Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bad Seeds' Top Picks at ATP

List Bad Seeds' top picks cultish, cutting edge and … cutesy

Karl Quinn
January 3, 2009

Nick Cave, one of the legendary wild men of rock, has just added one of cinema's soppiest movies to the festival he and his bandmates, the Bad Seeds, are curating.

The 1970 tear-jerker Love Story will screen in the film program at All Tomorrow's Parties festival at Mount Buller, alongside more predictable fare such as The Proposition, which was written by Cave, and Ghosts … of the Civil Dead, in which he had a leading role.

And Cave predicts he'll be shedding a tear, too. "I cry at anything in the cinema," the 51-year-old musician said. "I cry at British Telecom ads."

He chose the film, he said, because "I'm just an Ali MacGraw nut". His bandmates Mick Harvey and Warren Ellis picked most of the films for the first Australian incarnation of the English-born festival, "but I threw that one in there. In between all the Kurosawa films, I thought it would be good to have it."

There is, in fact, just one Kurosawa film, the Japanese director's 1950 masterpiece, Rashomon, but the program is likely to please cineastes: the French New Wave classic Le Samourai, Peckinpah's The Getaway, Korean movie The Isle. There's also a fair smattering of cultish Australian movies — Walkabout, The Boys, the 1975 junkies-in-Melbourne drama Pure Shit — plus Mel Gibson's Mayan epic, Apocalypto.

Also just announced for the festival is a visual arts program dedicated entirely to the works of Louis Wain. Wain rose to prominence in the late 19th century with his anthropomorphic images of cats behaving like Englishmen. He died, insane and in obscurity, in 1939, but his works have in recent years become highly collectable — by Nick Cave, among others.

So, are any of the 15 works on display Cave's? "Absolutely not," he said. "I've been lending mine out forever and I'm fucking sick of it. I want them back."


1 comment:

  1. You totally sold me on the Nick Cave thing. I'm an obsessive fan now, dammit

    Holy crap this is madness! I'm just like listening to nothing but those CDs you gave me the past few days since I got them and today I finally got to the last one I hadn't heard which was Let Love In (don't ask me why I listened to them in the order I did cause I don't even know, I just kind of randomly clicked on them I guess). But anyway I am like even more obsessed now! I mean, this is as someone who hasn't had much exposure to him previously and is just now getting my first good look at his work, and I am constantly amazed by the stuff he does. I'll listen to one album and think I know what his music is like but his music isn’t like just one thing. Let love in is different even than the other ones before, just like the others aren't like each other. I was initially thinking that it was either gonna be one thing or the other, and relatively easy to pin down, but it’s actually even more than just two categories. It is absolute nuts! If you go in order of year with the CDs I have he starts out with like that raw semi-psychotic dark amazing edge in from her to Eternity and then moves to Tender Prey which has some edge and darkness in the first half and then quiets down toward the end. Personally I like it when he's crazy and loud with his music (it's this wild, loose, experimental, devil-may-care vocal thing he does, like on from her to Eternity that I love) but his talent is undeniable on the slower calmer ones too. And all that is just on the surface -- this is all woven in with the instrumentation; haunting, beautiful, or just plain pissed off, all laced together with his amazing lyrics. This is very soon in the process so I haven't heard much of the lyrics on them (besides the ones I looked up and read) but every time I catch a line I'm like NICE. As a lyricist myself I love to see how other people do it and I could never do it like Nick Cave can. Sometimes the simplest path is the best – I try to overcomplicate things because I have this idea like everything I do will be boring and it isn’t creative unless it’s this complex thing or a constantly moving melody or whatever. I mean maybe that works best for my stuff but some people don’t need all that bullshit. Nick Cave’s music just IS. It’s perfect and it doesn’t sound like it’s trying at all. I’m envious and awed. And there’s also something to be said when lyrics can hold up without the music and his definitely can. He's a musician, but he's a POET. Like at the end of “the mercy seat” and he’s like repeating the same thing endlessly and it’s like “whoosh!” and then he hits you with the last line – I was like “oh shit!” It was great. I totally got chills. And the choices he makes to portray the words is subtle at times and then comes around the corner to smack you in the face. His strong, purposeful, wavering melodies compliment the harder turns in the music, like a dark warning to the unsuspecting civilians of the world. There's a perfected tragic compassion to all of it; a melodic innocence complimented by a darker, angsty vengefulness. Anyway, I got on a tangent. Is anyone surprised? No, not really.

