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Alternative & Indie - Released September 9, 2016 | Bad Seed Ltd

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 3, 2019 | Ghosteen Ltd

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 16, 2011 | Mute, a BMG Company

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
With this February 1996 album, Nick Cave took up his role as the bipolar preacher, caught between sin and redemption. Half goth-punk Johnny Cash, half infernal Lee Hazlewood, the brains of the Bad Seeds, a crooner to the core, told his stories of death, betrayal, sex, violence and passion... His cavernous voice and his Biblical pen fascinated fans. Behind him, the Bad Seeds were knitting together a blood-red score, a cocktail of blues and jazz on ghostly pianos, disquieting guitars and martial percussions. This is a Nick Cave in full Nosferatu mode, and he even has a couple of virgins to snack on: his double, PJ Harvey, on Henry Lee, and his compatriot Kylie Minogue for an erotic thriller entitled Where The Wild Roses Grow. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 5, 2017 | Mute, a BMG Company

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds remain one of the most prolific adventures of the post-punk era. Since the middle of the 1980s, the vast magnetism of the Australian singer has swirled through violent paroxysms, fulminating covers, piano ballads and sweaty rock'n'roll. Across many years and many recordings, Cave became more and more of a crooner, somewhere between a punk Sinatra and an austere Johnny Cash. This impeccable compilation, published in Spring 2017 not only allows the listener to get a sense of the length of the road they have travelled, but also to enjoy an excellent introduction to the art of this gang that stands apart from contemporary rock. The 45 songs of this Deluxe edition are spread out between three periods: fifteen titles dug out from between 1984 and 1993, fifteen others from between 1994 and 2003 and a final fifteen selected from between 2004 and 2013... Starting with From Her To Eternity (1984) and going up to Push The Sky Away (2013), Lovely Creatures offers a perfect mix of poisonous ballads (Into My Arms), rollocking epics (The Mercy Seat), stripped-down, violent rock (Deanna), apocalyptic cabaret (The Carny), unexpected duets (Where The Wild Roses Grow with Kylie Minogue)  and selected covers. (In The Ghetto). Nestled between the Gothic prose of American authors of the 20th Century, the musical heritage of giants like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, Nick Cave has found his own style, often chambrist, but always sombre and possessed by the spirit of the Old Testament... © MZ/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 29, 2010 | Mute, a BMG Company

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
With guitarist/keyboardist Roland Wolf and Cramps/Gun Club veteran Kid Congo Powers on guitar added to the ranks, along with guest appearances from old member Hugo Race, the Seeds reached 1988 with their strongest album yet, the insanely powerful, gripping Tender Prey. Rather than simply redoing what they'd already done, Nick Cave and company took their striking musical fusions to deeper and higher levels all around, with fantastic consequences. The album boldly starts out with an undisputed Cave masterpiece -- "The Mercy Seat," a chilling self-portrait of a prisoner about to be executed that compares the electric chair with the throne of God. Queasy strings from a Gini Ball-led trio and Mick Harvey's spectral piano snake through a rising roar of electric sound -- a common musical approach from many earlier Seeds songs, but never so gut-wrenching as here. Cave's own performance is the perfect icing on the cake, commanding and powerful, excellently capturing the blend of crazed fear and righteousness in the lyrics. Matching that high point turns out to be impossible for anything else on Tender Prey, but more than enough highlights take a bow that demonstrates the album's general quality. "Deanna" is another great blast from the Seeds, a garage rock-style rave-up that lyrically is everything Natural Born Killers tried to be, but failed at -- killing sprees, Cadillacs, and carrying out the work of the Lord, however atypically. The echoing, gentle-yet-rough sonics on the Blind Willie Johnson-inspired "City of Refuge" and the gentler drama of "Sugar Sugar Sugar" also do well in keeping the energy level up. On the quieter side, Cave indulges his penchant for gloomy piano-led ballads throughout, and quite well at that, with such songs as "Watching Alice," "Mercy," and the end-of-the-evening singalong "New Morning." "Sunday's Slave" has a beautifully brooding feeling to it thanks to the combination of acoustic guitar and piano, making it a bit of a cousin of Scott Walker's "Seventh Seal." © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 16, 2011 | Mute, a BMG Company

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 18, 2013 | Bad Seed Ltd

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Rock - Released May 16, 2011 | Mute, a BMG Company

