4AD - classic all round?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Has there ever been a lame act on the 4AD label? It must be the only recod label where I have to say that I've liked every band on it that I've heard...Cocteaus, Dead Can Dance, Muses, Breeders, Belly etc.

MarkH, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

This one has definitely been done before. No doubt Nick will link to it shortly.

Anyway Mark, sorry, but more clunkers than gems : Wolfgang Press, His Name is alive, Heidi Berry(!), Scheer, Xymox, Frazier Chorus, X-Mal Deutschland, Spirea X, Swallow, Pale Saints.... all useless.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Pale Saints useless? You're kidding! They should be applauded for their version of "Kinky Love" if nothing else. I must say I have a soft spot for Frazier Chorus as well.

MarkH, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

what the hell is that blithering idiot on about? swallow, xmal deutschland, and especially the wonderful his name is alive are all fantastic. check out the new hnia album. it's record of the year! however, colourbox weren't that good. nor was lisa germano. or gus gus.

Gavster, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

All boring, every last one of them, except the Pixies.

Patrick, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

they had the cocteau twins. for that alone, 4ad rule

gareth, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Sorry, Colourbox kicks everyone elses ass (apart from the pixies and song to the siren).

Billy Dods, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Funnily enough I'm not kidding. Since you pointed out that they should be applauded though, I will oblige, even though you didn't say why this particular song merits such a wild outburst. Clap, Clap! There.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Blimey. Looks a bit Aggro over here.

Funnily enough, I'm always impressed by Pale Saints when I hear them. For an anonymous early-90s indie outfit, they are remarkably EXCITING to listen to.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

My editor will no doubt vehemently disagree, but I had a moment of blissful personal revelation a couple of years back when I realised that the whole 4AD aesthetic was a gothick romantic gauzy great DUD. They did release some terrific records (Pixies, Muses, Colourbox, AR Kane, MARRS). By accident, I assume.

When were Frazier Chorus on 4AD? I like Frazier Chorus.

Tom, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I agree with the comments re: the Pale Saints, a complicated band too often lumped in with the rest of the "shoegazers," Lush, etc. They had a really nasty edge that a lot of people missed.

My favourite 4AD band haven't been mentioned yet I don't think - Ultra Vivid Scene. Their first two albums were stunning, but pretty much ignored at the time... I was listening to the 12" of "She Screamed" the other day and it still sounds really fresh.

Andrew Williams, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

4AD is/was a well marketed BRAND. Follow the marketing textbooks and you can sell all kinds of crap by glueing it nice and tightly to the 'master brand'. Nonsense like Spirea X can sell 100x more copies when the rationale for buying is ; "It's on 4AD".

Similar arguments apply for Factory (Joy Div sell Crispy Ambulance thru association), except they didn't *literally* apply an overall look n' feel to the 'product', except that they often used well designed sleeves. Not many of Peter Saville's creations looked 'the same' though. Factory also neglected some of the other details, like getting records in the shops etc.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

1. I don't like Pale Saints cos they sound nasty not like shoegazers. I like them because they sound nice like shoegazers. But rockin', a la 'Like A Daydream' (A La A Daydream?).

2. Tom E - so YOU have an Editor as well? I thought you WERE an Editor.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Ned = Editor, Tom = Publisher.

Richard Tunnicliffe, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

No, not classic all around. I have dismal memories of bringing home releases by Pale Saints and Spirea X only to find out that they weren't anywhere near as good as I thought they were going to be. Possibly they were just damned by proximity to bands that I worshipped at the time, and they weren't those bands.

Though some of the bands I find a bit precious or dated now (Xmal Deutschland was utterly godlike at the time, but I find it a bit silly now), there are enough really solid artists that came out of the 4AD stable to make me respect them an awful lot: Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, His Name is Alive, Pixies, Throwing Muses, This Mortal Coil, Colourbox, MARRS and Lush, to an extent. While I didn't embrace them wholeheartedly, I respected Wolfgang Press and Dif Juz. And don't forget that 4AD also featured early releases from Bauhaus and Birthday Party.

One contentious issue: While I like the 4AD aesthetic, I hate what Ivo did to Lisa Germano's first album. When it first came out on Capitol, I thought it was a beautiful work...gentle in places without being fey, rootsy without being Johnny Cougar, and an album with both heart and guts. Then 4AD "remixed" it, and took off all of the edges...which were, I thought, the album's high points.

Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Ultra Vivid Scene.....so tragically overlooked, methunk. I dare any of the current fuffle of shoegaze-meets-retro-wanking bands to make anything half as good as Rev...and with a guest by Matthew Sweet? Lord. How sweet is that...

Pshaw. 4AD did waaaay more good than bad for me. There was some tragedy: GusGus, lisa germano, Xmal, colourbox, HNIA, Red House Painters, etc. and that was unfortunate.

p.s. didnt 4AD release The The's first record Burning Blue Soul? or did they only re-issue it? that record is disgustingly amazing, and could carry their roster all by itself (if it was part of it).

