Jigsaw, we appreciate the effort, but at least five album reviews for the band. I wanna know in depth about the Femmes. Take time, but I'd like to see what you really have to say about their albums.
I retract my P-Funk request and instead offer a John Zorn request. I've always been curious, but his whole catalog has seemed utterly impenetrable.
I may or may not get around to Beck over the next few days. If Salah just wants to post whatever he feels like doing and I'll just do my own, overlap be damned, that'll work.
Parachutes gets a C+? Come on man, that's their best record, although Viva La Vida is pretty excellent as well.
Rage Against The Machines debut album is pretty untouchable.
While Spoke evokes that sort of Americana sound that Calexico is known for, the album as a whole is just a bit slow and doesn't have any of the horns or strings that make the later releases stand out from other acts in this genre, of which there aren't many. Spoke does have a couple of cool tracks and provides a nice framework for the band that Calexico will eventually become, but sort of feels like a glorified demo, so it isn't highly recommended as a starting place.
The Black Light
From the moment this album starts you can tell that Calexico has grown significantly in terms of sound and scope over the course of a couple years. Even though this release is fairly early in the catalogue, it remains one of my favorites. The songs are great, and really nail that sort of ghost town Americana / Mariachi feel that is prevalent on most of Calexico's releases. Because of that, I think it's a good place to start if you aren't familiar with the band or their work outside of the split EP with Iron and Wine or 2006's Garden Ruin, which was sort of a departure from their older work. Highlights on this album include Stray, Gypsy's Curse and Frontera. One complaint I do have with this record is that there are a lot of instrumentals, and while most are cool, that might deter some who want more lyric based content. If you are a music person, start with this one. If you are a lyrics person, start with Feast Of Wire.
Hot Rail is a good starting place too actually, and is a nice bridge between The Black Light and Feast of Wire. Actually as I look at the track list, I might like this one better than The Black Light, but really, all of the releases are excellent unless stated otherwise. Specific track recommendations here are Crystal Frontier, which remains one of their best songs, The Battle Of Cable Hogue, Sonic Wind and Tres Avisos. Like The Black Light, this album has more instrumental songs than lyric based songs, so if that is your thing move ahead to the next album.
Feast Of Wire
While not as dark as the earlier releases musically, Feast Of Wire probably best represents Calexico's sound, even though some of the tracks on here are straight up Mariachi music and heavily Latin influenced, which I think is cool, but others might find it off putting if they aren't into that kind of music or don't hear it often. Living in southern California affords me the privilege of hearing it a lot of places so I think I might be more receptive to it. Whatever the case may be, you can't go wrong with starting with this album, or at least checking out songs like Quattro (World Drifts In), Across The Wire and Black Heart. While there are still a good number of instrumentals like with previous releases, this album feels a lot more focused and is more concise, and even though it still spans 16 tracks, it feels a lot more tightened up than the earlier records.
A bit different. Not in a bad way, although a lot of long time fans felt that way, Garden Ruin strays a bit from the Calexico paradigm, forgoing any instrumental tracks and putting forth a record that feels more like an alt-country-indie venture rather than their usual spooky desert soundscape. The songs are kept tight and structured, and the Mariachi sound isn't featured as heavily as on other releases, if at all. When I first listened, that was what I noticed first. I really missed the trumpets, strings and classical guitar stylings, but grew to really enjoy the album with repeated listens. The closest they get to their old sound is on Roka (Danza de la Muerte), which is my favorite track on the record, surprise surprise. There are other great songs here as well though. Album opener Cruel is a crisp mid tempo alt-rocker, and when the trumpets kick in you stop wondering what happened to the old Calexico sound, as the new one is just as satisfying. Equally as good, if not better is the album's closing track, All Systems Red; a slow builder that spans 6 minutes and explodes in a wall of sound that I didn't know Calexico was capable of. Even though this album sort of came out of left field, I'd say it's on par with their best work.
Carried To Dust
This is the marriage of the old and new Calexico, and it works very well. Instrumental tracks are back and serve as nice interludes, even if there are only two of them. The rest of the record moves along nicely, retaining the focus and immediacy of Garden Ruin but with the expanded track listings of older albums. Carried To Dust also features a number of guest vocalists (Sam Beam from Iron and Wine being one of them) which offers a nice change of sonic scenery and keeps the record fresh. Highlights on this album include the opening track Victor Jara's Hands, Fractured Air (Tornado Watch) and House Of Valparaiso. While this isn't a complete return to form, it feels more familiar than Garden Ruin and should please long time fans of the band.
