4AD

Purity Ring “Womb” (4AD)

2020-05-14T23:35:40+00:00May 14th, 2020|

After more than five years, Purity Ring release their third album. Womb released via 4AD, is entirely produced and recorded by the duo of Megan James and Corin Roddick.

Womb chronicles a quest for comfort, the search for a resting place in a world where so much is beyond our control. The striking vulnerability of “ruby insides” – “If I could, I would let you see through me” – charts a course that’s both intensely personal and deeply connected to those close to us, our kin whether by nature or nurture. As the ground shifts beneath their feet, Womb’s characters help one another face death, despair, and world-altering discovery with resilience and grace. For all the terrain it encompasses, Womb’s quest culminates in “stardew”, a glittering, transcendent invitation to “just be where you are” – to experience the kind of powerful peace that can only be found by truly coming home.

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Cocteau Twins “Garlands” (4AD)

2020-03-20T19:50:10+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Originally released in June of 1982, the debut album by the Cocteau Twins is considered far darker than some of their later offerings, being influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees, early Cure and the Birthday Party. During this early period, Will Heggie’s bass played a significant role in defining their sound, giving it a darker and heavily rhythmic, earthy texture. This combined with Robin Guthrie’s minimalistic and heavily effected guitar arrangements; a great deal of distortion and feed-back, smoothed out with chorus, reverb and flanger. Beneath is the roland 808 drum machine thumping along, as distinctively Cocteau sounding as the guitar. All while Elizabeth Fraser seemed to veer into glossolalia and mouth music. Garlands marks the beginning of their haunting ethereal sound. A masterpiece.

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Cocteau Twins “Victorialand” (4AD)

2020-03-20T19:49:36+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Victorialand, Cocteau Twins’ fourth album, was released in spring 1986. The largely acoustic, non-percussive album was made with Elizabeth and Robin, while Simon was working on This Mortal Coil’s second album, Filigree&Shadow. Dif Juz label mate Richard Thomas guested on tabla and saxophone. The Guardian said”It’s not quite ambient, but it’s definitely not rock’n’roll even by the Cocteaus’ standards, building on the moments of guitar shimmer from the previous years’ EPs, while also stripping back at points to where it’s nothing but a Guthrie guitar line and Fraser’s voice.

LP – First vinyl pressing since the 80s cut at 33⅓ RPM.

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U.S. Girls “Heavy Light” (4AD)

2020-03-13T20:33:44+00:00March 12th, 2020|

The highly anticipated seventh album by U.S. Girls, the protean musical enterprise of multi-disciplinary artist Meg Remy, will be released on 6th March entitled Heavy Light.

While Remy has been widely acclaimed for a panoply of closely observed character studies, on Heavy Light she turns inward, recounting personal narratives to create a deeply introspective about-face.  The songs are an inquest into the melancholy flavour of hindsight, both personal and cultural.  Remy makes this notion formally explicit with the inclusion of three re-worked, previously released songs: ‘Statehouse (It’s A Man’s World)’, ‘Red Ford Radio’, and ‘Overtime’, the latter of which is released as Heavy Light’s lead single.

Heavy Light is produced by Remy and was recorded live with 20 session musicians – including E Street Band saxophonist Jake Clemons – in Montreal’s acclaimed Hotel 2 Tango studio.  Remy worked with co-writers Basia Bulat and Rich Morel to develop the core of Heavy Light, a set of songs conceived as a balance between orchestral percussion (as richly arranged by percussionist Ed Squires) and the human voice (conducted by Kritty Uranowski).  The resulting album finds Remy casting herself as lead voice among a harmonious multitude, the singers of which lend not only their voices, but also share reflections on childhood experiences that are collaged into moving spoken word interludes throughout the album.  The album is mixed by long-time collaborators Maximilian ‘Twig’ Turnbull, Steve Chahley and Tony Price.

