When I'm not vomiting election day dribble, or assaulting your ears with weekly lists that no one cares about, I spend a little time in a little office on the 10th floor of a building in Arlington and work for Express, a metro-suited child of the Washington Post. Most of my days are spent writing late night commerical creativity grade standalones , functioning as the token conservative and serving the dark wishes of Dr. Atomic, but there was this one time that the red headed goddess let me out of my brain cell killing routine and into, you may start salivating now, the glorious realms of a 350 word write up of Calexico. Yes, that was all one sentence.
You could run to your nearest metro station and pick up the Thursday copy of Express, or you could just click over and read every single salacious detail of my sordid conversation.
And yes, I am simultaneously whoring my short sniff of a work out to you fine people, and satiating the doubts of those people who question whether The Scanner is ever about music. For the record, there are websites that write about music all the time, and they are called things like Pitchfork and Stereogum. We are not those sites.
So without further ado, a twenty five minute conversation condensed to 350 words. Potshots may commence.
EVEN IF YOU HAVEN'T heard Calexico, you've probably heard Calexico.
The soft Southwestern melodies and rich orchestration from the Tucson cross-genre rockers have left a distinctive mark upon the world of film and music, whether featuring heavily in the Todd Haynes biopic of Bob Dylan, or in collaboration with everyone from French singer Francoiz Breut to Willie Nelson.
But while it's easy to run into Calexico, it's harder to find what exactly it is that defines Calexico. "'Eccentric' is probably a nicer way to put it," said frontman Joey Burns. "[It's] kind of free-form and really open with, not just our influences, but our friends and even band members."
"A lot of people refer to us having a signature sound that has a lot to do not only with the people in the band, but the kind of location that we come from. I think that's real important, because you have to have a good sense of who you are and when to lose that, and when to turn it off."
That sense of location features heavily in Calexico's latest release, "Carried to Dust." "[It's] part dislocation — feeling yourself halfway connected to where you are and where you want to go. Whether it's your dreams or your hopes or the fact that you're out of a job, or the fact that we travel so much, it had to do with reaching that destination, that kind of buildup of expectation and suspense."
Burns describes Calexico as an indie-rock band that's "more cinematic in some respects, and, you know, through films, I think our music is going to catch on more."
While Burns might have dreams of future musical collaborations ("Dylan or Tom Waits or Neil Young") or future cinematic scoring ("like a Cormac McCarthy setting"), the quiet talker has a simple goal for the audience when Calexico finishes onstage at the 9:30 Club on Thursday: "That same sensation when you walk out of a theater when it touches on all emotional levels and energy."
» 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW; Thu., Nov. 13, 7 p.m., $17; 202-265-0930. (U St.-Cardozo)
Written by Nathan Martin/Express
Photo by Gerald Von Foris
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