Friday, January 9, 2009

Hold My Dishrag Body Tall.

Did I mention that my CD collection was stolen a few months ago? I had all of my CD's, over ten years worth, in a duffel bag in Jennie's car. Why I left them in the car, I'll never know, and I'll never forgive myself. But, there they were, in her car for three nights or so. Of course, somebody broke into the car, stole her laptop, rifled through her shit, and stole the duffel bag. Luckily, I had 90% of them backed up on this computer. So, I didn't lose all of the music, just the tangible aspect; booklets, cover art, etc... I'm often reminded of this loss when I'm posting. Like, today, I'm posting The Birthday Party, "Hits". The CD had a really nice booklet, with a well written band bio. I'm sorry I don't have it to share anymore. Regardless - This is a greatest hits collection, picked by guitarist (later, drummer), Mick Harvey and released by 4AD.

At the end of the nineties, I was desperately searching for new music. Not new chronologically, but something that stood out, something I hadn't heard before. I was telling a friend of mine that, although I will always love punk and hardcore, I felt that the initial excitement had worn off. "Punk" had become a self-limiting genre. Everything had to be in 4/4 time, or D-beats, power chords, the endless repetition of the phrase, "I don't care..." I knew that there had to be some bands, somewhere, doing things their own way, without all the rules and regulations. I mentioned Sonic Youth, a band I've always admired for their free-for-all experimentation. My friend, Matt, asked me if I had heard The Birthday Party? I said no, and he practically dragged me to his car and we went back to his place where he handed me a copy of "Hee Haw" and told me that I held the solution to my woe on that 5" disc. I should have been excited, but truthfully, I didn't believe him. I'm a cynical bastard. But, Matt was right. Listening to that CD was like losing my musical virginity all over again. Nick Cave's tortured howls, grunts, and baritone vocals were an adventure ride of emotions. The Exorcist came to mind.Tracy Pew, all the while holding down repetitive, hypnotic bass grooves. Harvey's guitar screaming, jangling, and shrieking feedback. Calvert, somehow always on time, but never on time with his beats. This was exactly what I needed. "Hits" is a great place to start, and it will give you an idea of the range and evolution of a band that never had any rules, self-imposed or otherwise.



Brat Early said...

Damn if I don't love Hee-Haw. However, I don't have this album so I'll have to d/l in the name of love. Have you heard "Dig, Lazarus, Dig" yet? I don't know if you love Nick Cave in every incarnation, but there are a few songs on his newest that I like, and a few on "Lyre of Orpheus" are pretty good as well. I think I have both on the ol' Compy and can host them for you if you want 'em. Let me know.


RyGar said...

Hey, Brat! I think I may have heard a bit of "Dig, Lazarus, Dig", probably froom you. If you're down to host it, e-mail me a link. Some of the Bad Seeds stuff is a lil' too Vegas sounding, but they've got their moments. Of course, "Murder Ballads" is kill. Have you heard "Honeymoon in Red"? Birthday Party collab w/ Lydia Lunch. Supposedly, they were so unhappy with the production, Cave and the BP pulled their name from the credits, but you can find it over here ( if you're curious.

Zboy said...

Dude a couple years back I had my entire CD collection, as well as 3 skate decks stolen from my car. I had roughly 400 cds, 85% of which were purchased, and that really crushed my soul. Like you, I love the tangible aspect of owning someones music... Unlike you, I only had about a handful of albums backed up on my computer, pre ipod days. Someone might as well have stabbed me... haha

Anyway, great blog man, I just stumbled across it via you will soon. I really dig what you're doin.


ido said...

One of the defining bands of my life. So fucking perfect.