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13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 29, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Callahan is back! Essentially an ensemble recorded live in the studio, Callahan's Apocalypse is the corpus delecti. Something happened here! If tape is like meat, this record is the whole hog! Callahan, riding on the back of his band, corrals them all & guides them single-handedly through the valley with love & ferocity. This record makes US wonder what has really happened in the last 100 years, & what will happen in the next 10. The soul of your country called and left you a message. 7 messages.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 29, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Drag City
  • ASIN: B004QL24GC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,333 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Hilton Royale on April 5, 2011
Format: Audio CD
In some ways "Apocalypse" is less accessible than a few of his other
albums. For most parts it's a stripped down affair, it's occasionally
distorted, and the arrangements are not as gorgeous as those on his
last release "Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle" or "A River Ain't
Much To Love", but after a few listens it grows on you, and I think
this holds togheter really well as an album.

A couple of the songs are jazzier than anything he has done before,
for instance "Universal Applicant" and "Bee's", with the flute parts.
Others have those surprising and unusual transitions that Callahan
handles so well; a small change of tempo, an unexpected twist,
a sigh, a whisper,"a couple of hoots, a hello and a f##k all y'all"!
He is one of very few artists that can make something quiet hit
hard, and make sparse arrangements sound like a full orchestra.

"Drover" is one of the standouts, it's the sound of the west
with an acoustic strum and climbing strings. This is a terrain
Calexico has visited a few times, but the prairie has never felt
this close. Nature, as on many of his greatest albums and songs,
is a felt presence on "Apocalypse"; rivers, deserts, horses,
cattle, valleys and mountains.
And as usual he delivers some incredibly clever and funny one
liners, among the grievous parts and the poetry.

The album closer, "One Fine Morning", is a STUNNING song.
One of the most hypnotic and beautiful things he has done.
Togheter with "Baby's Breath", "Riding For The Feeling", "America!"
and "Drover", it stands as the albums finest moment, and if there ever
was a funeral song, you won't find better opening lines than these:

"One fine morning I'm going to ride out,
just me and the skeleton crew..."
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gregory William Locke on April 11, 2011
Format: Audio CD
For the last decade, like clockwork, singer/songwriter Bill "Smog" Callahan has released a new studio record every two years. Over the decade prior to that he released, on average, about one studio record per year. Now quite deep into his run, the still-young 44 year old musician has issued one of his most complete works yet, the seven-song, 40-minute Apocalypse, his first batch of new songs since 2009's excellent Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle. It's mature, fully realized and unique records like this that make artists like Callahan shine above others as a true man of his time.

As you'd expect by now, the dark humor, startling wit and jaw-dropping poetic grace is all once again present, adding to the argument that Callahan (along with, in this writer's opinion, Will Oldham and the late Elliott Smith) is one of the three or four best songwriters of his time. And when I say songwriters, I'm mostly talking about lyrics here, as many of Callahan's songs, when simply put on paper and studied, read through as well as anyone ever - Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, John Lennon, etc. Like Oldham, Callahan is fairly weird dude hidden inside the guise of a dusty Southern throwback. His fatherly voice holding his eccentric songs together like duct tape, falling out of your speakers like the voice of some humble, riddle-teasing God. The voice of a seemingly introverted man, living deep in his own head, spilling bits and pieces of American life that take weeks - sometimes years - to decode. Sojourner cuts, I call 'em.

As always, the voice is deep and sprinkled with a kind of nuanced emotion that can at times really pack a punch.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Harper on April 22, 2011
Format: Audio CD
A new Bill Callahan record is always an event as far as I'm concerned, even though I've yet to pick up his vinyl only live release from last year. After one listen, I felt 'Apocalypse' didn't really feel as personal as 2009's 'Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle' (for Bill or myself). But by about the forth spin, I think I may now like it even more. The line has always been blurred between what Bill releases as "solo" compared to what he released with his "band", but without question his solo stuff in general after packing up Smog has always been more cheery. It's still all Callahan after all. Of course if you're a fan, it's a must pick up, offering another seven tracks of sublime vocals/lyrics ("I'm a helpless man. So help me") and melancholy. Non-fans would be better to pick up 'Eagle' (or any Smog record) as a starting point over this one though probably.

At first it feels slightly short despite clocking in at a healthy 40 minutes, but songs like `Drover', `Baby's Breath' and `Riding for the Feeling' are worth the price of admission alone however. 'America!' is a fun quirky effort that reminds me of earlier Smog in some ways. But while there is nothing on there like `All Thoughts are Prey to Some Beast' or much of what made his last effort so special, 'Apocalpyse' remains an excellent release for the man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charlie Quaker on October 5, 2011
Format: Audio CD
4th album under his own name from former leader of Smog--softly sparse but edgy, quietly
strange & oddly disturbing folk/Americana, where Callahan's uniquely compelling vocals ride a
gentle, but darkly tinged, landscape pathos. It's a lyrical life examination from an old soul who
understands the stark, undefeatable beauty of the eternal existential struggle. Simple, haunting,
powerful, subtly brilliant. Recalls Leonard Cohen, and sometimes Lou Reed, John Cale, Scott
Walker, Stuart Staples....from Austin, Texas.
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