THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

birthday-party-the

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.

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ALICE DONUT

alice-donut

… 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

Featured album: Bucketfulls of Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life (1989)

JELLO BIAFRA DESCRIBED them as ‘the missing link between R.E.M. and the Butthole Surfers’. There’s a kind of truth to that epithet, because under Alice Donut’s acid-punk slop and crude sense of humour lies a knack for melodic songwriting that could’ve made them huge. If only they weren’t so damn demented.

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LIARS

Liars

…I left Australia when I was young, so being anywhere – in America, or Berlin – I feel like an alien.

Angus Andrew, The Quietus, 2010

Formed: New York, USA, 2000

Featured album: They Were Wrong, So We Drowned (2004)

YOU NEVER KNOW quite where you stand with Liars. One minute they’re making you shake your butt and tap your feet with their funky dancepunk; the next they’re freaking you out with experimental concept albums, or creating their most intimate and personal music using synthesisers. It’s part of the appeal of this art-punk trio, for whom restlessness is a perpetual state of being.

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LOCUST ABORTION TECHNICIAN (1987)

Locust Abortion Technician

Artist: Butthole Surfers
Label: Touch & Go
Producer: Butthole Surfers
Cover art: Arthur Sarnoff
Length: 32:34

‘KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD,’ says the slogan on t-shirts and bumper stickers in the Texas capital, an attempt by local businesses to promote the city’s quirky charms. But in 1987, there was something far stranger brewing in a house on the northern border of Austin than the city’s citizens could ever have imagined. Locust Abortion Technician is an album of such singular peculiarity that its mere existence has made the entire world, let alone Austin, a much stranger place.

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