Nearly two and a half years since the release of Calexico's last full-length, The Hot Rail, fans of the band have been contenting themselves for far too long with dribs and drabs of the duo. An EP, mostly containing remixes; the odd collaboration (with Broadcast, for example); some live singles; and covers that inevitably number among the standout tracks on the compilations where fans may be lucky enough to find them. And then, of course, Joey Burns and John Convertino continue to bang away at their day job as the rhythm section in Giant Sand, a gig that's been keeping them plenty busy of late.
So the appetite is duly whetted, especially if you've been spinning Total Lee, the Hazlewood tribute album released over the summer, which features, among other treasures, Calexico's mind-blowing, high-lonesome rendition of "Sundown." (And check out the Kris Kristofferson tribute, too, for another taste of what the band's been up to.)
But here's hoping that Calexico's current tour is a harbinger of another spectacular Tex-Mex-flavored main course soon to come. A hefty slice of Americana folk, seasoned generously with ambient textures (equal parts Stereolab, Slint, and Morricone spaghetti-western scores), and topped with a healthy dollop of mariachi: Sounds good, eh? And it does, especially live, where the tightest damn rhythm section ever seen 'round these indie rock parts undergirds sweeping, subtle arrangements of songs sung with the conviction of true believers. Yum.