Calexico Algiers (2012)

Calexico ♥ Algiers (2012)

Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Album release: September 11, 2012
Record Label: Anti (US) / City Slang (Europe)
Duration:     102:48
CD 1 - Algiers
01. Epic      [4:14]
02. Splitter      [3:31]
03. Sinner In The Sea      [4:15]
04. Fortune Teller      [3:58]
05. Para      [3:53]
06. Algiers      [3:43]
07. Maybe On Monday      [3:37]
08. Puerto      [4:23]
09. Better And Better      [2:33]
10. No Te Vayas      [4:15]
11. Hush      [4:22]
12. The Vanishing Mind      [3:53]
CD 2 - Spiritoso
01. Frontera/Trigger      [5:29]
02. Epic      [4:24]
03. The News About William      [3:46]
04. Black Heart      [4:54]
05. Minas De Cobre      [3:41]
06. Inspiracion      [3:30]
07. Two Silver Trees      [4:31]
08. Para      [3:53]
09. Quattro (World Drifts In)      [4:45]
10. Crystal Frontier      [7:51]
11. The Vanishing Mind      [4:26]
12. Fortune Teller      [4:36]
The current members of Calexico are:
Joey Burns – vocals, guitars, bass, cello, keyboards, accordion, percussion, vibraphone
John Convertino – drums, percussion, piano
Paul Niehaus – steel guitar, guitars
Jacob Valenzuela – trumpet, keyboards, vibraphone, vocals
Martin Wenk – trumpet, guitar, keyboards, accordion, glockenspiel, vibraphone (occasionally harmonica & French horn)
Volker Zander – standup bass, electric bass
Jairo Zavala - bazouki, baritone guitar, vocals
Nick Luca - guitar, keys, backing vox
Chris Giambelluca - bass, backing vox
Sergio Mendoza - piano, farfisa
Salvador Duran - vocals, shakers, caja
Mike Carbajal - trumpet, percussion
Mariachi Luz de Luna
Y La Orkesta
Amparo Sanchez - vocals
Review by Heather Phares (
In the 2000s and 2010s, Calexico developed a nifty sideline as one of the most frequently played bands in space, with their songs soundtracking missions by the Space Shuttles Discovery and Endeavour. However, given how synonymous their sounds are with their southwestern roots, it was even more surprising that they'd dedicate an album to New Orleans than have their earthy sounds beamed through the stars. Yet Algiers, which saw the band relocate to the Big Easy to truly absorb the city's rich musical history, is another graceful, seemingly effortless chapter in Calexico's history. On songs such as the eerie single "Para," the brass that echoed mariachi traditions on the band's previous albums now conjures visions of New Orleans funerals, and the album as a whole is a beautiful tribute to the city as well as Calexico's ability to pay homage to different sounds while sounding unmistakably like themselves.
Calexico is a Tucson, Arizona-based Americana / Alternative country band. The band's two main members, Joey Burns and John Convertino, first played together in Los Angeles as part of the group Giant Sand. They have recorded a number of albums on Quarterstick Records, while their 2005 EP In the Reins recorded with Iron & Wine has reached the Billboard 200 album charts. Their musical style is influenced by traditional Latin sounds of mariachi / conjunto / cumbia / Tejano music and also the Southwestern United States country music as well as '50s-'60s jazz and '90s-'00s post-rock, and they have been described by some as "desert noir" or indie rock. The band is named for the border town of Calexico, California.         //      BBC Review:
Calexico have lost none of their power to evoke and enthral.
James Skinner 2012-08-28
One advantage music has over other art is the power to evoke with breathtaking immediacy. This could be a fleeting memory or a whole period of your life… or something else entirely. The city of New York as the War on Terror heaves doggedly onward; a detailed, mythological Great Depression; endlessly sprawling suburban locales; crackling bonfires, dark pine forests and rich, sweeping landscapes.
Now on their seventh studio album, Calexico have been honing their sound since 1996, and today it’s instantly recognisable. The band’s core of Joey Burns and John Convertino have dabbled in styles from spaghetti western to surf rock, jazz to Romani and country to Mariachi, all tied together by instinctive songwriting and impeccable musicianship. Theirs is a world of dusty bars, desert towns and deep romance, and on Algiers it is as enjoyable and inviting as ever.
Named for the neighbourhood of New Orleans where it was recorded, Algiers takes inspiration from its surroundings both in terms of the restored church in which the pair took up residence and the storied nature of the city itself. Says Burns: “The place is strong and bold, soulful to the core, but surrounded by a sea of darkness.”
Consequently, the record traverses numerous styles, offsetting the dramatic spirals of Para and bar-room blues of Sinner in the Sea with the serene indie-folk of Hush and Fortune Teller, the latter of which is particularly gorgeous, tumbling forth on lilting acoustic guitars and gentle backing vocals.
As ever, Algiers is a refined, consistent and beautifully textured set of songs. Along with 2006’s Garden Ruin it falls among the more sedate in the Tucson collective’s discography, though this is no bad thing.
No Te Vayas (“Don’t Go”) is a Spanish-language collaboration between the band’s Jacob Valenzuela and Jairo Zavala of Depedro that sits atop soft, persuasive trumpet figures, while The Vanishing Mind features an assured vocal from Burns that sees the band soar then recede on a deep bed of strings to close the record in style.
Seven albums in, Calexico have lost none of their power to evoke and enthral.