Keeping the same line-up from Henry's Dream, Nick Cave and company turn in yet another winner with Let Love In. Compared to Henry's Dream, Let Love In is something of a more produced effort -- longtime Cave boardsman Tony Cohen oversees things, and from the first track, one can hear the subtle arrangements and carefully constructed performances. Love, unsurprisingly, takes center stage of the album. Besides concluding with a second part to "Do You Love Me?," two of its stronger cuts are the (almost) title track "I Let Love In," and "Loverman," an even creepier depiction of lust's throttling power so gripping that Metallica ended up covering it. On the full-on explosive front, "Jangling Jack" sounds like it wants to do nothing but destroy sound systems, strange noises and overmodulations ripping throughout the song. The Seeds can always turn in almost deceptively peaceful performances as well, of course -- standouts here are "Nobody's Baby Now," with a particularly lovely guitar/piano line, and the brooding drama of "Ain't Gonna Rain Anymore." The highlight of the album, though, has little to do with love and everything to do with the group's abilities at music noir. "Red Right Hand" depicts a nightmarish figure emerging on "the edge of town," maybe a criminal and maybe something more demonic. Cave's vicious lyric combines fear and black humor perfectly, while the Seeds' performance redefines "cinematic," a disturbing organ figure leading the subtle but crisp arrangement and Harvey's addition of a sharp bell ratcheting up the feeling of doom and judgment. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released December 21, 2009 | Mute, a BMG Company

When Blixa Bargeld left Nick Cave's Bad Seeds, who would have predicted his departure would result in one of the finest offerings in the band's catalog? Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus is a double CD or, rather, two completely different albums packaged in one very handsome box with a stylish lyric booklet and subtly colored pastel sleeves. They were recorded in a total of 16 days by producer Nick Launay (Kate Bush, Midnight Oil, Girls Against Boys, Silverchair, INXS, Virgin Prunes, et al.). Abbatoir Blues, the first disc in the set (packaged in pink, of course), is a rock & roll record. Yeah, the same guy who released the Boatman's Call, No More Shall We Part, and Nocturama albums has turned in a pathos-drenched, volume-cranked rocker, full of crunch, punishment -- and taste. Drummer Jim Sclavunos' aggressive, propulsive kit work is the bedrock of this set. It and Mick Harvey's storm-squall guitar playing shake things loose on "Get Ready for Love," which opens the album. As Cave goes right for God in the refrain -- "get ready for love" -- in the maelstrom, a gospel choir roaring "praise Him" responds. His tense, ambivalent obsession with theology is pervasive; he mocks the Western perception of God in the heavens yet seeks the mystery of His nature. That he does so while careening through a wall of noisy rock damage is simply stunning. It leaves the listener revved up and off-center for what comes next. The chorus -- members of the London Community Gospel Choir -- is prevalent on both records; the Bad Seeds' arrangement utilizes them wisely as counterpoint and mirror for Cave's own baritone. "Cannibal's Hymn" begins as a love song musically; it's chocked with Cave's dark wit and irony and ends far more aggressively while retaining its melody. The single, "Nature Boy," finds itself on Scalvunos' big beat. Cave and his piano use love's irony in contrast with cheap innuendo as underlined by the choir in their best soul croon. "Let Them Bells Ring" is a most dignified and emotionally honest tribute to Johnny Cash and the world he witnessed. The Western wrangle of "There She Goes, My Beautiful World" references Morricone's desert cowboy groove against a swirling cacophony of drums, bashing piano, and the chorus swelling on the refrain, while Cave name drops Johnny Thunders and poet Philip Larkin. The pace is fantastic; its drama and musical dynamics are pitched taut, with lulls in all the right places. The Lyre of Orpheus, by contrast, is a much quieter, more elegant affair. It is more consciously restrained, its attention to craft and theatrical flair more prevalent. But that doesn't make it any less satisfying. It is a bit of a shock after Abbatoir Blues, but it isn't meant for playing immediately afterward; it is a separate listening experience. The title track tells the myth's tale in Cave's ironical fashion, where God eventually throws a hammer at the subject and Eurydyce threatens to shove his lyre up his nether orifice. Warren Ellis' swampy bouzouki and Thomas Wydler's more stylized drumming move the band in the tense, skeletal swirl where chorus and Cave meet the music in a loopy dance. But in "Breathless," the bard of the love song emerges unfettered at the top of his poetic gift. On "Babe You Turn Me On," he wraps a bawdy yet tender love song in a country music waltz to great effect. But on this album, along with the gentleness, is experimentation with textures and wider dimensions. The sparser sound is freer, less structured; it lets time slip through the songs rather than govern them -- check the wall of Ellis' strings married to a loping acoustic guitar on the moving "Carry Me" as an example. Cave's nastiness and wit never remains absent for long, however, and on "O Children," the album's closer, it returns with this skin-crawlingly gorgeous ballad of murder and suicide. This set is an aesthetic watermark for Cave, a true high point in a long career that is ever looking forward. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 16, 2011 | Mute, a BMG Company

