Califone – villagers (2023) [FLAC 24 bit, 96 kHz]

Califone - villagers (2023) [FLAC 24 bit, 96 kHz] Download

Artist: Califone
Album: villagers
Genre: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock
Release Date: 2023
Audio Format:: FLAC (tracks) 24 bit, 96 kHz
Duration: 45:33
Total Tracks: 9
Total Size: 892 MB


01. Califone – the habsburg jaw (04:20)
02. Califone – eyelash (04:19)
03. Califone – mcmansions (07:45)
04. Califone – villagers (04:18)
05. Califone – comedy (05:08)
06. Califone – ox-eye (04:11)
07. Califone – halloween (04:47)
08. Califone – skunkish (06:18)
09. Califone – sweetly (04:23)


Part experimental indie and part ‘70s soft rock, Califone’s first record in three years finds creative force Tim Rutili reaching new levels of harmony, fragility, and confidence. Whether detailing aging goths retaining their identity through year-long spooky decorations (“Halloween”), an imagined conversation with an inbred monarch (“Habsburg Jaw”), or the conflicts between identity and technology (“Ox-Eye”), Villagers’ nine tracks spread out and luxuriates in the messy darkness of modern life. Like sitting in awe on the porch swing at the end of the world, Califone’s latest marvels at the edge of the universe spreading into the darkness of infinity.With 25 years of Califone in his catalog (not to mention a variety of other projects, including alt rock heroes Red Red Meat), the Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based knows well how to find that moment of awe and bliss even as things are falling apart. Part poet, part abstract painter, and always surrounded by a variety of hyper-talented collaborators (here including longtime cohorts Ben Massarella, Michael Krassner, Rachel Blumberg, and Brian Deck, as well as the likes of Nora O’Connor and Finom’s Macie Stewart), Rutili has always excelled at luring listeners through elusive lyrics, flashes of shadows and images coming together in disarming unity.No one would have expected Tim Rutili to embrace yacht rock as an influence, and that hasn’t happened yet, but his tenth album under the Califone rubric, 2023’s Villagers, does suggest he’s been listening to a lot of 1970s soft rock and letting the influence soak in. Of course, when Rutili was drawing on the blues in his earlier work, Califone still sounded like he’d filtered the structures through his fertile imagination, and Villagers is soft rock bent into new forms informed by his angular sonic experimentalism. “McMansions” is languid on the surface, but the occasional off-kilter bursts of guitar skronk and fiddle screech add a compelling grit. The late-night piano ballad “Comedy,” punctuated with a polished horn arrangement, is married to a lyric full of violence and regret. The acoustic guitar and Latin percussion backing to “Sweetly” sounds as easy as Sunday morning, but the story is a pitiless remembrance of a relationship broken beyond repair, and the darker it gets, the more the music bends to the mood. The push and pull of form and content is something Rutili has always done well, and the skillful instrumental execution on Villagers extends even to the many sonic left turns; they may seem unexpected but make perfect sense in context, like a gunshot that happens just when it’s most dramatically effective. The opening track, “The Habsburg Jaw,” shows he hasn’t forgotten how to put his more eccentric leanings up front once in a while, even if they’re (just barely) held in place by a melody that could have been a great pop tune if he’d wanted. Under Rutili’s leadership, Califone has been one of the most satisfying acts in Chicago’s post-rock community for over two decades, and with Villagers he’s shown he’s not out of interesting ideas and intriguing places to take them, even when he’s letting the surfaces seem more engaging. – Mark Deming

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