Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

The Long Way Around - Feature from Issue #17 Sept-Oct 1998


Back in the New York grooveWalter Salas-Humara turns up the heat and resurrects the Silos in a new light

And yet the further the calendar days spanned from the late-’80s era that most clearly exemplified the Silos, the more insignificant the modern-day version of the band seemed to have become. Which is why Heater is such a welcome return. Strangely, a decade-plus removed, the new disc most strongly recalls About Her Steps — not necessarily in sound so much as in feel, as something haunting and droney shrouds the 12-song collection. Replete with an eerie, down-the-hall vibe, Heater brims with enthusiasm, grace, mystery and fuzz, not unlike the creative breakthrough Joe Henry discovered on Trampoline a couple years back.

Old-school Silos fans should be able to latch on comfortably to the album’s heartrending folk (“The Cold Hands Of Fate”) and frisky Stones rock (“Mom Out Dancing”), as well as the picturesque, Rowell-driven instrumental (“Away”) and some inside-out jangle-rock (the gorgeous “Northern Lights”). But what really powers Heater is its link to the here and now. With its clunky drum loop and funkified chorus, the album-opening “Prison Song” serves notice that there’s a new Silos in town. “Thanks A Million” chills to the bone with its own junkyard percussion, while “Front Porch”, Salas-Humara’s favorite track on Heater, does the same with its own post-apocalyptic tones.

As is par for the course with a Salas-Humara effort, the music is only half the story. Filled with loss and soul-searching, lines such as “I’m gonna do some travelin’/Where I’ve never been/I hope I’m not reminded/Of who I am” and “There is no happy hour when you’re drinking alone” set the lyrical mood on Heater.

“I don’t know about your life, but I think most people have a pretty tough time,” Salas-Humara says. “Life and relationships, family, work, self-worth, etcetera — it’s all hard work. The lyrics are mostly about struggling and working to get through to some kind of peace with yourself. I find this a generally uplifting and hopeful theme.”

Earlier this year, Salas-Humara scored the Sony Pictures film Whatever. For that project, he was forced to learn how to record with all the bells and whistles of modern, computerized technology. He and Sunshine brought that experience to the several weeks dedicated to crafting Heater in various patchwork home studios “It really opened my eyes,” Salas-Humara says. “I was like, ‘Wow, this stuff’s really cool. I’ve just had my head in the sand for the last ten years.’”

That spark seems to have spilled over into the entirety of Salas-Humara’s professional life. In recent months, he has played drums on albums by Hazeldine and the Willard Grant Conspiracy, produced another by Wisconsin outfit the Wooldridge Brothers, and is currently working on a project with pal Dave Bassett (formerly of L.A. alt-pop band Three Day Wheely), which, for one smirk-inducing song at least, sounds like Pavement smushed together with the Beach Boys.

Salas-Humara has also taken to building studios, having helped Bassett with his, as well as two others. And then there’s the occasional house-painting gig. After all, an artist’s gotta eat.

And let’s not forget Cooler, currently taking shape in New York City, where he recently took an apartment. He’s hoping to remain bi-coastal, thinking that he might be able to parlay his work on Whatever into future film opportunities. A European tour for the Silos (lineup to be determined, although he’s thinking stripped-down, perhaps guitar, keys and drums only) begins in October, and an American tour is scheduled to follow.

Meanwhile, just a couple weeks ago he told Sunshine that he was ready to do it again. “He said, ‘Let’s start working on a Silos record,’” says Sunshine. “It’s like, ‘This record sounds pretty cool, let’s do another one now because it’s gonna be that much more interesting to do. It’s gonna be that much more fun again.’”

“I’m totally into it; I’m ready to make a techno record,” says Salas-Humara, with a big, goofy smile that suggests that he might not be joking. “Next record, all techno. All techno Silos.”

Consider yourself warned.

ND contributing editor Neal Weiss is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Once the frontman in a local band, the first two songs he ever wrote were ripoffs of Silos tunes.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108


Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #17 Sept-Oct 1998

Cover of Issue #17 Sept-Oct 1998

Sorry, this issue is SOLD OUT

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »

From the Blogs

  • Katie Herzig - Walk Through Walls (Album Review)
    Once upon a time, Katie Herzig wore her heart on her sleeve and wielded an acoustic guitar, both apropos of being a singer/songwriter. These days, though, she keeps company with synthesizers and drum loops. Yeah, the heart is still right there on the sleeve, but now you can groove to its beat. Herzig's new collection, Walk Through Walls, is a song cycle […]
  • Exclusive Premiere of Cowboy Jack Clement's "Let the Chips Fall"
    Cowboy Jack was one of the most beloved country and Americana artists of his generation. For proof, just look at the list of artists who showed up to lend a hand on his final album: John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Bobby Bare, Duane Eddy, T Bone Burnett, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Rodney Crowell, Buddy Miller, Dan Auerbach, Leon Russell, Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlin […]
  • Reagan Boggs on Americana Music Show #187
    On episode 187 of the Americana Music Show, Reagan Boggs plays 3 tracks from Quicksand and talks about writing songs about tough ladies and the value of simple songs. Also on this episode, heartland rock & roll from Chuck Ragan, indie rock from Jonny Two Bags, southern rock from Jimbo Mathus, honky… […]
  • Easy Ed's Sideshow of Solos, Duets and Ensembles: Session #42
    Welcome to the 42nd installment of random thoughts, trivial facts. occasional fiction, poetry, haikus, photos, artwork, stories of fleeting fame and dastardly deeds, and videos or tunes that may have caught my attention or fancy of late. As you can see by the picture at the side, I've got dessert on my mind, and in particular...pies. The Oxford Companio […]
  • St. Vincent in Concert: As Performance Artist, Annie Clark Shows Her True Colors
    One of the most intriguing aspects about attending a St. Vincent concert is the anticipation. What will Annie Clark do next? That’s what one high-strung son of someone was thinking for the rest of us while pressed up against the barrier leaving just enough breathing room between entertainer and her target audience as March wound down while that inevitable da […]
  • Jeff Black – Folklore (Album Review)
    The latest tunes from Missouri bred Black - thirteen of them – are delivered solo and acoustic. Jeff Black’s tenth album, another self-release was recorded at his rustic Arcana Studios as were recent predecessors PLOW THROUGH THE MYSTIC (2011) and B-SIDES AND CONFESSIONS, VOL. 2 (2013). Produced by Black, the sessions took just two days and the sounds captur […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!

Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter