Calexico: “Lucky Dime” (alternate version)

Is it just me or did Calexico’s Garden Ruin seem to come and pass without much excitement? The reviews have been pretty favorable, despite (or maybe because of?) the band losing a bit of its mariachi stylings for a more streamlined sound.

Even if you don’t like a band or musician’s shift in style, you have to at least appreciate a willingness to push their bounds of what’s comfortable. Ultimately, it would be pretty boring if a band ended up copying itself over and over. Besides, I think Garden Ruin takes a little patience, especially if you’ve built any preconceived notions of Calexico (and we probably all have).

This alternate version of Lucky Dime is the B-side of a 7″ from City Slang, the group’s European label. (Bisbee Blue is the A-side.) The 7″ version pushes the tempo of the original and brightens the sound with electric guitar accents. As for the song’s lyrics, I can’t but help think of Jimmy Eat World’s Lucky Denver Mint – this theme of hoping/wishing about the unknown or assigning luck to an inanimate object. Are these things really lucky or do we just want to believe so bad they are that we’re willing to convince ourselves of it? When Joey Burns sings on Lucky Dime, “Hoping to see a sign or a lucky dime,” it feels like he’s forcing himself to believe something that doesn’t exist. Just like on Lucky Denver Mint, when Jim Adkins sings, “A dollar underwater keeps on dreaming for me.” It feels a little hopeless and out of their hands.

Calexico | Lucky Dime (alternate version)

Also, City Slang has an acoustic version of the powerful Garden Ruin closer, All Systems Red.

Calexico | All Systems Red (acoustic)

Lastly, Garden Ruin is available at eMusic. And iTunes has a live session EP (released Sept. 12) with four songs.

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