|Reviews & Recommendations
in dark and empty skies
When the cities are on fire
With the burning flesh of men
Just remember that death is not the end
|Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Nick Cave -
The Bad Seeds - Mick Harvey, Blixa Bargeld, Warren Ellis, Thomas Wydler, Martyn Casey, Conway Savage and Jim Sclavunos
"There aren't many things you can count on in this world. Thankfully, no matter how life lets you down, you can always rest assured Nick Cave is having a lousier time than you. Or at least pretending to. Over a dozen solo albums in two decades, the ex-Birthday Party boy and his trusty Bad Seeds have been on an endless death march through a windswept landscape of brooding depression, tragic obsession and black-hearted murder balladry."
-- Darryl Sterdan, Winnipeg Sun
¾ 1984: From Her To Eternity
After the Birthday Party ended in a manner similar to a train collision, frontman Nick Cave emerged from the wreckage and hooked up ex-bandmate Mick Harvey, Blixa Bargeld (on loan from the industrial group Einsturzende Neubauten), Barry Adamson (fresh from Magazine), and the lovely but corpse-pale Anita Lane. Thus the Bad Seeds were born, second only to Cave's former band in their ability to create a rumbling caterwaul. What makes the Bad Seeds stand apart, though, are the elements of delta blues that Cave dredges up from the darkest recesses of his black, black heart... On the title track Cave exhorts, begs, and pleads like a whiskey priest begging for forgiveness after a bender while Bargeld's guitar shrieks and wails like a congregation of devils. Including two of Cave's more inspired covers--Leonard Cohen's Avalanche and Presley's In the Ghetto -- 'From Her to Eternity' captures Cave at the noisy intersection between the punk-rock entropy of the Birthday Party and his later incarnation as the gothic Elvis.
-- Tod Nelson, amazon.com
1985: The First Born is Dead
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1986: Kicking Against The Pricks
All Covers album:
1. Muddy Water - Free
2. I'm Gonna Kill That Woman- John Lee Hooker
3. Sleeping Analeah - Folger Newbury
4. Long Black Veil - Traditional ( written by D. Dill, M. Wilkin)
5. Hey Joe - Tim Rose (written by W. Roberts)
6. The Singer - Johnny Cash
7. Black Betty - Leadbelly
8. Running Scared - Roy Orbison
9. All Tomorrow's Parties - The Velvet Underground
10. By The Time I Get To Phoenix - J. Webb
11. The Hammer Song - Alex Harvey
12. Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart - Greenaway/Cooke
13. Jesus Met The Woman At The Well - Traditional (Arr. The Alabama Singers)
14. The Carnival Is Over - T. Springfield, F. Farian (based on the russian song Steka Rasin)
1986: Your Funeral...My Trial
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1988: Tender Prey
Nick had developed something of a drugs dependency and it was starting to affect his professionalism in the studio. This album took many months and four different studios to complete. The end result however, partly because of the tension perhaps, resulted in the most critical acclaim he'd received for any record til this point. Its not too difficult to hear why. 'The Mercy Seat' is a long dense wall of noise punctuated by violin, all sorts of noises and a wonderfully dark lyric. Its some astonishing way to open an album although perhaps the repeated verses to close can become wearying. (...) 'Deanna' is the Bad Seeds perverted version of a pop song. An easy to grasp melody but there is still a slightly demented quality to the vocal.
(...) The first Nick Cave record that can be whole heartedly recommended to anyone without a fear they won't find at least something to like about it.
-- Adrian Denning
½ 1990: The Good Son
"On this particular record, I wanted to actually write about a particular feeling that I'd had for a long time. Feelings that I'd tried to express in other songs before. This time, I wanted to dedicate a record to it. There's an actual word for it in Portuguese: saudade. It means a kind of inexplicable longing for something that's gone and cannot be retrieved. I wanted to write a series of songs about that particular feeling."
-- Nick Cave to Melody Maker, 3/00
¾ 1992: Henry's Dream
"Two years after The Good Son, Nick and the Seeds return with a dark masterpiece, nine tracks only but each one a gem. Even from looking at the album sleeve the listener knows that he or she is in for a rough time from the master songsmith, whose songs are carved from human flesh and pain, and written in blood and prophecy. (...) The music is, as usual, frightening, revelatory and disturbing, and quite quite brilliant. From the opener, Papa won't leave you Henry, to the closer, Jack the Ripper, this is a collection of vitriolic, agony-ridden vignettes that mirror the human condition in a way only Nick Cave knows how to."
