Silkworm never stopped spinning, from the Chicago power trio's larval origins in the late 1980s through its untimely end in 2005, when drummer Michael Dahlquist was killed in a car crash. Rather than hang up their spurs, the surviving two members, Andy Cohen and Tim Midgett, paid tribute to process by transforming Silkworm into Bottomless Pit.
Within Bottomless Pit resounds the legacy of Silkworm, but the echoes bounce back in another language, bearing a thicker accent of experience, much like the music of fIREHOSE after the Minutemen. Midgett traded his bass for a baritone guitar and, to complete the transformation, the duo enlisted the help of drummer Chris Manfrin (Seam) and bassist Brian Orchard (.22).
Silkworm was partly defined by its members' passion and humbling work ethic. "They just loved to play so much," Stephen Malkmus says in the upcoming documentary, Couldn't You Wait? The Story of Silkworm.
Still hungry after all these years, Cohen and Midgett continue touring and recording at a feverish pace. Midgett also strives to protect the musical "McGruff houses" that have helped midwife his band's releases. He recently established a semi-serious, online pledge drive to raise money for Steve Albini's legendary recording studio, Electrical Audio.
Bottomless Pit self-released its debut LP, Hammer of the Gods, on 45 rpm vinyl in 2007, soon followed by an EP, Congress (Comedy Minus One). In the summer of 2008, the band played alongside Shellac, opening the Villette Sonique festival in Paris.
The latest release, this year's Blood Under the Bridge (Comedy Minus One) pairs two songs to a side on vinyl, each song functioning as a touchstone to the next. Spindly licks trampoline in tandem as "Winterwind" traces the outlines of what's to come. "Late" rolls on with hyper-ambulatory rhythms and a twisted mantra of "So many fuckers in this world / Don't let 'em trample you." Warm in tone while acerbic in aspect, "Is It a Ditch" relates antiquarian fable in some freshly coated fuzz.
As the curtains close on Blood Under the Bridge, "38 Souls" delivers a beautiful gut check. "When I wake up, they'll be gone / I have to let them get away." Such a simple refrain, yet it speaks a mouthful about the gravity of loss and our rebirth beyond the cocoon, in Bottomless Pit, where Silkworm keeps spinning.
Bottomless Pit with Black Helicopter, Karl Hendricks and Developer. 9:30 p.m. Thu., Nov. 11. Howlers Coyote Café, 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $8. 412-682-0320 or www.howlerscoyotecafe.com