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The Legacy of Steve Albini, Rock’s Uncompromising Force

Steve Albini, who died last week at 61, was one of the most admired, and most divisive, figures in rock. He was an expert audio engineer who recorded ultra-classics by Nirvana, PJ Harvey and Pixies, along with key underground releases by the Jesus Lizard, Slint, Low, Neurosis and many, many others. For decades, he also relished his role as a brutally insulting critic — sometimes of the bands he worked with — and a gadfly who pushed uncomfortable buttons about race, politics and sex. He came to regret that, owning up to his history of provocation for its own sake.

On this week’s Popcast, guest hosted by the music reporter Ben Sisario, we delve into Albini’s musical legacy and his singular role as a moral scourge in rock and of the music business overall.


  • Jeremy Gordon, a senior editor at The Atlantic, who interviewed Albini last year in The Guardian

  • Joe Gross, freelance writer and former critic at The Austin American-Statesman

Connect With Popcast. Become a part of the Popcast community: Join the show’s Facebook group and Discord channel. We want to hear from you! Tune in, and tell us what you think at Follow our host, Jon Caramanica, on Twitter: @joncaramanica.

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