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The basic instrumental tracks for what would become Silkworm’s final record “Chokes!” were recorded in 2005 at Electrical Audio, a few weeks before the death of drummer Michael Dahlquist. The songs were finished later that year and issued on compact disc via 12XU at the close of 2006.
Comedy Minus One helped distribute this release digitally two years later but “Chokes!” has been both physically out of print and never pressed on vinyl until now.
The record is housed in a full color jacket and a black/white/grey sleeve.
“Chokes!” comes with a digital download of the record plus a folder of 30+ bootleg SKWM recordings that capture the band live in November of 2004 and March of 2005.
Our last record leads off with a song called Bar Ice.
It’s a great track. One of the top 10 Silkworm ever did.
I made up the bones of Bar Ice and brought them into the band.
I feel comfortable saying that it’s great because its greatness is at least 75% due to the drums.
The drumming on this record is exquisite. I don’t know how else to describe it.
I do not think there was a better drummer of music practicing from 1994 to 2005.
When you play with a guy day after day for fifteen years, you get accustomed to him doing what he does.
And you note, casually: slow right foot there. Bound to miss the snare and hit the rim on that fill.
But with the advantage of time and the disadvantage of distance, I can hear clearly.
Michael played rock music on the drums – songs, with an arc and an ebb and flow – as well as anyone in the world at his extended peak.
There’s a moment in Internat’l Harbor of Grace…eh, you figure out where it is. But the song starts to flag about half a notch. Ever vigilant – ta ta ta ta TA TA TA TA. A drum fill lifts it back up again.
Chokes! is littered with moments like that.
A long section of Low Blow is Andy and me just free-associating – no riffs, barely even notes, just moving our hands around to see what happened because…we could. We could afford it. That Slow Right Foot was there as a net and a compass.
When we mixed what ended up being Chokes! a month or two after Michael died…I mean, shit, we were just trying to finish the goddamn thing. It sounded like whatever to me. I had no perspective on it. It felt like odds and sods next to whatever embryonic vision we had for our next album.
Now, well, it just sounds like 30-40% of the next Silkworm album, which would have pushed every one of my buttons and scratched every one of my itches. Just like all the rest of them did.
So I’m glad it’s out. Again.
Thanks to Gerard Cosloy for his unflagging support and help. Thanks to Jon Solomon for releasing this edition. Thanks to Steve Albini and Heather Whinna for translating the sound.