Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

City: London, U.K.

Website: www.nickcave.com

Local show: 8 p.m. April 9; Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, S.F.; $59.50, www.ticketmaster.com

The skinny: I know it's early, but can we just name Nick Cave's latest as the best album of the year and be done with it? Cave and his Bad Seeds' 15th studio album, "Push the Sky Away," is a work of uncommon beauty, intoxicating twists and superb songwriting -- and I doubt anything will top it, artistically, in 2013. It's Cave's finest offering since 1996's "Murder Ballads." As an added bonus, these new songs sound just as mesmerizing on the stage. Cave and his marvelous band performed four "Push" tracks during its 10-song showcase at SXSW, and all of them were equal to the longtime fan favorites performed. That Cave, now 55, is still putting out songs that can go toe-to-toe with the likes of "The Mercy Seat" is quite amazing.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds perform during the SXSW Music Festival, on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds perform during the SXSW Music Festival, on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP Images) ( Jack Plunkett )

Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic.