Worst Spills

Worst Spills is a new project by Joel Nelson (Ghost Food, Silica Gel), Jacquie Cotillard (The Earth Hotel), and friends evoking a dark and tangled vision of what some call "Southern Nightmare Jazz". The tracks were each performed as improvisations based on a theme, with Nelson playing guitar, synth & arranging and Cotillard intoning spoken riddles and playing saxophone. Ryan Brown and James Elliot join on bass and drums, jamming out heavy rhythms that are doomy yet nimble. Influenced by the Bay Area improv scene that Nelson has played in for the past few years, he explores a distinctively noir-ish sound with collaborators in Birmingham on this debut outing.

“On the surface, Worst Spills appear to be a jazz group, but their self-titled debut album is so all over the place that applying any label to them seems like a joke. It opens with an ambient electronic track that shifts between drone, samples, and noise, followed by an unruly swamp-jazz jam, then mathematical improv that lands somewhere between Captain Beefheart and Hal Russell. The rest of the album continues on that jagged path as guitarist Joel Nelson, sax player Jacquie Cotillard, bassist Ryan Brown, and drummer James Elliot drive each other in all directions without ever losing step with each other (unless, of course, they mean to). The results are a roller coaster in which humor plays a big role. Only a truly funny band could make a track called Real Eyes Realize The Gelatin of My Dull Cow Eyes sound like its title.“

-Marc Masters, Bandcamp’s Best of Experimental, March 2022