Slint established its earliest roots when, in 1981, at the ages of eleven and twelve, guitarist Brian McMahan and drummer Britt Walford began playing together in Louisville, KY. In 1984, Britt Walford and guitarist David Pajo started collaborating musically at the ages of fourteen and sixteen. 1985 saw the origination of Slint itself, the band then comprising Britt Walford, David Pajo, and bassist Ethan Buckler. Brian McMahan joined the following year.

In 1987, Slint recorded their debut album, Tweez, with Steve Albini behind the board in Chicago and released it on the short-lived and enigmatic Jennifer Hartman Records and Tapes label. At this time, Ethan Buckler departed and was replaced on bass by Todd Brashear. 1989 saw the recording of their untitled two song EP, engineered by Steve Albini, mixed by Brian Paulson, and released by Touch and Go Records.

In 1990, Slint recorded the landmark Spiderland album in Chicago with Brian Paulson both engineering and mixing. This release, in particular, became an independent music touchstone, loved and admired by hundreds of thousands of fans and emulated by a generation of musicans.

The following year, the year in which Spiderland was issued by Touch and Go, Slint broke up. The band played a few reunion shows in 2005, and continue to play the occasional one-off at their own pace and discretion.