New Music: Hell Or High Water Soundtrack by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis/Various Artists

So as promise for what’s most likely should be known or just re-named Nick Cave’s week or could it just turn into a month? So we are not calling it September anymore! Here’s the very first in a list of posts of Nick Cave stuff just before The Bad Seeds drop the new album Skeleton Tree and the film One More Time Feeling. Where better to start but the new soundtrack by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, for another film only just released in the middle of last month. I was going to go to see Hell Or High Water before writing this so I could say something about it too but I haven’t see it yet. If you haven’t heard about the movie it’s about robbing banks in Texas. It stars Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges. I really don’t know anything about the first two actors but I can’t tell you how much I totally love The Big Lebowski, I’ve seen it I don’t know? Maybe hundred times!

Well, I have also seen this movie which I just have to include here. It’s one of Cave first “acting roles” and seems this is the closest thing I’ll get to writing about films after saying yesterday it’s not a movie blog. I just can’t help but to included Freak Storm now even if it’s really got nothing to do with this. I guess this post is kind off also about Cave’s involvement in film. It’s Cave appearing in Johnny Suede and my opinion his best plus he’s opposite Brad Pitt before he was famous, check it out!

Nick Cave has said his best acting was playing a dead body at the opening of the Lawless movie but his soundtracks with Warren for now a bit over ten years has been by far his best film work. I listen to the soundtracks by these two away from the movies all the time. So here a very short history of film music by them and the movies that go with and my viewing of them. Only just last year’s Far From Men which I’ve still yet to see it but the soundtrack I got in Sydney town on a trip over east and since then it’s been on high rotation. I really can’t forget about that one track on the True Detective soundtrack from last year too. The show was a totally disappointing after the killer first season which is the best cop show of all-time now in my books. All The Gold In California was in the closing credits on first episode but nothing like when Grinderman‘s Honey Bee moment in first season after some of the most hyped-up, drugged-up, fired-up chaos ever put on the small screen. Just notices how that whole scene was filmed all in just one shot, from Matthew McConaughey‘s Rust Cohle grabbing the guy and walking up to the front door to getting in the back of car then a cut, finishing with those closing credits of (Let’s Fly To Mars)

I can’t forget about the doco West Of Memphis on white vinyl but I’ve never ever seen it too but from the same year 2012, Lawless which I did see at the movies on the very last day it was showing. That soundtrack was really hammered at the time, I still really love it. They formed a new band called The Bootleggers with Bad Seeds’ Martyn Casey, soundtrack guy David Sardy and George Vjestica who previously played guitar with them on The Rider Song from The Proposition soundtrack and when on to join The Bad Seeds but has only played on the Push The Sky Away‘s Jubilee Street and Mermaids tracks. They covered some old songs with a couple of different singers, Cave only singing one song then Mark Lanegan and Emmylou Harris on vocals, Harris did sing new lyrics by Cave on the song Cosmonaut. Ralph Stanley on two and half tracks but the story behind those tracks are Ralph was planned to sing on the ones Lanegan did in the end. The Bootleggers was told by Stanley they’re total rubbish band, he’s not singing with them or something along those lines and he just recorded all by himself. The producer Hal Willner of the soundtrack said that he played Lou Reed the songwriter Ralph’s White Light/White Heat and Reed was so happy he cried. Which the year before Reed recorded Lulu album with Metallica and the story goes Reed made the Metallica guy’s cry too after recording the song Junior Dad.

2009’s The Road is the next on this going backwards list, yet another film I missed at the cinema because I remember at the time the now ex-gf totally hated Cave with a passion, why the fuck did I think that was going to work? But had the soundtrack which I played when she wasn’t around and I did get the DVD after the break-up, could I have found a more prefect film? Viggo Mortensen really is one of my fave actors, I’ve most likely seen more films with him than any other actor which I still love and enjoy watching. So this is the second movie he’s stared in with a Cave & Ellis score, I really do need to see Far From Men. The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford from 2007 which really does seem to be Nick & Warren’s most popular soundtrack out of everything they have done together and why not? It’s a Andrew Dominik film who now Cave has asked to do One More Time With Feeling. Another reason is it’s killer Brad Pitt role, well he does get killed too. It’s the second movie both Cave and Pitt star in together in too. Once I miss it until it came out on DVD then I got it. Here’s Nick singing in the movie which is not on the soundtrack from some unknown reason.

