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Wednesday, 19 September 2012 07:00

Charting the Music: Calexico, 'Algiers'

Charting the Music: Calexico, 'Algiers' facebook.com/calexico
Written by Magdalene Linck
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Inescapably cool, Calexico's approachable "Algiers" blurs the lines between Americana, rock and Tejano.

Calexico's seventh full-length release finds the band looking towards different sources of musical inspiration.

88.1 KDHX charts: #4 Americana and #8 CMJ for the week of September 11, 2012.

Record label, release date and producers: Produced by Craig Schumacher, "Algiers" was released on Anti- Records on September 11, 2012.

Can be heard on: Memphis to Manchester with John Wendland, Mystery Train with Tim Rakel and Emotional Rescue with Cat Pick.

RIYL: Bruce Springsteen, the Mavericks and John Prine

Hometown: Tucson, Ariz.

Standout tracks: "Splitter," the album's second track, features a relaxed but driving rhythm. The vocal harmonies make the listener want to sing along. "Maybe on Monday" has a quiet, twangy sound. The guitar riffs are distinctly country in origin; however, when placed with the vocals, the sound shifts towards folk rock. The title track "Algiers" fuses '50s cool jazz, rock and Tejano into a sound that's familiar and refined.

About the producer: Craig Schumacher, owner of the WaveLab Studio, has worked with Amos Lee, Neko Case and M. Ward. Schumacher also produced DeVotchKa's work for the 2006 "Little Miss Sunshine" soundtrack.

About the label: Founded in 1999, Anti- Records represents a wide range of artists, including Dr. Dog, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Antibalas.

Started as a band in: 1996. Calexico began after Burns and Convertino worked together in the band Giant Sand.

Band members: John Convertino and Joey Burns, Calexico's primary members, have been working together for just over two decades. The album features over a dozen other musicians on a host of different instruments from trumpet to Wurlitzer to cello and bouzouki.

Did you know? "Algiers," Calexico's seventh full-length studio album, is named for the neighborhood in New Orleans where it was recorded. The album's producer suggested the band work on its latest effort in New Orleans due to the city's rich musical history and diversity. For "Algiers," Calexico looked towards Duke Ellington, Jackie Mittoo (of the Skatalites), the Band and the Boswell Sisters for inspiration.

What the critics say: "'Para,' with its lush strings, fantastic harmonies and its Beatles-esque arrangements is a highlight, as is the simple 'Hush,' a simple acoustic love song that recalls the intimacy of Springsteen's 'Nebraska' as well as Calexico's collaborations with Iron & Wine. The band's older fans will probably find a lot to enjoy in the percussion-driven title track and the layered, ambitious 'Solstice of a Vanishing Mind' that closes the album." --Douglas Heselgrave for Paste.

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