Silkworm “Into the Woods”
Last night before leaving the house to go to the movies I went to grab a CD to play in the car. The CDs are mostly still in boxes even though we moved almost a year ago, and the only time I ever listen to them is when I’m driving somewhere. Way in the back of the room in a box I rarely get to, on top of one of the piles, was Silkworm’s 1994 IN THE WEST, a record I’ve always loved but hadn’t listened to in many years. Right from the opening notes I wondered why. I should be listening to this daily or at least weekly, I thought, especially when the above song, the third track on the album and one of the sweetest, greatest rock songs of the 90s, came on. I loved this tune so much I wrote a song with basically the came chord progression, just moved up a step to sort of half disguise it. I was in a rock band at the time and the song ended up being one of the better ones we had in that phase of our fairly brief but surprisingly tumultuous existence. My favorite part of “Into the Woods” is the last verse where everything drops out except the guitar and the drumstick clicks. So fucking good. Rarely has Albini’s signature superdry, atmospheric production been used to greater effect, though you get a better sense of that on “Raised by Tigers,” another great tune, probably my second favorite — near the end of that one the lead guitar spikes into the melody to the chorus of Pavement’s “In the Mouth a Desert.” I remember my friend Tim said he asked someone in Silkworm about that when he saw them play — was it an homage or an in-joke or what? — and the guy (don’t know who it was, this was sometime in 94) said that actually both bands had stolen that melody from a Carpenters song. And I remember listening to the Carpenters greatest hits LP later, thinking maybe it’d be on there somewhere, but I’m sure now the guy was just goofing around. Also, listening to the last half of the record on the drive home I came across a guitar lick that plays in my head from time to time that I had come to think was from a Sunny Day Real Estate song, something on the DIARY album — no, it’s the opening to Silkworm’s “Incanduce.” I was happy to be corrected on that score. The movie I saw was Whit Stillman’s DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, which I thought was largely a fucking mess. The first half was pretty good, but the second half dissolved into a series of seemingly random scenes endlessly repeating the same jokes (“playboy operator move,” the dipshit frat guy who doesn’t know colors, the spiritually healing properties of soap etc.). It was great seeing Jermaine Crawford and Alia Shawkat but both were criminally underused.