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Big Black

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Evanston, Illinois, United States (1982 – 1987, 2006 – 2006)

Big Black was an Independent noise rock band founded in Evanston, Illinois, United States, that was active between 1982 and 1987. They were headed by singer, lyricist, guitarist, and co-songwriter Steve Albini. They have been classified as /, and were a formative influence on rock, but the band members have always described the band as solidly ; in the notes for Pigpile, a live recording of their final London performance, Albini explicitly describes Big Black as punk.

They sought and found little mainstream success, but the group’s piledriver drum machines and brutal, slashing electric guitars were widely influential, especially for industrial rock. Albini’s snide, malevolent singing and provocative lyrics garnered much attention.

Albini made a name for himself for his controversial “Tired of Ugly Fat?” column in the Chicago zine Matter, as well as irregular contributions to Forced Exposure. At the time, the band consisted of Albini and his drum machine, a Roland TR-606. (All of Big Black’s recordings credit “Roland” as if “he” were a member of the band.)

The Lungs EP, the first effort to appear under the Big Black name, was recorded by Albini in his dorm room at Northwestern University. Intended primarily to recruit members to fill out the band, Lungs was released by Ruthless Records. The record is infamous for the variety of inserts, which included a lyric sheet in most copies, plus extras like condoms, dollar bills, stickers, concert tickets, photographs, silverware, razor blades, bloody bandages, and squirt guns.

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