What is this sound and where can I find more of it?
May 21, 2012 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Fifteen years later, Calexico's The Black Light has finally clicked with me in a big way. I absolutely love the guitar sound in Gypsy's Curse. Does this sound have a name, and where can I find more of it?

(I'm already familiar with Friends of Dean Martinez.)
posted by entropicamericana to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Calexico backs up Neko Case on a lot of her tracks and even tours with her. Star Witness is a classic track and sounds very similar to your track.

Neko is amazing, I'd definitely get her latest stuff and work backwards. As to what you call it, I have no idea. Alt-Country? Country Noir?
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:26 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

It's sort of a frontier, western, southwestern sound.

Here are a few songs that for me are similar (I greatly enjoy the genre as well):
Rodrigo y Gabriela
The opening two songs on The Protomen's 2nd album: The Good Doctor & Father of Death
Murder by Death: Masters in Reverse Psychology (and the whole album!)
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:30 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd reckon that's pretty classic "surf guitar" minus alot of the echo-ey reverb, but with all the tremelo, melodic and rhythmical patterning ...

You might like marc ribot; w/ tom waits (if you're one'o thems that can listens to tom waits); y los Cubanos Postizos (Prosthetic Cubans)!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 1:37 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

A handful of songs from the Bastion soundtrack have that same frontier guitar sort of feel to them.

The band Triple Burner sort of scratches this itch for me too, but in a way slower quieter way.

This previous askme might turn up some tracks that interest you too.

The thing about Calexico that makes them harder to pin down with specific genre is that they sort of equal parts latin, county, and post-rock. Wikipedia's attempt to describe them uses the term "desert noir," which seems sort of apt.

Here's hoping some cool music gets mentioned in this thread. I'll be following it too. Hopefully someone knows where I can get some good steel guitar too.
posted by cirrostratus at 1:42 PM on May 21, 2012

Rube's got it.

I'd recommend Link Wray.

Triple Burner is indeed a phenomenal band. Nice to see them mentioned on Metafilter.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 1:44 PM on May 21, 2012

You might also stumble down an alley with Tin Hat Trio.
posted by quarterframer at 1:45 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

The excellent Amos Lee record "Mission Bell" is essentially a Calexico record with Amos on vocals.

Another big thumbs up for the Bastion soundtrack. Also Daniel Lanois
and Robin Guthrie. You might also like the Red Dead Redemption soundtrack.

Finally, a HUGE thumbs up for Neko Case. Her stuff is practically from another planet. Start with "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood."
posted by jbickers at 1:57 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

They sound a bit different, but you might enjoy the band that preceded Calexico: Giant Sand.
posted by jann at 2:00 PM on May 21, 2012

You might also love the album Mambo Sinuendo by Ry Cooder and Manuel Galbán.
Here's my favorite cut from it.
posted by jann at 2:04 PM on May 21, 2012

Clean sound, light on the treble, little bit of reverb. That's basically it.
posted by Decani at 2:24 PM on May 21, 2012

Reminiscent of some of the old Chris Isaak, by the way. I mean in terms of the guitar sound.
posted by Decani at 2:27 PM on May 21, 2012

A few more songs you might like:
• 16 Horsepower — Blessed Persistence
• Woven Hand — Sparrow Falls
• The Handsome Family — All the Tv's in Town
• Califone — Bottles and Bones
posted by jann at 2:32 PM on May 21, 2012

Friends of Dean Martinez share members and sounds with Calexico.
posted by .kobayashi. at 3:04 PM on May 21, 2012

• The Notwist — Neon Golden
• Duane Eddy — Rebel Rouser
• The Spotnicks — Amapola and Johnny Guitar
posted by jann at 3:21 PM on May 21, 2012

As huge as my girl crush is on Neko, and as much as I adore her more recent stuff, I wouldn't recommend starting with Middle Cyclone and working back if you're looking for country noir (great term for it!). I second the Fox Confessor rec above, and Blacklisted might even be a better starting point- particularly Look For Me (I'll Be Around).

It's more uptempo, but you might like Golden Animals (try Ride Easy). Kinda like listening to the Doors while driving down an old dusty highway in the Southwest.
posted by quiet coyote at 4:09 PM on May 21, 2012

Also, also:
• Dick Dale — Riders in the Sky
• Jon and the Nightriders — Depth Charge
• The Plugz — Electrify Me
• Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet — Our Weapons Are Useless
posted by jann at 4:13 PM on May 21, 2012

I'd reckon that's pretty classic "surf guitar"

Yep, this is absolutely one of the variants of surf guitar that many groups have riffed on over the years. You might want to explore some of the artists who originated it (Duane Eddy and Dick Dale being great starts) as well as some bands in the scene today.
posted by Miko at 6:42 PM on May 21, 2012

The Sadies! Who have also backed Neko.
posted by librarina at 7:10 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

See also The Ventures for more surf guitar.

There's a lot of Ennio Morricone in Calixico's sound, although maybe not so much in the song you linked to.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:22 AM on May 22, 2012

Well, okay, I was off on a completely unrelated quest (looking for a photo of the "It's My Forest Too!" sign that used to be next to Hwy 1 in Big Sur) and lo and behold, I stumbled over The Spotnicks. Who, in spite of their Swedish heritage and space suits lurve them some back country hot roddin!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:39 AM on May 23, 2012

One more: The Mavericks — Come Unto Me
posted by jann at 7:51 PM on June 2, 2012

Marc Ribot, part three: Electric Masada!!!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 7:22 PM on June 22, 2012

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