Results for Nick Cave

interviews

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Both Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' new album Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!, and Nick Cave's side project Grinderman are big favorites of our hosts. So when given the opportunity to have Cave and his Bad Seeds into the studio, Jim and Greg, of course, jumped at the chance. Cave has been making music, along with poetry, plays and novels, for three decades, and Jim and Greg are amazed that Cave has managed to be so strong for so long. And in fact, it's hard to tell that the man behind the dark, noisy and funny songs you hear on the show has passed the 50-year mark.

Go to episode 153

Mavis Staples

It's not often we get to share a room with a genuine national treasure. Jim and Greg were honored to speak with gospel and soul legend and Civil Rights icon Mavis Staples. (Greg is also the author of Mavis's 2014 biography I'll Take You There). Beginning her career at age eleven as the lead singer of her family band The Staple Singers, Mavis has inspired countless artists over the past half century.

Her father Pops Staples learned guitar at the feet of Charley Patton in Dockery Farms, Mississippi before moving to Chicago. There, he formed The Staple Singers, a gospel vocal group featuring his children – Pervis, Cleotha, Yvonne, and Mavis taking the lead. The combination of Pops's blues guitar, Cleotha's counterpoint, and Mavis's precociously powerful voice launched them into national attention with their 1956 hit "Uncloudy Day." Soon, the Staple Singers were at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement, often serving as the opening act to Martin Luther King, Jr. (We'll cover that period in more detail in a second episode with Mavis).

The group had its greatest success once it signed to Stax Records and began recording with the famed session musicians in Muscle Shoals, Alabama on hits like "I'll Take You There." That's also when Mavis began her solo career – reluctantly at first, but still going as strong as ever today. Her latest album Livin' on a High Note found her working with songwriters like Nick Cave, tUnE-yArDs, and Neko Case. Mavis offers Jim and Greg an intimate look at growing up on Chicago's South Side, forming the Staple Singers' signature sound, meeting Mahalia Jackson, and collaborating with Curtis Mayfield and Prince.

Go to episode 593

The Hold Steady

Jim and Greg welcome The Hold Steady this week. The Minneapolis born, Brooklyn bred band are on tour to promote their 2008 album Stay Positive. Our hosts talk to lead singer Craig Finn, guitarist Tad Kubler and keyboardist & accordionist Franz Nicolay about their“meat and potatoes”style of rock and roll. Greg notes that comparisons are often made to Bruce Springsteen, but the band also cites Nick Cave and Bob Dylan as influences. Jim explains to the band that he was not immediately a Hold Steady fan, and was only converted after seeing them live. Craig, Tad and Franz explain that they are happy to convert him. That, of course, is the power of rock.

Go to episode 165
specials

Episode 500!

Who knows how we did it, but Sound Opinions has made it to its 500th episode on public radio. Since debuting in December 2005, Jim and Greg have had the pleasure of interviewing many heroes, reviewing countless records, dissecting their favorite classic albums, and welcoming live performances by great artists. They reflect on the prehistory of the show, tracing its origins to previous incarnations on commercial radio. Then they highlight some of their favorite moments from the first 500 episodes, and look ahead to what they'd like to see in the next 500.

Go to episode 500

The First 500 Episodes of Sound Opinions

Who knows how we did it, but Sound Opinions has made it through more than 500 episodes on public radio. Since debuting in December 2005, Jim and Greg have had the pleasure of interviewing many heroes, reviewing countless records, dissecting their favorite classic albums, and welcoming live performances by great artists. They reflect on the prehistory of the show, tracing its origins to previous incarnations on commercial radio. Then they highlight some of their favorite moments from the first 500 episodes, and look ahead to what they'd like to see in the next 500.

