Iron & Wine/Calexico
There are two routes taken on most collaborations between distinctive musicians. Either one fantastic sound disappears while the other dominates (see Damon Albarn's Gorillaz or those electronic tracks with Neil Tennant on lead vocals), or both sounds disappear and a lifeless, unremarkable disgrace remains (see Velvet Revolver, Audioslave, the Thorns). Tucson's Calexico and Miami's Iron & Wine, however, have taken the road less traveled and produced an exceptional achievement for all involved. A few of the EP's seven tracks sound simply like a Sam Beam-fronted Calexico, but the ecstatic horns of "A History of Lovers" and the harmonica-driven stomp of "Red Dust" show both bands taking risks and experimenting with new identities. Moving the collab a step further, the groups are touring together, each playing a set and then performing the entire EP together. Let's hope Chris Cornell and Matthew Sweet are taking notes.
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