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Slint's Spiderland (33 1/3) Paperback – November 11, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A growing Alexandria of rock criticism - Los Angeles Times, 2008 Ideal for the rock geek who thinks liner notes just aren't enough - Rolling Stone One of the coolest publishing imprints on the planet - Bookslut"

About the Author

Scott Tennent is a senior writer and editor at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and was previously an editor at Princeton Architectural Press. He writes about music at the blog Pretty Goes With Pretty, an ongoing preoccupation since 2006

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Product Details

  • Series: 33 1/3 (Book 75)
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1 edition (November 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144117026X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441170262
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.4 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #771,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John Carswell on January 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
I can remember it like it was yesterday. The year was 1994, and I was a freshman in high school, examining a double-sided, photo-copied Slamdek Records catalog. My eyes fell upon a blurb about a band named Slint, and I fixated on a quote that went like this: "Even Stone Temple Pilots rip off big ideas from these guys." Not that I was an STP fan, but it didn't take me long to realize that these Slint guys were a big deal. A few days later, I boogied on up to Mike Bucayu`s Blue Moon Records in Holiday Manor and bought myself a cassette copy of Tweez. So, when I popped that sucker into my bookshelf setup, and the first discordant notes of "Ron" came blaring through my speakers, I was a little taken aback. Was this really the pride of Louisville?

Suffice to say, eventually I got it, and that's why I'm pleased to say that Scott Tennent has finally written THE BOOK on Slint, a band that was heretofore the subject of so much conjecture, hearsay, and legend that it was often hard to distinguish fact from fiction. Starting in 1982 with Brian McMahan`s first band, Languid and Flaccid, the book not only serves as the definitive story on Slint, but it also covers just about everything you'd want to know about seminal Louisville acts like Squirrel Bait, Maurice, and Solution Unknown. Tangentially, it even goes quite a ways toward revealing some of Will Oldham`s artistic roots as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
Having read approx a dozen of these little books from the 333series, this is the first time I have felt compelled to provide a review. This is not to say the other books were bad. There are two or three where I felt the writer had managed in capturing the album, the band and the bands philosophy re. their own music (whether spoken or not) and merge that into a tight unit that structured the writing on that ideal.

This book has been written by Scott Tennent, who also incidentally has a blog called Pretty goes with Pretty. I mention this as it will give you a good idea on his writing. I bought the book regardless, but reading some of his thoughts on music you can quickly appreciate he writes in a solid manner, can appreciate the poetry of music, without sounding esoteric you lose interest.

If you are a fan of Slint, this book will no doubt fill in blanks, perhaps the detail that the writer goes into with the recording of Spiderland, perhaps the detail with the history that led up to the start of Slint. The influence and support of Steve Albini to help Slint be heard by a wider group of people.
Overall the writer appreciates the historical factors that run up to Spiderland and discusses this in enough detail so you don't feel you have just jumped into a great big hole with no context.

Most importantly for me, Tennent weaves and unfolds the slight and tender story of Slint so much that even if you know everything about Slint it will still grab you. It unfolds in such a way that you almost feel and hear the music in the reading. It sucks you into Spiderland and keeps you there for the duration of the book. It lets you appreciate what is going on with the music. It lets you see the precision and control and compositional talent these guys manifested with Spiderland.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Everyman on February 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Unlike many of the others in the 33 1/3 series, Spiderland is not just a fan gushing over how mind-blowing the album is (Daydream Nation) or a cooler-than-you music journalist trying to get people to acknowledge how uber hip they are (Loveless). The author put a lot of time and effort into telling Slint's story. Unfortunately, half of the band declined to be interviewed for the book, but the other two members, as well as some other insiders, give excellent accounts of how the album came to be. If you're a fan of Spiderland and would like to know a little more about the album, then THIS IS THE BOOK TO GET. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Johnny on August 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I received this book today and finished it in one sitting. It went into detail about the bands the preceded and came after Slint as well as an in depth look into the songs on Spiderland.

What I really liked was that Tennent even managed to include details on the bands songwriting process with information straight from most of the band members (Brian McMahan was the exception as he rarely gives interviews). This extra insight made me realize how much work went into the book as well as the making of a one of a kind album. Any fan of the album has to buy this!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. K. Malone on November 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is my first 33.3 since my extremely disappointing experience with the Master of Reality (Sabbath) entry a few years ago. That one was so god freaking awful that it nearly soured me on the series for good. I might never have come back for more, but as soon as I saw that there was a Slint/Spiderland 33.3, there was no way I could resist. Spiderland has been one of my Top 5 all time favorite records for 20 years now and I've always wanted to know more about Slint. Somehow for all these years they've managed to stubbornly remain one of the most obnoxiously mysterious bands ever. Not anymore.

This book is a perfect example of exactly what I think the 33.3 series should be. While the author is guilty of a bit of fanboy gushing and his analysis of specific songs maybe could have been edited out, that's par for the course. He clearly did a ton of research and interviews with people who were there, including band members Ethan Buckler, Todd Brashear, and David Pajo. (figures that McMahan and Walford would be no-shows) This little book actually covers the entire history of Slint and all three of their records, not only Spiderland. In fact the first section extensively covers the band's pre-history, going far deeper than the usual Squirrel Bait stuff everybody has known for ages. In many cases this would be inappropriate, but since Slint's existence was relatively brief and they only released two albums and a posthumous single, and you weigh their impact against that-- I think the author absolutely did the right thing. If one of the reasons you love Slint is their impenetrable aura of mystique, you might consider avoiding this book. It blows the doors wide open on all of Slint's secrets. Well, almost all of them. Still need to find out exactly who's Saab that was on the cover of Tweez...
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