.
Here they are in 2006
performing their song doing a cover of Love’s song “Alone Again Or”:
Intro: This week’s column may be a bit monotonic since the music part of my brain is completely stuffed full of a potent combination of Power+Light and Sasquatch! Festival excitement. That being said, I’ll probably also mention the new Morrissey album, though only in passing.
But enough of the preview…
Listening: So, I got the new Morrissey album, Years of Refusal in .mp3 download format. (Which, BTW, is on sale today at Amazon.com for just $4. Helluva deal, that.) It came out a day later than the CD, so I only just got it today and haven’t had much of a chance to listen to it yet. What I’ve heard, though, I like a great deal.
Other than that, I’ve still been totally digging on Power+Light. It’s embarrassing how addicted I am to it. I listen to music about eight to ten hours a day, and for the past two weeks not a day has gone by where half of that time or more is devoted to that EP. It’s crazy good. If you haven’t heard it yet, PLEASE go give it a listen.
Oh, and I also grabbed the new M. Ward album today, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet.
Upcoming: As mentioned above, Morrissey and M Ward have new albums out today. In the next few weeks, look forward to new material from JJ Cale, Hatebreed, U2, and Neko Case. (Random aside: the Neko Case, Middle Cyclone, sports some of my favorite album art in a long time.)
Thinking: 1.) In bands whose name is [Definite Article] [Noun], should the definite article be capitalized? Should it be (e.g.) the Rakes or The Rakes?
2.) Sasquatch Festival! As I’ll expound below, the lineup’s been announced and I am crazy stoked. I’ve already started plotting with my good friend and long-time Sasquatch ally Mike, and the concensus is that this year’s festival is going to be a month’s worth of awesome crammed into a 3-day weekend.
News: The Sasquatch! Festival lineup has been announced! Or at least according to the super-awesome unofficial Sasquatch Festival blog. The main Sasquatch site for 2009 isn’t up yet, but I imagine it will be within the next day or two. I’m extremely stoked about the fact that this year will see the return of Nine Inch Nails, The Decemberists, TV on the Radio, Calexico, and others. Among the fresh new faces that I’m happy to see are A. A. Bondy, Silversun Pickups, Gogol Bordello, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
It should be noted that every place carrying the lineup also carries the wording “…and more to come” or equivalent, so there’s strong potential for even more awesome. (Rumors abound that Sasquatch veterans Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins might added to the lineup.)
Tickets will be sold in the tiered pricing scheme of previous years, with cheap (~$155) 3-day passes going on sale the weekend of the 28th and prices going up from there. It should be noted that these cheapest tickets will be on sale for ONE WEEKEND ONLY. So if you want to save at least $40 on three days of Sasquatch awesomeness, then I strongly encourage you to get them then.
If anyone’s planning to attend and wants to meet up, drop me a line in comments.
Song of the Week: One of the many Josh Ritter songs I discovered a few weeks ago during my binge was this off of his album The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. It’s called “Mind’s Eye” and I think it’s crazy awesome.
Intro: Well, happy post-Labor Day. I hope my readers one and all enjoyed their holiday weekend. I had a fairly ironic Labor Day (spent it working). Tonight will be a short column for two reasons. 1.) I have early meetings tomorrow. 2.) I have A Super Secret Special Interview to edit for tomorrow. So enjoy the shortish column for tonight and tune in tomorrow for the first ever Fifty Two Tuesdays Interview.
Listening: Been on a Raconteurs kick lately, broken only by the occasional listen-through of The Wallflower’s Breach. (My friend Trevor’d never heard the album, so I introduced him to it on our way out to Seattle last week and a few of the tunes have been stuck in my head ever since.)
Two preference questions for the audience: Broken Boy Soldiers or Consolers of the Lonely? Breach or Red Letter Days? Personally, I think that Consolers of the Lonely is the better overall album. It’s more cohesive, better written, and more musicall mature. That being said, Broken Boy Soldiers DID have “Steady, As She Goes” and “Hands”. On the Wallflowers side, I think that Breach takes the cake. It’s a much more expressive album, and Jakob Dylan’s songwriting and vocals are best when they’re emotive. Red Letter Days has some groovy tunes on it, but I think it lacks the emotional punch of Breach.
Upcoming: New albums out today from Jefferson Starship, Olivia Newton John & Friends, and New Kids on the Block, making it a perfect “wait, they’re still around?” trifecta. (I’ll leave to the audience any snarky observations of irony regarding a band called “New Kids on the Block” coming back after 14 years to release and album called The Block.)
Next week new albums from…Well, just about everyone, really. Michael Franti, Calexico, Joan Baez, Gym Class Heroes, LL Cool J, Jessica Simpson, Okkervil River, Dar Williams, Metallica, Joan Osbourne,…
Thinking: …no, wait. I’m sorry, I just can’t leave a reference to Metallica’s new album to slide casually by.
PLEASE stop making albums. Every time you release a new album, it only serves to remind people that you used to be influential, energetic, and listenable. St. Anger was an album too far. I mean, I wasn’t even that big a fan of ReLoad, but okay, fine, I was willing to give you one last go after such an illustrious career. But seriously, guys, you’re becoming the Bono of metal music. When was the last time anyone gave a rat’s ass about what Bono was doing musically? If you said “right around the last time he took off those ugly ass shades of his”, you’d be perfectly right. You’re becoming That Guy of the hard rock scene! (Except that, you know, there’s four of you.)
Now, I was a fan of Load, and your self-titled, and some of the early stuff. I even like some of the covers you did on Garage, Inc. But the most influential thing you’ve done in the past decade was to sue Napster and we still haven’t forgiven you for it.
C’mon guys, it’s time to hang up the recording equipment. You can still tour, still play in the garage of any of the four dozen mansions that you have amongst the lot of you, but we really don’t need to hear it. St. Anger was bad enough, anything else is sure to just damage the memory of what was, ultimately, a good an important career in modern music.
A. M. Brown
Thanks, had to get that off my chest.
News: Rock stars are strange, strange people. A short sampling: Axl Rose is creepy, dirty old man, despite being chronologically younger than I thought. Pete Doherty gets his (apparent) wish and dies, only to have some meddling paramedics intervene. Jack Black is a strong contender for “Most Boring Addict In History“. And Amy Winehouse has another mind-altering influence in her life.
Song of the Week: The Wallflowers, “Letters from the Wasteland”, off of Breach.