Carried to Dust


Carried to Dust is the “best Western epic since No Country for Old Men,” said R.J. Smith in Blender. “Few bands convey a sense of place as deeply” as Tucson’s Calexico. Named after a border town, the six-piece band founded by Joey Burns and John Convertino has been enchanted by the Southwest ever since forming 12 years ago. For its sixth album, “you better habla Español.” Calexico conjures up a drifting, cinematic landscape of lonesome highways, crumbling ghost towns, and still desert nights—“all richly evoked by Ennio Morricone guitars,” swells of mariachi horns, and soft brushes of bone-dry percussion. The 15-song collection is a “quiet retreat” into familiar territory, said John Mulvey in Uncut. On 2006’s Garden Ruin, Calexico seemed to have left behind the distinctive blend of traditional Mexican and American folk music it created on 2003’s Feast of Wire. But Calexico has returned to it here, playing with the ease of the musically well traveled and weaving its influences into a “vivid musical tapestry.” The desert balladeers transform “everyday narratives into gleaming vignettes” of the Great Southwest, said Jessica Suarez in Spin. Their songs “travel a trail that seems carved out of ancient echoes.”