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 18, 2013 | Bad Seed Ltd

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Rock - Released November 17, 2014 | Mute, a BMG Company

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Rock - Released March 29, 2010 | Mute, a BMG Company

Losing Wolf, aside from the final reprise of "Lucy," but otherwise making no changes in the line-up, the Seeds followed up Tender Prey with the equally brilliant but generally calmer Good Son. At the time of its release there were more than a few comments that Cave had somehow softened or sold out, given how he was more intent on exploring his dark, cabaret pop stylings than his thrashy, explosive side. This not only ignored the constant examples of such quieter material all the way back to From Her to Eternity, but Cave's own constant threads of lyrical darkness, whether in terms of romance or something all the more distressing. This said, the softly crooning group vocals and sweet strings on the opening "Foi Na Cruz" certainly would catch some off guard. The title track itself captured the overall mood of the album, a retelling of the Bible's prodigal son story from the other son, the one who stayed at home and did what he was meant to do. The elegant, reflective "Lucy" and the staccato then sweeping "Lament" are two further high points, but the flat-out winners come dead center. "The Weeping Song," a magnificent duet between Cave and Bargeld, starts out sounding a bit like Gene Pitney's "Something's Gotta Hold of My Heart," which the Seeds covered on Pricks, before shading into its own powerful, blasted drama. "The Ship Song," meanwhile, equals if not overtakes the Scott Walker ballads Cave so clearly is inspired by, a soaring, tearjerking declaration of intense love that's simply amazing. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 2, 2013 | Bad Seed Ltd

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Rock - Released February 28, 2020 | 2 Meter Sessies

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Rock - Released April 27, 2009 | Mute, a BMG Company

Besides being noteworthy as an astonishingly good all-covers album, Kicking Against the Pricks is notable for the arrival of a new key member for the Seeds, drummer Thomas Wydler. Besides being a fine percussionist, able to perform at both the explosive and restrained levels Cave requires, Wydler also allowed Harvey to concentrate on adding guitar and keyboards live as well as in the studio, a notable bonus. Race reappears briefly to add some guitar while former Birthday Party cohorts Rowland Howard and Tracy Pew guest as well, the latter on some of his last tracks before his untimely death. The selection of songs is quite impressive, ranging from old standards like "Long Black Veil" to everything from John Lee Hooker's "I'm Gonna Kill That Woman" and Gene Pitney's pop aria "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart." Matching the range of material, the Seeds are well on their way to becoming the rock/cabaret/blues showband of Cave's dreams, able to conjure up haunting, winsome atmospheres ("Sleeping Annaleah") as much as higher-volume takes (Roy Orbison's "Running Scared," the Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties"). The version of Leadbelly's "Black Betty" is particularly grand, Harvey's drumming driving the track with ominous power. This said, often holding everything back is the key, as the creepout build of "Hey Joe" demonstrates. Even more striking is how Cave's own vocals rebut the charges that all he ever does is overdramatize everything he sings -- consider the husky, purring delivery on Johnny Cash's "The Singer." Other winners include a masterful version of Jimmy Webb's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and the stately, album-closing "The Carnival Is Over," originally a mid-'60s hit for the Seekers. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 3, 2008 | Mute, a BMG Company

