Calexico have released Seasonal Shift via City Slang, their first-ever holiday album. In honor of the album’s release day, we partnered with the singer, songwriter and guitarist Joey Burns in order to bring you this brilliant playlist. Listen below!
Calexico’s Seasonal Shift is less of a Christmas album and more of a cross cultural seasonal celebration. The themes are based around that familiar end of year feeling, of reflection, of ceremony and of recognition of the year gone by and changes it brought for better and for worse. It contains a few cover songs including classics by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Tom Petty and a few more special guests, combined with a whole load of good will. It’s heartfelt but fun, and earnest but celebratory. It features Calexico in an assortment of guises, referencing Portuguese Fado and Old Mexican Folk Songs, from the stripped back two-man skeleton to the full party of international collaborators including artists like Bombino, Gaby Moreno, Gisela João, Nick Urata (DeVotchKa) and Camilo Lara.
Reflecting on the album, Joey Burns says, “It’s more of a seasonal album and like all seasons they are about change and how those changes in the world resonate inside of you. I never thought this would have gone the way that it did. We were aiming to record a 6 song EP and we kept going. I guess I never thought I would be on permanent hibernation mode either, but I’m super happy and extremely grateful.”
Below you have the tracklist, the playlist and Joey’s comments on every single track, enjoy!
01. Songhoy Blues – “Worry”
I love this song so much. From the incredible guitar tones to the vocals to the drum beat and bass parts. It’s rock solid and makes me we want to get up and dance with my kids. The combination of the hypnotic groove, musical styles blending and the words of hope and encouragement are much needed in times like these. I can’t wait to hear more from this band.
02. Rita Indiana – “Como un Dragón”
I’ve been a fan of Rita Indiana for a while and although she took a break from music to focus on writing she has come back with a new album that packs a powerful punch. Part of that energy is from her use of heavy metal guitars combined with electronic beats on this song. It’s a great ride and her unique vocal style is fierce and fearless.
03. Kevin Morby – “Campfire”
There is an openness in the way Kevin sings and phrases. It eases your mind. On “Campfire” his voice careens and swoops around the shallows of familiar faces. I’m totally mesmerized and when he drops the music out mid-song I can’t help but fall all the way in. This great big empty space is the symbolic gesture to people and things that have come and gone. His music is reminiscent of things I love most in my record collection and his enthusiasm inspires me to pick up a guitar and join in.
04. Mayra Andrade – “Manga”
The balance of tenderness, beauty and rhythmic pulse is really well performed and produced on this track. Mayra has struck a bullseye into the heart of this love song. Hearing this song makes me want to visit Cape Verde and be surrounded by some of the musical influences that has produced such a great artist.
05. Mexican Institute of Sound and Gaby Moreno – “Yemayá”
This is Gaby and Camilo’s first studio collaboration and I only wish there was a whole album of these two shining stars. Lo-fi latin mixed with gorgeous waves of Gaby’s vocals is the perfect song to carry me through any long day in quarantine. I especially like that the song is about Yemayá, the Afro-Caribbean goddess of fertility, water and self love.
06. Bahamas – “Half Your Love”
I heard this song on the radio and it stopped me in my tracks. Ok, I admit that at the time I was not enjoying scraping out the pans and needed a break but this song’s directness spoke to me. I’m a big fan of Afie Jurvansen. All that he does is tastefully done and at times funny as hell. “Half Your Love” is a straight up country song and will surely stick to your heart like, well, like this stuff I’m trying to clean in the kitchen. Bon appetite!
07. Lido Pimienta featuring Li Saumet – “Nada”
This song goes deep into the heart and the perfect kind of song that I want my daughters to hear. There is nothing or nada that can stop women. A simple vocal line becomes a mantra immersed with synth beds and electronic Colombian percussion. Li Saumet from another favorite group of mine, Bomba Estereo joins to make this track a top favorite for our kitchen dance parties.
08. Michael Kiwanuka – “You Ain’t The Problem”
This is one of the most amazing songs I’ve heard in a while. I’m drawn to the Morricone-esque vocal interludes and Michael’s heartfelt vocals. I love this groove and the instrumentation on this track especially that ultra fuzz guitar riff. If I were a filmmaker I could easily base a whole movie around this song.
09. Bombino – “Tenesse”
I’m a big fan of Bombino’s music and the guitar tone and phrasing on this song is simply incredible. The use of modal chord changes and seamless shifts between vocal and guitar emphasize the power of the drone. It’s a meditation in a way that keep me focused and wanting to hear where he will take us. We are honored to feature him on one of our new songs “Heart of Downtown” by exchanging tracks from afar. I can’t wait to meet up someday and play a show together.
10. Mitù featuring Ela Minus – “Salta”
I’m loving the synth trance groove of this song by Mitú and Ela Minus. There’s a lot of beautiful surprises in the arrangement and the whole time there is a cool reggaeton style drum machine laying down the beat. I feel like I’m driving my car through an alternate reality where time stops and I can see the arc of all things connected. This is a great song for Saturday nights.
11. H.E.R. – “I Can’t Breathe”
This song speaks truth. Plain and simple. We all need to address issues of racism and injustice in the U.S. and around the world. I love this song and was lucky to get see H.E.R. perform at the Grammys in early 2020. My wife and I were blown away by her performance. She is a serious badass.
12. Mark Turner and Ethan Iverson – “Myron’s World”
Tenor saxophonist Mark Turner opens a treasure chest of melodies that unfurl like a flurry of autumn colors. This duet album is a minimal and poignant conversation between tenor sax and piano. This is what I listen to at the end of the night when I am free to follow all the lines and intersections of these two master musicians and composers. (P.S. Mark and I played together in our high school jazz band and he has always been an incredibly talented musician and painter as well as a down to earth person.)
13. Gisela João – “há palavras que nos beijam”
I’ve been a fan of Portuguese fado for many years and when I came across the songs of Gisela João I felt like I had opened a door that took me back one hundred years to the narrow streets of Barrio Alto in Lisbon. Her singing style and abilities are supreme and she makes the minor blues feel like the best thing in the world. We were lucky enough to have her guest on our new song “Tanta Tristeza”.
14. Adia Victoria – “Different Kind of Love”
I have to turn this song way up whenever it comes on the stereo. Adia’s vocals backed by her amazing band are the best thing to kick the blues away. This song with its garage stomp and incredible guitar parts drenched in reverb is the perfect combination backdrop for Adia’s singing. We were on tour together last November and I miss hanging out with her and the band listening to their set every night. Here’s to playing more shows down the road together.
15. Phoebe Bridgers – “I Know The End”
Phoebe knows how to paint a picture and I’ve been enjoying her works a lot. The fact that she can go from a fragile acoustic folk song to a full on fiery chaotic explosion is impressive. This tune is fitting not only because it is my last song in the but also because it references so many great aspects about the states that are unhealthy and way out of balance nearing a catastrophic collapse. Her cinematic songwriting is spot on and this song knows no end better than this. Please, dive in and enjoy.