Song Of The Day: Calexico/Iron & Wine, “The Bitter Suite”

Fourteen years ago, dusty southwestern rockers Calexico met up with Iron & Wine to record an EP that would serve them on a tour together. At the time, they hinted at future collaborations, but it’s taken both bands a while to get together. Yet they have, and their new release, Years To Burn, The highlight of the album is “The Bitter Suite,” an epic eight-minute number that blends three individual sections. The first, “Pájaro,” features Calexico vocalist Jacob Valenzuela delivering a gorgeous romantic ballad, which then abruptly switches into “Evil Eye,” an instrumental passage that highlights Joey Burns and John Convertino‘s masterful ambient mariachi style that’s positively cinematic and dream-like, only to give way to the rootsy “Tennessee Train,” an equally dreamy folk number featuring Sam Beam‘s laconic storytelling. Though seemingly incongruous pieces on their own, they come together here quite nicely, resulting in a delightful aural balm to the oppressive summer heat.

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