Album Review: Calexico - Selections From Road Atlas 1998-2011

on Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Calexico - 'Selections From Road Atlas 1998-2011' (UK Release: 21 Nov '11) // Words: Simon Opie

Calexico have been playing since the mid-nineties and their two founding members Joey Burns and John Convertino – both multi-instrumentalists - have pursued a distinctive and singular musical vision from the beginning. Over the year, they have produced a series of tour-only CDs displaying their lighter side and these eight CDs have now been released as a limited edition vinyl only box set (and this ‘highlights of’ CD on general release), 'Selections From Road Atlas 1998-2011'.

The band's studio output has been varied but brilliantly original, from 1998’s seminal breakthrough, 'The Black Light', to 2006’s 'Garden Ruin', not so critically acclaimed but I think one of their finest, and beyond. Their mix of Mexican, Morricone and American Folk influences has produced music by turns sinuous and mysterious but always serious. Live however, they have consistently seemed much less forbidding and their live shows are among the best I’ve ever seen.

The tracks on 'Selections From Road Atlas 1998-2011' were never intended for wider distribution and were produced according to Joey Burns: "for fun, for the fans - and for ourselves". Hooray for that I say, and this album makes a great reminder for anyone who’s seen Calexico of how joyous their live performances are, and for newcomers it’s a terrific place to start exploring their world. 'Lost In Space', 'Boletos' and 'Crystal Frontier' are favourites but the selections are all strong and this is a tremendous collection of really great music.


The collection is available to purchase on or the Calexico website.

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