1. The Boys Next Door (1979)
Nick Cave’s first band only released one album, Door, Door, but it held the DNA for all of his future projects, from creepy circus music to tales of loners and miscreants wandering the night in search of human contact. More important, it marked the first collaboration between Cave and bandmates Mick Harvey, Rowland Howard, and Tracy Pew, who stuck around as the Boys Next Door turned into the Birthday Party.
3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (1984)
The Bad Seeds are where Cave has honed his alchemy for the past few decades, and, along with its leader, the band’s sound has shifted and convulsed over the years. Their first album, From Her to Eternity, still has the rough edges of the Birthday Party, but the addition of Blixa Bargeld (Einstürzende Neubauten) on vocals and guitar helped refine their sound into something wilder, weirder, and more dynamic. The Bad Seeds incorporated a bluesy, villainous quality on Tender Prey, sent a demented and sexy valentine with Let Love In, and got downright croony on Murder Ballads before swerving back into dirty rock ‘n’ roll with 2008’s Dig, Lazarus, Dig!! The Bad Seeds’ vibe has flowed between the sleazy rock epitomized by Cave’s lupine leers in “Loverman,” Old Testament visions in “Red Right Hand,” and surprisingly elegant songs like “Henry Lee” — a duet with PJ Harvey, with whom Cave had a brief affair. Cave’s description of making the video for “Henry Lee” is intense; he told The Guardian, “That’s a one-take video. Nothing is rehearsed at all except we sit on this ‘love seat’. We didn’t know each other well, and this thing happens while we’re making the video. There’s a certain awkwardness, and afterwards it’s like, oh …” Oh, indeed.
Where we talk about goth under the Stasi and the greatest goth fest today. House searches could be conducted without a warrant (often when the…