Classic Albums: Mutiny/The Bad Seed by The Birthday Party

So tonight is the Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds gig finally, the very last date of the Aussie tour in Perth W.A. and off course horses, I’m hyped. This post really has nothing to do that but the front man has recorded this a very long time ago. Nick and that band are on this list before but this earlier band is not yet and I just have to included one of theirs in my Classic Albums’ colony of bats. What I’ve got to pick is yet another comp album this time of two EPs and a couple of songs recorded at that point but not release until it was compiled few years later. I was too young at the time so it’s always been a 10 track album to me, how about you?

This pretty much documents a band exploding or imploding depending on your view. The Birthday Party was one of the most chaos driven band in the history of punk and/or post-punk. So an expiring date was never set but it couldn’t last forever. They’re a four piece line-up at this point, Phill Calvert already gone. Also at this time Cave didn’t seem to want to sing the other songwriters in the band words anymore. Rowland S. Howard was never as prolific as Nick but want he did do was worth more than say two or three OK Nick tracks. The live shows turn into shouting match on stage about whose songs would get play next. Tour promoters would sell the shows as the most violence so attracting punters that were bikers, skinheads, Nazis etc. so basically anyone who wanted to have a fight. In 20,000 Days doco Cave tells a crazy story of Tracy Pew the bass player hitting someone who’s urinating on the stage while the band is playing live, funny hey?

These recordings came from two different sessions in Berlin and London over 1982 and 1983 after leaving Melbourne. Four albums came before this in just a few short years of the life span of this band. It’s was in Berlin where Cave set-up his new project after the break-up and then recorded his first two albums. Taking the new band’s name after the title of the EP too. On the title track on the second sessions and want would be the last song on this album Blixa Bargeld would make his first cameo with Cave too. The first four tracks was the original The Bad Seeds EP and the last six was from the Mutiny sessions. Six Strings and Pleasure was the two tracks later issue. Nick’s then gf Anita Lane did the really bad artwork cover, who the hell would put a swartz sticker on an album cover? It’s the first of three albums with flowers on the cover for him.

Maybe this would be the wrong entry point to start listening to The Birthday Party. If you’ve never heard them before you might not know what the hell is going on here. What other albums are at the breaking point like this? It’s always been my favourite of their releases, after grabbing the Hits comp and then updating that to the Missing Link boxset and I had to get this because it’s one that was missing in the set and oh my god! This totally got hammered. The live video clip below to Deep In The Woods and the maybe more crazy Nick The Stripper promo video clip was my intro to them. 1992’s Jack The Ripper video was before that for me but it did add up that it was the same bloke singing.

“Hands up who wants to die?”

That’s the opening line from the opening track, one of two songs all four band members have co-songwriter credit, that’s Pew, Mick Harvey, Howard and Cave. Pew was the bass player who passed away in the mid-80’s and was never in any other bands. Then Howard died in late 2000’s, who worked with a lot a different artists/bands, only had two solo albums but more about that next month. Harvey stand by Cave until 2008 and is the co-writer on the next three tracks and the final song too. Amazing two tracks Veil and Six is co-written by Howard and Cave, Spell is Howard solo credited song and Pleasure is Nick’s. Swanpland is all four members again, it all adds up to just under 40 minutes of totally perfection.

A few year’s ago while reading Mojo magazine J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. named this album in “Last Night An Album Change My Life” and I have to agree with him. How about you? Do you love The Birthday Party?


Mutiny/The Bad Seed track listing and times:

1. Sonny’s Burning – 3:18
2. Wild World -3:26
3. Fears Of Gun – 3:54
4. Deep In The Woods – 4:46
5. Jennifer’s Veil – 4:56
6. Six Strings That Drew Blood – 3:32
7. Say A Spell – 3:41
8. Swampland – 3:29
9. Pleasure Avalanche – 4:23
10. Mutiny In Heaven – 4:17


My Classic Albums link to all of them, if for some amazing reason you want to read/look/listen to anymore of them. Some what inspired by the 33 1/3 books, 1001 Albums to listen to before you die book etc. maybe every other music list made in the world but always a little disappointed about the albums on those ones. So I’m blogging about all my favourite albums that mean so much to me and I love but I’m dyslexia so the writing is most likely not that good. Not that I ever want to be a music critic or anything, it’s more like some kind-of diary of all the totally great music I found in my life!

Please leave a reply if you’ll like to say something this or any of the other albums I’ve posted on. You love it or hate it or whatever I’ll like to hear what you have to say about them?


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