"Carried to Dust" will be the band's fifth proper LP, but that doesn't come close to capturing the amazing array of recorded material that's come from Joey Burns and John Convertino. Add to that total two proper EPs, an iTunes-only live EP, an EP-worth of bonus downloads from their last album, six tour-only albums of mostly instrumental or live music, a live DVD and a tremendous collaboration with Iron & Wine.
Oh, and not to mention the five Calexico collaborations on the I'm Not There Soundtrack, their work with Giant Sand and the Friends of Dean Martinez and backing music on albums by Richard Buckner, Neko Case and Victoria Williams. If that wasn't enough, the band has made six full concerts available for free at archive.org, any one of which would make a fine live album.
The new record features Sam Beam from Iron & Wine, Douglas McCombs of Tortoise and singer-songwriter Pieta Brown, who brings here own connections to the Tucson music scene.
On the band's Touch & Go Records page, Burns says the new record is:
"at least partially, the story of a writer in Los Angeles around the time of the writers’ strike we had a while back in late 2007. Our hopper heads out east on a whim and a dry Santa Ana tail wind. Stopping at the Yucca Valley swap meet he buys an old road map with a route already marked with red pen. It leads him to a cabin and from the cabin to a chain of other small town thrift stores, picking up old copies of National Geographic magazines along the way. Stories about snow drops in Moscow, leaning houses in Valparaiso, abandoned neighborhoods in New Orleans, and a manmade lake full of cell phone trees creep their way into his notes. He finds further inpiración at old roadside diners, bending an ear to each waitress and the local news over badly brewed coffee. The break proves to be enlightening. He falls in love with the newly found space and being carried along spontaneity's spark.”That sounds like a traveling record, one full of introspection and odd encounters. And the reference to space and spontaneity's spark might just serve as one of the better descriptions of Calexico's music in general.
Burns & Convertino introduced two new songs at their Rialto show last month that sounded sparse and haunting in their two-man arrangements. They later introduced another one with a shortened version of Burns' description, called "Writer's Minor Holiday." And lo and behold, some thoughtful soul captured it, YouTube style:
Another new song that was introduced at Calexico's December KXCI benefit show, "Absent Afternoon," doesn't appear on the track list for "Carried to Dust," but here's a video from TucsonScene:
"Carried to Dust" track list:
- Victor Jara's Hands
- Two Silver Trees
- The News About William
- Sarabande In Pencil Form
- Writer's Minor Holiday
- Man Made Lake
- House of Valparaiso
- Bend To The Road
- El Gatillo (Trigger Revisited)
- Fractured Air (Tornado Watch)
- Falling From Sleeves
- Red Blooms
- Contention City
Calexico - Sunken Waltz (live Studio 2A, KXCI, 10-15-2002)
Get the whole set as a zip file.