Friday, July 7, 2017

THE BOYS NEXT DOOR / THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

The group began under various names in Melbourne in 1973; formed by vocalist Nick Cave, guitarist Mick Harvey, drummer Phill Calvert, guitarist John Cocivera, bassist Brett Purcell, and saxophonist Chris Coyne —all of whom were students at Caulfield Grammar School. By 1978, following several membership changes, the band consisted of Cave, Harvey and Calvert with bassist Tracy Pew and guitarist Rowland S. Howard. Under the name The Boys Next Door, the band released several singles and two studio albums, Door, Door in 1979 on Mushroom Records and The Birthday Party in 1980 on Missing Link Records.

Despite moderate success in Australia, The Boys Next Door relocated to London, England in 1980 and changed their name to The Birthday Party. In London, the band experienced underground critical success with a series of singles and two further studio albums, Prayers on Fire (1981) and Junkyard (1982); Junkyard was also a minor commercial success, peaking at number 72 on the UK Albums Chart upon its release. In 1982, the band relocated to West Berlin, Germany and Calvert departed. The band, now featuring Harvey on dual guitar and drumming duties, released as two EPs, The Bad Seed and Mutiny!, in 1983 on 4AD and Mute Records. Featuring Einstürzende Neubauten member Blixa Bargeld as a guest musician, they were the band's final recordings prior to their disbandment in late 1983.

Cave, Harvey, Barry Adamson and Bargeld formed Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in December 1983 and Howard joined Crime and the City Solution, as well as forming These Immortal Souls in the wake of The Birthday Party's break-up. The band's back catalogue has been reissued several times, usually in the form of compilation albums such as Mutiny/The Bad Seed (1989) and Hits (1992), and several unreleased recordings and video albums have been released since their disbandment. Though the band did not experience commercial success during their career, they have been recognised as having a major impact on the gothic rock genre and influencing several subsequent bands, including My Bloody Valentine, Gogol Bordello and LCD Soundsystem.


THE BOYS NEXT DOOR


01 - [1979] Door, Door


Door, Door is the debut album by Australian post-punk band The Boys Next Door in 1979. The album was recorded before the band left Australia for London in 1980, at which point they changed their name to The Birthday Party and created the body of work for which they are most recognized. Likewise, the album is different stylistically from their later work, being less dark and slightly more poppy. Guest saxophonist Chris Coyne had played in the band in its pre-Punk days. He appears on "The Nightwatchman," "Brave Exhibitions" and "The Voice."

The band recorded a full album in June 1978 as a four-piece. After Rowland S. Howard joined (shortly after June 1978), and they rapidly developed new material, they recorded five new songs in January 1979 which became side two of the released LP (tracks 7-10 of the CD release). Of the "missing" half-album, only a demo of the song "Sex Crimes" has ever been released (in 2005).

Cave later said of the album, "We were adolescents and very late developers. There was a period where we were confused and had a lot of problems and we put out an album like Door, Door which is a product of all those things. I mean, it was a complete wet dream that record. I hate it. It reeks of a band trying to be musically intelligent and write clever, witty lyrics. It's a complete wank."

The album includes the single "Shivers" which became their best known song of this period. Written by Rowland S. Howard, "Shivers" was later covered by Marie Hoy, The Screaming Jets during the 1990s, Divine Fits, and others. "Shivers" was also in the soundtrack of the 1980s film Dogs in Space, both the original Door Door version and Marie Hoy cover.

01. The Nightwatchman
02. Brave Exhibitions
03. Friends Of My World
04. The Voice
05. Roman Roman
06. Somebody's Watching
07. After A Fashion
08. Dive Position
09. I Mistake Myself
10. Shivers

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02 - [1979] Hee Haw EP


Hee Haw is the second release and first EP by the Australian post-punk band The Boys Next Door (later renamed The Birthday Party).

After the release of Door Door, The Boys Next Door transferred to the independent label, Missing Link Records, and took on label owner Keith Glass as their manager. Cave said, "We played [Hee Haw] to Michael Gudinski of Mushroom Records and he wasn't really interested." The tracks for the Hee Haw EP were recorded during July and August 1979 at Richmond Recorders in Melbourne, engineered by Tony Cohen. The five-track EP was released in December 1979. The artwork on the cover and insert sheet was done by Marcus Bergner.

The Hee Haw EP represents a musical departure from the relatively conventional punk/pop songs on Door Door. The EP introduces a more abrasive, rhythmic and exploratory sound that was further developed when the band re-located to the UK (and changed their name to The Birthday Party).

Two of the songs on the EP, "The Red Clock" and "The Hair Shirt," the former sung by Rowland S. Howard and the latter by Nick Cave, were included on The Boys Next Door's second album entitled "The Birthday Party" in 1980.

