What's most impressive about Calexico, with such a signature sound, is their unabashed curiosity and willingness to experiment. They've swapped remixes with British breakbeat duo Two Lone Swordsmen, and played house band for pop maven Jenny Toomey's recent record of Franklin Bruno's songs. They covered post-punk icons the Minutemen ("Little Man with a Gun in his Hand") for a recent 7-inch, while still contributing to more predictable alliances like country/pop chanteuse Neko Case's new one.
In vibrant, uptempo numbers that provoke hoots and hollers, Burns and Convertino contemplate serious social issues like the plight of immigrants in the Southwest, or simply wail through lost love and heartache, the vocals set against a blanket of guitar, marimba, accordion, or cello. It's a marriage of sounds that, like most good music, is best experienced live. You'll get your chance at the Cat's Cradle Saturday, Nov. 2. Joining Calexico on this tour is the like-minded Black Heart Procession, with their sad, smoky-flavored sound turned upbeat a notch on recent material. Don't miss this one.