Haven't heard it or seen it. May be out of print.
Even My Sure Things Fall Through
An excellent addition to your Calexico collection, in addition to a few unmentioned tracks, this EP features a really good instrumental version of Sonic Wind, a couple different versions of Crystal Frontier and one of my favorite songs from the group, Crooked Road and The Briar.
This is worth owning just for the cover of Alone Again Or, but the rest of the EP is very solid. Si Tu Disais, Corona and Sirena are other highlights here. A must have if you are a fan.
This is a collection of remixes of songs from Feast Of Wire. Let's just say that the songs are best left to Calexico to hash out. The remix of Pepita is kind of cool though.
In The Reins (Featuring Iron and Wine)
Holy crap. Excellent. Sam Beam's voice matches this music beautifully. If you are an alt-country fan you should own this, and if you don't you have some 'splainin to do.
A couple of cool tracks, all instrumental. Nothing really engaging though.
This one is kind of all over the place. All instrumental, and just sort of weird. Not for me.
Mostly instrumental, with a lot of tracks being less than a minute. It's more of a CD of ideas that never became songs. Passable.
This is a tour album of live recordings and while recording fidelity is slightly sub par at times, it's cool to hear the songs in a live setting. The list of songs is great though, so this one is worth checking out. Especially the version of Stray.
The Book And The Canal
I had this one on my old computer and remember liking it more than Aerocalexico and the others, but I can't give it a true or fair rating because I don't remember exactly and haven't heard it in a while. If I had to guess it would probably be somewhere around 6 or 7.
This one is all instrumental, but the songs are pretty cool and are a bit more focused and restrained compared to other tour albums. I would say this one is worth having if you like the more mellow music aspect of Calexico.
#1 - Radiohead - swdshfsk - intro (also see Page 35, Post #1041)
#3 - David Bowie - Courtney - intro
#4 - Boredoms - bmack86 - full
#5 - Can - bmack86 - intro (also see Page 21, Post #619)
#6 - Spiritualized - bmack86 - intro (also see Page 14, Post #419)
#9 - Elvis Costello - TomAz - intro (also see Page 29, Post #868)
#10 - the Wedding Present - roberto73 - intro
#12 - Tom waits - Slushmier - extended intro
#13 - Mogwai - swdshfsk - extended intro
#14 - Hanson - tessa|asset - extended intro
#15 - Guided by Voices - mountmccabe - intro
#23 - the Velvet Underground - PsyGuyRy - extended intro
#24 - Luna - york707 - intro with discog listed
#25 - Jonathan Richman - breakjaw - full
#32 - The Dismemberment Plan - Tylerdurden31 - full
#33 - Bob Dylan - TomAz - extended intro (also see Page 30, Post #871)
#36 - Talking Heads - bballarl - full
#37 - Pink Floyd - PsyGuyRy - very extended intro
#45 - Pearl Jam - Slushmier - full
#51, 53 & 56 - Fugazi - PotVsKtI - ranked list of albums
#65 - the Beatles - TomAZ - full
#101 - the Kinks (early period) - bmack86 - extended intro
#109 - Beethoven's 7th Symphony - mountmccabe - full (selected, incomplete)
#117 - the Cure - bmack86 - full
#118 - the Dandy Warhols - Hannahrain - full
#124 - the Jesus and Mary Chain - mountmccabe - full
#131 - Yo La Tengo - Courtney - full
#132 - the Roots - Slushmier - full
#138 - Sonic Youth - bmack86 - full
#141 - the Rolling Stones (US albums) - sydaud - full
#146 - the White Stripes - bballarl - full
#173 - Faith No More - thinnerair - full
#175 - Failure - thinnerair - full
#176 - Magazine - breakjaw - full
#196 - Creed - bmack86 - full
#200 - Metallica - bmack86 - full
#202 - the Who - sydaud - full
#217 - Massive Attack - Thinnerair - Full
#219 - Elf Power - Bmack86 - Full
#225 - Genesis - Thinnerair - Intro
#232 - Bikini Kill - Mountmccabe - Full