01. A Catholic Skin
02. The Red Clock
03. Faint Heart
04. Death By Drowning
05. The Hair Shirt

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03 - [1980] The Birthday Party


The Birthday Party is a 1980 album by Australian post-punk band The Boys Next Door (later reissued under the band name The Birthday Party). The album was produced by The Boys Next Door, Tony Cohen, and Keith Glass; it was recorded with Cohen engineering at Richmond Recorders Studios in Melbourne from July 1979 to February 1980.

The album was a vast difference from the new-wave pop-punk stylings of their debut Door, Door (released the year earlier), moving towards the dark and chaotic post punk style they would later become known for (as The Birthday Party). This album was both the final album by The Boys Next Door and the first full-length release by The Birthday Party. In its original release, it was credited to both, but on its first reissue, it was credited to The Birthday Party.

01. Mr. Clarinet
02. Hats On Wrong
03. The Hair Shirt
04. Guilt Parade
05. Riddle House
06. The Friend Catcher
07. Waving My Arms
08. The Red Clock
09. Cat Man
10. Happy Birthday

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THE BIRTHDAY PARTY


01 - [1981] Prayers On Fire


Prayers On Fire is the debut album by Australian post-punk band The Birthday Party. In February 1980 Melbourne-based post-punk band, The Boys Next Door, changed their name to The Birthday Party. They consisted of Phill Calvert on drums, Nick Cave on vocals, Mick Harvey on guitar, Rowland S. Howard on guitar and Tracy Pew on bass guitar. They relocated to London and soon signed with the 4AD label which issued the extended play, The Friend Catcher in the United Kingdom. In July, their Australian label, Missing Link Records, released "Mr Clarinet" from the EP as a single.

In November 1980, The Birthday Party returned to Australia and toured. According to Australian music historian, Ian McFarlane, "It was during this time that the band cemented its reputation as a peerless live act, with its omnipresent influence settling over the Melbourne scene". On 6 April 1981 they issued the album and followed in June with its lead single, "Nick the Stripper". The group returned to London. The track "Ho-Ho" is featured in the 2004 German film, Head-On.

01. Zoo-Music Girl
02. Cry
03. Capers
04. Nick The Stripper
05. Ho-Ho
06. Figure Of Fun
07. King Ink
08. A Dead Song
09. Yard
10. Dull Day
11. Just You And Me
12. Blundertown
13. Kathy's Kisses

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02 - [1982] The Birthday Party / Lydia Lunch - Drunk On The Pope's Blood / The Agony Is The Ecstacy Split EP



Drunk On The Pope's Blood/The Agony Is The Ecstacy is a split compilation EP by the post-punk acts The Birthday Party and Lydia Lunch, released on February 18, 1982 through 4AD. It contains live material from a show performed on November 26, 1981 at The Venue in London. Three of the four Birthday Party tracks were included on their "Live 1981-82" CD. The song "Loose" and the Lydia Lunch piece have never been officially reissued on CD.

01. The Birthday Party - Pleasure Heads
02. The Birthday Party - King Ink
03. The Birthday Party - Zoo-Music Girl
04. The Birthday Party - Loose
05. Lydia Lunch - The Agony Is The Ecstacy

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03 - [1982] Junkyard


Junkyard is the second studio album by Australian post-punk band The Birthday Party. It was released on 10 May 1982 by Missing Link Records in Australia and by 4AD in the UK. It was the group's last full-length studio recording. It has received critical acclaim.

Junkyard was inspired by American Southern Gothic imagery, dealing with extreme subjects like an evangelist's murdered daughter. Nick Cave's then-girlfriend Anita Lane co-wrote with him on two songs, "Dead Joe" and "Kiss Me Black".

The album was a somewhat transitional record for a variety of reasons. On 16 February 1982 in Melbourne, Tracy Pew (the band's bass player) was arrested for drunk driving. For this and several other outstanding offences he served 2.5 months in Pentridge Prison in Australia, and so Barry Adamson was drafted in on bass duties for several tracks.

The album was recorded with Tony Cohen at Armstrong's Audio Visual (A.A.V.) Studios in Melbourne in December 1981 and January 1982. Additional tracks were recorded in London's Matrix Studios with punk producer Richard Mazda in May 1982. Mazda's previous work with ATV and The Fall had brought him to their attention. Later CD re-issues added the "Release The Bats/Blast Off!" single recorded at London's Townhouse Studio with Nick Launay in April 1981. A 2nd version of Dead Joe also appears on the re-issue.

The cover art is by Ed Roth and Dave Christensen.

