Shortly after the release of its debut some 15 years ago, the Silos scored Best New American Band honors in Rolling Stone
. And if this sort of media tribute translated into sales figures, Silos prime mover Walter Salas-Humara would be troubled by figuring out where to build Graceland West. Instead, Salas-Humara has slogged his way through the past decade and a half, making some of the best American roots music of the '80s and '90s and barely registering with the record-buying public. Luckily, the sales game isn't what drives Salas-Humara's muse -- rather, he takes his inspiration from the Velvet Underground, with flourishes of the Rolling Stones, T. Rex, R.E.M., Gram Parsons, the Byrds, Alejandro Escovedo, and Neil Young. Although membership in the Silos is something of a revolving door, Salas-Humara has maintained a high level of songwriting excellence and consistently lives up to every great review the band has ever gotten. With the release of the Silos' new album, Laser Beam Next Door
, the band is now trimmed to a trio, but little has changed in the execution department. Still largely featuring a rootsy rock foundation, Salas-Humara adds touches of his influences and contemporaries, like the ambient kick of Joe Henry and the similarly inclined Chuck Prophet. With the more than able assistance of bassist/ multi-instrumentalist Drew Glackin and drummer Konrad Meissner, Salas-Humara has created yet another amazing document of his songwriting and performing expertise, which will go largely unnoticed commercially and will likely get critical acclaim. One of these days, Walter Salas-Humara will figure out a way to deposit those great reviews in a bank.