At risk of overselling the thing, we're going to go ahead and make a proclamation. (It's 100% true to our ears, so screw it!) We honestly can't think of a more consistently great series of releases in the rock-ish realm from one act, in a two year period, than Califone has produced between 2002 and 2004, lest we go all the way back to what Dylan did between '65 and '67. We've admired Califone since the great great Red Red Meat broke up, but with last year's Quicksand/
Cradlesnakes and now Heron King Blues, they've really found a tuneful groove that previous records and live shows only hinted at. Tim Rutili and company's pure
ly unique mix of spare, rural acoustic string-plucking, broken/
fragmented organ and piano, hoarse and somewhat cryptic vocals from Rutili, and whispy tape loop effects are pretty much incomparable (and soon to ripped off by hundreds of followers, if that's not happening already.) If you're unfamiliar, Califone's pretty tough to describe, but if you dig early 70s Neil Young at his most stripped-down, and the experimental/
tape-manipulating guise John Fahey wore for some of the better Takoma LPs, than you really can't go wrong here. The fact that this thing was written and recorded in only a couple of weeks seems like a small miracle. "Wingbone", "Trick Bird", "Sawtooth Sung A Cheater's Song", "Apple", "Lion & Bee", "2 Sisters Drunk On Each Other" and more.
(Out of print.)