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. The bassist would always be separate session musicians that would travel with the band.
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 in 1991 they disbanded. 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. One in 2005 and another in 2007, but no new material is rumored, although they did perform a new song entitled "King's Approach" 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..."
- Careful with That Axe: The ending of "Good Morning, Captain" and the chorus of "Nosferatu Man."
- Cloudcuckoolander: Britt, as Breadcrumb Trail memorably demonstrated.
- Call-Back: The raging guitars toward the middle of "Good Morning, Captain" echo the guitar part of the chorus of "Breadcrumb Trail."
- Creepy Monotone: The band's usual vocal style.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mainly because they played it when it had been an Unbuilt Trope.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, nearly limited info, and their 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.
- 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.