The Birthday Party existed from 1977-1983, and as aforementioned they originally began as The Boys Next Door. The name change came when they released the album entitled The Birthday Party and relocated to London from Melbourne.
They were these really arty post-punks who made this really sick and disturbing music. Once described to me as "Music for the strip club in Hell." And I think that's pretty accurate. Guitars sound wiry and screech all over the place. Drums pound more than they keep a beat. The basslines all sound vaguely... sleazy. And the vocals, care of the wonderful Nick Cave are howled, screamed, shouted, and moaned like only a heroin addict can do.
The members, incidentally, were: Rowland S. Howard (guitar), Tracy Pew (bass), Nick Cave (vocals), Mick Harvey (piano and guitar, primarily, but plays all sorts of funky stuff all over the crazy place), and Phill Calvert (drums).
They released three legitimate albums:
Also available are a few live albums, including a John Peel sessions disc, and a couple of compilations. The ironically titled Hits contains some of the group's best known songs. Hee-Haw is a compilation of that EP, The Birthday Party (album), and some assorted B-sides. Mutiny/The Bad Seed is a compilation of the last two Birthday Party EPs.
An interesting thing about Tracy Pew is that he always dressed up like a cowboy and is rumored to have died of an heroin overdose. The official reason for death, though, is cited as an epileptic fit he suffered in his hotel room.