The very first soundtrack they did together was in late 2005 The Proposition. The Aussie western starring Guy Pearce which his third on this list and just like John Hillcoat the director which kind-off makes it a trilogy of three films they all worked on together, not that the stories in all the movies had anything to do with each other. I somehow saw the movie before getting the soundtrack, on the opening night with Q&A with John Hillcoat too. Also released by the duo is a double disc White Lunar in 2009 which does included docos scores unavailable anywhere else plus highlights of the three feature film scores at that point. Totally amazing body of work really for eleven years and I really do enjoy listening to these away from the movies, almost as much as The Bad Seeds or anything else he’s ever done. Plus for the fact Warren Ellis’ old band the Dirty Three don’t release new albums anymore these have taken the place of them now along with Mick Turner solo albums off course.

Hell Or High Water track listing:

1. Comanchera – Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
2. Dollar Bill Blues – Townes Van Zandt
3. Mama’s Room – Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
4. Dust Of The Chase – Ray Wylie Hubbard
5. Texas Midlands – Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
6. Robbery – Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
7. You Ask Me To – Waylon Jennings
8. Mountain Lion Mean – Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
9. Sleeping On The Blacktop – Colter Wall
10. From My Cold Dead Hands – Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
11. Lord Of The Plains – Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
12. Blood, Sweat and Murder – Scott H. Biram
13. Casino – Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
14. Comancheria II – Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
15. Outlaw State Of Mind – Chris Stapleton

So now above that’s the two opening pieces on this new soundtrack which they’re only just warming up, the later tracks are just totally epics as great as anything they done before. I guess it closest to the Lawless soundtrack before it because it includes some other artists, well known Country & Western artists with they’re the original not covers this time. I included the track listing above because I just really like to do it for some reason. I’ll talk a little about those C&W songs before the score, OK?  I’m not biggest fan of that style of music you know? But I have listen to alot of because of that same ex-gf which hate Nick loved folkie, Americana, C&W etc. I like some like how can you not love Johnny Cash? The under rated singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt are by far the best, well for me that is but I say listen to whatever you love. Townes is sandwiched in between those two opening track which is pretty cool. All these C&W tracks do work well. In liner notes by director David Mackenzie he was saying that to reinforce the film’s Texas identity they want country music vibe going on. These artist are as far away from the glossy Nashville C&W music as you can get plus are mostly newish songs, well they all date from the last ten years, I think? The other older song is by Waylon Jennings from the 70’s and the Townes track is too even if it’s credit to 1999 but he passed away in 97, you know? Even Nick & Warren’s score has the vibe a bit too, Mackenzie says it needs to belong and contrast it at the same time and most definitely does that. The director also says he was in the studio while some of it was being created, now that would be fuckin’ cool.

It’s the second score to be record at Retreat Studio in Brighton which is where part of the new Bad Seeds album was do too. Cave’s been living in Brighton now from a long while since 2000’s but other than the little parts of West Of Memphis and Lawless in 2012 both at two different studios he hasn’t done much recording in Brighton until last year and all at this Retreat studio. Ellis also did further recording by himself at the Glass House Stuido in France and that’s the same as the last soundtrack. Two extra strings players perform here with Cello by Joe Giddey and Violin by Ellie Wyatt, I do wonder if we will be seeing them again real soon?

So the highlights are Texas Midlands with Ellis’ violin soloing, then the evil doom of Robbery has some of the greatest sounds they have ever put on tape. Mountain Lion Mean so fuckin’ amazing, it’s on the side of spooky feedback noise. Then From My Cold Dead Hands pumps along somewhere in between the last two tracks with a death rattle at the end that makes everything shake. Lord Of The Plains brings the mellow back and those haunting vocals from the opening track and Casino is just so beautiful too. I can’t still pick a fave from these ones but it all works as a whole body of work perfect, I was just going to download the Nick & Warren’s songs but I ordered the CD anyway, now I’m very happy I did. I was thinking before not bloody country music but really every style of music has something good. I do like having something to hold in my hands still as well. I’ll rated it four point two out of five or using the numbers 4.2/5.


 So everybody what’s your fave Nick Cave movie/s and/or soundtrack/s?


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