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Music / Slint

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Slint being sexy.

"Here is the typical way a new fan of Slint experiences the band. First you buy Spiderland, because that's the album everyone talks about. And you are blown away by it and vow to purchase everything anyone associated with this band has ever done. So you naturally go to Tweez next. It's not Slint - not your Slint. You buy The Breeders' first album, Pod, because Slint's drummer plays on the record. It's good, but it's not Slint. Meanwhile you've picked up a For Carnation album (ex-Slint!), Tortoise's Millions Now Living Will Never Die (ex-Slint!), and maybe one or two Papa M discs (ex-Slint!) - maybe you even tracked down that Evergreen album (ex-Slint!). They're not Slint."
Scott Tennant

Slint is an American Alternative Rock band from Louisville, Kentucky, usually given credit for jump-starting the Post-Rock genre along with Talk Talk, as well as the Math Rock genre. The band formed in 1986 from the ashes of Hardcore Punk group Squirrel Bait, with Brian McMahan (guitar and vocals), David Pajo (guitar), and Britt Walford (drums) staying strong throughout the band's existence. Ethan Buckler, the band's original bassist, would later be replaced with Todd Brashear.

They released their first album, Tweez to lukewarm reviews in 1989. Then, in 1991, they found their style and released their landmark album, Spiderland, which came on the heels of a year of landmark albums along with Nirvana's Nevermind for Grunge, My Bloody Valentine's Loveless for Shoegazing, and so on, and became very influential to Post-Rock alongside Talk Talk's Laughing Stock.

After the album the entire band went through a Creator Breakdown. It is rumored that the brooding sound of Spiderland combined with pressure from the record company caused two of the members to be institutionalized during recording. What makes this especially creepy is the fact that all the band members were in stable mental condition prior to the recording. Nevertheless, this stress affected the band and they disbanded shortly after its release. Pajo went on to join Tortoise and Zwan for a while after that, and Walford was briefly a member of The Breeders.

They've had three reunions. The first was in 2005 and the second in 2007; the only new material was the song "King's Approach", which performed during their 2007 shows. A third reunion began in 2013, and the band has hinted at the possibility of new material. Spiderland has been reissued with two bonus discs.


  • Tweez (1989)
  • Spiderland (1991)
  • Untitled EP (1994)

Slint contains examples of the following tropes:

  • all lowercase letters: The liner notes of Spiderland.
  • Brown Note: Spiderland was this for the band.
  • Buffy Speak: In the lyrics for "Breadcrumb Trail" - "I pulled back the drape thing on the tent..."
  • Call-Back: The raging guitars toward the middle of "Good Morning, Captain" echo the guitar part of the chorus of "Breadcrumb Trail."
  • Careful with That Axe: The ending of "Good Morning, Captain" and the chorus of "Nosferatu Man."
  • Child Prodigy: Britt and Brian were good enough at the age of 11 to open for Minor Threat.
  • Childhood Friends: Britt and Brian first met in elementary school.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Britt, as Breadcrumb Trail memorably demonstrated.
  • Creepy Monotone: The band's usual vocal style. Other times...
  • Darker and Edgier: Spiderland.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The band's releases have black-and-white cover photos, all of which are creepy to varying degrees.
    • Tweez uses an image of a car with the band name and album title superimposed on the grille, making this the only Slint cover with text of any kind. It's relatively innocuous except for the spooky bare trees in the background.
    • Spiderland features the famous Team Shot of the band treading water in an abandoned quarry, staring at the camera with unsettling un-smiles.
    • The untitled EP pulls out all the stops, as its cover depicts the aftermath of a shooting. The overhead photo shows a man's corpse with a bloody stomach wound, his eyes open and staring. The pistol that presumably killed him lays on the ground near his body. Two shadowy figures, an adult and a child, observe the scene.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Tweez is a short, nearly improvisational album filled with instrumentals and studio chatter, and displaying a more straightforward Noise Rock sound than what the band would become famous for.
  • Epic Rocking: "Glenn" (6:17), the EP version of "Rhoda" (6:53), "Washer" (8:50), and "Good Morning, Captain" (7:39).
    • "Don, Aman" (6:28) seems like it fits the trope on paper, but the track is actually just vocals and guitar.
    • "King's Approach" (mentioned above, currently not yet released) is generally slightly over ten minutes long in live performances.
  • Gainax Ending: Spiderland. What exactly is happening at the end of "Good Morning, Captain"?
  • Genre-Busting: Even for post-rock, as they played it when it had been an Unbuilt Trope.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: "Slint" was the name of one of Britt Walford's fish. Where he got the name from is anyone's guess.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: They named nearly all of the songs on Tweez after their parents. "Rhoda" is the one exception, as it was named after Britt Walford's dog. The sides, meanwhile, are named "Bemis" and "Gerber".
  • I Love the Dead: "Nosferatu Man." Maybe.
  • Interquel: The Untitled EP was made of two songs that were recorded in 1989, two years after Tweez was recorded. It was released in 1994, years after the band had broken up, and is a good insight into Slint's musical evolution from Tweez to Spiderland.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: 'Don, Aman': "Don stepped outside"
  • New Sound Album: Spiderland.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Almost none of their songs feature song titles in the lyrics. "Washer" being the lone exception.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: So perishing Brian didn't so much sing as mumble spoken-word narration most of the time, and fell ill due to the strain of yelling the climax of "Good Morning, Captain".
  • Rockumentary: Breadcrumb Trail, which is the source for much of the information on this page.
  • Scary Musician, Harmless Music: Inverted. Despite the music featured on Spiderland, the band members were a bunch of 21-year-old goofballs who stuck a bunch of signs at the back of their van, played a gig at a local church, deliberately took an hour to set up at a high school talent show, and made an "Anal Breathing" tape.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Due to the band's semi-reclusive nature, creepy sound, and reputation as Short-Lived, Big Impact, Spiderland sounds all the more mysterious.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Like narration drawn out as the music gets darker with the narration? You're in luck.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: "Don, Aman" has vocals and guitar by their drummer Britt Walford.
  • Studio Chatter: Tweez has more studio chatter than actual singing.
  • Take That!: The CD editions of the band's two albums feature disclaimers stating that "this recording is meant to be listened to on vinyl," highlighting the band's contempt for digital audio.
  • Team Shot: The iconic album cover of Spiderland.
  • Trope Maker: Of Post-Rock (along with Talk Talk) and Math Rock.
  • Uncommon Time: They are also labeled "Math Rock" for a reason. You might need diagrams to keep track of all their time signature changes.
    • "Nosferatu Man" starts in 6/4, then 5/4, then 3/4, then 5/4, then 3/4, then swapping between 12/8 and 15/8, then 9/8, then 10/4, then 12/8, then changing between 18/8 and 12/8, before ending in 21/8.
    • "Breadcrumb Trail" is in 7/4, then 4/4, then 7/4 again, then 4/4 again, and then alternates between 12/8 and 15/8 during the distorted parts, then 4/4 again, then 10/4, then 4/4, then 12/8 for one last time before heading back into the original 7/4-4/4-7/4 segment again.
  • The Un-Smile: Spiderland's iconically creepy cover shows the band treading water in a lake in an abandoned quarry near their hometown Louisville with deranged barely-smiling facial expressions.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Good Morning, Captain" is based on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.