Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, who both play in the Bad Seeds and Grinderman, score a lot of films together. Their latest endeavor is Hell or High Water, a David Mackenzie-directed film starring Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine. CBS Films will release the movie in theaters August 12, which is the same day the soundtrack comes out via Milan Records. It features several pieces of score from Cave and Ellis, plus songs by Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, Chris Stapleton, and others.
It's been nearly five years since Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds issued the manic, intense rock cabaret that was Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! Since then, the formation and breakup of Grinderman yielded two studio offerings, and Cave and Warren Ellis have composed a few film scores. Push the Sky Away, produced by Nick Launay, is painted with a deliberately limited sonic palette by Ellis. The album's sequencing makes it feel like a long, moody suite. While most of these songs contain simple melodies and arrangements that offer the appearance of vulnerability and tenderness, it is inside this framework that they eventually reveal their sharp fangs and malcontent.
This music documentary weaves together performances from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' 2016 album Skeleton Tree with candid footage of Cave opening up about the death of his 15-year-old son. Directed by Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).
When Grinderman released their debut in 2007, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos, and Martyn Casey created a reckless, drunken animal of an alter ego to the Bad Seeds. The album bridged territory mined by everyone from the Stooges to Suicide to Bo Diddley. Again recorded in the company of producer Nick Launay, Grinderman 2 is a more polished and studied affair than its predecessor, but it's a more sonically adventurous, white-hot rock & roll record. The opening, "Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man," comes closest to the songs on the previous album, but feels like it comes by way of Patti Smith's "Radio Ethiopia," Howlin' Wolf, and the Scientists. It's pure scummy, sleazy, in-the-red dissonant rock. The swampy, ribald blues of "Kitchenette," features Casey's bass roiling around distorted, Echoplexed electric guitar, electric bouzouki, and jungle-like tom-toms and kick drums. Cave does his best lecher-in-heat blues howl – if Charles Bukowski had sung the blues, this is what it would have sounded like.