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The Pale Saints “The Comforts Of Madness” (4AD)

2020-01-18T21:48:05+00:00January 18th, 2020|

On the eve of a post-Thatcherite Britain, the Pale Saints, alongside the likes of Lush, Ride and Slowdive, were ushering in a new wave of British indie. And in 4AD, they found a perfect home for their music – an exciting & undeniable meld of noise and dream-pop.
Their debut album, The Comforts of Madness, didn’t disappoint, now standing as one of the best of its era. Pitchfork placed it in their Best 50 Shoegaze Albums Of All Time saying, “There’s a restless urgency, particularly when the volume swells and the rhythms intensify. That energy not only keeps (it) vital, it emphasizes Pale Saints’ inventiveness, how they channelled softness and rage into something distinctive.”
Nearly 30 years on and The Comforts of Madness is finally getting the reissue treatment. Having been remastered, a faithful LP repress on black vinyl is being released with a bonus disc of previously unreleased demos and the band’s only John Peel Session, recorded in 1989.

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Gene Clark “No Other” (4AD)

2019-11-15T05:13:19+00:00November 15th, 2019|

Contains the LP, 3x SACDs (the original album in an authentic Japanese vinyl replica sleeve plus two more discs of session mixes), exclusive 7”, comprehensive Blu-Ray disc which includes HD versions of all tracks, 5.1 surround mix of the album, the original 1974 vinyl master and an exclusive documentary, a hardbound 80 page book which features essays, extensive liner notes and previously unseen photos

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Velvet Negroni “Neon Brown” (4AD)

2019-10-11T03:16:19+00:00October 11th, 2019|

Velvet Negroni is the alter-ego of creative polymath Jeremy Nutzman. Raised in an outer suburb of the Twin Cities, Jeremy – a black kid adopted into a white evangelical Christian family – split his formative years between classical piano lessons and late night jam sessions. A duality that permeates every corner of his music, with his album Neon Brown thriving in the borderlands between indie rock and R&B.
Since touring with close friend Bon Iver, Nutzman notched writing credits for Kanye West and Kid Cudi ahead of his debut single releases on NYC label b4 in 2018. Now, alongside prolific co-producer Psymun (Young Thug, Juice WLRD, The Weeknd), Nutzman’s new releases transcend the borders between his often polarised influences, bringing R&B slow jams and nods to hometown hero Prince with guitar licks and full band energy.

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Big Thief “Two Hands” (4AD)

2019-10-11T03:16:19+00:00October 11th, 2019|

Big Thief had only just finished work on their 3rd album, U.F.O.F. – “the celestial twin” – days before in a cabin studio in the woods of Washington State. Now it was time to birth U.F.O.F.’s sister album – “the earth twin” – Two Hands. 30 miles west of El Paso, surrounded by 3,000 acres of pecan orchards and only a stone’s throw from the Mexican border, Big Thief set up their instruments as close together as possible to capture their most important collection of songs yet. Where U.F.O.F. layered mysterious sounds and effects for levitation, Two Hands grounds itself on dried-out, cracked desert dirt.
In sharp contrast to the wet environment of the U.F.O.F. session, the southwestern Sonic Ranch studio was chosen for its vast desert location. The 105-degree weather boiled away any clinging memories of the green trees and wet air of the previous session. Two Hands had to be completely different— an album about the Earth and the bones beneath it. The songs were recorded live with almost no overdubs. All but two songs feature entirely live vocal takes, leaving Adrianne’s voice suspended above the mix in dry air, raw and vulnerable as ever. With raw power and intimacy, Two Hands folds itself gracefully into Big Thief’s impressive discography. This body of work grows deeper and more inspiring with each new album.

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Frank Black “Teenager Of The Year” (4AD)

2019-08-16T03:41:53+00:00August 16th, 2019|

Frank Black’s Teenager of the Year came out in 1994, one year after his self-ti- tled debut solo album. In a rich song- writing vein, the double album of 22 songs never drags, instead its now widely regarded as the defining state- ment of his solo career. Among the plaudits thrown its way was Pitchfork ranking it in their Top 100 Albums of the 90s, saying “beneath its veneer lie moments brilliant enough to rival any of the Pixies’ 1990s work, and Black’s greatest lyrical achievements.”

