Calexico Empties The Saddlebags With Magical “Selections From Road Atlas (1998-2011)”

They had us at the concept — for 13 years, Calexico would show up in dusty saloons and smoky gin halls, playing their parched Colorado River delta blues, and all the while — as card games are played by men with vests, and all the painted ladies smile from the stairwell — merchants in the back would sell limited edition vinyl, whole albums of music available only to their concertgoers.  In November, they released the whole shebang as a vinyl-only 600 record set.  (Okay, maybe not that many.)  But then — who knew, til the new Uncut told us? — our friends from the border region went and released a sort of greatest hits of their most obscure releases in a single, 16-cut package, and it is pure gold glinting from the tin shaker.

These aren’t throwaways, the chafe left over when the real records are done.  This sounds like as coherent a single record as their last ‘un, the magnificent Carried To Dust.  Yes, artisanal music flows from the sandy regions, not just Brooklyn.  And given their absence these last three years, we’ve been missing them a lot.  In fact, other than the Black Keys, Calexico is the only American band that seems complete with just two permanent members.  The strange thing about Selections From Road Atlas is that these specialty lagniappes for the long-converted make as powerful a testament for Calexico’s greatness as any single album they’ve ever done.  If you’ve crawled across the desert of American pop music and are thirsty for pure refreshment, those hombres from Tucson have come through once more.  They promise a new album sometime later this year.  Until then, 13 year’s worth of specialty confections from the Saguaro badlands will tide us over.

One Response to “Calexico Empties The Saddlebags With Magical “Selections From Road Atlas (1998-2011)””

  1. No problem , “liberties taken” is half the ascendancy of man. Super nice photo and thanks for the plug. Hey do me a favor and look on the back of the piece and tell me if there is a sticker with this on it?

    “nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
    the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
    compels me with the colour of its countries,
    rendering death and forever with each breathing
    e.e. commings

    Good job , Your year end picks are astute and immensely enjoyable. Tulip Frenzy has really come about and your hard work is eveident. We enjoyed the Christmas disc a lot and many are also on the top of my rotation. Wye Oak, Capsula,White Denim, Radio head. Tinariwen

    I especially loved love the Pj Harvey cut and look forward to listening to the whole record.

    Also on my rotation – new and not so new :

    White Fence / White Fence
    Joan as Police Woman
    Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi/ Rome
    Colin Stenson/ New History Warfare – Judges ,Vol 2
    Sunset Rubdown / Sunset Rubdown
    Phil Wonder / Jungle Surf
    The War On Drugs / Slave Ambient
    First Communion After Party Sorry for all the Mondays and to those who cant sing
    Bonnie Price Billy / Wolfroy Goes to Town
    Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos 1962-1964
    Abagail Washburn / City of Refuge
    The Dodos / No Color
    Little Dragon / Ritual Union
    The Kills / Blood Pressures
    Gayngs / Relayted
    Modest Mouse / We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
    Yea Sayer / All Hour Cymbals
    Marco Beltrami / The three Burials Of Malquiades Estrada
    Shaw Lees’ Ping pong Orchestra / Voices and Ccoices
    Susan and The Magical Orchestra / Melody Mountain
    Phil Wonder / Jungle surf
    The Duke Spirit
    Black Mountain / In The Future

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