Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds on new B-Sides & Rarities compilation: “You can’t buy that stuff!”

As a new compilation featuring previously unreleased material from Nick Cave’s recent studio albums emerges, the Bad Seeds, with Cave himself, take us on a tour of their secret history – a rich and strange phantasmagoria of lost songs, near-forgotten gems and other sonic outcasts

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The Bad Seeds are scattered. Past and present members – along with their leader, Nick Cave – are in different corners of the world: Brighton, Greece, Melbourne, Berlin and London. They are spending the summer apart, but have come together – remotely, at least – to talk exclusively to Uncut about new Bad Seeds songs gathered up on B-Sides & Rarities Part II. Along with a clutch of rare tracks, this unreleased music, recorded between 2007 and 2019, presents Nick Cave unedited and unfiltered: the first take of the shadow king.

A follow-up to 2005’s B-Sides & Rarities Part I, this latest instalment includes completed songs that almost made it onto Skeleton Tree and Ghosteen, bizarre spoken-word improvisations, gorgeous duets and live recordings. These songs are the outcasts and the oddballs, the unguarded moments of extreme tenderness, deep irreverence, wicked humour and boundary pushing. For percussionist Jim Sclavunos, they are the “weird cousins” of the band’s official output.

Here, we have asked Nick Cave and Bad Seeds present and past – Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos, Thomas Wydler and Mick Harvey – to pick their favourite songs from Part I and Part II. But although these newer, errant additions to the Cave family are corralled onto Part II, they are also available as part of a seven-LP vinyl edition with Part I. Taken together, these offer the deepest archeological survey yet of the Bad Seeds’ archives. “Listening to them is so ridiculously enjoyable – there are moments that are truly inspired and then they just fall off the edge,” says Ellis, who compiled Part II. “There’s something about these songs that is entertaining, humorous and playful.”

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Nick and I had a chat during lockdown,” continues Ellis. “There was an idea floating around to update B-Sides & Rarities and bring it out on vinyl for the first time. The way we have been recording albums, particularly since Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!, is there is a lot of improvisation that goes on in the studio beforehand and we had a mountain of demos that never quite made it. I went through hours of tape and culled it down to four CDs and sent that to Nick, who culled it down to what he thought would work. Then I did a few little things to get them over the line. This was an opportunity to make a record of things people had literally never heard so people can hear this stuff in its raw and most fragile state.”

READ THE FULL STORY IN UNCUT OCTOBER 2021

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