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Frank Black “Frank Black” (4AD)

2019-08-16T03:41:53+00:00August 16th, 2019|

Recorded during the hiatus and eventual-breakup first-time round of the Pixies in late-1992, front-man Black Francis invert his stage persona for his solo work.  Co-produced with Eric Drew Feldman (Captain Beefheart / Pere Ubu), Frank let his inner rock historian loose on his debut album by thrillingly channelling greats like Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, the Beach Boys and David Bowie in a way that felt like a seamless next step on from Trompe Le Monde (the last Pixies album before they re- convened two decades later).  Frank Black was originally released in March 1993.

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The National “I Am easy To Find” (4AD)

2019-05-17T19:12:25+00:00May 17th, 2019|

On 3rd September 2017, director Mike Mills emailed Matt Berninger to introduce himself and in very short order, the most ambitious project of the National’s nearly 20-year career was born and plans for a hard-earned vacation died.  The Los Angeles-based filmmaker was coming off his third feature, 20th Century Women, and was interested in working with the band on… something.  A video maybe. Berninger, already a fan of Mills’ films, not only agreed to collaborate, he essentially handed over the keys to the band’s creative process.

The result is I Am Easy to Find, a 24-minute film by Mills starring Alicia Vikander, and I Am Easy to Find, a 68-minute album by the National.  The former is not the video for the latter; the latter is not the soundtrack to the former.  The two projects are, as Mills calls them, “Playfully hostile siblings that love to steal from each other” — they share music and words and DNA and impulses and a vision about what it means to be human in 2019, but don’t necessarily need one another.  The movie was composed like a piece of music; the music was assembled like a film, by a film director.  The frontman and natural focal point was deliberately and dramatically sidestaged in favour of a variety of female voices, nearly all of whom have long been in the group’s orbit.  It is unlike anything either artist has ever attempted and also totally in line with how they’ve created for much of their careers.

As the album’s opening track, ‘You Had Your Soul With You,’ unfurls, it’s so far, so National: a digitally manipulated guitar line, skittering drums, Berninger’s familiar baritone, mounting tension.  Then around the 2:15 mark, the true nature of I Am Easy To Find announces itself: the racket subsides, strings swell, and the voice of long-time David Bowie bandmate Gail Ann Dorsey booms out—not as background vocals, not as a hook, but to take over the song.  Elsewhere it’s Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, or Sharon Van Etten, or Mina Tindle or Kate Stables of This Is the Kit, or varying combinations of them.  The Brooklyn Youth Choir, whom Bryce Dessner had worked with before.  There are choral arrangements and strings on nearly every track, largely put together by Bryce in Paris—not a negation of the band’s dramatic tendencies, but a redistribution of them.

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Holly Herndon “Proto” (4AD)

2019-05-17T19:12:25+00:00May 17th, 2019|

Holly Herndon operates at the nexus of technological evolution and musical euphoria. Holly’s third full-length album ‘PROTO’ isn’t about A.I., but much of it was created in collaboration with her own A.I. ‘baby’, Spawn.

For the album, she assembled a contemporary ensemble of vocalists, developers, guest contributors (Jenna Sutela, Jlin, Lily Anna Haynes, Martine Syms) and an inhuman intelligence housed in a DIY souped-up gaming PC to create a record that encompasses live vocal processing and timeless folk singing, and places an emphasis on alien song craft and new forms of communion.

‘PROTO’ makes reference to what Holly refers to as the protocol era, where rapidly surfacing ideological battles over the future of A.I. protocols, centralised and decentralised internet protocols, and personal and political protocols compel us to ask ourselves who are we, what are we, what do we stand for, and what are we heading towards?

You can hear traces of Spawn throughout the album, developed in partnership with long time collaborator Mathew Dryhurst and ensemble developer Jules LaPlace, and even eavesdrop on the live training ceremonies conducted in Berlin, in which hundreds of people were gathered to teach Spawn how to identify and reinterpret unfamiliar sounds in group call-and-response singing sessions; a contemporary update on the religious gathering Holly was raised amongst in her upbringing in East Tennessee.

