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Rich Man's 8 Track Tape
Big Black
Rich Man's 8 Track Tape
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1


      
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CD Details

All Artists: Big Black
Title: Rich Man's 8 Track Tape
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Touch & Go Records
Release Date: 11/27/1992
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, Indie & Lo-Fi, American Alternative, New Wave & Post-Punk, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 036172079421, 718751789425

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CD Reviews

Buy two just to make Albini mad...
Scott Bresinger | New York, USA | 07/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Big Black founder/recording studio owner/all-around curmudgeon Steve Albini has hated the CD format since the beginning. He considers it inferior in sound quality and overpriced to boot. Thus, "The Rich Man's Eight-Track Tape," originally released in the late 80's, is both a compromise to the market and a deliberate provocation. Albini's own words on the subject:

"This compact disc, compiled to exploit those of you gullible enough to own the bastardly first generation digital home music system, contains all analog masters. Compact discs are quite durable, this being their only advantage over real music media. You should take every opportunity to scratch them, fingerprint them and eat egg and bacon sandwiches off them. Don't worry about their longevity, as Philips will pronounce them obsolete when the next phase of the market-squeezing technology bonanza begins."

Of course, it's now been a couple of generations, in tech terms, since the CD was introduced, and the format is still with us, though many (like the business executives who make money off them) believe they're in sharp decline. Rival formats (SACD, DVDA, etc.) have tried to muscle in, and then there's the swift encroachment of the lowly mp3. Since none of Albini's bands are available for legal download, it's pretty easy to imagine his opinion of the format. Big Black were and are a brilliant band, and anyone who thinks they know something about "extreme" rock music has to have their music. My advice: buy two copies of each of their releases on CD, and convert them to mp3's. That'll be sure to annoy the hell out of him, and an annoyed Albini is a creative Albini. Then again, take a listen to the CD versions of the music and the LP versions. Guess which one will sound better? This is, of course, on purpose. Even though today's CD's are much better to the original model, Big Black's releases have never been remastered and if Albini has anything to say about it, they never will be.

"Eight Track" is basically the CD release of Big Black's debut full-length LP, the incredible "Atomizer," with the omission of the mediocre "Strange Things." Oddly taking advantage of the longer running times of CD's, this release also tacks on the just swell "Headache" EP, as well as the "Heartbeat" 7" single. Needless to say, it's a classic of aggressive, noisy post-punk, with a relentless, deliberately primitive drum machine (nicknamed "Roland") instead of a live skin basher. Despite the lean, muscular sound the band acheived, this is not the immature, knuckle-dragging sludge that so much heavy metal (at least of that era) cranked out. Wheareas metal was marketed to immature knuckle-draggers, Big Black wrote ABOUT them. That's a distinction lost on a lot of critics back in the day, but the steely intelligence of pummelling songs like "Fists Of Love" or "Passing Complexion" should be obvious now. Album opener "Jordan, Minnesota" is based on a real news story about an entire town of alleged pedophiles. This story was eventually proven to be a hoax, part of the wave of child-abuse hysteria that struck the country during the 80's, but the song still has the metaphorical impact of a brutal horror movie. Likewise, the pyromaniacal pain-freaks of one of Big Black's greatest songs, "Kerosene" don't need to correspond with any actual real-world events to be effective. Throughout the album, Abini's corrosive guitar and Dave Riley's lurching bass, not to mention the relentless pounding of the drum machine, create an uncompromising roar stripped of any melodic frills. There is, however, a sense of humor. It's sardonic and ironic, but it's there.

So if you don't mind having to crank the volume way up and fidgeting with the EQ just to get a passable sound, this is the place to start. The band's second (and final) album, the cheekily-titled "Songs About F***ing" is in my opinion even better, and is just as recommended. Still, let's permit Abini to have the last words:

"The future belongs to analog loyalists. F*** digital.""
I was born in this town.....lived here my whole life
Scott Bresinger | 08/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Perhaps the most unnerving aspect of "The Hammer Party" (or early period Big Black) is that the disc is merely the first three EPs from the band. Already, they sounded pretty menacing and punishing. If a beginnner has only listened to "The Hammer Party," they may be tempted to call the "Bulldozer" EP the band's peak. Yet there was still more to come. Next, Albini finally broke from his favorite format at the time (the EP) and dared to release Big Black's first full-length assault LP-"Atomizer"-which is in my opinion, their finest moment. If you thought an EP of Big Black was intense enough to swallow, wait until you throw on "The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape," which includes "Atomizer" as its first nine tracks. The first impressions of the album have quite an impact, from the opening howls of "Jordan, Minnesota," a perfect shredding of American values that deals with a child molestation ring in that city, to "Passing Complexion," a driving, cold, mechanical riff with themes of racism (as seen in the deep south). Another highlight is "Kerosene," which is arguably the best song Big Black ever wrote, as it is a perfect summary of eveything the band was ever about. Dark, punishing, distorted riffs are combined with deranged lyrics about using self-immolation to cure boredom in small-town America. The song builds energy and releases it beautifully; it is Big Black reaching their full creative potential. However, Big Black's slower, more melancholy tracks at this time were also great and quite underrated-as the grower "Bad Houses" illustrates. Slightly less intense tracks like these often are memorable for the great atmosphere they create. Just listen to the beautiful guitar layering between the lyrics on this song. The second side is no slouch either, featuring the evil distorted vocals of "Fists of Love," which may or may not be a dark song about an unusual form of love-making. It probably is, and therefore might have been more perfect for Big Black's next LP. You also get a rousing live version of "Cables," which although might have been previously released on "Bulldozer," still fits great on here as a Big Black classic. Next up on the disc from Big Black's middle period is the Heartbeat single, which proves for the first time that Big Black were great at translating covers into their unmistakable sound and yet still making them as enjoyable as the original. "Things to do Today" is the darkly humorous to-do list of one very evil man and "I Can't Believe" is a great if short instrumental. The disc finishes with the main EP from Big Black's mid-to-late period, "Headache." Although the band themselves admitted that it cannot compete with "Atomizer" and this is true, it still has its moments. "Grinder" is probably the best example of Big Black's pummeling effect you can get and "Pete, King of all Detectives" is one of their great character songs. If you survived "The Hammer Party" and are ready to test your nerve further, pick up "The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape" in the near future."
It's no "Songs About...," but it's still relevant.
Scott Bresinger | 05/11/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The kick drum will destroy your stereo, then the guitars will scramble your brain. Will Limp Bizkit or Korn or Orgy be as important in 14 years as Big Black are now? I don't think so either."