Wednesday, June 03, 2009

They went through me like a pavement saw

I listened to the noise rock of Big Black quite a bit back in college. I didn't branch out into the rest of the noise world (no Einsturzende Neubauten for me, thanks) mostly I suspect due to my interest in the bizarre subject matter of Albini's lyrics. They combine elements of some of my favorite literary genres including noir, true crime and Southern gothic. The songs are little horror stories about sex murders, people who like to watch at abattoirs, assasins, and the rantings of bitter redneck drunks. Back in the record store days, my local store, Peaches (or maybe it had changed to Mothers at that point) had a section called "Difficult Listening." I'm pretty sure these guys would have been shelved in that section.

Anyway, I liked these guys enough that I thought I had tracked down nearly all of their output. I picked up Crack Up by buying God's Favorite Dog, on CASSETTE no less. I found a copy of Sound of Impact at some point as well. I thought I had pretty much tapped this band out.

Not so! Someone has posted Newmangenerator from the unreleased Big Black Peel Session. It sounds like a creepy Atomizer outtake. So far, I would call it OK, but maybe it will improve with listens. On the immediately appealing side, we have Big Black's cover of Rema Rema. Good luck finding a physical copy, apparently just 500 were made. Not much on the lyrics side. It is mostly "Rema, rema, ha, ha, ha," but the hooks are nice.

The sad truth is that when I finally discover a lost gem, my peak enjoyment of the band is since passed. For me, music is tied to periods of time and there is often something missing when I come back to it. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy it, just that it has lost much of its power. Hence the unbridled excitement I would have experienced in 1994 upon finding these is now just a moment to smile.

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