    So it then moves to the Good Son, a very low key cut and probably my least favorite at the moment, but it's one of those I'll get more attached to as time goes on simply just because on the surface it's not so much my type of music right off. Once I hear his other stuff more though I’ll probably get more into it (geez I’m like the opposite of you aren’t I haha). But he does it well obviously and when I'm in the mood for that, I'm gonna listen to it and I'm going to cry. :P Henry's dream is one kind of like that but I'm not going to say just yet because I wasn't paying as much attention to it as I should have been when I heard it first (I was just listening to it in the background to get a feel for the sound). I don't remember much so my first reaction is vague but “Papa won't leave you Henry” I listened to like three times. That song rocks! I need to listen to that whole album again. Yeah, and Let love in was freaking intense and my favorite is when it's a slower song but he's still got it hanging there all ominously in the minor key. Every time I listen to “Red Right Hand” I get even more into it. I really used to take that song for granted. Now that I'm actually hearing it (maybe hearing it around his other stuff and complimented by the rest of the CD does it) I'm like FUCK! The lyrics are phenomenal as well; it’s right there smack dab in the "music that's my exact mood right now" category. I'm totally listening to that whole CD again when I'm done with this blog. One of my favorite things about the music I’ve started getting into within the past few years is the unease factor. If there’s something in the song that makes you go “ack!” but it’s like great too because you realize that’s totally why the artist put it there. If there’s like something in the way a line is said or a chord that’s like so uncomfortable it almost makes you not like it but shows how inventive or brave the artist is. Or like the lyrics say this crazy shit and then the performance makes it even more like nails on chalkboard and you’re like I really don’t want to picture this in my head but that’s the intention of it. You’re never going to be an effective artist if you are afraid to make people squirm. Nick Cave is one of those fearless artists – my hats off to him for that.

    Then of course, last but not least (and you know how I feel about this) Dig, Lazarus, Dig. I mean, now that I've been through all the CDs I feel like it wasn't as much of a returning to the older sound of his, but it was just a different side. Every CD – actually every song – is like this different thing and – I mean, having “in the ghetto” alongside “saint Huck,” I mean, what the hell! That's brilliant. That whole CD is brilliant. It’s just so freaking EVIL – it’s like this twisted little mess of whatever was there and he's like, “here you go, figure this one out mother fucker!” I think “in the ghetto” is awesome and people probably didn't like it just because it wasn't like half of the rest of the CD. If you're expecting all his songs to be the same then you're not going to like half of his stuff. You either like Nick Cave or you don't. You can’t be like “oh I like Nick Cave but only when he does ballads” or “But I only like his darker stuff.” I see now that I've listened to the many varied styles he’s done, that I do actually really like Nick Cave for that exact reason. He tries EVERYTHING and he will try some more different insane shit in the future (or make up something else anyway, cause his stuff can't really be categorized as a whole or even among single songs for that matter) and he will succeed in doing whatever it is he tries. I've heard this all now and been in the same mood musically, but the thing is he's got an album for my every mood. I can't wait to see what happens and I'm going to be even more attached when I investigate further. I need to listen to one CD like a dozen times and then pick another and do that same thing, etc. Shit why am I trying to describe this now? I haven't even scratched the surface yet – it's like seeing five minutes of a movie or something. For one, I'm not done watching the thing, and for another, if the movie's actually any good (which in this case it would be) it warrants watching it like at least another ten times to get the full effect and enjoy it properly. But even being only five minutes into it, I can tell it's going to be fuckin epic. *falls on floor* I'm not worthy!! :P