The Silos: Cuba (1987)

The Silos are another entry in the post-R.E.M. mid-80s college radio scene, distinguishing themselves by adding a dark Americana vibe to their sound that has carried them through to the present day. While that pastoral, Byrdsy guitar sound was certainly prevalent on Cuba, their second album -- frontman Walter Salas-Humara had been an early member of under-appreciated jangle-poppers Vulgar Boatmen -- you can also hear the darker Paisley Underground vibe of the Dream Syndicate and an unabashed country-rock streak calling to mind bands like Dumptruck and the Long Ryders.

Opener "Tennessee Fire" starts strongly right out of the gate, sporting an upbeat twang a la the Long Ryders; "Mary's Getting Married" and "Just This Morning" bolster that vibe with a swinging electric gallop. There's plenty of mid-tempo, bright guitar jangle on stand-outs like "It's Alright" and "She Lives Up The Street," and lovely mellow ballads like "For Always" and the stripped-down "Margaret," but the album also has an overriding sense of melancholy, as heard on the bittersweet "Memories."

The CD adds a number of equally engaging songs; my version includes the rollicking pop track "Get Back My Name" and the blazing Jason & The Scorchers/Velvet Underground tinged blast "Head Party," among other great tunes.

The album presages some of the directions later taken by bands like Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown, making the Silos (alongside the Long Ryders) unfairly overlooked fore-fathers of the 90s Americana revival. Certainly a must-own for anyone who likes a little in their jangly guitar rock.

Here's the "Tennessee Fire" video:
 Here's a nice take on the spare, haunting "Going Round":
Here's an audio rip of "Mary's Getting Married":