Last night I saw Slint play in a small rental hall in Louisville Kentucky, surrounded by a small crowd of less than 200 people.
Slint is a band that means a whole lot to me. They are a fantastic group of musicians. Spiderland is one of the greatest collections of songs I’ve ever heard. All those things are great, but what sets them apart from any other great band is that they gave me a sense of identity.
I was a weird kid growing up. I still am pretty weird. I don’t talk when I don’t have to, I spend a lot of time in my head, and I come from a state that everyone assumes is a backwards, racist, hillbilly colony. Louisville doesn’t exactly fall under that category, but when I began to explore the world outside of my town I found that most people see us that way. The things we are known for are horse racing, bourbon, tobacco, and coal. As someone who doesn’t drink, smoke, or give a shit about horseracing, there isn’t much to latch on to in terms of town pride. Sure, Louisville has some great cultural icons like Muhammed Ali and Anne Braden. They are hugely important in the history of civil rights. But until I found out about Slint, and the music community in which they were formed, as well as the generations of bands they inspired, there wasn’t much I could relate to.
When I first heard Spiderland, it was like hearing rock music deconstructed into something that was hypnotic and primal, but totally focused. They played only what needed to be played. There were vocals only when they needed them. There weren’t that many words. It was simple, but at the same time it was the most dynamically complex music I had ever heard. As a reserved person, I immediately grabbed on to those things. This was music that made sense to me, and even better than that, it was played by people from my town.
Slint came from a scene of weirdos, and has had a lasting impact on the weirdos who came after them. I’m really grateful for that.
Major rambling is done.