“There’s a pervasive narrative of technology as dehumanizing,” says Holly. “We stand in contrast to that. It’s not like we want to run away; we’re very much running towards it, but on our terms. Choosing to work with an ensemble of humans is part of our protocol. I don’t want to live in a world in which humans are automated off stage. I want an A.I. to be raised to appreciate and interact with that beauty.” Since her arrival in 2012, Holly has successfully mined the edges of electronic and Avant Garde pop and emerged with a dynamic and disruptive canon of her own, all while studying for her soon-to-be-completed PhD at Stanford University, researching machine learning and music.

 

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Aldous Harding “Designer” (4AD)

2019-05-02T22:28:41+00:00May 2nd, 2019|

Aldous Harding release her third album, Designer, on 4AD. Designer finds the New Zealander hitting her creative stride. After the sleeper success of the internationally lauded Party, Harding came off a 100-date tour last summer and went straight into the studio with a collection of songs written on the road. Reuniting with John Parish, producer of Party, Harding spent 15 days recording and 10 days mixing at Rockfield Studios, Monmouth and Bristol’s J&J Studio and Playpen. From the bold strokes of opening track Fixture Picture, there is an overriding sense of an artist confident in their work, with contributions from Huw Evans (H. Hawkline), Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo), drummer Gwion Llewelyn and violinist Clare Mactaggart broadening and complimenting Harding’s rich and timeless songwriting.

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Big Thief “U.F.O.F.” (4AD)

2019-05-02T22:16:07+00:00May 2nd, 2019|

U.F.O.F., F standing for ‘Friend’, is the name of the highly anticipated third record by Big Thief, set to be released on 3rd May 2019 via 4AD.

U.F.O.F. was recorded in rural western Washington at Bear Creek Studios. In a large cabin-like room, the band set up their gear to track live with engineer Dom Monks and producer Andrew Sarlo, who was also behind their previous albums. Having already lived these songs on tour, they were relaxed and ready to experiment. The raw material came quickly. Some songs were written only hours before recording and stretched out instantly, first take, vocals and all.

“Making friends with the unknown… All my songs are about this,” says Lenker; “If the nature of life is change and impermanence, I’d rather be uncomfortably awake in that truth than lost in denial.”

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Mwethyl Ethyl “Triage” (4AD)

2019-02-22T03:09:43+00:00February 22nd, 2019|

Triage marks the Perth, Australia band’s third studio album; it was written, produced and performed by lead singer Jake Webb, mixed by Marta Salogni and mastered by Heba Kadry. It was recorded in Webb’s home studio in West Perth. With his thirtieth birthday, and the ceremonial cap on three records and three EP’s, Webb felt a sense of closure in the making of Triage. Methyl Ethel has always been a surrealist outfit – a dark and obscured expression of life set to the backdrop of dream pop hooks. But Triage is a more reflective album – one that explores the notion of coming of age, only to reference it for the snapshots and passing memories that it has become.

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Beirut “Gallipoli” (4AD)

2019-02-01T05:44:30+00:00February 1st, 2019|

Gallipoli, Beirut’s fifth album, started life when Zach Condon returned to his old Farfisa organ, the same one he used to write his first two albums, Gulag Orkestar (2006) and The Flying Club Cup (2007). After stints writing and recording in both New York and Berlin, with time for Zach to recover from a broken arm factored in, band plus producer Gabe Wax (Speedy Ortiz, Soccer Mommy, Adrianne Lenker / Big Thief) headed to Puglia in Italy to finish the album.
With the remote rural setting “the right amount of isolated”, an intense month of 12 to 16-hour days in the studio with day trips around the coastline followed. Inspired by the surroundings, Gallipoli is unintentionally more visceral than Beirut’s more recent albums, alive with an energy that is further enhanced by every creak and groan of their instruments, every detuned note, and all amp buzz and technical malfunction being left in the cracks of the songs.

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Deerhunter “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?” (4AD)

2019-01-25T04:57:33+00:00January 25th, 2019|

Deerhunter’s eighth LP forgets the questions and makes up unrelated answers. It gets up, walks around, it records itself in several strategic geographic points across North America. It comes home, restructures itself and goes back to bed to avoid the bad news.

