In the late ’90s, guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist/songwriter Tim Rutili shuttered his noisy skronk Blues outfit Red Red Meat and launched Califone as an outlet for his Electronic/Folk/Pop experiments. His sonic laboratory has been churning out fascinating results ever since.
Early on, Rutili, percussionist Ben Massarella and a variety of studio guests staked out an amorphous new sound structure for Califone, infusing the band with a greater melodic sense while remaining steadfastly on the fringes of the musical frontier, particularly with Rutili’s wonderfully opaque lyric pretzels. As the years rolled on and the releases piled up, Califone became one of Rock’s rarest entities — a band that successfully blended accessibility with an avant gardist’s penchant for taking risks.
At the dawn of the new millennium, Rutili added sonic provocateurs Jim Becker and Joe Adamik to the mix as Califone explored a Folktronic direction, like a summit meeting between Tom Waits and Brian Eno.
Califone has collaborated with a number of eclectic bands (Freakwater, Flecton, Fruit Bats, Iron & Wine), formed interesting side projects (Ugly Casanova, The Unseen Hand) and generally evolved into one of music’s most consistently cool bands.
CALIFONE and S. CAREY play Southgate House Revival Thursday. Tickets/more info here .