Big Black (US punk / alternative rock band)

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Big Black was an 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, who played on Big Black's two full-length studio albums, Atomizer (1986) and Songs About Fucking (1987).

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, elements that foreshadowed industrial rock. 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. At the height of their success, 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. In doing so they had a significant impact on the aesthetic and political development of independent and underground rock music.

In addition to two studio albums, Big Black released two live albums, two compilation albums, four EPs, and five singles, all through independent record labels. Most of the band's catalog was kept in print through Touch and Go Records for years following their breakup.

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Year Title RatingReleases
1986 Atomizer 5 5
1987 Songs About Fucking 5 6

Album + Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
1986 The Hammer Party 2
1987 The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape 5 4

Album + Live

Year Title RatingReleases
1986 Sound of Impact 2
1990 1986: Live in Heaven, Germany 1
1992 Pig Pile 5 3
1993 1987-07-25: Death Wish: Manchester, UK 1


Year Title RatingReleases
1985 Il Duce 2
1985 Rema Rema 1
1987 He's a Whore / The Model 2
1987 Heartbeat 2
1991 Rema Rema 1


Year Title RatingReleases
1982 Lungs 3
1983 Bulldozer 4 3
1984 Racer X 3 2
1987 Headache 2

EP + Live

Year Title RatingReleases
1986 Big Money 1

Other + Interview

Year Title RatingReleases
1987 Talk About Fucking 1

Unspecified type

Year Title RatingReleases
1992 It’s Toasted 1


Year Title RatingReleases
1988 1987-05-09: Peel Session 1

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