|In Reply To:||Joel Phelps on Aquarius Records Website (posted by jerry)|
|Subject:||RE: Joel Phelps on Aquarius Records Website|
Let's be honest. Joel Phelps was the best thing about Silkworm. Nothing against the other guys, they're all great musicians. But Phelps was the magic ingredient. His aching anguished wail, and ultra miserable, pensively bittersweet songwriting turned an indie rock band into something so much more. We loved old Silkworm, but when one of Joel's songs would come on, it would seriously bring us to the edge of tears. So fucking brutal and intense and emotional and just so goddamn good. So while it was a sad day for Silkworm when he left, we didn't have to wait long for Joel to strike out on his own and form his appropriately monickered Downer Trio. Most of Phelps's records have had severely limited lifespans falling out of print almost as soon as people could discover them. Which is a huge shame as Phelps is definitely one of the most important, and possibly least well known songwriters today. But that HAS to change soon, as Phelps has the most heart rending, soul stirring voice this side of the late Elliott Smith. But unlike Smith's whispery rasp, Phelps has a HUGE voice, a wailing almost falsetto, that is rough around the edges and only gets rougher when he belts it out, threatening to crack, but always right on. His band in the past has woven delicate, twangy moody indie rock janglescapes to back him up, and still does some of the time, but quite often on Customs, the Downer Trio have their amps on 10 and the sound is loud and raucous, but no less emotional and intense. Still minor key, still pained and dripping with gorgeous miserablism. Each song is an exercise in tension, building and building, chugging guitars and minor key melodies with Phelps vocals sending shivers down your already goosebump covered spine. If only all 'indie rock' was this intense and perfect!
For a limited time, comes with a bonus disc featuring two extra originals and three covers, "Pink Frost" (The Chills), "24 Hours" (Joy Division) and "Right Now" (Townes Van Zandt).