Peeeve, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

ian masters is a lost genius, where has he gone? i know he released some wibbly little 'i'm sore/ steal' single recently but its 8 dollar price tag scared me away even though his oneironaut singles were beautiful. but then the last pale saints record sans-ian was one of the worst things ever, meriel barham is evil. scheer, paladins, glee club, x-mal, breeders projects post-pod, wolfgang press, dead can dance solo projects are all horrible. but warren devefer is their last original thinker. sad that we here in america need to wait for hnia records to come out after their uk release.

keith, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Dr.C is largely correct,....there was an awful lot of trash on the label. However, any label with Cocteau Twins, Pixies, Dead Can Dance, Lush and Ultra Vivid Scene gets my respect.

The Birthday Party were briefly on 4AD as well, so big respect there.

alex in nyc, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

They had this awful little Josef K spin-off called The Happy Family on the label in 1982, not nearly as good as JK, though. What a clunker! The Happy Family album sounded like a slowed-down version of 'Spiral Scratch', had a sleeve that wasn't by 23 Envelope, and claimed to be a comedy concept album about a fascist dictator. What was Ivo thinking?

Momus, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

music - never listened to it, covers - dud.

duane, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Actually the Happy Family were pretty good music-wise, the vocals were pretty weak though.

I recall buying the single with the redish brown cover on the same day I bought the Robert King post scars band 'Astronut' single... I could always spot a winner me.

Nobody seems to mention the pre 'etheral' goth 4AD period - Mass, Rema Rema, Birthday Party, Bauhaus, etc... 4AD definately took a bit of time to find its stride.

I saw Modern English once, in the middle of a park in Dunfermline. They stank too, one of them had a 'flock of seagulls' type haircut.

Alexander Blair and Family, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

anything that was on 4ad that doesn't sound like a 4ad record is good, usually it's stuff from 20 years ago: the birthday party, early bauhaus, and the pixies were magnificent. some unrest was good. what i heard of xmal deutschland was good. even some early cocteau twins is decent ("hazel," "blind, dumb, deaf," "but i'm not"). i have pale saints' in ribbons, which contains maybe 3 good songs and a lot of lamely executed rock music with awful solos and cheesy melodies. the "ethereal" crap and indie-wimpery is generally, however, a dud, especially dead can dance and the red house painters.

sundar subramanian, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Add the 'Le Mysterére des Voix Bulgares' records + AR Kane's 'Lollita' ep to the classic list.

stevo, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

'Le Mysterére des Voix Bulgares', right, i forgot about that, i have got a record on that label. Doesn't *anyone* else say what's the BFD about their signature cover artwork tho'?

duane, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

The Pale Saints? The Pale bloody Saints? Has a more bloodless band ever existed? My theory was that they were permanently weakened by the rotting veg sold in Leeds 6: whatever it was that 4AD gave them for advance, it clearly wasn't affording them a lifestyle any better than us starving students. Also, now that I think about it, the Pale Saints lived only a few rows away from the Utah Saints (who lived above the islamic butcher shop): what was up with that?

Mark Morris, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I used to have a theory that the Pale Saints had been put off food entirely by living a few doors away from that terrible chippy where the chips tasted like disinfectant.

Mark, don't forget that for a while it was impossible to stroll the picturesque, leafy boulevards of LS6 without bumping into a member of Cud. How there was never a supergroup called The Harolds I'll never know.

Tim, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

apparently, waking the streets of leeds (or at least the insides of pubs during quizzes) still yields occasional glimpses of members of cud. oh great.

gareth, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Surely ex-members, Gareth? Cud *can't* still be going, can they?

Tim, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Well, Reynolds still gets upset about them.

the pinefox, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

yes, tim, i sincerely hope, for their and our sakes, that they are ex- members

gareth, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

PF, where / when does Reynolds get upset by Cud? Are Cud the Reynolds kryptonite I've been searching for?

Tim, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Reynolds brings up Cud in his "Unfave of 2000"...quoted here:


1/ Killdozer

2/ The Catherine Wheel

3/ Cud

All three of which seemed very odd indeed to bring up in an unfaves of 2000 piece. If it had been an unfaves of 1993, it would have been a wee bit more understandable.

Nicole, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Have a terrible feeling that there was a recent-ish TV series that used Rich And Strange as its theme tune... anyone? Also, Hopkins doesn't really to do justice to the full horror of the Cud thing: I mean, Pale Saints were just around (although the fat one stage dived on top of me at MBV gig once: not a nice experience) but Cud kind of strutted, and had hangers on, and were actively seen around town kind of thin. Simply hideous...

Mark Morris, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

See, this is what happens when I go on vacation. I don't get a chance to slosh around my relatively overwhelming but not all-encompassing 4AD worship before everyone else says a lot of it for me. ;-) Tom is right about me in that regard, I have to say.

