Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

7. SlintSpiderland

I loved Slint’s first album, Tweez, I thought it was fucking fantastic. We wrote them a letter after it came out, just saying we lived in this little town in Scotland and hello. We wrote the address in chalk on the pavement outside my house and then took a picture of it and stuck it to the front for the postman, so it was a very arty letter! This was all just from the first album though, which we loved. Sounds magazine were the only people talking about Slint back then, the only time they got mentioned in NME or Melody Maker was when Steve Albini was talking about them. Sounds announced that there was a new Slint album called Spiderland and it’s hard to describe just how exciting this was back then. The album was about two months late coming out, I was at high school and back then we had a payphone at the school so every Monday when records would traditionally come out, I would phone record shops and ask if they had Spiderland and every Monday they would say, "No, it’s late", and eventually I phoned Fopp in Edinburgh again, and by that point they knew me, and they said, "Well we’ve got a white label promo, you’ve been phoning for weeks, come and get it" and I was like "fucking right!" so I hung up the phone, walked out of school and went and got the train to Edinburgh and bought it for about a fiver. I got the train back and I was back in time before school finished, I went and met my friend David – Beatles guy – at the school gates. We went back to my house and lay on my bed and listened to it, it was the middle of the afternoon but we drew the curtains and, again, it’s one of these records that transports you immediately. The opening few notes of it, the peculiar lyrics, it sucks you right in and especially if you’re a 16-year-old boy. Spiderland still sounds like nothing else. Here I was, this wee boy in Falkirk and it was like the record I had always wanted to hear. I can’t describe what a profound effect Spiderland had, it opened up the idea of music being something entirely different to me. At the time I was listening to a lot of very loud and obnoxious music, I was a big Big Black fan, I was a big fan of the unfortunately-named Rapeman, Dinosaur Jr. were gods to me. To hear what Slint did with this record, it was slower than I ever expected it to be and it was more precise and it just seemed like there was a new way to use guitars and a new way to use words. Hearing the opening notes to ‘Breadcrumb Trail’ it’s like hearing your favourite lullaby, it’s like, "Right, I’m fucking off. I’ll see you in forty minutes."

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Daniel O’Sullivan, Mogwai
PreviousNext Record

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today