Apparently, the Bad Seeds side project Grinderman injected some serious adrenaline into the equation, evidenced mightily on Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! This is the 14th album by Nick Cave and company. After the masterpiece that was Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus in 2004, Cave and Warren Ellis scored a pair of films -- The Proposition and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and recorded the self-titled Grinderman album with other bandmembers Martyn Casey and Jim Sclavunos. Grinderman was a howling, raucous, rock & roll racket of a set that sweat humorous garage rock blues and raw shambolic guttersnipe stroll that spread its nasty cheer to the listener. The return of the full-on Bad Seeds octet builds on this energy and emerges with an album that is at once snarling, darkly humorous, decadently sexual, and, if you are a religious Christian person, seemingly blasphemous. An obvious example is the title track that opens the album. As always, Cave's lyrics are at the center. They are the focus whether he wants them to be or not, and they certainly are here. The track kicks off with a low-end, loose-limbed bass slog and snarling guitar swagger that simultaneously recall Link Wray and Johnny Thunders. Cave re-introduces the biblical character that Jesus raised from the dead as Larry. Larry gets resurrected in the 21st century. He is utterly lost as he rambles about, utterly disoriented and wondering why the hell he was woken from his dream sleep in the first place. (Think Martin Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ set in the current day with its Lazarus stumbling around half blind and lost, one foot here, one in the next world.) Larry, who no longer has a sense of who or where he is, partakes of every greasy pleasure known -- sex, dope, violence -- and ends up in the joint, and eventually homeless before ending up back in his hole in the ground. Cave wryly explains at the end, "poor Larry." There are bullhorn sounds in the backdrop, sheer noise wafting in from the margins, and the band pumping itself up with every verse. Cave talks more than he sings here, he's reciting something that feels free form but it's rhythmically dead-on and very tightly focused. Tracy Pew of the Birthday Party could have played the bass rumble that introduces "Today's Lesson." It's all popping riff, one line played over and over as the band brings out organs, acoustic and electric guitars, Ellis playing an electric mandolin, and Cave offering the tale of a young woman who wakes from a dream with a jawbone stuck inside the waistband of her jeans like a gun, who has been repeatedly violated in her sleep by the sandman; when she wakes up all hell breaks loose in the form of a "real good time tonite." She's ready to party, to get while the getting's good -- you are free to interpret whatever that might be. Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! isn't all clamorous craziness, however. For starters, it's not as raw as Grinderman. Nick Launay reins it in while extending the textural and dimensional reach of the Bad Seeds wonderfully rootsy yet complex and swampy sound. There are many different kinds of songs here, like the creepy crawly "Night of the Lotus Eaters" that feels like Night of the Living Dead meets Hammer studios meets the Voodoo Gods of Haiti on 'ludes and cheap wine. It's dark, sinister, slimy, and addictive. "Albert Goes West" suggests the Dream Syndicate at their wildest with squalling guitars. When he says "The light upon the rainy streets/Offers Many Reflections/And I won't be held responsible/for my actions..." only to the same protagonist asks in a Concord bar "Do you wanna dance?/Do you wanna groove?" He means it. It's not as absurd as it sounds and in the context of his character, it's unhinged. When the band screams, crunches, and squeals out of the tuner in its music, they sweetly sing like drunken devilish doo wop boys meeting "Sha La La," right to the fade. Only Cave could get away with lines like "Our myomixtoid kids spraddle the streets/we've shunned them from the greasy grind/the poor things/They look so sad & old/As they mount us from behind...." and "I go guruing down the street/young people gather round my feet/as me things-but I don't know where to start." All the while the band chants "doop doop doop" behind him. In "We Call Upon the Author," Cave has become a cross between the great 20th century poets of history and the outer edges of mental myths like Charles Olson and John Berryman who happen to play rock & roll. The latter of these writers is celebrated in the same tune for writing like "wet papier mache/and going out the "Heming-way." This occurs a mere line after he castigates the late Charles Bukowski for being a jerk. "Hold on to Yourself" brings the swirling cacophony the Bad Seeds can summon live with Ellis playing an electric viola along with a pulsing Farfisa organ and acoustic and electric guitars atop sparse drums. It's a sad love song that might have been a rock outtake from The Assassination of Jesse James, if Jesse were singing it in the current era: "I'm so far away from you/I'm pacing up and down my room/Does Jesus only love a man who loses?" The cinematic reach of the track is alternately heartbroken, lost, and furious. "Lie Down Here (And Be My Girl") is feverish, nightmarish, desperate, and as elegantly ruined and unrepentant as Nikolai in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Amid the soaring guitars, a backdrop of old rock & roll chorus lines, psychedelic fuzztone leads, and that propulsive bassline and popping snare, Cave's protagonist exhorts his beloved not to worry about the life pouring out of him, and just take in the moment as an eternal one, where all comes down and rises at once. Ellis' moaning Gypsy violin, electric mandolin, a spooky Mick Harvey piano, and a one-two rhythm section shuffle offer another dark and hopeless love song in "Jesus of the Moon," but its drama and punch are almost theatrical in scope. It's dead serious, no camp here; it's all passion, pathos, and an unwillingness to let go despite the fact of having already done so. The last line in the song is, "I say hello." One wonders to what? The abandoned lover? Oblivion? With "More News from Nowhere," the album closes uncharacteristically on what may seem at first to be a light moment. Musically and lyrically it walks the line between Bob Dylan's wry, bluesy, sprawling observations on 21st century life and the light, sarcastic celebration of decadence in Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." What it all comes down to is that Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! is a Bad Seeds record that ups the ante once again. The elegance and poetry, the drama and tension of Cave's more poetic notions are balanced by his Sade-ian humor and social criticisms and his willingness to blend flesh and spirit as two sides of the same coin. Along with this comes a band's sound that is incredibly evolved and unself-conscious. It's an album where a fire breathing, rootsy, garage rock band creates a soundtrack to modern fun house life: where the stakes are high, the odds are hopelessly stacked, and there is little left to do but laugh at its dreadful irony. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 3, 2003 | Mute, a BMG Company

