Boy is there something to be said for experience. You wouldn’t know it from most of the emails I receive here, touting the latest sensations, accentuating how young someone is or how quickly this or that band has racked up video streams (or both). And of course there’s always room for new talent. But there will always be an untouchable quality to the talent that can (sometimes!) develop with years of playing, years of living, years of developing a craft and a voice.
Calexico, formed by the duo of Joey Burns and John Convertino, have been at their dusty blend of cross-cultural indie rock since 1995. There’s a world of musical know-how in the sounds they make; even the way the instruments in the introduction slide in and out of the 6/8 beat here strikes me as something you can’t do if you’re out there collecting likes for a living, and that’s just in the first 20 seconds. Twisting and swinging with a melancholy pang, “Voices in the Field” is propelled throughout by organic percussion, and rendered fiery by the paired guitars that blaze and gyrate with character and intensity. The lyrics tell a poetic tale of dislocation, with enough detail not to mystify, enough obliqueness to intrigue—yet another sign of a sure, experienced hand.
“Voices in the Field” is from the album The Thread That Keeps Us, released in January on Anti Records. MP3 via KEXP. It’s the band’s tenth release, not including live and collaborative recordings. Calexico was featured on Fingertips once previously, way back in April 2004.