Slint: Breadcrumb Trail

1994´s self-titled Ep - Touch & Go.

1994´s self-titled Ep – Touch & Go.

Denez McAdoo

Sometimes being ahead of your time and simply being better than everyone else can be kind of a disappointment. When you’re being all progressive and experimental, pushing the boundaries of the format, redefining what it means to be an artist and whatnot, and still you get hardly any recognition for it, it makes you wonder-is the best thing that an artist can do for their career a self-inflicted gunshot wound? Or perhaps a well publicized transatlantic airplane crash? Choking on your own vomit, anyone? Is it that people can only appreciate an artist once they’ve died and their work can be put in a historical context since we no longer have to worry about whether or not their next work is going to suck or not?

Luckily for the discriminating artist, there is always the option of faking your own death, or in the case of music bands, a little something I like to call “breaking up.” It’s great, it’s just like dieing, but less vomit. Everybody’s doing it. Best thing The Beatles ever did? Break up. Do you remember that bad Iggy and the Stooges album? No? That’s ’cause they only made two great albums, broke up, came back together for one more genius album, and broke up again. The Sex Pistols breaking up after one album? Brilliant!

Post-rock pioneers Slint, intentionally or not, disbanded after releasing only two near-flawless albums, 1989’s Tweeze and 1991’s Spiderland (and a posthumous EP). At the time hardly anyone shed but a single tear, but as the 90s progressed (or regressed, depending) and the band’s influence became undeniable, they slowly rose up the ladder of cult status and then name dropped by every putz with a whammy bar and a bong-load of inspiration.

Their noisy blissed-out post-rock racket would have fit snugly along side such other sub-rock soundscape generators like Mogwai or My Bloody Valentine. The extreme dynamics that hold their songs together may make having any expatiations about the band potentially deceiving. Even in a single song you may begin by being lulled into the comfort of the sparse coolness of trickling guitar lines as frontman, Brian McMahan half-speaks, half-whispers just below the surface of the music. Other times jittery, paranoid guitar lines duel it out with the angular rhythms of the drums and jerky bass line. Sometimes, this is accomplished within the same song. Slint’s approach to musical structure defies the usual verse/chorus/verse format and instead go for more of a buildup/release/sustain/punch the listener in the gut.

A song may begin with a lazy late-night backyard guitar strum, but after a few minutes, right as you’ve been guided into gentle sedation, the rhythm shifts and it becomes more agitated, more immediate, and finally the hammer comes down-piledriving chunks of guitar riffs, screaming voices desperately struggling to be heard, erratic poly-rhythms, blood and broken bones everywhere.

Oh yeah, and they’re from Louisville, Kentucky. But that was roughly 15 years ago. So, yeah, Slint were great and all but this is not simply a retrospective. For as it was told in the good book – on the third day Slint will rise again in fulfillment of the scriptures. They have risen from the dead and are currently on tour. The reunion began with the decision to play the four-day All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival over in England with Sonic Youth, Peaches, Stereolab, and a bunch of others. But when that date sold out, the band added a small handful of U.K. and U.S. dates. But when these started to sell out also, the band was forced to beef it up adding several more dates. There is no information on what the band’s post-tour plans are, but if we cross our fingers and click our heels together, maybe, just maybe, they’ll grace us by releasing a new album of beautifully unrestrained catharsis. But then they totally have to break up again right afterwards.

Slint play at the Roxy on Sunday, March 20. Go to for more info. Or just go to and order the damn things right away.