For certain records, context is crucial. Take Spiderland by Slint. If released in 2014, the Louisville, Ky.-rooted four-piece's second album probably wouldn't be an item of great interest to post-rock/indie rock listeners who have been exposed to all sorts of weirdos and weird ideas in the internet age. But when Spiderland hit in 1991, it was a daring, fresh work that would set the stage for post-rock and math rock to come, gaining an enormously mythologized reputation en route. It's sparse, wounded, emotionally powerful music, set under wandering, talk-sung poetry about death, distance, and loneliness. Just as remarkably, Slint's delayed prominence (thanks to Spiderland) is one of those post-breakup success stories where a band's importance increases markedly in its absence. (After forming in 1986 and dissolving in the early 1990s, it has shined in post-Y2K reunions.) Slint never made another album after this one. All things considered, that's for the best.
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