CALEXICO and WINE
Before I write another word, I have a declaration to make. Until further notification, I have a definitive song to be played at my funeral. That song, which appears on the newly released collaboration between IRON AND WINE and CALEXICO, is "Dead Man's Will".
Don't even try taking it from me. I've got dibs.
It's a fucking stunner of a song... gorgeous vocals, beautiful instrumentation (like those delicately played vibes) and Sam Beam's heartbreaking lyrics:
"Give this stone to my brother
Because we found it playing in the barnyard
many years ago
Give this bone to my father
He'll remember hunting in the hills
when I was ten years old
May my love reach you all
I locked it in myself and buried it too long
Now that I've come to fall
Please say it's not too late now that I'm dead and gone
Give this string to my mother
It pulled the baby teeth she keeps
inside the drawer
Give this ring to my lover
I was scared and stupid not to ask
For her hand long before"
As my roommate handed the lyric booklet back to me tonight while we listened to this song, he said, "Jesus, that weighs a TON." I told him about the first time I saw Calexico - before I'd even really heard them on record - and how they were so perfect that I was literally teary-eyed as I watched them play. It was pure music. I can't really explain it any better than that.
It is an absolute travesty that the American public has bought over 60,000 copies of that Crazy Frog album (the one where an animated, cellphone ringtone peddling frog "sings" wacky songs) and these two bands, deserving of much more success, will never hope to see the chart position that little bastard got. What the hell is wrong with us?
The EP that "Dead Man's Will" comes from, "IN THE REIGNS," is perfect. The production is uncluttered with most of today's bells and whistles, and pretty much sounds like what instruments are supposed to sound like. Best of all is the fact that you can really see how these two artists feed off of each other on this record. I don't think either one of these bands could have come up with a song like "A History of Lovers" on their own. It's definitely the bounciest thing Beam has ever written, and the unexpected horn section that blasts out in the song's halfway point puts a twist on Calexico's usually Southwestern, desert-bare sound.
"IN THE REIGNS" is what collaboration is all about: putting your best elements together to create something not only new, but also stylistically progressive for everyone involved. If you like the songs posted here tonight, you simply must own this EP. Whether you catch it on iTunes or at your local indie, you'll be doing your part to help fight the Crazy Frogs of this world.
Iron & Wine: "Lion's Mane" (live)
Calexico: "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division cover)
FOR MORE ON TONIGHT'S ARTISTS:
- I have to thank my friend John Holt for introducing me to the music of Calexico. This is their website. They have a bunch of mp3's available here, but I can't figure out how to download them just yet.
- Get a bunch of Calexico shows at archive.org.
- Another buttload of Calexico mp3's over at City Slang.
- The official homepage of Iron and Wine
- Iron and Wine over at Sub Pop. They have 5 downloadable songs there, so check 'em out.