(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for FYF)

Sure, In Utero and Surfer Rosa are vital. But there are other albums Steve Albini produced that you need to know about, too.

Albini contained multitudes. He was an esteemed musician, with pioneering acts like Big Black and Shellac. He was an edgelord before that was even a word used to describe the type of trolling and shit-talking he was doing back in the ’80s and ’90s.

In his later years, he was an avid poker player, winning gold bracelets at the 2018 and 2022 World Series of Poker. But above all, he was a pioneering and sought-after record producer. Or “recording engineer,” as he preferred to be credited.

Albums Steve Albini Produced: The Big Ones

Albini’s studio work came into prominence in the early ’90s. But it was Pixies 1988 debut Surfer Rosa that put him on the map for many. It was an early example of the man practicing what he preached: using his skills to capture a band at their best.

Kurt Cobain famously named-dropped Pixies and Surfer Rosa when Nirvana debuted in 1991. So it was no surprise when the band asked Albini to produce their sophomore album. The letter he wrote to them is legendary, and his work on In Utero is exemplary.

Albums Steve Albini Produced: The Smaller Ones

I was never much for Albini’s bands, but I always appreciated his artistic perspectives and how gifted he was with words. His 1993 essay The Problem With Music is a must-read for any musician or fan. He also understood the power of radio, which I appreciate.

Alright, enough gabber. Let’s get into some albums Steve Albini produced. This is only a small sampling of his several thousand credits. I’ve singled them out because they’re favorites of mine; it’s as simple as that. No statistics, no methodology. Just the music.

  • Helmet 'Meantime'

    Meantime is Helmet‘s second album, released in 1992. Looking back at Steve Albini’s chronological discography as a recording engineer, I’m now realizing this is the first Albini-produced song I ever heard. It kicked my 15-year-old ass. Thanks, Steve.

  • PJ Harvey 'Rid of Me'

    OK, maybe “lesser-known” isn’t the best qualifier for this one. But “essential” certainly is. PJ Harvey‘s 1993 sophomore release is often described as “raw” and “aggressive” and Albini’s production work on the album is a big reason why.

  • Six Finger Satellite 'Machine Cuisine'

    I remember hearing tracks from this 1994 EP on WFNX when I was in high school. Probably on their Sunday night local rock show, as 6FS were a Providence, RI band. That was the thing about Steve Albini: he’d record pretty much anyone who requested his services.

  • Man or Astro-Man? 'Project Infinity'

    As a college radio DJ at Northeastern’s WRBB in the mid-to-late ’90s, I played a lot of surf rock. That was thanks to my fellow DJ Chris Macri. He turned me on to a lot of surf bands, and this 1995 MOAM Albini-produced trip was one of the first albums he hipped me to.

  • Chevelle 'Point #1'

    Having Steve Albini in your backyard can be convenient. Such is the case for the Illinois trio Chevelle, who burst onto the scene in 1999 with their punk-rock-meets-Tool debut Point #1. Albini famously talked shit about Tool. I wonder if he had that sound in his ear when he was producing this?

  • Mogwai "My Father My King"

    Mogwai are my favorite band. The Scottish post-rockers released this single in 2001. It’s over 20 minutes long and it’s based on a melody from Avinu Malkeinu, a Jewish prayer. I can only imagine the field day Albini had with this epic.

  • Low 'Things We Lost in the Fire'

    I love the Duluth, MN band Low with my whole heart. Albini worked with them a handful of times, but this 2001 album captures him recording a batch of the best songs the band has ever written. Stark, minimalistic, and breathtakingly beautiful.

  • Mclusky 'Mclusky Do Dallas'

    Jumping forward a year to 2002, and jumping to the other end of the musical spectrum, we have Mclusky. Another trio, but this one’s from Wales. And they’re absolute sonic maniacs. Albini produced their sophomore release and captured that mania perfectly.

  • Cloud Nothings 'Attack On Memory'

    I guess I have a type. Alternative rock bands who had their sophomore releases produced by Steve Albini. There’s a few on this list, and the 2012 album from Cleveland rockers Cloud Nothings is yet another. I go back to this one often. Albini could really nail harmonies when he wanted to.

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