Califone

Tim Rutili and his band Califone craft a hallucinatory, moonshiny sort of folk music that pilfers from Americana's attic without ever feeling like a period piece. What sets singer-guitarist Rutili--and his other ex-Red Red Meat pal, percussionist Ben Massarella--apart from the rest of the banjo-wielding hipsters is the way they marry loops and electronic whirrings with more traditional instruments. Best of all, Califone's overall vibe is subtle and unshowy, achieving a near-seamless sort of soft-rock beauty. Even when the group tries to get weird, it ends up sounding sweet--like hillbilly angels loosed among us mortals for a limited time.
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Chris Baty