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Saturday, April 28, 2018, 1:30 AM

with Ryley Walker
THE NINTH STUDIO ALBUM FROM CALEXICO, THE THREAD THAT KEEPS US IS A TIMELY SNAPSHOT OF THE ARIZONA-BRED BAND: A FAMILY PORTRAIT CAPTURING THEIR STYLISTIC VARIETY AND UNPREDICTABILITY WHILE STILL FINDING SOLACE IN LIMITLESS CREATIVITY. IN BRINGING THE ALBUM TO LIFE, VOCALIST/GUITARIST JOEY BURNS AND DRUMMER JOHN CONVERTINO FOUND A SPIRITUAL HOME IN UNUSUAL SURROUNDINGSNOT IN ARIZONA, BUT ON THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST IN A HOME-TURNED-STUDIO CALLED THE PANORAMIC HOUSE. BUILT FROM DEBRIS AND SHIPYARD-SALVAGED TIMBERAND DUBBED THE PHANTOM SHIP BY THE BANDTHE GRANDIOSE HOUSE AND ITS EDGE-OF-THE-WORLD-LIKE AMBIENCE SOON MADE THEIR WAY INTO THE SONGS. THE SPECTER OF CALIFORNIA ALSO HAD A POWERFUL EFFECT: AS BOTH DREAM STATE AND NIGHTMARE, ITS INFINITE DUALITY IS MIRRORED IN THE MUSIC, GIVING CALEXICO A NEW DIRECTION AND NEW EDGE. WITH LESS POLISH AND MORE GRIT THAN EVER BEFORE, THE THREAD THAT KEEPS US BOTH HONORS ENDURING TRADITIONS AND REVEALS CALEXICOS CONFIDENCE IN SONGWRITING, ULTIMATELY SETTING A WHOLE NEW STANDARD FOR THE BAND.As heard on the albums lead single and opening track, the drama of the landscape directly impacted the making of The Thread That Keeps Us. Driven by sing-song melody and galloping rhythms, End of the World with You discovers an unlikely romanticism in volatile times. With its lyrics illuminating Love in the age of the extremes, the track is the perfect intro to an album that endlessly explores the contrast between bright and dark, hope and fear.Working with their longtime engineer Craig Schumacher, Calexico co-produced The Thread That Keeps Us, gathering musicians from across the globe to dream up an earthy yet expansive sound spiked with jagged guitar tones and flashes of distortion. Theres a little more chaos and noise in the mix than what weve done in the past, Burns points out. Although that chaos has much to do with where were at right now as a planet, it also echoes Calexicos dedication to constant experimentation. Whenever were writing and we come up with something that feels too familiar, someone will end up saying, That feels good, but lets keep going and see what else we can uncover, Burns says. Its been really important to the arc of this bands evolution for us to always keep on trying new things.Like End of the World with You, much of The Thread That Keeps Us captures the anxieties and unease of living in tumultuous times. But while the album draws a kinetic energy from all that uncertainty, its lyrics unfold with a literary nuance and sense of setting and character. Instead of writing straight-up protest songs, I want to tell stories, Burns says. Largely inspired by his wanderings around Northern California during the albums production, the narratives embedded in The Thread That Keeps Us reflect on displacement, transitory existence, andin Burnss wordsreturning to your home after being gone for some time and seeing how things have changed, and maybe not in the best way.As the exact embodiment of that theme, Thrown to the Wild delivers one of the most mesmerizing moments on The Thread That Keeps Us. With its gritty but poetic storytelling, the song opens on a downtown bus station late at night, its sleepy rhythms and atmospheric haze intensifying the bleakness of the scene (sample lyric: Homes waiting like a motherless child). From there, Thrown to the Wild slips into a glorious frenzy of hummed harmonies, sprawling guitar lines, and Jacob Valenzuelas sorrowful trumpet playing, the effect both hypnotic and jarring. We wanted the second part of the song to just open into this sea of chaos, says Burns, adding: Sometimes chaos can be a good thing.Eclectic in sound and feeling, The Thread That Keeps Us also offers the measured fury of Bridge to Nowhere, the triumphant grooves of the Spanish-sung Flores y Tamales, the meditative rhythms and jangly guitar riffs of Another Space. On The Town & Miss Lorraine, shimmering tones and delicate mandolin melodies play against the

Cost: $35.00
Tickets: http://www.ticketnetwork.com/tix/tickets-3351763.aspx

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