The noisy, bracing Seattle-based post-punk unit Silkworm formed in their native Missoula, MT, in 1987. Originally comprised of vocalists/guitarists Andy Cohen and Joel Phelps, vocalist/bassist Tim Midgett, and drummer Ben Koostra, Silkworm rose from the ashes of the band Ein Heit; a prolific and eclectic group from their inception (everyone but Koostra, who exited in 1989, contributed to songwriting duties), they issued their debut cassette Advantage in 1988. After two more tapes, 1989's Girl Harbrr and its companion Girl Harbrr Out-Takes EP, the remaining trio moved to Seattle in the opening weeks of 1990, quickly recruiting drummer Michael Dahlquist to complete the lineup.
Silkworm's "official" debut L'ajre followed in 1992, spotlighting the band's evolving, dissonant sound, anchored in Midgett's propulsive bass work. After the following year's His Absence Is a Blessing EP, the quartet signed to the C/Z label for 1994's In the West, recorded by fellow Montana native Steve Albini (who continued to oversee the majority of the group's work). After 1994's strong Libertine, Phelps left the band, resurfacing in 1996 under the name Joel R.L. Phelps with the solo effort Warm Springs Night. As a trio, Silkworm signed to Matador and in 1996 issued Firewater, a sprawling yet finely honed set which ranked as their finest record to date. Developer followed in 1997, and a year later the group jumped to Touch & Go to issue Blueblood. Around this time, the band finalized their re-location to Chicago. Lifestyle was released in mid-2000, and they toured into the following year to support the release. Italian Platinum followed two years later and featured vocals from Kelly Hogan and keyboard work from the New Year's Matt Kadane. 2004's It'll Be Cool would be their last album. In July of 2005, Dahlquist and two fellow Chicago-based musicians were killed when the car they were occupying was struck by a car driven by a woman intent on ending her life. ~ Jason Ankeny