Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds -- Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (Anti) A funny thing happened to Nick Cave on the way to Goth Heaven. He remembered his past, fronting Australia's Birthday Party, the most intense bunch of post-punks who committed mayhem to vinyl. Last year's Grinderman project, a glorious blast of deranged garage blues, lifted the headstone on a history almost buried by sedate latter-day Cave outings. This CD is even more entertainingly disturbing. Cave's tight wire between sacred and profane is taut as ever; witness his modern recasting of Lazarus as an unwilling resurrectee on the title track, and "Albert Goes West" sounds like the payoff on the twisted Americana Cave has been crafting his whole career.
The Heavy --Great Vengeance and Furious Fire (Counter Records) Let's call it mega-soul: heady, visceral stuff that lives up to the name of the band playing it. This British five-piece, fronted by a man with the name of Swaby, starts with a classic R&B; template from the Screamin' Jay Hawkins school and decks it out with modern touches that borrow from garage rock, hip-hop and funk. The result is a bass-heavy riot of deep grooves and lo-fi touches on the band's debut. Swaby croons as if he's holding back a tidal wave of pent-up emotion and letting just a little at a time slip through. Keyboard player Hannah Collins adds a startlingly sweet feminine touch with backing vocals on "Set Me Free." Great Vengeance is an entrancing peek at crush-worthy musical raw power.