Track Review – Kerosene by Big Black

In 1987, the new Sonic Youth EP, “Master-Dik” was released with a warning label saying “Not as good as Atomizer, so don’t get your hopes up, cheese!” (This warning is on the copy of “Master-Dik” in the KTUH vinyl vault, as well as Big Black’s “Headache” EP) The warning aped the recently introduced Parental Advisory stickers, but for those who had loved Big Black’s 1986 LP “Atomizer”, it was unlikely that anything in the last year lived up to it. Though Big Black’s crudely titled follow up album is perhaps their definitive statement, “Atomizer” is a crushing album, with loud, distorted guitars, pounding drum machines and Steve Albini’s bile-spewing vocal delivery. Albini would later reach greater success producing classic albums by The Pixies, Nirvana and The Jesus Lizard. “Kerosene”, the centerpiece of “Atomizer” expresses the frustration of growing up in a small town, with the mild frustration building to a literally explosive climax.

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