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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… 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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