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The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party were one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early '80s, creating bleak and noisy soundscapes that provided the perfect setting for vocalist Nick Cave's difficult, disturbing stories of religion, violence, and perversity. Under the direction of Cave and guitarist Rowland S. Howard, the band tore through reams of blues and rockabilly licks, spitting out hellacious feedback and noise at an unrelenting pace. As the Birthday Party's career progressed, Cave's vision got darker and the band's songs alternated between dirges to blistering sonic assaults.

Originally, the Australian band was called the Boys Next Door, comprising Cave, Howard, Mick Harvey (guitar, drums, organ, piano), bassist Tracy Pew, and drummer Phill Calvert. After the Door Door album and Hee Haw EP under that name, the band moved to London and switched its name to the deceptively benign Birthday Party. Once they arrived in Britain, their demented, knotty post-punk began to gel. They released their first international album, Prayers on Fire, in 1981, earning critical praise in the U.K. and U.S. While the band was preparing to record the follow-up, Pew was jailed for drunk driving; former Magazine member Barry Adamson, Harry Howard, and Chris Walsh filled in for the absent Pew on 1982's Junkyard.

After the release of Junkyard, the Birthday Party fired Calvert and moved to Germany, where they began collaborating with such experimental post-punk acts like Lydia Lunch and Einstürzende Neubauten. Harvey left in the summer of 1983. The group briefly continued with drummer Des Heffner, but it soon disbanded after a final concert in Melbourne, Australia. Cave had the most successful solo career, recording a series of albums in the '80s and '90s that maintained his status as a popular cult figure; Harvey joined Cave's backing band, the Bad Seeds. Howard joined Crime & the City Solution, which also featured his brother Harry and Harvey. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The John Peel Sessions

1. Cry

2. Yard

3. Figure Of Fun

4. King Ink

5. Release The Bats

7. (Sometimes) Pleasure Heads Must Burn

9. Big Jesus Trash Can

10. She's Hit

11. Bully Bones

12. Six Inch Gold Blade

14. Deep In The Woods

15. Sonny's Burning

x

Track List: Live 1981-82

1. Junkyard (live)

2. A Dead Song

3. The Dim Locator (live)

4. Zoo-Music-Girl

5. Nick The Stripper (live)

6. Blast Off!

7. Release The Bats

8. Bully Bones

9. King Ink

10. (Sometimes) Pleasure Heads Must Burn

11. Big-Jesus-Trash-Can

12. Dead Joe

13. The Friend Catcher (live)

14. 6" Gold Blade

15. Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)

16. She's Hit

17. Funhouse

x

Track List: Hits

1. The Friend Catcher

2. Happy Birthday

3. Mr. Clarinet

4. Nick The Stripper

5. Zoo Music Girl

6. King Ink

7. Release The Bats

8. Blast Off

9. She's Hit

10. Gold Blade

11. Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)

12. Dead Joe

13. Junkyard

14. Big-Jesus-Trash-Can

15. Wild World

16. Sonny's Buring

17. Deep In The Woods

18. Swampland

19. Jennifer's Veil

20. Mutiny In Heaven

x

Track List: Mutiny / The Bad Seed Ep

1. Sonnys Burning

4. Deep In The Woods

5. Jennifers Veil

8. Swampland

10. Mutiny In Heaven

x

Track List: Junk Yard

1. Blast Off

2. She's Hit

3. Dead Joe

4. The Dim Locator

5. Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)

6. Several Sins

7. Big-Jesus-Trash-Can

8. Kiss Me Black

9. 6" Gold Blade

10. Kewpie Doll

11. Junkyard

12. Dead Joe (2nd Version)

13. Release The Bats

x

Track List: Prayers On Fire

1. Zoo-Music Girl

2. Cry

3. Capers

4. Nick The Stripper

5. Ho-Ho

6. Figure Of Fun

7. King Ink

8. A Dead Song

9. Yard

10. Dull Day

11. Just You And Me

12. Blundertown

13. Kathy's Kisses

Comments

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There's kids in the room so quit ur phucin, cussing dammit.. Im a bad seed are you a bad seed too.. Reminds me of fish. Fish remind me of Sublime.. Sublime reminds me of H. H. Reminds me of Tool.. All of this reminds me that I love music.. So does Blackie Lawless "my fierce as phuck black cat "
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Oh man... Awesome band
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Boys next door, birthday party, bad seeds, grinderman, soundtrack work. I dig it all. Nick Cave and Roland s Howard are part of the reason why I play original music in the first place . Every time I listen I am recharged and appreciate the influential sounds like what I'd want to hear in my own heaven or hell.
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The Dick Panthers suck!
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You should play something from Junk Yard I saw that show. It was f**kin great !
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The Dick Panthers are better.
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If you like The Birthday Party then check out Nick Cave's novel And the A** Saw the Angel. Imagine Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude filtered through the character from the song Swampland.
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This band makes me happy.
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Seems like the bad seeds, pixies, Jesus Lizard, butthole surfers era was the last free spirit primal scream in a while. The argument could be made for gogol bordello, I suppose, but it is in a far different frame.
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This is my kind of grunge. Love ya Nick.
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galactic.but t e r f l y 1 3
Brings back memories
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Dude. This is. Dude.
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capital_lett e r s
Oingo Boingo discovers S&M.
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mothlit
grunge sucks balls. this is pure heaven
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if you like Birthday Party checkout the Jesus Lizard. David Yow must be Nick Cave's illegitimate lovechild. The early stuff, of course :)
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sbholl84
Sick, perverse and distressing. A stand up bunch of lads. Even 30 years later, nothing sounds like the Birthday Party. Truly original and creative, even if not always pleasant to the ear.
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A W E S O M E !!!
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saluki.a
NICK.
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This is still freaking awesome. Love Nick Cave...
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best band ever
Report as inappropriate
cvb93
hunter s thompson also released the bats and that worked out well ,dont you think!
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Possibly the best punk rock ever put to wax! Nobody sounds like these guys!
Report as inappropriate
NICK CAVE ROCKS , RELEASE THE BATS

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