Silkworm - Italian Platinum
Silkworm cared, and didn’t/wouldn’t fudge. The emotional heft of the performances always registered first, but the playing was full of jarring, chaotic moments that aren’t the results of the mere “chops.” Guitarist Andy Cohen and bassist Tim Midgett wrote separately, and each sang what he wrote, but they shared a sense of gravity. Sometimes direct, some- times utterly cryptic, it didn’t have much to do with typical notions of singer-songwriterly “craftmanship.”
A notoriously self-reliant band, Silkworm swelled its ranks considerably on Italian Platinum (originally released in 2002). Kelly Hogan (solo, The Pine Valley Cosmonauts) contributed backing vocals on several tracks and sang the hell out of “Young,” an outsized ballad that has no precise equivalent in the band’s catalog. And Matt Kadane (Bedhead, The New Year) became the band’s quasi-official keyboardist, troubling the waters with an organ bed here, a glowing piano line there, a greasy clavinet solo on “White Lightning.”
Still, Cohen, Midgett, and drummer Michael Dahlquist (who did get to sing now and then) remained at the core of Italian Platinum. You can hear their damn- everything confidence as individual musicians in the drum fills that stagger through “Bourbon Beard,” the Neil-Young-meets-Andy-Gill guitar solo that plays havoc with the chords of “(I Hope U) Don’t Survive,” or the polluted, swaggering baritone guitar on “Dirty Air.” With each record, Silkworm were committed to pushing harder against what they knew they could do. Symbiosis defined this band, and you’re better off hearing for yourself.
This new pressing of "Italian Platinum" is on red vinyl, has updated jacket art to distinguish it from the original 2002 album and comes with a download code.