Slint – Spiderland
Touch and Go, 1991
Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2006
I don't think anything about Tweez really hinted at anything that was to come with Spiderland. It took me a long time to finally understand this record, but once I did it was mind blowing. It was Fall of 2006. I remember it being rainy, and I remember listening to this in the car on repeat for weeks. It was a rough time, a really bad time, and these grim, mathy jams were exactly what I needed to compliment my growing disdain with everything and everyone. The trick is to create something complex and have it come off as very simple. Every movement here seems planned down to the last cymbal crash. The timbre of the vocals are precise every time, and different on each song. “Washer,” for instance has a real depressing sadness to it whereas the epic finale “Good Morning, Captain” (a retelling of Coleridge's “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”) is a bottled up boozy mumbling-under-breath walk up until the last minute when everything comes crashing down and Brian MacMahan screams “I MISS YOU” at the top of his fucking lungs (Jawbreaker would cop this a year later with the title track for Bivouac). I don't think I've ever heard a record this brooding. The vibe is almost metal-esque. I mean, fuck, the record basically caused the band to break up, which makes sense given that they not only created (or inspired) the whole post-rock genre that is still the toast of legions of kids keen to listen to 20 minute builds. They also ended up inspiring legions of imitators such as June of 44 and Rodan. Not too much more I can write about this record, really. I've written and blabbed at length about it to everyone already, so if you haven't heard or if it didn't click with you the first time you listened to it, please, I beg of you, give it another chance. And seriously, this has one of the best album covers of all time.
I think this video of spiders fucking to "Good Morning, Captain" is a pretty good visual aid:
And also, the Shins used this as part of their inspiration for their brilliant video for "New Slang." Squirrel Bait too! And Husker Du! And the Replacements! And the Minutemen!