Somebody get Tim Rutili a lozenge. On second thought, don’t: Califone’s broken-down vibe just wouldn’t be complete without their frontman’s perpetually hoarse vocals. Rutili’s beat-up pipes were about all that the Chicago-based avant-roots quartet were left with after the theft of their lovingly accumulated vintage equipment during a recent tour. Maybe they should thank the anonymous cowards; their sixth album, recorded with all-new gear, is their most satisfying yet. Roots & Crowns finds Rutili tangling once again with a daunting heap of rusty guitar licks, lo-fi electronic rumbles, and sundry found sounds. But instead of wandering into opaque experimentation, as they’ve been known to do in the past, they corral those unruly elements into a series of hummable, memorable tunes. No need to choose between dislocated noise and bluesy melody when you can give people both at the same time.
Califone + Ramblin’ Jack Elliott | Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston | November 8 | 617.369.3306