Go to episode 526
reviews
Grinderman 2Grinderman available on iTunes

Grinderman Grinderman

Literary punk Nick Cave's new side project Grinderman is a Buried Treasure both Jim and Greg can agree on. The singer/songwriter is joined by Martyn Casey on bass, Jim Sclavunos on drums and Warren Ellis on electric bouzouki, violin and guitars.. The result is a filthy, punk-blues sound that Jim and Greg love. Jim in particular loves how frightening Cave can be and wishes there was more of that dark, dirty spark in rock and roll. Both the sound and the lyrics have a lot of attitude on this album, and Greg appreciates how Cave is thumbing his nose those who perceive him as an erudite professor. Both critics give Grinderman a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 87
Skeleton TreeSkeleton Tree available on iTunes

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree

Australian rock band Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are back with a new record called Skeleton Tree. The album is particularly dark, even by Cave's standards, and deals with the aftermath of the death of Cave's teenage son. Jim thinks it's a hard listen, even for fans. He wishes that the album had a moment of redemption at the end, but recognizes that perhaps Cave has not yet found it. For those reasons, he gives Skeleton Tree a Try It. Greg agrees that the record is harrowing, meditating on questions of the pointlessness of life and how to carry on after losing a loved one. The way Cave interprets these songs is tragically beautiful, with vocals unlike any he's ever provided, and Greg feels he's working toward the light. While Skeleton Tree may not be something you want to listen to all the time, he gives it a Buy It for its earnest beauty.

JimGreg
Go to episode 565
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! available on iTunes

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!

Critically acclaimed side project Grinderman, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are back together for a new album called Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! Both Jim and Greg loved the Grinderman album. In fact, it took Jim's number one slot last year. But, while that record got an A+ from Jim, Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! merely gets an A. Both he and Greg are impressed with Cave's ability to get stronger with age. He loves Cave's brilliant, intellectual lyrics that are full of humor and gives the album a Buy It. Greg agrees that the songwriter really amped up the humor, along with standard Cave topics like sex, death and religion. Amazingly those subjects fit into hook-filled pop songs, prompting Greg to give the album another Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 125
Grinderman 2 (Deluxe Version)Grinderman 2 available on iTunes

Grinderman Grinderman 2

Now it comes time to look at a new sophomore effort: Grinderman 2. Nick Cave's blues punk side project wowed Jim and Greg with its debut. And with this one, they've proved they can do more than just pure, raw energy. Jim hears a lot more experimentation, but also a lot more melody. Greg even found some songs just plain creepy. He calls Cave a wonderful“nasty rock and roll machine.”Grinderman 2 gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 252
Push the Sky Away (Deluxe Edition)Push the Sky Away available on iTunes

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Push the Sky Away

Nick Cave, of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, is a modern renaissance man-novelist, poet, actor, playwright, and of course rocker. Now, with his band, he's released the ensemble's 15th album called Push the Sky Away. Greg is impressed with the scope of the lyrics-from the God Particle to Hannah Montana. This record is more introspective and more minimalist, and Greg says Buy It. Jim is disappointed and wishes the tracks were less monotonous and less quiet. He misses the punk explosion and can only recommend you Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 378
Livin' on a High NoteLivin' On a High Note available on iTunes

Mavis Staples Livin' On a High Note

Mavis Staples had a legendary career with her family's gospel and soul band The Staple Singers, which was a major part of the protest movement of the 1960s and scored huge hits for Stax in the 1970s. Mavis reinvented herself as solo artist in 2000s, collaborating on records with Ry Cooder and Jeff Tweedy. For Livin' On a High Note, she and producer M. Ward as a producer asked a variety of contemporary songwriters to write material for her to sing, including Neko Case, Nick Cave, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. Jim loves how the best songs bring Mavis full circle by referencing on the Black Lives Matter movement. While the other songs are hit and miss, Mavis Staples is a“national treasure”and her voice is as powerful as ever. Jim is still waiting for her end career masterpiece, but this album is a definite Buy It. Greg – who literally wrote the book on Mavis Staples – points to We'll Never Turn Back as her masterpiece, but says this album is very good too. He loves what she does even with the lesser songs, like Vernon's generic love song, which she transforms into a moving address to her sister Yvonne Staples. In the middle of her 70s, Mavis Staples is doing some of the best work of her career.

