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Sunday 11 December 2022

Half An Hour Of Calexico

Calexico's dusty, Tex- Mex, border town songs have been lighting up my world since the late 90s and although I've dipped in and out over the years I went back in again for 2018's The Thread That Binds. There's a new one this year I still haven't heard. Joey Burns and John Convertino are based in Tucson, Arizona. They started out in Giant Sand with Howe Gelb and then struck out on their own as Calexico in 1996. Since then they've made thirteen albums and dozens of singles and EPs. Their early records really mined the traditional Latino sounds, mariachi crossed with American indie. Listening to this last night I was struck by how they manage to do despair and joy equally, a feat not all bands can do- from the Mariachi party horns of Crystal Frontier to the hopelessness and loss of Not Even Stevie Nicks, they span the full range of human emotion. 

Half An Hour Of Calexico

  • Untitled 3 (Virus Style Mix)
  • Minas De Cobre (For Better Metal)
  • Not Even Stevie Nicks
  • The Black Light
  • Track 32 (Corona)
  • A History Of Lovers 
  • End Of The World With You
  • Dub Latino
  • Crystal Frontier (Widescreen)
  • Alone Again Or
Untitled 3 (Virus Style Mix) is a Two Lone Swordsmen remix from 2001. Calexico returned the favour remixing Tiny Reminders No. 3.

Minas De Cobre (For Better Metal) and The Black Light are both from their 1998 album, The Black Light, a seventeen song introduction to the Calexico border noir world. 

Not Even Stevie Nicks is one of the saddest songs I've ever heard. It and Dub Latina are from their 2003 album Feast Of Wire, their best album in many ways. Track 32 is a cover of Corona by Minutemen, San Pedro's ever inspirational 80s punk rock heroes and was a hidden extra on the CD version. 

A History Of Lovers is from the 2005 mini album they recorded with Iron And Wine, a beautiful country lament. 

End Of The World With You is from 2018's The Thread That Binds, an album that was in part a response to Trump and the right wing, anti- immigrant populism that he peddled while president. 

Crystal Frontier was a single in 2000, a trumpet led celebration of the people that live in the border areas between the US and Mexico and their shifting lives. In 2008 NASA beamed it into space to wake up the crew of the space shuttle. 

Alone Again Or is a cover of Love's 1967 classic, released as a single in 2003. 


Charity Chic said...

Love the early stuff.Find the newer stuff Quite disappointing with the exception of their collaborations with Iron & Wine

Adam Turner said...

Yeah, I agree CC. The Thread That Binds had a few really good songs. I've got Algiers but couldn't tell you anything about. Garden Ruin too.

blureu said...