PRAYERS ON FIRE (1981)

prayers-on-fire

Artist: The Birthday Party

Label: Missing Link
Producer: Tony Cohen, The Birthday Party
Cover art: Jenny, Poly & Evan
Length: 42:06

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.

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CROMAGNON

Cromagnon

I think it was Brian [Elliot] who said ‘You know, Elvis [was] shaking his hips with his acoustic guitar and people were freaking out. Ten year’s [sic] later there’s Hendrix spraying his guitar with lighter fluid and setting it on fire – what the hell is gonna happen in thirty years?

Salvador Salgado, Orgasm liner notes, 2009

Formed: 1969, Connecticut/New York, USA

Featured album: Orgasm/Cave Rock (1969)

CROMAGNON’S MUSIC MIGHT be as primitive as the band’s name suggests: an elemental stew of grunts, screams and people hitting things, with about as much structure as an amoeba. But these hedonistic barbarians were among the first to chart rock’s outer limits, mapping terrain that is still being explored to this day.

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