Artist: The Birthday Party
Label: Missing Link
Producer: Tony Cohen, The Birthday Party
Cover art: Jenny, Poly & Evan
WEARING NOTHING BUT a loincloth, and with the word ‘HELL’ painted on his chest, a skinny geek twirls around a stripper pole in a circus tent before emerging into a burning Melbourne trash heap, where he cavorts with his bandmates, several psychiatric patients, and a goat. Those only familiar with Nick Cave as Australia’s answer to Leonard Cohen might be shocked to see this video for “Nick The Stripper”, which perfectly captures the carnivalesque hysteria of The Birthday Party’s Prayers on Fire.
We went from a raw garage band through experimentalism back to raw blues almost. It was kind of like that, we just ended up doing raw, violent experimental music.
Mick Harvey, Stranded, 1996
Formed: 1978 (as The Boys Next Door), Melbourne, Australia
Featured album: Prayers on Fire (1981)
IF HELL WERE a circus, and that circus had a strip club, The Birthday Party would be its house band. One of the most blasphemous and licentious groups to emerge from the post-punk movement, their career was an all-too short and brutish plummet from grace, filled with drugs, debauchery and some of the most violently original music to come out of Australia both then or since.
Artist: Alice Donut
Label: Alternative Tentacles
Producer: Alice Donut, Robert E Miller
Cover art: Tomas Antona
ALBUM TITLES DON’T get much more morbidly sardonic than Bucketfulls of Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life. Always looking on the bright side of nihilism, Alice Donut pick at the scabs of civilised society to reveal what wriggles underneath so they can point at it and laugh. And it’s on their sophomore album that this blend of cheerfulness and grotesquery first truly came together.
… we decided that our music would be better and more unique if [we] weren’t ‘scared’ of being stupid and un-cool.
Tomas Antona, Prindle Record Reviews interview, 2007
Formed: 1987, New York, USA