What was Slint? That’s the perennial question with these guys.
One iconic album, one (interesting?) debut album (that nobody noticed when it came out), a solid EP, and then…CRICKETS.
In one sense, it seems fitting that Slint was lost to the quiet night of distant memory. However, if you want to know the whole story of Slint, check out Scott Tennant’s book from the 33 1/3 series. It’s the definitive picture of the band, IMHO.
Release Year: 1989
My Rating: B
I’m one of those kids that heard the Slint-hype and bought this instead of Spiderland. So I didn’t get the hype for a while, because Tweez is not Spiderland, and honestly, I don’t think Tweez is really even accessible until you’ve heard Spiderland and are just looking for more Slint. It’s the totally bizarre dude who is probably mentally unstable and really weirds you out, but once you’ve spent some time with them, becomes familiar and even relatable, despite remaining someone you really wouldn’t want to introduce to others. Also, once you’ve heard this, you’ll understand where Surfer Rosa came from.
HIGHLIGHTS: “Ron”, “Carol”, “Charlotte”
Release Year: 1991
My Rating: A+
Hard to find a more legendary and mysterious record than this one. Steve Albini did us all a solid when he famously gave this “Ten Fucking Stars” once upon a time, because I do wonder if this would have gotten the same notice without that line. It really is something though.
HIGHLIGHTS: “Breadcrumb Trail”, “Washer”, “For Dinner”, “Good Morning, Captain”
OTHER SIGNIFICANT RELEASES
Release Year: 1994
My Rating: A
Two tracks that, in my view, demonstrate what this band might have been capable of had they stuck it out and become a cracking live act. “Glenn” is a great instrumental, but it’s the live essence of the new version of Tweez’s “Rhoda” (retitled “Rhonda” here) that really impresses me. Totally revelatory on what this band could have been had they continued on to LP3…
HIGHLIGHTS: both of them
Release Year: 1997
My Rating: TBD
writeup coming soon
Release Year: 2007
writeup coming soon
Spiderland Deluxe Bonus Tracks
Release Year: 2014
My Rating: C+
For an album as iconic and legendary as Spiderland, one would hope for much more from the MOTHERLODE deluxe edition reissue, but the truth of the matter is Slint were just 4 ambitious indie kids that no one believed in until they’d already broken up and moved on. That means that their just isn’t much else to go on, despite the fact that the band did briefly reunite around 1994 to make another go of it. I don’t maybe there’s more, but the things we can be most excited about here are a studio outtake of rarity “Pam” as well as a couple of raw post-Spiderland demos that in true Slint fashion are only named for their composer. Honestly, neither feels very inspired – my high school bands made cooler stuff than them on jambox recordings – but it’s Slint so I’ll take what I can get. Still, a studio version of “King’s Approach” would have been sweet. HIGHLIGHTS: “Pam (Rough Mix, Spiderland Outtake)”, “Pam (4 Track Vocal Demo)”
MISCELLANEOUS / RELATED
Them Slint kidz have created a whole lot of music aside from Slint: Tweez-era bassist Ethan Buckler has King Kong, Dave Pajo started Papa M (and has been in everything), Brian McMahan started The For Carnation, and Britt Walford has been all over the place from The Breeders to Evergreen. So I won’t cover everything related here, but I will hit on tracks or projects in which a 3 or 4 members have been involved together.
Release Year: 1994
My Rating: A+
One side of this 7″ release is a cover of Sally Timms’ “Horses”, and not only is it amazing, but it is Will Oldham with Spiderland-era Slint as his backing band. That’s right, all 4 of the Spiderland players feature on this one, and when you realize that, it does kind of sound like countrified Slint. It’s one of my all-time favorite tracks, the kind of cover that vastly improves on the original by getting to the essence of the song itself, and all of the playing is great, but it’s Pajo’s face-melting guitar solo that really steals the show here. I dearly wish I could play guitar like that.
Slint’s first bassist, Ethan Buckler, was so unhappy with Tweez that he quit the band and started a band that is the furthest thing from Slint that you could possibly imagine. King Kong is kind of a goofy / funky / funny / party band. They’ve made some good stuff – I’ve always loved that “Scooba Diver” song – but just be prepared that Slint-esque they ain’t. (wikipedia) (discogs)
The For Carnation
I may eventually get around to a separate post on Brian McMahan’s main post-Slint project The For Carnation, but suffice to say that their second, self-titled LP is “creeping toward Spiderland” SOLID and totally worth checking out. The rest is pretty MEH, but interesting from a “what was he up to post-Slint” perspective.
Papa M / Pajo / etc
David Pajo has produced a lot of solo material under various names (M / Aerial M / Papa M / Pajo / etc). My favorites are Aerial M, Live From A Shark Cage, and the compilation Hole of Burning Alms, which are great instrumental records.
Truthfully, Pajo has been in so many bands that it’s almost impossible to keep up with them.
Britt Walford joined a Louisville punk band called Evergreen around 1994. They had previously been a high energy, fast, and loud, but with Walford and a new singer, they became a stoner rock band and made a one GREAT self-titled LP (that I shall probably review here eventually).