(Homestead, 1986; Touch & Go, 1992)
Seething with disgust (at human weakness and perversity) and pummelled by a badass drum machine (succinctly credited as roland: roland), Big Black’s debut took the rage of hardcore punk and fused it with the harsh mechanics of the electronic age. In passing, it established the uncompromising nature of mainman Steve Albini, who’s gone on to engineer more records than any sane human should. Atomizer’s been unavailable for a while because Touch & Go ran out of stock, and Albini and co took the opportunity to remaster it (along with a number of other BB titles). “All of them should be available relatively soon. We intend to keep everything available forever,” Albini says.
EXPECT TO PAY: £15 for the vinyl
One of 2009’s more disingenuous reissues was The Catalogue, a thorough-sounding Kraftwerk boxset which failed to include their first three LPs. Perhaps that early work was deemed too idiosyncratically human, with the mensch-maschine not yet fully operational and a freestyling hippy fallibility taking precedence. They remain, however, fascinating records, not least the 1970 debut, where Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter embarked on four capricious avant-jams. The heavy-weight electronics were at a putative stage: Klaus Dinger, soon to form Neu!, contributed live drums; Schneider led, jauntily, with a flute. “I’m working on the album tapes,” Hütter told Uncut last year. “It will be Kraftwerk 1 and 2, Ralf & Florian, and maybe one or two live ambient situations, whatever we find in the archive… It needs some more work, redusting and remastering.”
EXPECT TO PAY: Approaching £100
Night On Earth OST
Jim Jarmusch’s portmanteau movie Night On Earth presents five encounters between taxi drivers and passengers, all happening in different cities around the world at the same moment. The film’s much underrated in Jarmusch’s canon, which perhaps helps explain why Waits’ soundtrack – at the time, his first new material in five years – has fallen off the radar. It’s mostly instrumental, a main theme evolving as a series of woozy, junky mood pieces designed to reflect the geographical settings of each story, but which are nevertheless all firmly located in Waits’ boneyard carnival. Among the tunes are three vocal turns, “The Other Side Of The World” and two readings of “Back In The Good Old World”. First taken as a rollicking gypsy stomp, Waits’ closing reprise of the song as an aching waltz ranks among his most heartbreaking.
EXPECT TO PAY: Up to about £50. Even the cassette is worth a tenner…