#238 - Muse - Thinnerair -
#241 - Big Black - Bmack86 - Full
#249 - The Arab Strap - Hannahrain - Intro
#253 - The Clash - TomAz - Full
#267 - Nick Cave - roberto73 - Full
#299 - Jeff Buckley - PassiveTheory - Full
#334 - Jawbox - Tylerdurden31 - Full
#338 - Hum - thinnerair - Full
#344 - REM - sydaud - Full
#375 - Depeche Mode - Amyzzz - Extended Intro
#395 - The Replacements - TomAz - Full
#402 - Spinal Tap - Breakjaw - Full
#405 - Cheech and Chong - Anita Bonghit - Discography
#416 - Pixies - Bmack86 - Full
#419 - Spiritualized - Bmack86 - Full
#425 - Rush - MonsoonSeason - intro
#427 - The Orb - Desphrs - full
#446 - Miles Davis - sydaud - full
#455 - Boards of Canada - desphrs - full
#463 - Blur - Slushmier - full
#474 - Serge Gainsbourg - bmack86 - intro
#477 - Beat Happening - bmack86 - full
#479 - Circle Jerks - york707 - full
#504 - Joe Jackson - MsTekno - extended intro
#505 - Oasis - Stefinitely Maybe - full
#518 - The Magnetic Fields - mountmccabe - full
#562 - Wilco - mountmccabe, york707, and TomAz (compiled by Hannahrain) - full
#573 - Spoon - sydaud - full
#580 - Decemberists - Hannahrain - full
#600 - Led Zeppelin - sydaud - full
#616 - Minutemen - sydaud - full
#619 - Can - bmack86 - full (selected, incomplete)
#625 - PJ Harvey - bballarl - full
#635 - Bjork - bmack86 - full
#649 - Cake - PassiveTheory - full
#650 - The Faint - hawkingvsreeve - full
#672 - Death Cab For Cutie - hawkingvsreeve - full
#720 - Leonard Cohen - mountmccabe - incomplete
#735 - Bruce Springsteen - Yablonowitz - first installment
#738 - Arto Lindsay - ragingdave - Solo work only
#757-755 TomAz vs Yablonowitz RE: Springsteen review.
#769 - XTC - Roberto73 - partial (to be continued)
#798 - Cursive - Hawkingvsreeve - full
#800 - XTC (II) - Roberto73 - Continuation
#801 - Joy Division/New Order - sydaud - full
#806 - Springsteen - Yablonowitz - quick overview
#812 - Springsteen (different) - TomAz - full
#820 - Elliott Smith - mountmccabe - full
#837 - Ben Folds - Jenniehoo - full (with mix!)
#842/847 XTC - roberto73 (w/mixes!)
#865 Replacements mix - TomAz
#868 Elvis Costello mix -TomAz
#871 Bob Dylan mixes - TomAz
#881 Animal Collective - BMack86 - complete
#884 The Go-Betweens - Roberto73 - complete (w/mix!)
#887 Tool - Passive Theory - complete
#909 Johnny Cash - Sydaud - incomplete (1957-59)
#945 John Lennon - breakjaw - full (w/mix)
#959 Lucinda Williams - TomAz - full (w/mix)
#976 Pavement - bmack - full
#984 Pavement mix - breakjaw
#988 Underworld - bballarl - intro
#995 The Appleseed Cast - comiddle - full
#996 (summary of rock canon) - C DUB YA
#1024 The Smiths (w/mix here) - Passive Theory
#1029 The Black Keys (w/mix) - Hannahrain
#1041 Radiohead (redux) - Radiohead727
#1043 Midnight Oil (w/2mixes!) - Roberto73
#1049 Eels (w/mix) - Roberto73
#1054 Eels (w/mix) -Roberto73
#1060 Brian Eno -Breakjaw - Mix/w Descriptions
#1061 Roxy Music -Breakjaw - Album Art
#1073 Prodigy - Betao - Complete
#1082 Modest Mouse - Mountmccabe - Complete
#1107 Stephen Malkmus/Jicks - Bmack86 - Complete
#1122 The Chemical Brothers - Betao - Complete
#1135 Elbow -Stefinitely Maybe - Complete
#1146 Love and Rockets - Roberto73 - Complete
#1158 Megadeth - Cheddar's Cousin - (Almost) Complete
#1179 Super Furry Animals - Clecirclecir@Juno.com - Ranked List
#1184 311 - Apachedine - Ranked List
#1220 Smashing Pumpkins - Hawkingvsreeve - Complete
#1242 Amon Tobin - Denies the Day - Overview
#1248 Butthole Surfers - SoulDischarge - Complete
#1271 Pixies - NicoDread - extended intro (also see Page 14, post #416)
#1281 Boris - bmack86 - complete
#1296 Kraftwerk - bmack86 - complete
#1302 Coldplay - PassiveTheory - incomplete
#1308 Cabaret Voltaire - SoulDischarge - selected, incomplete
#1321 Violent Femmes - jigsaw - intro
#1338 Calexico - hawkingvsreeve - complete
Last edited by Courtney; 08-16-2008 at 02:57 PM.
