They’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.
Firewater // Matador, 1996
Maybe it was the departure of guitarist/vocalist Joel Phelps. Or perhaps the remaining members of Silkworm—bassist/vocalist Tim Midgett, guitarist/vocalist Andy Cohen and drummer Michael Dahlquist—were just downbeat dudes who liked to get loaded. Whatever the reason, these guys didn’t have songs, they had problems. The group’s fourth LP was an unpleasant bender well worth the hangover. From its opening lines (“No more simple tunes/No more easy poon/It takes so many millions to get laid”), Firewater spilled a litany of poetic, booze-drenched tales of woe. Saying the album was solely about dipsomania and its associated despair sells it short, though. Fear, betrayal, forgiveness and the bonds of friendship received equal play in these tough, spare numbers (smoking-hot, occasionally dissonant guitar leads abound); it was testimony with which both teetotalers and barflies could identify.
Catching up: In 2005, a suicidal woman slammed her car into the vehicle Dahlquist and two friends were in at a Skokie, Ill., stoplight. She lived; they did not. A final Silkworm EP, Chokes, came out in 2006. Midgett and Cohen play in Bottomless Pit. The duo moved the crowd at Touch And Go Records’ 25th-anniversary festival three years ago with a touching rendition of Silkworm’s “LR72”: “Let me drink and weep/And see that a friendship was here.”