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Eclectic Silos Bring Organic Sound To Chapel Hill

The idea that there are completely unobserved yet nonetheless beautiful things surrounding us is the backing philosophy, as well as the title inspiration, for The Silos most recent LP, Laser Beam Next Door.

"Most of us go through life looking through some kind of a haze -- we wear blinders," said Walter Salas-Humara, the band's lead vocalist, lyricist and guitarist.

The Silos, who will perform at Go! Rehearsal Studios Room 4, seem to have come full circle to such an aesthetic philosophy by means of the band's sound, which Salas-Humara refers to as unadorned and organic. If it sounds confusing, don't be worried -- it's a term that he could not completely define himself.

"This album is very spiritually similar to the early ones -- they are all similar to live recordings in their feeling," he said.

When the Crash Test Dummies meet classic rock, the result is the sound of The Silos. The eclectic nature of their present work is amplified by the two Spanish songs from their eighth album. Salas-Humara claims that the language variance adds a different vibe to the album and mixes two typically disparate cultures into the record.

But The Silos' sound took some time to develop. Formed in Florida in 1985, the band came of age during the punk rock era, and the influence is present in their early work. Salas-Humara also cites early influences such as Neil Young. although his present tastes tend toward '50s jazz and '60s soul.

Not only has the band's sound altered, but its composition has drastically changed, leaving Salas-Humara as the only remaining founding member. During all of the turnover, Salas-Humara has dabbled in various projects, including some solo work and collaborations with previous band members.

But Salas-Humara seems perfectly content songwriting for the present reincarnation of The Silos, and his abilities shine through in such songs as "Drunken Moon" and "The Title of This Song." The simple and direct quality of his words often dwarfs the musical element of the album's songs.

"There is a conviction -- the difference between the people who are really doing it because they have to do it and the ones who are writing for commerce," he said.

Overall, Salas-Humara stresses what he terms, once again, the organic or natural, unproduced quality of the band. The Silos are a straightforward band with plainspoken inspirations and a fundamental philosophy to which they have, over time, returned.

"We are mostly a rock band. ... We just organically grew out," he said.

The Silos are currently out on tour, playing their first show in Richmond, Va., performing the new album nearly in its entirety. Additionally, they played at least one song, revamped in the current style, which Salas-Humara refers to as devoid of "extraneous counter-melodies," from each of their older albums.

The Silos will be performing at 9 p.m. today at Go! Rehearsal Studios. Call 969-1400 for more information.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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