I’ve alluded a few times in recent weeks to the excellence of the forthcoming “Spiderland” boxset, and especially to the Lance Bangs documentary, “Breadcrumb Trail”, which it contains. “Breadcrumb Trail” tells the odd, low-key, long-obfuscated tale of Slint, revealing much without entirely dismantling the band’s mystique, and focusing on the band’s drummer Britt Walford.
Walford, it transpires, was the band’s key creative force and fount of perversity – there are vague discourses on “anal breathing” tapes and a cataclysmic stretch of house-sitting for Steve Albini, among other deviations, often elucidated by Walford’s amazingly staunch parents. What has happened to Walford in the 20-odd years since Slint disbanded, though, remains tantalisingly oblique. There was a stint in The Breeders (pseudonyms included “Mike Hunt”), and intermittent Slint reunions.
Bafflingly, his own new music seemed to dry up: there is talk in “Breadcrumb Trail” about a bakery job making “erotic cakes”. That’s changed this month with the arrival of “This World”, the first album by a band called Watter that features Zak Riles from Grails, Tyler Trotter and, on drums, the enigmatic Walford (Two more Louisville players, Rachel Grimes from Rachel’s and Todd Cook from The For Carnation, figure, too).
First thing you might notice from the “Rustic Fog” track below is that Walford’s dealing in uncharacteristically conventional time signatures. The whole album, in fact, has a sort of solidity and grandeur that’s quite different in mood to Slint, even if it deals to some degree in a sound that we’ve been calling post-rock for the past two decades. If anything, though, Watter remind me of a step onwards and backwards from latterday Earth, towards the sort of blasted desert soundtracks of the Savage Republic/Scenic continuum that eventually fed into Godspeed You Black Emperor (mixed with a little Kosmische synth atmospherics, too).
Worth a listen, anyhow – as is plenty more here. Maybe try Dylan Shearer, who’s backed by bits of Comets On Fire and Thee Oh Sees, but spends most of his debut album fastidiously recreating the sound of early Robert Wyatt solo albums?
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1 Terry Riley – A Rainbow In Curved Air (CBS)
2 Watter – This World (Temporary Residence)
3 Grace Jones – Nightclubbing: Deluxe Edition (Island)
4 Fennesz – Bécs (Editions Mego)
5 Sam Doores + Riley Downing & The Tumbleweeds – Holy Cross Blues (Coin)
6 Kenny Graham – The Small World Of Sammy Lee (Trunk)
7 Dylan Shearer – Meadow Mines (Fort Polio) (Castleface/Empty Cellar)
8 Archie Bronson Outfit – Wild Crush (Domino)
9 Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – Dereconstructed (Sub Pop)
10 Terry Bickers & Pete Fij – Broken Heart Surgery (?)
11 Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté – Toumani & Sidiki (World Circuit)
12 Jack Ruby – Hit And Run (Saint Cecilia Knows)
13 Woo – When The Past Arrives (Drag City)
14 The Grateful Dead – One From The Vault (Light In The Attic)
15 Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years (Rough Trade)
16 Hiss Golden Messenger – March 2, 2014, Mercury Lounge, New York (NYC Taper)