Wednesday, December 30, 2009

For Rowland S. Howard

The Birthday Party are usually remembered as Nick Cave's first band. But had the Bad Seeds never recorded an album, The Birthday Party would still be a vital part of the post-punk explosion. As a funny, frightening and unpredictable gang of noise-rockers, they closed out the '70s much in the way that the Stooges opened them, by bringing rock music to its primal basics as well as a new level of intensity. However, unlike the Stooges, much of the music media hasn't caught up to The Birthday Party yet.

"Deep in the Woods"


Much of The Birthday Party's success stemmed from Rowland S. Howard, an idiosyncratic axeman with a heavy blues influence and a use of feedback that preceded Sonic Youth, The Jesus and Mary Chain and several other noted alternative experimentalists. Howard, who also performed with Lydia Lunch, These Immortal Souls and his own solo project, died from cancer this morning, and left behind one of the greatest legacies in modern Australian music. Rest in peace, Mr. Howard.

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