-- 'Lestat' Nick Cave reviews
1994: Let Love In
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¾ 1996: Murder Ballads
"The irony in this newest composition by Nick Cave is that it is perhaps his most starkly frightening, yet at the same time his most accessible, receiving rave reviews from scores of critics. Of course, combined with the expert talent of the Bad Seeds, as well as guest vocalists P. J. Harvey, Shane MacGowan, Anita Lane, and even Kylie Minogue, this opus materializes as a profoundly unsettling, although poignant masterpiece. The entire album is a collection of murderous episodes;(...) In Where the Wild Roses Grow, the murderer kills his lover with a rock, then kisses her goodbye, saying, 'All beauty must die,' then places a rose between her teeth. A mass killer in O'Malley's Bar reminisces that, 'When I shot him, I was so handsome.' These gruesome tales are shrouded in sweetly palatable, lush and melodic tunes, with occasional sounds to heighten the melodrama, such as a weeping woman, screams and gunshots. By the end though, an optimistic finale of Bob Dylan's Death Is Not The End, with each guest artist participating, ties the entire set of morbid ballads into a complete, nearly flawless package. Highly recommended for those who crave cold, hard-core drama."
-- Squid, Rational Alternative Digital
1997: The Boatman's Call
"Nick Cave, the prince of darkness, is at it once again with The Boatmans Call, a collection of haunting, introspective and clearly brilliant songs. Among the topics, Count Cave covers in his latest release are divorce, despair, infidelity, life, death and, of course, heaven and hell. (...) Some of it works, some of it, well, I'm not so sure. I probably could have done without the narrative on top of the vocals in Green Eyes it comes off slightly corny. Further, I'm not sure if lines like /You were my mad little lover, in a world where everybody fucks everybody else over/ really works. But these are small flaws if flaws they are in an otherwise excellent collection of disturbing and well-delivered songs. "
-- Alice Hammond, NY Rock
½ 1998: The Best of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
"This retrospective, spanning thirteen years and ten albums, is a series of map reference points from one of the most singular, and often extreme journeys in contemporary music. Though the tracks are not arranged chronologically, they trace a trajectory that began with the release of Nick Cave's first solo album, 'From Her to Eternity' in 1984, and continues apace with his most recent record, 1997's 'The Boatman's Call': sixteen songs that map out the contour of a bigger journey, a trawl through chaos and obsession, devotion and despair. A map of the human heart in extremis."
-- CD sleeve notes
½ 2001: No More Shall We Part
"... Nick has reached such a mastery of his craft now, that making this piano laden, dynamics led, darkly humorous music is second nature. You can picture him, cigarette smoke drifting upwards, contemplative and then satisfied as Bad Seed Warren Ellis wrenches even more emotion from his strings. There's such beauty, such splendour here. One song finishes and another starts and each time your jaw is left gaping in wonder. Hallelujah starts with a soaring musical motif that gives over into a cautionary tale par excellence, and ends on some unearthly unaccompanied vocals from the McGarrigle sisters. As I Sat Sadly By Her Side ends with a smart, understated punch line. Oh My Lord could well be a Mercy Seat for the 21st century."
-- Graham Wiveney, Playlouder, 4/01
"While, 'Nocturama', still holds a similar experienced outlook on life and love - as explored on the more subdued, but engaging albums 'No More Shall We Part' and 'The Boatman's Call' - what is different here on his twelfth album with The Bad Seeds is the free reign he allows his band. Despite the fact that lyrically Cave has considerably lightened up his penchant for Old Testament retributions, musically he and The Seeds still manage to keep the fire-and-brimstone burning hot and bright.
(...) While Cave still reflects on love on the more restrained, often poignant, numbers, She Passed By My Window, Right Out Of Your Hand, Rock Of Gibraltar and Still In Love, The Seeds sprint to the frontlines on the ballistic assault of Dead Man In My Bed, where Bargeld and Harvey's psychotic guitars spar with Cave's screaming Hammond B3 organ, as well as the epic Babe, I'm On Fire, a biting, chaotic number which revisits the anger and passion of Cave's voice from his Murder Ballads period."
-- Tony Bonyata, concertlivewire.com, 12/02
½ 2004: Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus
Tracklisting: Abattoir Blues: 1. Get Ready For Love 2. Cannibal's Hymn 3. Hiding All Away 4. Messiah Ward 5. There She Goes, My Beautiful World 6 . Nature Boy 7 . Abattoir Blues 8 . Let The Bells Ring 9 . Fable Of The Brown Ape
The Lyre Of Orpheus: 1. The Lyre Of Orpheus 2. Breathless 3. Babe, You Turn Me On 4. Easy Money 5. Supernaturally 6. Spell 7. Carry Me 8. O Children
"Nick Cave's time with The Bad Seeds has seen him transform from the dark, near gothic poet that audiences came to know in The Birthday Party, to more recently a musical extravaganza featuring brilliantly diverse albums that can't be listened to in pieces. Cave's latest double release, 'Abattoir Blues' and 'The Lyre of Orpheus' fit this category. You can't listen to one song at a time; it's a good solid two hours of music that works brilliantly as one. The two discs are unique in their own ways, with 'Abattoir Blues' containing the harder and darker tunes. Cave's use of haunting backing vocals somehow manages to work flawlessly in the harder Get Ready for Love and the majestic There She Goes, My Beautiful World. 'The Lyre of Orpheus' centres more around melodic and mellow tunes, although occasionally the pace still kicks up. This album is not as interesting as its companion disc, but even with that burden, it still will command your attention. The Bad Seeds are sounding better than ever, they sound like a musical army unstoppable!"
