Giant Sand's Howe Gelb once accused his old rhythm section - Joey Burns and John Convertino, now Calexico - of "working against" his band, so it was inevitable that they parted ways. Gelb has now become synonymous with Americana and the sound of the Arizona desert, and his songs look at love and loss in latter-day America. While some lack musical polish, the brilliant Spiral - with its images of Americans hiding away with guns and in churches and heading towards heart attacks and extinction - furthers his metamorphosis into one of the country's great musical elder statesmen. Gelb also collaborates on this album with Isobel Campbell and M Ward.
CD: Giant Sand, Provisions
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author