This Album Changed My Life: Slint – Spiderland (1991)

Scottish songwriter Aidan Moffat on an influential American guitar record that helped start post-rock

Aidan Moffat: “I love the spoken, cryptic storytelling and the gently sung heartache.”

Aidan Moffat: “I love the spoken, cryptic storytelling and the gently sung heartache.”

 

I remember lying in my bedroom with the curtains drawn on a sunny spring day and listening to Slint’s Spiderland and having my mind blown.

I was almost 18 and still at Falkirk High School, and for the umpteenth Monday in a row, I phoned the record store Fopp in Edinburgh from the payphone at school reception – I’d been waiting for the album to come out for ages. It still hadn’t arrived, but they’d received a white label LP promo and offered to sell it to me, so I walked straight out of the building, jumped on a train to the city, bought it, and returned in time to meet my friend at the gates after school.

Slint - Breadcrumb Trail

We took it home, set the scene in darkness, and were transported to a world of carnivals, vampires, devastating break-ups, and ghostly sailors.

I love the spoken, cryptic storytelling and the gently sung heartache, and it remains one of the most unique arrangements of the guitars-bass-drums rock standard ever – gorgeous, strange, fragile guitar lines lead to emotive explosions with jazz time signatures and full-on rock screaming. It’s exactly what a 17-year-old me wanted to hear, and I felt a great affinity with these young guys from far across the sea in Louisville, Kentucky, and my love for the album hasn’t dimmed since.

Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbard play Roisin Dubh as part of the Galway International Arts Festival on 23rd July 23rd; The Grand Social, Dublin on July 24th; and Black Box, Belfast on July 25th. 

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