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The Peel Sessions is a live compilation album by Australian post-punk band The Birthday Party, originally released in May 2001 via Strange Fruit.

Consisting of Nick Cave (vocals, saxophone), Mick Harvey (guitar, vocals, drums, keyboards), Tracy Pew (bass, vocals), Phill Calvert (drums), and Rowland S. Howard (guitar, vocals), The Birthday Party were formed during the group’s years at Caulfield Grammar School, Melbourne, during the early seventies (with the exception of Howard who joined the group later). The band was initially called The Boys Next Door and changed their name to The Birthday Party in 1980.

Greatly affected by the punk explosion of 1976, The Boys Next Door began performing punk and proto-punk cover versions, such as “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “Gloria“, as well as original songs. By the end of 1977, their set was dominated by fast original new wave material, such as “Sex Crimes” and “Masturbation Generation“. The band’s second guitarist, Rowland S. Howard, joined in 1978.

In 1980, The Birthday Party moved from Melbourne to London, where they were championed by broadcaster John Peel. Disillusioned by their stay in London, the band’s sound and live shows became increasingly violent, and shortly after relocating to Berlin in 1983, the group broke up.

Despite limited commercial success, The Birthday Party’s influence has been far-reaching, and they have been called “one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early ’80s”. The group’s “bleak and noisy soundscapes,” which drew irreverently on blues, free jazz, and rockabilly, provided the setting for vocalist Nick Cave‘s disturbing tales of violence and perversion, and their single “Release the Bats” was particularly influential on the emerging gothic scene.

The Birthday Party recorded four separate Peel Sessions on 10 September 1980, 21 April 1981, 2 December 1981 and 15 November 1982.

UK radio DJ John Peel had a massively influential show on BBC Radio 1 from 1967 to his death in 2004, often having bands come into the studio to record exclusive performances for his show.

Each session with John Peel consisted of four tracks. These recordings have never been officially released in this configuration on a vinyl package before.

This 2LP set (4 sides x 4 tracks) consists of every Peel Session the band recorded. The album has been pressed on 180 gram vinyl at Pallas in Germany, one of the world’s best record pressing plants.

Brand new album artwork has been created especially for this release. This 2018 Record Store Day release has been produced in conjunction and with the full cooperation of the band.




No. Track Time
A1 Cry 2:57
A2 Yard 4:28
A3 Figure Of Fun 2:19
A4 King Ink 4:09
B1 Release The Bats 2:34
B2 Rowland Around In That Stuff 3:29
B3 Sometimes Pleasure Heads Must Burn 2:35
B4 Loose 3:36
C1 Big-Jesus-Trash-Can 3:04
C2 She’s Hit 5:41
C3 Bully Bones 2:45
C4 Six Inch Gold Blade 3:38
D1 Pleasure Avalanche 4:13
D2 Deep In The Woods 4:40
D3 Sonny’s Burning 2:58
D4 Marry Me (Lie! Lie) 3:52

Additional information

Weight .5 kg
Dimensions 40 × 40 × 5 cm

Record Size




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