01. Blast Off
02. She's Hit
03. Dead Joe
04. The Dim Locator
05. Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)
06. Several Sins
07. Big-Jesus-Trash-Can
08. Kiss Me Black
09. 6" Gold Blade
10. Kewpie Doll
11. Junkyard
12. Dead Joe (2nd Version)
13. Release The Bats

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04 - [1983] The Bad Seed 12"


With all the songs featuring co-writes from Cave and Harvey, it was said The Bad Seed, "forecasts the imminent future of Cave as a solo artist and Harvey as his right-hand man in more than just title." Howard's guitar work on the 12" was particularly praised. The song "Deep In The Woods", "ends in all on a perfectly outrageous note, with Cave at his most sepulchral conjuring up a rural scene of devastation. The delivery and lyrics redefine the phrase 'over the top.'"

Clinton Walker said the recording was, "the definitive Birthday Party record, a cauldron of narrative neo-blues songs devastating for its malignant sparseness." Trouser Press called it, "four concise cuts of incredible visceral impact. It leaves the listener helpless and enthralled."

Harvey later said, "People didn't mention the blues thing until The Bad Seeds. But there was a lot of it in the later Birthday Party, The Bad Seed. Maybe that was due to me, co-writing the songs with Nick. But then, I don't really listen to the blues. It wasn't until later, in the mid-eighties, that Nick was listening to a bit of John Lee Hooker."

Despite having minimal song-writing credits on the 12", Howard said, "I think, basically, Bad Seed is a lot more focused. When we kicked out Phil everything fell into place quickly. Like, I think Mick is far more capable of expressing himself on the drums than on the guitar. It was like everyone pushing for one aim, to create the same type of atmosphere."

The cover of the 12" was designed by Cave using photos taken by Bleddyn Butcher. The art around the pictures of the four members of the band was in the shape of a swastika. Harvey later said, "It always amazed me that people didn't get that. It was just a belly laugh for us. Hansa Studios, where we recorded it, was right near the wall and used to be a Nazi ballroom. The ghost of the Nazi era was so powerful in Berlin in the early eighties."

01. Sonny's Burning
02. Wildworld
03. Fears Of Gun
04. Deep In The Woods

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05 - [1983] Mutiny! 12"


The initial recordings for Mutiny! took place at Hansa, where they had recorded The Bad Seed, but after an Australian tour (minus Mick Harvey) they continued in London.

Trouser Press said, "the posthumous Mutiny! was released at the correct time: it wouldn't have been easy to follow. Like The Bad Seed, it mixes two furious numbers with a pair of funereal dirges. "Jennifer's Veil," a harrowing lament, is perhaps the band's finest song ever — neither John Cale nor Alfred Hitchcock was ever this scary. AllMusic claimed, "the group bowed out with artistic extremism intact, if not always exploding all over the place as in years past."

The cover art was conceived by Cave and Anita Lane, but constructed by Cave alone.

Cave later declared the recording, "a documentary of the group in utter collapse. The four songs are utterly dissimilar to each other because we all knew it was the last record and there was no longer any union within the group. It's not like we reached a point where we couldn't get any better. I just think we dissolved mid-climb. Cave claimed there were tensions within the band at the recording sessions. "I knew that I wasn't getting along creatively with Rowland Howard, but we were still friends. There were different conflicts but it's kind of hard to put my finger on what they were now," he said.

Howard described the recording process as, "a nightmare. I'd done four or five hours of guitar overdubs, I'd worked out three or four completely different things which I played over a very skeletal track. I'd play one which would be rejected by Nick ad infinitum." Recording later continued without Howard's knowledge, with Blixa Bargeld completing the guitar track on "Mutiny in Heaven". Bargeld said, "It was manifestly obvious that Rowland and Nick didn't get on any more. Nick just wanted me to play guitar on Rowland's guitar and amp set up. That's what I remember. I didn't delve into the psychological situation."

01. Jennifer's Veil
02. Mutiny In Heaven
03. Swampland
04. Say A Spell

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06 - [1989] Mutiny!/The Bad Seed E.P.



Mutiny!/The Bad Seed E.P. is a compilation album by The Birthday Party. It is compiled from 2 12" EPs recorded in 1982 and released in 1983, The Bad Seed and Mutiny!, and was released in 1989.

These are the band's final studio recordings, and the only studio recordings made after the departure of drummer Phill Calvert. The album marks the first collaboration with Cave's longtime collaborator Blixa Bargeld, who played guitar on "Mutiny In Heaven". The compilation adds two tracks not included on the Mutiny! 12", "Pleasure Avalanche" and "Six Strings That Drew Blood," the latter later re-recorded by the Bad Seeds.

01. Sonny's Burning
02. Wildworld
03. Fears Of Gun
04. Deep In The Woods
05. Jennifer's Veil
06. Six Strings That Drew Blood
07. Say A Spell
08. Swampland
09. Pleasure Avalanche
10. Mutiny In Heaven

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