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Steve Albini: 17 Essential Albums

Influential musician, engineer, and producer did as much as anyone to define the sound of rock from the 1980s onward

Steve Albini, who died today at 61, left his mark on music in more ways than can be counted. He made scrappy indie rock with Big Black and Shellac, he was an outspoken opponent of the artist-crushing ways of the record business, and he put those sentiments into always opinionated words in essays like 1993’s influential “The Problem with Music” and other, similar writings on the dark side of the business.

As a producer or engineer — or “producing engineer,” his preferred title — Albini was on the ground as indie rock began coalescing in the Eighties. But as the music morphed into big-time Nineties alt-rock, with major labels realizing there were lollapaloozas of cash to be made, Albini truly stepped up. With nearly every artist or band he worked with, he ensured that the genre he championed never lost its corrosive edge and that musicians sounded as true to themselves as possible (and ignored commercial considerations as much as possible, too). Here’s just a portion of Albini’s uncompromising legacy. 

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