JimGreg
Go to episode 536
Years of RefusalYears of Refusal available on iTunes

Morrissey Years of Refusal

Morrissey is back with a new album, Years of Refusal, and an old attitude. The songs on his last release Ringleader of the Tormentors showed a softer, happier side of the Irish rocker. But, as his fans know, Moz is best when he is miserable. Greg compares his newfound mid-life aggression to that of Nick Cave. The quips aren't as witty as some of Morrissey's best, but the music is as good as ever. Greg gives it a Buy It. Jim agrees. This is some of the best work Morrissey has ever done. He also gives a Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 169
Sea of CowardsSea of Cowards available on iTunes

The Dead Weather Sea of Cowards

Jack White might be the new hardest-working man in show business. Not only does he front his original band The White Stripes, but he's a member of The Raconteurs and most recently The Dead Weather. That group just released its second album in less than a year called Sea of Cowards. White is joined by Alison Mosshart from The Kills on vocals and Dean Fertita from Queens of the Stone Age. But, as Greg explains, it's White's stamp that's all over this record. He does the songwriting and production. Jim hears a lot of enthusiasm in the music, and it holds together more as a project than the self-titled debut. He compares White to Nick Cave — the music is dangerous and enticing and gets a Buy It rating. Greg can‘t believe Jim would compare White to Cave — he doesn’t think he has nearly the same songwriting chops. And the songwriting is where Sea of Cowards falls off for Greg. He loves the attitude and sound, but thinks the songs are fragments at best. It gets a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 233
HumbugHumbug available on iTunes

Arctic Monkeys Humbug

Arctic Monkeys also have a new album out called Humbug. For their 3rd release the UK band traveled to the California desert to work with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age (and now Them Crooked Vultures) fame. Jim loves the result. It has all of the charm and wit of their breakout debut, but with a dark ambience inspired by Nick Cave or Scott Walker. He gives the record a Buy It rating. Greg applauds them for trying to change the pace with this release, but he doesn't think the songwriting is as strong. To Greg the melodies and exuberance have been replaced with texture and ambience. He gives Humbug a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 196
dijs

Jim

“She's Not There”The Zombies

Jim's Desert Island Jukebox selection is inspired by his television guilty pleasure: True Blood. While he was disappointed by the season premiere, he loved hearing Neko Case and Nick Cave duet on a cover of "She's Not There." But nothing compares to The Zombies‘ 1964 original. It combines beautiful chords and harmony vocals with a dark, sinister undertone. Plus you can’t beat those keys or Colin Blunstone's vocals.

Go to episode 292
lists

Strange Bedfellows of Rock

aerosmith-run-dmc Sometimes an odd pairing comes off like peanut butter and chocolate (Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C.). Othertimes, peanut butter and sardines (Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson). And the most recent odd couple is Kanye West and Paul McCartney, with the first single from West's forthcoming album. But during this segment, Jim and Greg remember the most successful "Strange Bedfellows."

Go to episode 478

Halloween Picks 2006

During the final segment of the show, our Halloween-loving hosts play their picks for scariest rock songs.

Greg

Greg's first choice is "Dead Souls" by Joy Division. This band didn't necessarily look scary, but they definitely have a dark history. Lead singer Ian Curtis suffered from epilepsy and would often have seizures onstage. He committed suicide in 1980, cementing the band's tortured image.

Greg's second song is Johnny Cash's cover of "The Mercy Seat" by Nick Cave. Cave is often associated with the Goth movement, but Cash is not someone you usually think of on a spooky Halloween night. This song fits perfectly into Cash's repertoire. It tells the story of a death row inmate on the last night of his life. Benmont Tensch's backing music in particular lends a haunting feel.

