Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds has a history of teaming with excellent film directors for its music videos. Following the Gaspar Noé-directed “We No Who U R” comes “Jubilee Street,” which features the return of Cave collaborators John Hillcoat and Ray Winstone.
Tomorrow is the third Saturday in April, which means that independent record stores across the world will face an influx of limited-edition vinyl, avid fans, and rabid audiophiles. With myriad releases hitting shelves, we’ve provided you with some of our most anticipated picks to make Saturday’s shopping (relatively) quick and painless.
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It’s not an obvious idea to remix Nick Cave. His status as a musical icon seems to discourage the thought that his manic tales of depravity can be improved or successfully altered. But Grinderman’s 2 RMX — damn, does it work well. From A Place to Bury Strangers’ post-punk rendition of “Worm Tamer” to the spooky, shamanistic vibe of “Evil” by Silver Alert (Grinderman’s Jim Sclavunos) and The National’s Matt Berninger, it’s a surprise to find a style so distinct that’s also so versatile. Grinderman is ripe for experimentation.
It’s been seven years since Aussie post-rockers Dirty Three have released an album. That’s not to say the band members have been lying low: residing in Melbourne, guitarist Mick Turner has kept himself busy with the Tren Brothers and his solo career, as well as his visual art; currently Brooklyn-based drummer Jim White has been touring the world with the likes of Cat Power and Bonnie “Prince” Billy; violinist and recent Parisian Warren Ellis, when not on the road with The Bad Seeds or Grinderman, can be found working with Nick Cave on film scores (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Road).
The past seven years have been one of the most creative periods in the band’s history — and it shows on the the trio’s new album, its Drag City debut, Toward the Low Sun. Each member seems to have benefited from the hiatus, as they return with a sound that’s more definitive than ever.
Ever since his loop-based beginnings, Bryan Charles Hollan — known better as experimental hip-hop artist Boom Bip — has been on the search for his optimal live-band incarnation. He seems to have found it.
In 2002, Seed to Sun demonstrated Hollan’s ability to make compelling organic and instrumental hip hop. On his recordings since that time, nearly everything has been performed by hand, and the results have been admirable — but nothing has clicked quite like his newest effort, Zig Zaj.
Now Hollan is armed with a permanent live band, consisting of Josh Klinghoffer (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Eric Gardner (Gnarls Barkley, Charlotte Gainsbourg), and Josiah Steinbrick. Their chemistry is immediately evident on Zig Zaj, which also sports standout guest spots from Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand (for one very Depeche Mode track), Money Mark, Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun), Cate Le Bon, and Mikey Noyce (Bon Iver).
Partly because of the guests, the new material takes a poppier and more rock-driven direction. But there’s still plenty of the old Bip underneath, as synths and electronics commingle with the bass grooves and delicate acoustic riffs. ALARM caught up with Hollan to find out more about the evolution of his band and what projects he has in the works.
Tell us about the evolution of the live band. How has that affected or led to what we’re hearing on Zig Zaj?
The evolution of the live band has been like creating a new breed of dog. I’ve constantly been trying to fine-tune it to something enjoyable for me. This time, though, I got it right. The current live band is fantastic. With Zig Zaj, I certainly had the live show in mind when constructing the tracks. As a result, intensity became part of the equation, and you can hear that in the tone of the songs.
Coming out of the collaboration with Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals (as Neon Neon), what made you decide to scale back the dance elements for the new album?
The Boom Bip albums have always been more about the moment and trying to not have any limitations or concern for genre. I just let whatever comes out come out. I don’t really think, “What genre does this fit into and what bin will this sit in at the record store?” Although it has become a game for me to see where it is placed. I’ve seen my album in everything from rap to avant-garde.
Achieving public familiarity through featured songs in Little Miss Sunshine, DeVotchKa has worked hard to make a name for itself. Its Gypsy-influenced sound employs a wide variety of styles and instrumentation, celebrating a genre that has been around for hundreds of years.
With dozens of records, several novels, and many film and theater scores, Nick Cave is one of today’s most prolific, consistent, and intense artists. In this interview, conducted in 2008, Cave discusses longevity and reinvention.
Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on AlarmPress.com. Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.
Grinderman, the debauched incarnation of Nick Cave and key members of his Bad Seeds, is currently on tour in the US, with dates in Australia and England scheduled for early 2011. Contributing photographer Drew Reynolds attended the band’s recent show in Chicago at the Riviera and captured the band’s blues-rock swagger in high-contrast grayscale.