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Material Issue was a 1980s-1990s power pop trio from Chicago. The band's trademark was pop songs with themes of love and heartbreak, with a number of song titles using girls' first names.
Formed in 1985, Material Issue was the brainchild of frontman Jim Ellison, who also played guitar, sang lead vocals, and wrote most Material Issue songs. Ellison met Material Issue's bassist Ted Ansani while both were attending Columbia College Chicago in 1986. Drummer Mike Zelenko was found through an ad in the Illinois Entertainer later that year.
In 1987, Material Issue released an EP on their own Big Block Label (so named for the big block engines of the 1970s muscle cars Ellison loved) which operated out of Ellison's bedroom at his parents home in Addison, Illinois. In 1988, "Sixteen Tambourines" appeared on CMJ New Music Report's compilation and CMJ referred to Material Issue's music as a "hooky brand