Desert Song : Calexico’s 12 album box set

It is difficult to pigeonhole Calexico – a diverse music collective based around guitarist and vocalist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino. Hailing from Tucson, Arizona the band play an amalgam of country, indie rock, Texas and Spanish music, techno – dubbed as ‘desert rock’ or the soundtrack of the American West.

Certainly the music they create conjures images of the arid, dust blown Arizona desert, reminiscent to snatches of soundtrack to 1970s spaghetti westerns – twanging guitars and blasting Mariachi style brass.

Besides commercial releases, including special extended play discs and an album cut with Iron & Wine, Calexico have regularly issued ‘tour albums’ – live CDs sold at gigs and through their website which have become highly collectable. Unlike many ‘live’ our ‘tour’ releases by other bands, Calexico’s ‘non commercial’ releases are top quality.

These ‘tour’ CDs have now been compiled and reissued a 12-vinyl album box set consisting of eight of the bands ‘tour’ releases.

The box set is called ‘Road Atlas 1998 – 2011’ issued on Quarterstick Records and as with most super-deluxe releases the set comes complete with lots of extras.

The box set is hand numbered with a distribution of 1,100 sets (500 of them in Europe); 12 vinyl albums (four single LP Albums, four Double LP Albums) plus Bonus MP3s; a 40 page book with photo’s and handwritten notes, full liner notes and a printed linen wrapped skip case.

The twelve “tour’ albums are:

‘Road Map’ single album (originally released on CD, 1999)


‘Travelall’ single album (originally released on CD, 2000)


‘Aerocalexico’ single (originally released on CD, 2001)


‘Scraping’ double album (originally released on CD, 2002)


‘The Book And The Canal’ double album 
(originally released on CD, 2005)

‘Toolbox’ single album (originally released on CD, 2007)


‘Ancienne Blegique  – Live In Brussels’ double album (originally released on CD, 2008)


‘Circo Soundtrack’ single album (originally released on CD, 2010)

Retailing at anywhere between £130 and £180 – you will need to hunt around the web for the best price.

However, do not despair – the band have issued a sixteen track CD sampler, with sides chosen by Burns and Convertino including their ‘Spaghetti Western’ classic ‘Glowing Heart Of The World’ from the ‘Road Map’ set, ‘Aerocalexico’s’ ‘All The Pretty Horses’ and ‘Gift X-Change’ as well as ‘Crystal Frontier’ which appeared on the commercial 2001 EP release, ‘Even My Sure Things Fall Through’ and here from ‘Aerocalexico’.

Calexcio have been described as one of the USA’s most inventive and original bands – check out their commercial releases and give a listen to the YouTube clip above.

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