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Headache - EP

Big Black

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Album Review

A noisier affair than Atomizer, the four-song Headache EP was accompanied by a band-written sticker warning that it's not as good as the preceding LP. This is an accurate assessment — the subject matter isn't as gripping, and Steve Albini resorts mainly to grumbling and accosting. However, Headache isn't a forgettable part of Big Black's catalog. "Ready Men" and "Grinder" are satisfyingly ornery, and the noise-fest of "My Disco" isn't far behind. The initial pressing in a small quantity came in a polyvinyl sleeve, which covered the up-close depiction of a self-inflicted shotgun blast to the head. Now that would qualify as a headache.

Biography

Formed: 1982 in Evanston, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s

While punk rock was always supposed to be about pushing the envelope, few post-punk bands seemed willing to go quite so far to creatively confront their audience as Big Black. The group's guitars alternately sliced like a machete and ground like a dentist's drill, creating a groundbreaking and monolithic dissonance in the process. Their use of a drum machine, cranked up to ten and sounding a tattoo that pummeled the audience into submission, was a crucial precursor to the coming industrial music...
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