slint was the name of his fish
The first Slint album I bought was Spiderlands, said to be their best out of 3 (well, 2 really, for the last album released was only a 2-song ep, self-titled, that only has one previously unreleased song, the other being an alternate version of 'Rhoda' from Tweez) , was actually the last album they made, showing what potential they had as a still-evolving band. I was instantly mesmerized by it, with it's moody, interlocking melodies, and the rise and fall of emotions shown through both the sparce/screamy vocals and delicate/jarring guitars. One song in particular, 'Washer' is incredible, and I was in love immediately. The album cover itself is haunting, all of their covers are, with the 4 members neck-deep in a pool of water, their faces staring out at you in black and white. Of course I bought the 2 others and I could see how they evolved from their first album, 1989's Tweez, named after drummer Britt Walford's tweezer collection. Steve Albini produced it, but to this day he says Spiderlands shows their true potential and is a better album.
Always a sucker for the quiet, mysterious types, I think I became even more intrigued by the guys because Slint has remained a hidden, dark gem: Their sleeves don't have lyrics, they don't do interviews often, and have been 'missing' for 15 years after their demise. No, they didn't hide out in bomb shelters all these years, but it feels that way. Actually, all 3 of the main players in the group have been playing around in various projects, even sometimes under alias' (Britt was playing with the Breeders under the name Shannon Doughton), from guitarist Dave Pajo in Tortoise and Zwan to singer/guitarist Brian McMahan playing with The For Carnation and Jimmy Eat World. They've had many bassists during their time, but the 3 are really the foundation for the sound that is Slint. You've got to read a recent article about them with an interview with Pajo in the March/April issue of Punk Planet....it was one of only 2 interviews they did since they hooked up for this past tour.
They had been asked many times to play and get back together, but always declined until recently when asked to play and curated the All Tomorrow's Parties fest in England. Who knows what made them decide to do it, maybe it was just the right time for the 3 of them. Luckily they realized that only one show wouldn't be practical, so 1 show became 2 became a full-fledged tour, complete with 2 sold-out nights at Irving Plaza that was so in demand that they agreed to do a third night. I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd show, and believe me when I tell you it was a moment in time that I won't forget. Always the perfectionists, Slint were meticulous with the task of recreating their old sound, a sound that they got from crappy old gear from the late '80's. I know, some of you might say, 'why would you want their live show to sound just like the album?' Well, I think it was a perfect display of who they are as people, as a band, and as a myth. They played maybe 30 shows when they were together but rehearsed insessantly, shows or not. They're men of few, thoughful words, and I respect that. To play a show like the rest of us would break the spell that is Slint. When they got back together to rehearse, they actually began writing new songs, and were itching to renew their old songs. But I think they made the right decision to stick to the old material, for now, anyway. In a perfect world they'll get back together and write and create more beautiful music. But, forever the romantic, I'm relieved at what they have given me.