Every Pavement has a Silkworm

A few posts ago, with regards to success vs. artistic endeavor in music, I misquoted David Bowie’s infamous statement ‘it’s not who does it first, it’s who does it second.’ Sorry to get all High Fidelity and create a new list, but let’s get to those bands/artists who Do It First, too, but have the bad luck to be slightly less apt than those Really Doing It First. Some get to be that Second, some don’t. Quality varies.

Every REM has a Guadalcanal Diary. Every Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Yeah has a Tapes N Tapes. Every Radiohead has a Coldplay. Every Cardigans has a Concretes. Every U2 has a Cactus World News. Every Replacements has a Goo Goo Dolls. Every Nirvana has a Stone Temple Pilots. Every New Order has a Stockholm Monsters. Every Interpol has a Calla (or Editors, or Stills). Every Stone Roses has a Chalatans. Every Yeah Yeah Yeahs has a Morningwood. Every Ride has a Swervedriver. Every Iron & Wine has an M. Ward. Every Beatles has an Action. Etc, etc ad infinitum.

Or every Guided By Voices has a Beatnik Filmstars. (More on that later this week)

Which brings us to every Pavement having a Silkworm. Which is better than a tapeworm (place rimshot here.)

Silkworm wasn’t great, not even that good sometimes, but never awful, never annoying. Formed in the early 90s in Montana, they moved west to the coast (Cali, Seattle) and then dissolved semi-recently. Joel RL Phelps, of Downer Trio fame, is kicked out of the group around ’94, but makes some pretty good solo stuff. A drummer dies in a terrible car accident last year.

Their career-summing Even a Blind Chicken Finds a Kernel of Corn Now and Then is all you might need, but if you see an early album for cheaper than 8 bucks, or if you see an Ein Heit record, from whose late eighties ashes Silkworm was formed, you won’t be wasting too much $.

Pavement comparison: no way the density of Malkmus-ian lyrical content; maybe a real debt to Westy; guitar leads of pretty dysfunction. And a serious nod, on a personal level, for the cover of the Comsat Angels’ (see previous post) “Our Secret.”

Silkworm — Our Secret (Comsat Angels cover)
Silkworm – Scruffy


2 thoughts on “Every Pavement has a Silkworm

  1. I like your title. Today I checked out the “She Wants Revenge” new record. You can add them to a band that just wants to be interpol…who so wants to be joy division. Anyway, I guess my only point is that I don’t recommend it – but I think your comparisons bring up an interesting debate. Is it ripping off a bands identity or a homage to a band you love? I think ‘doing it first’ will always have some sort of merit, but it might be just that…they did it first. Starting a trend doesn’t mean it’s been perfected. After all, the ones that come second can perfect the mistakes. And by the way, I think Silkworm is a very bland band, but how could they be anything else after such a unique voice & talent leaves?


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