BAD 401

You may well have spotted that this week’s run of posts have headings related to their catalogue number provided by the independent label for which the music was recorded.  The labels each used common abbreviations for the releases –  RUG for Domino, CRE for Creation, and HVN for Heavenly.

Today’s is a bit of a doozy in that regard in that the bosses at 4AD, having long adopted BAD as the abbreviation for any EPs and compilation albums, were able to enjoy a wry smile when The Birthday Party decided that their next four track offering, in March 1983 was to be named The Bad Seed, which meant it could be given a catalogue number akin to the actual name of the EP.

Little did anyone realise that, after a three-year partnership, The Birthday Party would take their leave of 4AD and shift over to Mute Records, for whom, in November 1983 they would release the Mutiny EP, but only after they had split up a few months earlier upon completion of a tour in their native Australia.   Frontman Nick Cave would form a new band, who took their name from the title of that last EP for 4AD, and in June 1984, the debut single and album were issued by Mute.

The rest is history. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, having gone through almost as many personnel changes as The Fall, would remain with Mute right through to 2013 at which point things shifted to Bad Seed Ltd.  Nobody would have predicted it at the time, but the Nick Cave of the 2020s now sells out 10,000+ capacity arena gigs in many parts of the world when back in the 80s, The Birthday Party were very much a cult act, which is no surprise given

“…they 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 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.

(Stephen Erlwwine, allmusic)

Bearing in mind that these four songs were at the tail-end of things, you should brace yourselves:-

mp3: The Birthday Party – Sonny’s Burning
mp3: The Birthday Party – Wild World
mp3: The Birthday Party – Fears Of Gun
mp3: The Birthday Party – Deep In The Woods

I warned you.


8 thoughts on “BAD 401

  1. I was lent this 12″ by the DJ in Rabbies Bar in Ayr in late 82. It blew my socks off. Something additional was pressed into this vinyl which you cannot unhear. A remarkable release which really captures something extraordinary. Not a dull second across these four tracks. Cheers Innes!

  2. I saw The Birthday Party at Edinburgh’s Nite Club once. Can’t remember if it was in 1981 or if it was the April 1982 gig. The latter was supported by The Cocteau Twins and I might have remembered that, although we did have a habit of not turning up for the support bands often so it might have been. What I do remember is that I wasn’t that interested in The Birthday Party but they had a reputation for being pretty confrontational on stage and everyone thought there was a fair chance of a mass pagger which sounded like something to see. Not that I was looking for a swedge like, just a bit of bystander slumming you know. As it turned out the atmosphere created by all the erstwhile punk neds trying to wind up the band simply put a downer on everything and there was just no enthusiasm from anyone, either on the stage or in front of it. Didn’t encourage me to explore the music any further either and here I am 40 years later and none the wiser…

  3. Saw the Birthday Party with college roommate Ed the Bassist in late ’82 or early ’83. Danceteria NYC. The band were absolutely on fire: brilliant, tight, confrontational, exciting. There was a fair bit of antagonism between Cave and the crowd, but it pumped up the atmosphere rather than brought the proceedings down. The band were totally alien and kind of scary. There was only a minor pagger (wtf?) when Cave jumped off the stage at a guy that was taunting him, but he bounced off since the dude was twice his size and wasn’t looking for a swedge like (wtf?). I remember it as an amazing show. Ed had all their records and the Bad Seeds stuff too. To this day, I’m too creeped out to listen to ‘Deep In The Woods’ after the sun goes down.

  4. I’ve seen Nick Cave three times – all before 1985. Twice in 81 – at The Underground (billed as the Birthday Boys because they weren’t aloud to advertise any other show in NYC before their date at The Ritz) and later that same tour at The Peppermint Lounge. The Underground show was out of control, confrontational and kinda scary. It was fantastic! The Pep show was the band winding down from a too much, too fast tour of the States.
    I would see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds once – Danceteria in 1984 and it was just not what I wanted on the night. I’ve heard people give a glowing review of that night, but aside from hearing From Her To Eternity, I can’t say I enjoyed it.

  5. Between this and Mutiny! , I am struggling to think of a better EP. This one just roars.

  6. Arf! Sorry for the Edinburgh argot, you’ll need to find perhaps a glossary to North American editions of Irvine Welsh… Sounds like you got the gist though 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.