Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Califone's Roots And Crowns

If that weird little banjo pickin' dude from Deliverance formed a band with Kurt Cobain, Nels Cline (from Wilco) and Steven Drozd from the Flaming Lips they would've sounded a lot like Califone. This is skewed Appalachian Americana at it’s best and most haunting. The musicianship and variety of instruments played on Roots and Crowns is impressive as well. Here, take a peek at the credits:

Tim Rutili (vocals, guitars, piano, electronics, field recordings, organ, synthesiser, banjo, loops, bowed balalaika)
Ben Massarella (pistons, Zuni rattles, counting stick, bronze fork, gourd shakers, glass, oak chimes, ribbon crasher)
Jim Becker (violin, banjo, bass, xylophone, cajun accordian, mandolin)
Joe Adamik (drum kit, bass clarinet, wurlitzer, piano and organ, vibraphone, Dr. Sampler, bells, melodica and prepared metaliphone)

This is one of those "damn glad I kept it" discs because even though I couldn't quite get into it at first it eventually grew on me and now it's a favorite with weekly spin honors.
The itunes review states that Roots And Crowns "sounds like nothing so much as the perfect experimental country rock band that Wilco And Sonic Youth have yet to get together and form", and they're pretty spot on. Except this isn't like the Sky Blue Sky Wilco, more like "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" or "Ashes Of American Flags" Wilco. It's dark, organic and experimental all at the same time and I highly recommend you pick up a copy and see for yourself. If I wouldn't have been brain dead when I first picked this up in 2006 it would've probably ended up topping my year end lists.

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