Archive for Big Black

Arsenal – Factory Smog Is A Sign Of Progress (Touch and Go) 1990

Posted in Arsenal, Big Black, Music with tags , , , on August 29, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

I bet you are thinking to yourself, “why on earth do I need to read a review about some late 1980’s hardcore band that no-one remembers of even cares about”.  Well the reason that I wanted to draw this to your attention is that Arsenal was the final pre-law school  band of Santiago Durango,  the bass player for Naked Raygun and most importantly Big Black.  When Albini folded Big Black and then went on to his finest hour in the terrifyingly great  Rapeman, Durango moved on to Arsenal which he may have been the only member of (I stand to be corrected – info is limited). Now at the time that Durango was releasing the mighty Manipulator EP on Blast First, Albini was creating all sorts of fuss with Rapeman to the point that his much protested tour of the UK ended in the band breaking up. I suspect that Arsenal kind of got  starved of oxygen at the time. Durango then went on to release the Factory Smog Is a Sign Of Progress EP on Touch and Go and then ceased to exist. The CD of Factory ….. that I tracked down on amazon also includes the Manipulator EP. The only other place Arsenal every appeared was on the famous Devils Jukebox 10 x 7inch single boxset that Blast First put out in the late 1980’s. The  single fro that compilation, Little Hitlers, appears on Manipulator.

So there you have it –  a career of nine released tracks all contained on an out of print but easily available  CD.  The music itself mines a much more straight forward hardcore path.  The chilling obliqueness of Big Black is set to one side  for a more music friendly approach. It is still a ferocious record (particularly the four tracks that make up the Manipulator EP) and the reason I  recommend it is that it is absolutely soaked with “that” bass sound. If you have spent any time with Big Black you will know what I mean.  If  I was to nerd-out and create my late 1980’s hardcore supergroup then the role of bass player would have been given to Durango. His playing is easily identifiable and, well, it makes me very happy hearing it again outside of the context of Big Black.  If you have any interest in mid-western hardcore from this period then Arsenal is worthwhile hearing. It is a bit of a lost gem quite frankly.

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Big Black – The Rich Man’s Eight Track (Blast First) 1987

Posted in Albini, Big Black, Music with tags , , on July 12, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

Big Black

This is the best hardcore punk album ever made. How do I know? Well just listen to it. Do you hear that? The beastial menace of Albini was never bettered. By anyone. This is the best record that Albini produced because this is a compilation which includes the Atomizer record, The Heartbeat 7inch single and the Heartbeat four track EP (with Kraftwerk cover!!) . Back in the day I owned all three of them on beautiful vinyl. Oh how I loved  those records but in my well documented brainsnap I offloaded them. They were beautiful and if you ever see them for sale just buy them because hardcore always sounded better on vinyl but if, like me, the vinyl era has been left far behind, this CD will have to do. The thing about Big Black, and this goes for their Songs About Fucking record as well, is that they survived on sheer bubbling agression. Take for instance  the opener here, Jordan Minnesota. The thing kicks off with that infernal drum machine and the razor blade slashing of Albini’s guitar and the sledgehammer fuck bass of Weston is unrelenting, and once you get used to that, you may think to yourself, “Hey,when these guys go off it’s going to obliterate rock music for ever”. But the smart thing is that they never really do.  They get close, very very close. But they are cockteasers. But then you realise that it is that control, that end of the world tantric fuckery, that did destroy rock music and that is why you need to buy this.

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