Spoke (1997)
The Black Light (1998)
Hot Rail (2000)
Feast of Wire (2003)
Garden Ruin (2006)
Carried to Dust (2008)
Circo (Soundtrack) (2010)
Algiers (2012)
Tour only and miscellaneous albums:
98–99 Road Map (1999), tour CD
Travelall (2000), tour CD
Tête à Tête (2001), side project as ABBC with Amor Belhom Duo
Aerocalexico (2001), tour CD
Scraping (2002), live
The Book and The Canal (2005), tour CD
Tool Box (2007), tour CD
Ancienne Belgique – Live in Brussels 2008 (2009), tour CD
Descamino (2000)
Ballad Of Cable Hogue (2000)
Even My Sure Things Fall Through (2001)
Convict Pool (2004)
Black Heart (2004)
In the Reins (2005), with Iron & Wine
The Guns of Brixton / Interior of a Dutch House (2006), 7″ split single with Beirut
Press contact: Carrie Tolles,
Reservé agent: Ali Hedrick, (US) & Berthold Seliger (UK EU),
Main manager: Red Light Management -
They call New Orleans a melting pot. When one thinks about it like that, it’s hardly surprising that this is where CALEXICO reconvened to record their seventh full-length album, ALGIERS. Joey Burns and John Convertino have long called upon an extended range of musical influences, blending them together so distinctly that the results have almost become a genre of their own. Nonetheless, the choice ...of New Orleans may still come as a surprise to many. CALEXICO are, after all, associated with a style that their name – borrowed from a small town of less than 40,000 inhabitants on the border between the US and Mexico – has always defined with an unusual precision. Their work has spoken of dusty deserts and the loners that inhabit them, mixing America’s country music heritage with that of a Latin persuasion. In other words, it isn’t obviously affiliated with the sounds that have made New Orleans one of the premiere tourist destinations in the US. What’s emerged as a result of this decision, however, is arguably the most exciting and accessible record CALEXICO have made. It’s a fact emphasised by the band’s decision to name the album in tribute to the neighbourhood where they worked: Algiers.
The feel of ALGIERS is recognisably classic CALEXICO, but their style been revitalised and reborn by the experience of recording in the city. Its influence isn't necessarily sonically evident, but there’s a strange, powerful connection to the sounds that have always coloured their own, influences Burns has previously identified as including “Portugese fado, 50’s jazz, gypsy or romani music and its offshoots, 60’s surf and twang from Link Wray to country’s Duane Eddy, the spaghetti western epics of Ennio Morricone and dark indie rock singer songwriters.”
So, some 22 years since they first met, Joey Burns and John Convertino – joined as ever by a cast of musicians from across the globe – add yet another successful musical adventure to their list. You might think that, after six studio albums and a suitcase of tour CDs, collaborations with the likes of Victoria Williams, Iron & Wine, Willie Nelson, Roger McGuinn and Nancy Sinatra, and soundtrack work to boot, there wasn’t much more they could achieve. But you’d be wrong. New Orleans clearly inspired them to make an album that sees them stretch out more effortlessly than ever but, while you can take the men out of CALEXICO, but you can’t take CALEXICO out of the men…

 © Dennis Kleiman  

File:Calexico (Jena 18.07.2007) 1.jpg © Author: Moneo / Calexico playing in Jena (Germany), 18.07.2007

Calexico Algiers (2012)