Calexico has always had a good handle on loss. Their new song "Para" and its accompanying music video has a downward spiral feel, aside from the obvious lyrical themes and fuzzy shots of parenthood; this dramatic track features wobbly home videos and the band performing behind distorted lenses. Oh, and Joey Burns gets a shave.
"Para" precedes the Sept. 11 release of "Algiers," the dusty-rock band's debut for Anti- and their first full-length in four years. The group released albums for years through Quarterstick/Touch & Go, rest in peace.
Calexico's principals Burns and John Convertino recorded this effort out of New Orleans with co-producer Craig Schumacher, who's worked with the band and other of their Southwesternly neighbors like Neko Case, DeVotchka and Depedro. The latter band is led by Jairo Zavala, a frequent Calexico cohort who returns to "Algiers" for a collaboration on "No Te Vayas" with Jacob Valenzuela.
In a statement, Burns explains that the choice to write and work out of New Orleans was very conscious.
"The place is strong and bold, soulful to the core, but surrounded by a sea of darkness," Burns said. "There's something creepy and old on the edge of town and written throughout the town's histories. Those kinds of aesthetics help with the writing."
Well, "Para" is certainly creepy. And marvelously visual. I'm looking forward to more, particularly to opener "Epic." Sounds like a threat, doesn't it?
Tracklist and "Para" are below. Check out my HitFix interview with Burns from 2010.
Here is the tracklist to "Algiers":
3. Sinner in the Sea
4. Fortune Teller
7. Maybe on Monday
9. Better and Better
10. No Te Vayas
12. Solstice of a Vanishing Mind