Release Date: Apr 15, 2014
Record label: Touch & Go
Genre(s): Post-Rock, Math Rock
Upon the March 1991 release of their second album, Spiderland, Louisville’s Slint were officially no more. The four-day session that produced one of the most influential rock albums of the last 25 years proved to be the straw that broke this fragile camel’s back, and the band had gone their separate ways. The follow-up to hardcore cult concern Tweez was, however, critically acclaimed on release, with one particularly fervent review from a certain Steve Albini (“10 fucking stars”) published in Melody Maker.
Slint. You've heard of them, one assumes. The scope of their influence is difficult to overstate. In fact, you've heard it stated every which way, haven't you? They invented post-rock. They invented math-rock. They invented math. They invented prefixes. The sheer act of invention? Yeah, that was ….
“We’re from Louisville, and we thought you needed to hear this. ” These words are heard deep into the rarities portion of this 3xLP box set, as the introduction to a live recording dating back to a 1989 Chicago show in support of Slint’s raucous debut album, Tweez. And just what did Slint think their audience—who, judging from the faint smattering of applause, barely cracked the double digits—needed to hear at that moment? A freakin’ Neil Young cover, and a wholly reverential, note-for-note eight-minute reading of “Cortez the Killer”, at that.
The impact Slint made with just two records grows with each passing year. It’s even more striking when you consider only one of those albums—1991’s Spiderland—gets most of that consideration. The Louisville four-piece’s silent masterpiece was released the same week as albums by Mr. Big and Roxette, and a full six months before the Nevermind explosion.
You can’t talk about Slint without talking about Louisville. They are indelibly connected. Will Oldham, another staple of the Louisville music scene, now-famously took the photo that graces the original cover of Spiderland. Members Brian McMahan and Britt Walford also played in seminal Louisville band Squirrel Bait.
Slint’s been riding the whole “isn’t our album Spiderland great?” train for a while now, ever since the band reunited for the first time back in 2005. And while nine years seems like a long time for an almost 30-year-old band to harp on a record that came out in 1991, Spiderland is, in fact, a really fucking fantastic record. So fantastic indeed that it’s not only spawned a new deluxe reissue, but also a new documentary, Lance Bangs’ Breadcrumb Trail.
Slint Spiderland (Touch & Go) Spiderland might be the most auspicious sophomore album ever. The Louisville foursome had broken up months ahead of its 1991 release, going separate ways to focus on side projects. In the decades since then, the once obscure album has picked up its own cult, prompting a brief run of reunion shows throughout this century, and, of course, this reissue.
When a band has a back catalogue which consists of two albums and one EP, recorded and released over a five year period more than two decades ago, one might feel that a reissue box set of the band’s work may seem, even to put it kindly, a fucking stretch. When that band is Slint and the reissue concentrates on their mouthwateringly influential album Spiderland, it’s a fair bet that all will be forgiven by even the tightest mouthed and narrow-eyed of message board mumblers. Just as others will be criticized for half-arsedly reforming their 90s band and Slint shall be given a pass, one would imagine that will be the same case with this release.