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UGLY ATONAL EIGHTIES SERIES #4: Big Black

September 16, 2006

Hammer Party
Touch and Go

Big Black came out of nerd-boy and later recording engineer-god Steve Albini’s solo taping project. He later found partners in crime in Jeff Pezzati and Santiago Durango (both veterans of the excellent Naked Raygun). Operating without a proper drummer – rather a drum machine they dubbed Roland, the trio made some of the most fucked up noise imaginable, albiet in a very disciplined, orderly manner (especially compared to the rest of the Ugly Atonal Eighties). Obvious influences of Gang of Four, The Pop Group and Wire notwithstanding, Big Black had one of the most innovative, original sounds of the post-hardcore punk era. Their precisely coordinated bass and drum pummeling, as well as Albini’s beautifully, messed up, scratchy guitar and lyrics dealing with first-person character studies of depravity made BB a truly distinctive band. Ever the abrasive fellow, Albini’s lyrics, album cover and song title choices assured they’d always be controversial figures. One Ep (the aptly-named Headache) featured a grotesque mortician slab photo of a shotgun suicide hatchet victim’s head. A late LP was entitled Songs About Fucking. Despite all this, Albini’s lyrics and magazine writing were intelligent and above most shock-rock agitators that would engage in such antics. Albini went on to form the not-too-dissimilar Rapeman and Shellac.

Hammer Party
Re-upped 10/12

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6 comments

  1. Awesome! It would be great if you could upload Atomiser


  2. It would be even greater if I had Atomizer, but sadly I don’t.
    maybe someone listening in has it?


  3. Atomizer exists on CD as part of the Rich Man’s 8-Track compilation. Also wanted to clarify that the insert photo for Headache was actually a hatchet to the head victem. Did that come with all copies or just the deluxe metal embossed editions?


  4. Big Black Yeaaaa!
    i Like chardman do that to us and post this.!
    great choice. sunday is saved and mucho more. i see here on this day posts!!gracias


  5. Lo-Fi: Thanks for the clarification; now I know that I must buy 8-Track, and must re-label the photo hanging in my dining room as HATCHET VICTIM and not SHOTGUN SUICIDE as I’d assumed it was for all these years. Hope none of my guests noticed!
    I believe only the first edition of that EP had that pic (obscured as it was by a black plastic bag) but i think was omitted in future editions.

    Glad you liked it KORPUS!


  6. Can you please reup Big Black – Hammer Party? Been looking for their Texas track forever with no luck. Thanks a bunch for sharing.



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