Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obscure Anniversaries: "The Silos / The Silos"

I'm thinking ahead to next year here (you've got to be early if you want be the first to note a big anniversary):

Albums of 1990. Are there any big 20th anniversaries coming up?

I took a look at the Grammies of that year. Incredibly lame. Milli Vanilli won one.

In Pitchfork's list of 100 Best Albums of the '90s, only six from 1990 make the list: Pixies' "Bossanova," Cocteau Twins' "Heaven or Las Vegas," Breeders' "Pod," Sonic Youth's "Goo," Ride's "Nowhere," and Public Enemy's "Fear of a Black Planet."

Some good albums in there. I loved "Goo." But it's not "Daydream Nation." And "Fear of a Black Planet" -- same thing: it came second... It's not "It Takes a Nation of Millions."

So no big 20ths there.

What about from the mainstream lists? Also some good ones: Jane's Addiction's "Ritual do lo Habitual," Sinead O'Connor's "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got," LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out," and Neil Young & Crazy Horse's "Ragged Glory."

Of all of these I've just mentioned, I think the Sinead O'Connor album is maybe most ripe for a big 20th next year.

But here's one that's even more deserving. It was left off nearly all the lists that year: The Silos' major label debut from RCA: "The Silos." It was the band's third album. Their second, "Cuba," is also fantastic, but with "The Silos" they really reached something....

Actually it was on one best-of list: Entertainment Weekly's Top Ten of 1990. That kind of shows how lost this album was, in terms of finding a market for itself that year. Here are some words on the album taken from the Silos website: "Its spacious, organic quality made it seem out of place in 1990; however, looking back at the album from within the Alternative-Indy glow of the decade's end, The Silos resonates like the work of visionaries."

My own take: thing of beauty. 'Spacious and organic' is really right. You can hear the bend in the spaces between singer-songwriter Walter Salas-Humara and his bandmates in the recording studio. The songs pop, but some of them, in the middles, get so quiet--quiet in a real way, an un-stagy way: it's almost like you're listening to something you shouldn't, something private.

Maybe my favorite thing about the album--and this is also very much in force on the predecessor, "Cuba" -- is how Salas-Humara makes intense affecting songs from the most simple, everyday materials: work schedules, the dispositions of friends, neighborhood gatherings, photos of old girlfriends, drives to the airport....

This is from "Out of Town": "I remember you telling me about a girl that you used to hang around with / you know I never did really believe it too much"

There's a lot of remembering going on in "The Silos." BUt it's not weak or nostalgic. It's full and primary, which seems right for guys in their twenties, which I think they were then....

Anyway good luck tracking this one down: the album's out of print....

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