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Bulldozer

12" EP released in 1983 on Ruthless/Fever (RRBB07), reissued in 1992 on Touch and Go (TG90)

metal bulldozer cover
new EP in the works ad from MRR9

  1. Cables
  2. Pigeon Kill
  3. I'm a Mess
  4. Texas
  5. Seth
  6. Jump the Climb

The first REAL Big Black record, and it's a killer. Crunchy, spastic driving guitar noise from Albini and Santiago Durango, combined with Jeff Pezatti's driving bass gives us the first hint of what Big Black will go on to achieve. Alas Roland doesn't appear on this recording, his spot being filled by Pat Byrne, who while an admirable drummer, lacks Roland's wild and almost improvisational playing style.

The first 200 copies of this came in an acid-etched steel sleeve with a 12x12 cardboard flat of the normal Bulldozer cover art, a single sided insert with liner notes and a poster of some folks in a nursing home. The "normal" issue just came with the poster of old people and the single-sided insert. All copies probably came with the Fever/Ruthless catalog (one double-sided 8.5x11 sheet of paper), but most of 'em were probably thrown away.

I swiped the following review from an ebay auction. It's credited to Andy Kellman, for what that's worth:

Bulldozer makes Lungs seem like a mere opening of the gates. Original Naked Raygun guitarist Santiago Durango gets added to the lineup, and NR vocalist Jeff Pezzatti adds bass, giving the second EP a thicker, more brutal thrust than the essentially all-Steve Albini debut. The first 30 seconds of opener "Cables" is the first true unleashing of Albini's industrial power guitar, sounding little like the instrument that it is. Influenced by Gang of Four's Andy Gill and Public Image Limited's Keith Levene, Albini's noisy scrapes are just as riveting as his precursors, given extra accent by Durango's more rhythmic screeching. "Cables" and "Pigeon Kill," like a fair amount of Albini's lyrical points of reference throughout his career, involve boredom and how people attempt to curb it. Two options include hanging out at a slaughterhouse or, well, killing pigeons. Hopefully, the rampant misogyny of "I'm a Mess" wasn't taken literally as inspiration by anyone--a good example of how Albini's first-person character sketches could get him into trouble. The intense rockabilly of "Texas" (one of the rare instances where live drumming takes place) deserves to be covered by the Reverend Horton Heat or Brian Setzer in a non-swing moment. Lumpen tempos and lack of direction on a couple songs prevent Bulldozer from being regarded amongst the band's later works, but credit that to a still-apparent working out of the kinks. A newly formed alliance with engineer extraordinaire Iain Burgess proves helpful.

insert:


BIG BLACK

BULLDOZER

side one

these guys in montana would go to the slaughterhouse after school and watch the cattle die for entertainment. they used to describe the prods, hammers, cables and hooks with a kind of hobbyist's fascination. sometimes they helped out.

in huntington, indiana, there is an annual event, the pigeon kill, during which the townspeople feed strychnine-laced corn to the town's pigeons. sometimes the children are given the responsibility of feeding the pigeons. they think of it as play.

people who live in trailer parks, mostly rednecks and truckers, get drunk and ramble, semi-coherently about their problems, moaning, "I'm a mess" and such self-pitying bullshit. sometimes they erupt in fits of violent aggression.

side two

i hate texas.

this guy trained his dog seth to attack black people. he was an asshole beyond that, but that's the sort of thing he'd do. he has a cornflakes box with his photo on the front. he's big in the democratic machine. he tried to beat up a girl tenant in an apartment building he had equipped with illegally-tapped gas and electricity. he bets on sports. the introductory message is from the america first committee telephone hotline.

this song is called jump the climb, which is a title it got before it had any words, so the title doesn't really mean much. this is the first recording made as big black, and the first song written with that intent.

the bulk of this record was recorded in september 1983 at an enormously-expensive 24-track studio in the doglands west of chicago. hedden west studio doesn't deserve a plug here, so don't consider this one. the gear sucked, the house engineer was a bozo and the monitors sounded like tin megaphones.

five hundred dollars please, thank you very much.

some ridiculous engineering by iain burgess (who does deserve a plug here) saved the tapes from steely dan.

thank you iain.

the first set of mixes was done at an even more enormously-expensive, hi-rise chrome and glass, hacienda villa-decor bathroom-equipped, cocaine-snuffer sort of studio, which proved absolutely useless. chicago recording company doesn't deserve a plug here either, so don't consider this one. we took revenge for the suede-couches-at-the-expense-of-sound-quality mentality by breaking into the candy machine for a party-size helping of planter's peanuts. if we're gonna pay a dollar-and-change a minute for some silk-shirt, mustache, jazz-fusion, gin and tonic, racquetball at the health club studio, we want free peanuts.

five hundred fifty dollars please, thank you very much.

the last set of mixes was done at a slightly-less-than-enormously-expensive studio whose employees were very polite and stayed completely out of the way while we overloaded their equipment.

six hundred seventy five dollars please, thank you very much.

sample production quotes: "iain, can you fuck up the snare a bit more?" "turn on the bass-ruining equipment." "this song needs more gear with lights." "more tape hiss, please."

anyway, it cost too much and took too long. nobody in the whole world could ever possibly need twenty four tracks to record on. even eight seems a little excessive.

the last song on this record, jump the climb, was written and reorded in april, 1981 in an apartment in chicago on sam fishkin's four-track. it didn't cost a cent.

a considerable chunk of the money for this record has been supplied by fever records, a Chicago label which is doing plenty of noteworthy things in its own right.

excuse me, do you have three grand you're not using? thank you fever records.

big black on this record consists of:
pat byrne (on loan from urge overkill): drums
jeff (on loan from naked raygun): bass, stairwell snare
santiago durango (on loan from the interceptors): smash guitar
steve albini: klang guitar, vocals
roland: roland
tank (on loan from the construction site): tank
iain burgess (on loan from her highness): ridiculous engineering

bobbie reichert took the badass photos for the last record, lungs, for which she never got proper recognition, the photo used on the poster in this record was taken by shawn spence for the marion, indiana, chronicle-tribune.

big black's address is:
post office box 442
evanston, illinois 60204

ruthless records' address is:
post office box 1458
evanston, illinois 60204

fever records' address is:
4901 s. woodlawn
chicago, illinois 60615

these bands also have records on the ruthless label: effigies, naked raygun, circle seven and the allied. these bands also have releases on the fever label: bonemen of barumba and book of lies.


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