The first few releases from the Cardigans are pretty sonically consistent, and I liken it to lemonade for your ears. It's light and refreshing, non threatening, and generally fairly accessible. Keeping that in mind, the music remains fairly smart, which is something that really draws me to the band, although more so with their later releases. I really only enjoy the early stuff in smaller doses. Emmerdale has a sparkly 60s female fronted pop sensibility to it which is fun and nice, but the album does have some misses here and there, and is coming from a band who is still developing their sound, although it changes radically a few albums later. I would say to pick it up if you are a big fan or a completist.
Taking the best songs from Emmerdale and re-releasing them on their second full length, Life continues and expands on the the clean retro pop sound of the first record. It does suffer from some weak tracks like the first release, and I feel this is due to having too many tracks on the record. I think more subjective self-editing would have helped them a great deal with this release. Highlights here are Carnival (which you may know, it was a single), Rise and Shine, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Our Space, which were all on Emmerdale with the exception of Carnival.
First Band On The Moon
Love me, love me, say that you love me. First Band On The Moon sort of completes the trilogy that is the airy pop sound that The Cardigans hammered out, and sort of steers them towards more of a rock (still polished though) sound. Lyrical content is a bit darker here, however. Lovefool was a huge hit for the band, and anyone listening to top 40 radio at the time can recall how saturated the airwaves became with the song. Sadly it's the only thing that most people remember about The Cardigans, as they haven't enjoyed the same amount of commercial success as during this time period. Production is better than the earlier releases, and only slightly helps bridge the gap to the second half of the discography.
To put it simply, this sounds like a completely different band. Turning the Lovefool sound completely upside down, Gran Turismo is a much darker album sonically and lyrically when compared to the first three releases, which fans didn't seem to welcome, but as I said, I much prefer this disc and the ones after. Erase / Rewind is pretty much a perfect pop song, My Favorite Game was a big single from this record, and other tracks like Starter and Hanging Around really cement the musical growth of the band. Gran Turismo is sort of in a world of it's own when compared to the rest of the albums though, musically. The first three are similar, as are the last two (to each other that is) while Gran Turismo sounds like they are figuring things out while transitioning. While it isn't my favorite album from them, I'd love to hear them make another one that sounds like it now that things feel more grounded.
Long Gone Before Daylight
Sort of going the way of a more alt kind of sound, LGBD is a bit more mellow and incredibly more mature. The album has a good number of slower songs, but I really enjoy the whole thing save for one track. Ok, maybe one and a half, but still. This is just really really solid pop rock that is accessible while remaining interesting and incredibly smart. I really feel that this band is extremely underrated and don't get as much attention as they deserve. It might just be me, I don't know. Maybe everyone else thinks it's shit, but when I find other fans we tend to nerd out over how good they are and how nobody seems to notice or care. Whatever, I blame Lovefool. Anyway. Give this album a spin, and specifically keep an ear out for A Good Horse (my favorite track by the band), For What It's Worth and For The Boys. Again, this one is sort of a slow burner so it requires a little patience, but like I said, I enjoy this thing cover to cover so I recommend the whole thing.
Super Extra Gravity
Again, great solid pop rock that didn't chart here at all in the states, their most recent release sort of builds on the LGBD sound with more uptempo songs. The production is pretty cool as well, and gives the album a more rock feel to it rather than the more somber sounds of the previous release. I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer was the single from the album, and other good tracks include Godspell, Drip Drop Teardrop and Good Morning Joan. The Cardigans had a best of album come out earlier this year and it does a good job of highlighting some of their best work, but I think it's missing a few key tracks, so I would stick with the albums if you are at all interested in listening to them.
Nice work on both counts, Brandon. I'm in pretty much total agreement with you, especially the brilliance of Long Gone Before Daylight.
This inspires me to get off my arse and start putting together the ones I keep meaning to do.
I'm working on Autechre and Merzbow.
Good Cardigans Brandon, but i would give "Life" a couple of more points.
Brandon -- that Calexico list is very well done and very welcome. I have a few of their albums and love them live but still have significant gaps. I love the "Convict Pool" EP though.. I think it's fucking brilliant. "The Black Light", not so much. I'm gonna have to get "Feast of Wire" I think.
I'm going to do Jay-Z's if everyone is ok with this.