-- Tim Cashmere, Undercover, 9/04
Tracklisting: 1. Get It On 2. No Pussy Blues 3. Electric Alice 4. Grinderman 5. Depth Charge Ethel 6. Go Tell The Women 7. (I Don't Need You To) Set Me Free 8. Honey Bee (Let's Fly To Mars) 9. Man In The Moon 10. When My Love Comes Down 11. Love Bomb
" There's no reason rock 'n roll should be a young man's game. What's embarrassing about all those old tossers stumbling round stadiums all round the world is their refusal to move on form the postures they were adopting in their teens and 20s. With Grinderman Nick Cave has taken a leaf out of the Motorhead's book and decided to celebrate being an old bastard. It's not (thank Christ) grown-up music, but definitely well worn. That's why references to the record recalling Cave's early days in the Birthday Party are no more than superficial. There's plenty of swampy blues noise all right, but not in the service of a young man kicking energetically against the pricks, building vicious and disturbing alter egos. (...) the title track is a slow and muted looping affair; Depth Charge Ethel celebrates the life force of one of Cave's trademark damaged women. Musically it celebrates rather than tears up its blues heritage, played with all the twisted virtuosity that the Bads Seeds can muster like no others. The bones might creak but they're being dragged around with a an exhilarating verve and enthusiasm that makes you glad to have a few years under the old belt. "
-- Matt H, soundsxp.com, 3/07
¼ 2008: Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
Tracklisting: 01. Dig, Lazarus, Dig !!! 02. Today's Lesson 03. Moonland 04. Night of the Lotus Eaters 05. Albert goes West 06. We call upon the Author 07. Hold on to Yourself 08. Lie down Here (& Be My Girl) 09. Jesus of the Moon 10. Midnight Man 11. More News from Nowhere
"Nick Cave talk-sings his way through most of the track Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! telling a rather strange story that lyrically, is very interesting. But while interesting, I am certain I only need to listen to this song once. I am a big believer in the fact that truly great music is best quantified by the strength of the urge that it gives you to listen to it over and over again. The second track Todays Lesson, while it was easy to see the potential there, just didnt have enough on it to connect with either. (...) on to Night of the Louts Eaters, a hypnotically dark hymn that takes you down into a darkened basement and locks you inside the bowels of what could be an old clock, that seems to be stuck. Parts of this song remind me of The Doors vocally. Caves lyrics are proving to be near genius. From the title to the fade out, Nick and his Seeds nail this one. Its even better than Moonland. Albert Goes West shatters the hypnotic spell of the last few minutes with its much more aggressive sound. (...) Jesus of the Moon brings it back down and Nick Cave all of the sudden is reminding me of Neil Diamond. Well not Neil Diamond, but definitely his evil twin. Another really good song. I just cant seem to find any fault with these songs. The lyrics keep standing out. Midnight Man is next and it has great sound to it. (...) More News From Nowhere wraps up this album, coming in at seven and a half minutes long. Its a seriously mellow tune that is filled with so many stories and great lyrics, it feels more like five minutes."
-- mughead, themugheadreview.com, 03/08
¼ 2010: Grinderman 2
Tracklisting: 1) Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man 2) Worm Tamer 3) Heathen Child 4) When My Baby Comes 5) What I Know 6) Evil 7) Kitchenette 8) Palaces Of Montezuma 9) Bellringer Blues
"Grinderman 2 is every bit as filthy, dirty and fun as the first album was, but its perhaps just a bit less raucous: in place of fuzzy-guitar rawkers like No Pussy Blues you have darker and more somber tunes, such as the mid-tempo When My Baby Comes, which builds slowly into a rather epic and haunting clash of guitars, violins, an eerie choir and Caves repetitive chorus the sort of mumbling, hushed chant he always does so disturbingly well. Thats not to say that the albums all serious and mature n shit. Youve still got crude sexual innuendos, including the one that most critics keep citing in reviews of the record: My baby calls me the Loch Ness Monster/ Two great big humps and then I cum. Only Cave can really get away with some of this stuff and still maintain that tongue-in-cheek distance. Warren Ellis, who has helped compose a few great film soundtracks with Cave recently, establishes a sound with his playing that veers wildly between garage rock, blues, psychedelia and who-knows-what. The bands style is distinct enough that its hard to even really compare it to any other group than, well, maybe Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, but that almost seems like a disservice to the style they have established here."
-- John Ulmer, onethirtybpm.com, 9/10
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