It is truly sad when artists with great vision and imagination, whose work is filled with power and beauty, just kind of lose it all at once. This could be the first record Nick Cave has made that feels like he is just doing it because it is his job to make records and be Nick Cave. Everything is predictable and sounds like something Cave has done before. The Bad Seeds' edges are smoothed over by the too-slick production; Cave's lyrics are not provocative or funny or much of anything worth hearing. "He Wants You" is a smooth and tired-sounding love song, "Still in Love" is a gothic love song with cheesy lyrics and some sickly singing, and "Wonderful Life" has a nice, slinky beat and a memorable melody that is ruined by generic lyrics. There are also a few surprises of an unpleasant nature on Nocturama: "Bring It On" sounds like alternative rock by-the-numbers; without Cave's vocals it could be the Wallflowers. This could be the first Bad Seeds track to sport a depressingly standard guitar solo over the fade. Longtime Cave fans may need to reach for the smelling salts after hearing it. There are also a couple of songs that revisit the old storm-and-bang days of the Birthday Party and early Bad Seeds. One might say these forays into noisy, aggressive post-punk are commendable or one could say he is treading water he puked out 20 years ago. Add to that the fact that the racing tempos, jagged guitars, and shouted vocals of "Dead Man in My Bed" and the seemingly endless "Babe, I'm on Fire" break up the somnambulant mood of the rest of the record. Actually, while it may be derivative of his glorious past, "Babe, I'm on Fire" is a welcome blast of energy; he should have made it 30 minutes long instead of ten and called it his new record. Apart from that track, Cave sounds like a writer on his 15th book with nothing much left to say, nothing left to do but go through the motions, phoning his performance in with a yawn. His fans should send him a message by leaving Nocturama (his worst record title ever) to gather dust on record store and warehouse shelves. His laziness and weak effort should not be rewarded with your hard-earned cash. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 29, 2010 | Mute, a BMG Company

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Rock - Released April 27, 2009 | Mute, a BMG Company

Nick Cave launched his solo career in style with From Her to Eternity, an accomplished album mixing the frenzy and power of his Birthday Party days with a dank, moody atmosphere that showed he was not interested in simply continuing what the older group had done. To be sure, Mick Harvey joined him from the Party days, as ever playing a variety of instruments, while one-time Party guest Blixa Bargeld now became a permanent Cave partner, splitting his time between the Bad Seeds and Einsturzende Neubaten ever since. The group took wing with a harrowing version of Leonard Cohen's "Avalanche," Cave's wracked, buried tones suiting the Canadian legend's words perfectly, and never looked back. From Her to Eternity is crammed with any number of doom-laden songs, with Cave the understandable center of attention, his commanding vocals turning the blues and rural music into theatrical exhibitionism unmatched since Jim Morrison stalked stages. Songs like "Cabin Fever," with its steadily paced drumming and relentless piano line, and the more restrained and moody "The Moon Is in the Gutter" sound like cabarets in hell. "In the Ghetto," already perfectly suited to such a treatment, shows the underlying sense of beauty that defines the Seeds as much as drama. Even though it's a Presley cover, the sense of Scott Walker's influence isn't far away at all. The title track is and remains a Bad Seeds classic, played at shows up through the present, a tense piano/organ beginning then accompanied by the edgy build of the band, pounding drums, stabbing feedback and keyboard parts and more. © Ned Raggett /TiVo