From the opening harpsichord and piano figures of ‘Death in Midsummer’, it is impossible to tell where the record came from. Is ‘No One’s Sleeping’ an outtake of an aborted Kinks recording session in 1977 Berlin with Eno producing? No. That is nostalgia. If there is one thing Deerhunter are making clear it is that they have exhausted themselves with that toxic concept.

What they spend their time doing instead is reinventing their approach to microphones, the drum kit, the harpsichord, the electromechanical and synthetic sounds of keyboards. Whatever guitars are left are pure chrome, plugged straight into the mixing desk with no amplifier or vintage warmth.

The result is as thrilling, haunting, and unpredictable as anything in their roughly 15-year career.

Deerhunter have made a science fiction album about the present. Is it needed right now? Is it relevant? Perhaps only to a small audience. DADA was a reaction to the horrors of war. Punk was a reaction to the slow and vacant 70’s. Hip Hop was a liberated musical culture that challenged the notions presented wholesale about the African-American experience. What is popular music today a reaction to?

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Pixies “Come On Pilgrim…It’s Surfer Rosa” (4AD)

2018-12-17T01:04:59+00:00October 5th, 2018|

30th anniversary edition of Pixies’ very first release, the eight-track mini-album Come On Pilgrim and the band’s first full album, Surfer Rosa.

Gold 3xLP edition Pixies “Come On Pilgrim…It’s Surfer Rosa”with new artwork reimagined by original designer Vaughan Oliver and the bonus disc, Live From The Fallout Shelter – one of the earliest recordings of the band, a concert / session that first aired in late 1986 on WJUL-FM in Lowell, MA.

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Lemon Twigs “Go to School” (4AD)

2018-08-24T17:44:28+00:00August 24th, 2018|

The Lemon Twigs’ most ambitious project yet, Go To School is a concept album about a chimpanzee named Shane who is adopted by childless aspiring musicians and raised as a human. Written, Recorded, Produced and Mixed By Brian and Michael D’Addario in their Long Island home studio, the album features Todd Rundgren and their mother Susan Hall’s vocals as Shane’s adopted parents, as well as Jody Stephens of Big Star on drums, Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood providing backing vocals and a host of string and horn players, some of which taught the Brian and Michael in school.

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Gang Gang Dance “Kazuashita” (4AD)

2018-06-22T18:03:40+00:00June 22nd, 2018|

Kazuashita – the first record by Gang Gang Dance since the acclaimed Eye Contact in 2011 – is an intoxicating mix of shoegaze and electronic ambience, all held together by Lizzi Bougatsos and her otherworldly vocal.  Bougatsos, alongside founding members Brian DeGraw and Josh Diamond, formed the group as an improvisational outfit in the early 2000s, and have consistently worked to blur the boundaries between music and art; as comfortable today performing at the Whitney Biennial as they are at Coachella, and count Dash Snow & Nate Lowman, Tinchy Stryder and the Boredoms as previous collaborators.

Kazuashita was produced by DeGraw after recording sessions across several New York studios and art spaces, the band worked with drummer Ryan Sawyer (who met the band through the Boredoms’ BOADRUM project) and Jorge Elbrecht (who worked on additional production and mixing duties).  Featuring a cover image from photographer David Benjamin Sherry.

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Breeders “Pod” (4AD)

2018-05-18T17:44:59+00:00May 18th, 2018|

Pod, the 1990 debut featuring the line-up of Pixie’s Kim Deal, Throwing Muses’ Tanya Donelly, the Perfect Disaster’s Josephine Wiggs and Slint’s Britt Walford, was recorded by Steve Albini.  Kurt Cobain listed the record as one of his top three favourite albums saying, “the way they structure [the songs] is totally unique.”  Critically acclaimed when it came out, Pod’s legacy lives on – Pitchfork called it a “blissful mindfuck of a record,” and ranked it in their Best Albums of the 90s.

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Breeders “Last Splash” (4AD)

2018-05-18T17:44:59+00:00May 18th, 2018|

Last Splash was recorded in 1993 by what is now regarded as the ‘classic’ Breeders line-up of Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson.  Including the twisted pop singles ‘Cannonball’ and ‘Divine Hammer’, it has become one of the defining albums of the 90s.

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