Archive for Selections From Road Atlas (1998-2011)

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

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 6, 2012 by johnbuckley100

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.

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