Jim

Jim wanted to illustrate Goth's influence on other genres with his first pick. The group Bloodrock is composed of your average hard-rock“buffoons,”according to Jim, but Jim can't think of anything more gothic than the subject of their song "D.O.A." It tells the tale of a car crash victim on his way to the other side (and it sounds like the bad side).

Jim's final track is by Susan Janet Dallion, otherwise known as Siouxsie Sioux. Siouxsie emerged out of the Bromley punk scene to join the Banshees and form her own distinctive sound. Her look and her sound solidified the singer as female Goth icon. The Beatles' song "Dear Prudence" isn‘t particularly scary, but Siouxie’s menacing vocals give it an ominous tone. In this rendition, Jim imagines that Prudence's fate is not unlike that of most horror film heroines.

Go to episode 47

Best Albums of 2016

Go to episode 576
news

Music News

For the third year in a row the Lollapalooza Music Festival took over Chicago's Grant Park for a weekend. Jim and Greg were both there to report on how the festivities went down, and both critics agree the highlight was, by far, Iggy Pop and the Stooges. The punk rocker's high-energy performance toed that line between good fun and danger, something Jim wishes there was more of in rock and roll. Something Jim also wished there was more of at the festival was less of a“shopping mall”environment. He asked Lollapalooza impresario Perry Farrell about the need for such extensive VIP sections and the effect that things like the“radius clause”have on struggling bands and struggling clubs. Greg actually thought the festival was run quite well and treated fans with respect; there was plenty of food, water and bathrooms — something he can‘t say about all other festivals. This critic’s major beef with Lollapalooza is mostly aesthetic. He would like to see fewer stages, fewer filler bands, and more emphasis on thoughtful bookings. We'll just have to wait until Lollapalooza 2008 to see if they take this free advice.

The news takes a slightly darker turn next, with two stories involving Adolf Hitler and Hitler memorabilia. The first concerns the pop purveyor of all things dark: Marilyn Manson. The goth-glam rocker is being sued for $20 million by his former keyboardist, known to fans as Madonna Wayne Gacy. He claims that Manson spent band profits on personal items, including coat hangers used by Adolf Hitler, a handbag owned by Eva Braun, and the full skeleton of a four-year old Chinese girl. Manson says the claims are ridiculous, adding, "I would never spend my money on a Chinese girl skeleton… That would be crossing the line. It's a Chinese boy, for the record.‘’

Another surprising news item: Around 100 records apparently belonging to Adolf Hitler have been discovered in a former Soviet intelligence officer's attic. The collection reveals that while Hitler was publicly heralding“racially pure”German music, his musical taste included some artists forbidden in the Third Reich. Some of the findings were not shocking: Wagner, Beethoven and Anton Bruckner. But, the dictator also appears to have owned works by Jewish and Russian performers like Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninov and Artur Schnabel.

To quote Elton John's own song, "The Bitch is Back." The singer/songwriter has popped up in the news again, this time expressing his beef with…the Internet, of all things. In a piece in British tabloid The Sun, John contends that the web has destroyed music, and explains, "I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole Internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span." Sir Elton adds that he's doing his part by shutting out iPods and cellphones, and, we can only guess, communication with the world. Apparently this musician hasn't had the same experience with music on the internet as fellow Brits Lily Allen or Pete Townshend.

Just a week after Jim lauded his new album Cake or Death, psychedelic cowboy Lee Hazlewood died of cancer at the age of 78. The musician is best known for writing and producing hits for others, including "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" for Nancy Sinatra. But, Jim and Greg discuss how he developed a cult following in later years, and became legendary for his innovation and independence. This earned him the adoration of a new generation of rock musicians that includes Nick Cave and Sonic Youth. Jim and Greg pay tribute to Hazlewood by playing his song, "Some Velvet Morning."

Go to episode 89