Wednesday, December 24, 2008

greetings and salutations

Steve Albini, in the liner notes to this album, stated:
Every good Vegas act has an opening theme, some appropriately triumphant fanfare to welcome the delight of the audience. It helps convince them the show was worth their thirty bucks or so.

Translated: Every blog needs an opening post, something to convince the teeming hordes that their mouse-clicking was worth the effort and to feed the expectations of terrific material to come. Though had Albini written those words today, I don't think he'd be stating thirty bucks or so. Try hundreds...

(1987 Touch and Go Records)

I discovered this record in high school in 1987 or 1988, about a year or two after their scheduled 1987 breakup. Founder/guitarist/singer/songwriter Steve Albini says they broke up at the right time, they were getting to the point where their popularity was exceeding the amount of energy and effort it would have required to maintain it. Guitarist Santiago Durango also was about to start law school so all things just fell in line to call it a day after this record - an ending which the band pre-announced. There's another school that states this record took Big Black about as far as they could within their framework, and some think it didn't better their previous LP Atomizer - it wasn't a progression, it was just a continuation of the themes and attitudes brought forward with terrific impact by Atomizer.

This LP still sounds as jarring and "ugly" as it did twenty years ago. Not many bands can you say that about today - what seemed earth-shaking then might be commonplace today. I figured it was an excellent way to lead off the blog - and the first song having bequeathed its title to the blog, why the hell not?

1 The Power Of Independent Trucking (1:27)
2 The Model (2:34)
3 Bad Penny (2:33)
4 L Dopa (1:40)
5 Precious Thing (2:20)
6 Colombian Necktie (2:14)
7 Kitty Empire (4:01)
8 Ergot (2:28)
9 Kasimir S. Pulaski Day (2:28)
10 Fish Fry (2:06)
11 Pavement Saw (2:12)
12 Tiny, King Of The Jews (2:31)
13 Bombastic Intro (0:34)
14 He's A Whore (2:38

The future belongs to the analog loyalists. Fuck digital.


  1. I saw them play a few songs at the Hideout block party a couple of years ago. The drum machine is shite!

  2. yeah the drum machine is shite - imagine Big Black with the Rapeman drummer (Rey Washam I think...) or Todd Trainer from Shellac - it'd be something else!

  3. This has my favorite of all time Cheap Trick song on there! Excellent.

    "The future belongs to the analog loyalists. Fuck digital."

    I think digital deserves a bit of a rub-and-tug, its a different universe that has its own disciplines and best practices, advantageous for many things but also prone to an excess amount of compressions.

  4. I agree... to a degree. But that's quoted verbatim from the CD tray insert ;)

    Albini's got some choice words as well on the CD itself:

    "this compact disk (sic) is made from analog masters recorded without noise reduction. half the tracks, in fact, were recorded in a dismal, cheap basement eight-track studio with puddles of water on the floor. digital technology will now faithfully reproduce those noisy, low-fi, unprofessional masters for you at great expense. feel stupid yet?"