Big Black

Profile:
American punk rock band from Evanston, Illinois, active from 1981 to 1987. Founded by singer and guitarist Steve Albini, the band's initial lineup also included guitarist Santiago Durango and bassist Jeff Pezzati, both of Naked Raygun. In 1985, Pezzati was replaced by Dave Riley.

Big Black's aggressive and abrasive music was characterized by distinctively clanky guitars and the use of a drum machine rather than a drum kit. The band's lyrics flouted commonly held taboos and dealt frankly—and often explicitly—with politically and culturally loaded topics including murder, rape, child sexual abuse, arson, racism, and misogyny. Though the band's lyrics contained controversial material, the lyrics were meant to serve as a commentary or a display of distaste for the subject matter. They were staunchly critical of the commercial nature of rock, shunning the mainstream music industry and insisting on complete control over all aspects of their career. They booked their own tours, paid for their own recordings, refused to sign contracts, and eschewed many of the traditional corporate trappings of rock bands.
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Artist

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Albums

none Big Black — Big Black Big Black Big Black(Cass) Ruthless Records (2) none US 1983 Sell This Version
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NOT 2 (BUT 1) Sound Of Impact — Big Black Big Black Sound Of Impact Not NOT 2 (BUT 1) UK 1986 Sell This Version
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HMS043 Atomizer — Big Black Big Black Atomizer (Album) Homestead Records HMS043 US 1986 Sell This Version
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Di. Di. Records 114, Δ.Δ. 114, BFFP 19 Songs About Fucking — Big Black Big Black Songs About Fucking (Album) Touch And Go, Touch And Go Di. Di. Records 114, Δ.Δ. 114, BFFP 19 Greece 1987 Sell This Version
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SENTO YU-1 Pigpile — Big Black Big Black Pigpile (Album, Single) Touch And Go SENTO YU-1 Japan 1992 Sell This Version
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Singles & EPs

RRBB02 Lungs — Big Black Big Black Lungs (EP) Ruthless Records (2) RRBB02 US 1982 Sell This Version
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rrbb07 Bulldozer — Big Black Big Black Bulldozer (EP) Ruthless Records (2), Fever Records (3) rrbb07 USA & Canada 1983 Sell This Version
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FE-002 Rema-Rema — Big Black Big Black Rema-Rema (Single) Forced Exposure FE-002 US 1985 Sell This Version
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HMS 007 Racer-X — Big Black Big Black Racer-X (EP) Homestead Records, Ruthless Records (2) HMS 007 US 1985 Sell This Version
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HMS042 Il Duce — Big Black Big Black Il Duce (Single) Homestead Records HMS042 US 1985 Sell This Version
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HMS060 Big Money — Big Black Big Black Big Money (EP) Homestead Records HMS060 US 1986 Sell This Version
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T&G#20, T&G#21 Headache / Heartbeat — Big Black Big Black Headache / Heartbeat Touch And Go, Touch And Go T&G#20, T&G#21 UK 1987 Sell This Version
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TG-INT-LP-1 Talk About Big Black Talk About "Fucking" Blast First TG-INT-LP-1 US 1987 Sell This Version
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BFFP 24 He's A Whore / The Model — Big Black Big Black He's A Whore / The Model (Single) Touch And Go BFFP 24 UK 1987 Sell This Version
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T&G#21 Heartbeat — Big Black Big Black Heartbeat (Single) Touch And Go T&G#21 US 1987 Sell This Version
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T&G#20 Headache — Big Black Big Black Headache (EP) Touch And Go T&G#20 US 1987 Sell This Version
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18504-1 Kerosene — Big Black Big Black Kerosene(12", Single, TP) Southern Records 18504-1 UK Unknown Sell This Version
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Compilations

HMS044-2, 16583 26 The Hammer Party — Big Black Big Black The Hammer Party (Comp) Homestead Records HMS044-2, 16583 26 Germany 1986 Sell This Version
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TG94CD The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape — Big Black Big Black The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape (Comp) Homestead Records TG94CD Canada 1987 Sell This Version
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BBSAMP It's Toasted — Big Black Big Black It's Toasted(CD, Comp, Promo, Smplr) Touch And Go BBSAMP US 1992 Sell This Version
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Videos

ATV 4 Live — Big Black Big Black Live Atavistic Video ATV 4 US 1986 Sell This Version
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none The Last Blast — Big Black Big Black The Last Blast(VHS, NTSC) Black Label Records none US 1987 Sell This Version

Add Review

KentMcQueen

KentMcQueen

August 29, 2021
Living in a Midwest crossroads nearly equidistant from Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, and Louisville in the 1980s helped Big Black make sense. The abrasive, metallic guitars on top of a Roland TR-606 Drumatix played through a stack guitar amplifier sounds like farm equipment, factory noise, and a near-fatal fireworks accident happening at the same time. The confrontational lyrics take inspiration from newspaper articles. To call the subject matter dark is an understatement. Topics include community-wide paedophilia, sex in burning houses, amateur slaughter techniques, a truck driver's personnel guide to recommended lot lizards, mob hits, rape and murder at the family fish-fry, rye bread mold poisoning, hard-boiled detectives... Do you get the picture? The few cover songs are telling of the musical influences (Kraftwerk, Wire, Cheap Trick). Indeed, a big black sonic reflection of humanity, this is the Abyss looking back.
hapbt

hapbt

August 7, 2021
My introduction to Albini was listening to several of his scathing tirades against sampling. I was pretty well versed in 80s punk, and was shocked when I heard his music. It’s like a child trying to ape punk music, indistinguishable from any other contemporary punk acts except for the fact that although he correctly mimics their sounds and movements, he seems to be tone deaf, resulting in something even more amateurish than punk itself, devoid of any of the emotion or sincerity.
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duncanbell23

duncanbell23

April 17, 2021
Shouldn't the Big Black Box be its own release rather than a version of Pigpile?
philipcooch

philipcooch

October 26, 2019
This list is missing a free 7" EP from Chemical Imbalance. (80's) It's not in front of me, but Yo La Tengo was another of 3 or 4 bands.
The song is "Burning Indian Wife"
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isaRRecords

isaRRecords

June 13, 2016
One of the best US-Bands ever. Inexorable, uncompromising, fascinating and straight: both - live and in studio. This sound never gets old. Only us.
pasha90

pasha90

April 7, 2016
Subterranean Records had a mail-order catalog with the best description of this band: "Like being trapped in a twisted metal wreckage and learning to love it"
Putyrhandsup

Putyrhandsup

October 20, 2005
edited over 17 years ago
Ah Big Black, how I love thee so. Not that Big Black themselves would approve of such mushy, pathetic sentiments as 'Love'. A true bastard band of hideous epic filth, revelling in the degradation of the world around them while burning it all down. Big Black was the sound of my youth and I was a very unhappy child. Also, they had the best artwork ever for a brutal noise rock explosion. The sound of your lungs collapsing while the busdriver rapes your kids. And I'm not saying that for shock value, that's what the songs are about. Classics everyone. Also, try playing 'Jordan, Minnesota' or 'Kerosene' in your techno set and see what happens (usually everyone leaves, but they're wrong so do it anyway). Just don't use 'Songs About Fucking' as sex muzak, though should you find someone it gets off, you're totally in luck.
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