Anyway -- the original supposition is of course wrong. There's been crap, with *the* crappest one being the decision to release a live album by LA's Paladins, a somewhat inessential bar-band blues outfit that's been doing its thing for over a decade now to mass indifference. Ivo must have been sick, and if MarkH likes it, MarkH is equally ill.

However, there's oh so much to love (he said, staggering under the weight of his Cocteau and Pixies and Birthday Party and DCD and This Mortal Coil and Kristin Hersh and etc. etc. releases). I'm pleased to see both the Pale Saints and Ian Masters get mentioned -- he's got this cryptic web site now that occasionally has news on it, but seems more to be a way to keep himself amused.

Side note to Momus -- yeah, what was that one guy who led the band thinking?

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Bejabbers! Who did the original version of "Kinky Love" then? Sigh, yet another band I like for on e song that ends up being a cover anyways. What I never understood about the Happy Family was why they named their band after a Chinese Dish? And why did they tour with Def Leopard?

Mike Hanle y, Friday, 6 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

re: kinky love

nancy sinatra?

gareth, Friday, 6 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

from the time stereo site i have learned ian masters is now living in japan. he also just released a split cd with princess dragon mom (horrid). ian's stuff is musical saw and electronics, snooze. being bloodless was the whole point of it all. from barging into the presence of god until 'in ribbons' the pale saints were magnificent.

keith, Friday, 6 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

the guy who used to own 4ad used to live one road along from me. he doesnt anymore i dont think, cos it went bust or something. actually maybe it was the guy over the roads brother. aw shit i dont know. gusgus were pretty bad, although i still like the first album. they now have magnetophone on their roster, who i have some good 7"s of, but the album (which for some unthinkable reason is available on pirate here in russia) is rubbish.

ambrose, Saturday, 7 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

The show to use "rich and strange" as a theme was David Baddiel's painfully unfunny Sky 1 sitcom....do all comedians have terrible music taste? Every time I remember an 'alternative' comic having a musical guest on its always Eddie Reader or suchlike ?

Mat, Saturday, 7 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Wolfgang Press Awful? That makes me sad. They were like the Supremes meet the Birthday Party! I even saw them open for Nicky Cave once. Heard there last CD..Funky Little Demons...I know naf title, but it's quite good. I also loved Colourbox (Baby I love you so 12" was English dub heaven), Throwing Muses, Cocteau Twins (until I discovered their obsession with food), Pixies, Pale Saints (shoegazing at it's finest) and countless others. I could pass on Bauhaus...loved their movement in the 1920's but their tunes played a little creaky :)....

MV, Sunday, 8 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

two years pass...
News alert, the below radio show starts at Midnight BST finishes 2am Friday BST [British Summer Time]

One World - 4AD Label special

This week's One World Show on Radio 1 features: One World: 4AD Label Special

<em>This week on One World, tune in for 25 years of the 4AD Record label - home to the likes of The Pixies, Bauhaus, The Birthday Party, Dead Can Dance, The Cocteau Twins, Throwing Muses, Mojave 3 and The Breeders to name but a few. </em>

» One World

[Reminder, this show has a listen again feature - after broadcast for upto 7 days]

DJ Martian (djmartian), Thursday, 22 April 2004 20:08 (eighteen years ago) link

The Rema Rema 12" is a jammer.

Justin Farrar (Justin Farrar), Thursday, 22 April 2004 20:27 (eighteen years ago) link

J0hn D@rnie11e to original thread!

ken taylrr (ken taylrr), Thursday, 22 April 2004 21:10 (eighteen years ago) link

This show will start broadcasting online . within minutes..

DJ Martian (djmartian), Thursday, 22 April 2004 22:01 (eighteen years ago) link

like all these 1 world 'specials' with annie 'mac', they are largely about superficial nonsense and regulary miss the point of their topic. but an excuse to hear 4 ad records on radio1? i'm there now. J0hn D@rnie11e how've you found your new stable? and do you think you have that 4ad sound that is so often talked about?

myke boomnoise (myke boomnoise), Thursday, 22 April 2004 22:14 (eighteen years ago) link

i forgot how much i love bauhaus

myke boomnoise (myke boomnoise), Thursday, 22 April 2004 22:19 (eighteen years ago) link

Bauhaus - Dark Entries

sounds very joy division !

DJ Martian (djmartian), Thursday, 22 April 2004 22:22 (eighteen years ago) link

The Birthday Party - on now !

DJ Martian (djmartian), Thursday, 22 April 2004 22:23 (eighteen years ago) link

you can see where The Liars and 80s Matchbox... get their ideas from

DJ Martian (djmartian), Thursday, 22 April 2004 22:24 (eighteen years ago) link

I think I'm a bit less likely than most to gripe about crap 4AD bands, because even the lackluster stuff was usually just lackluster rather than crap, but Scheer I think were the real crap. They were the token 'grunge' band of 4AD. Unlistenable. I also bought a Magnetophone CD and was like "what the fuck is this shit?"

Rema Rema is a must!

The early 4AD 7" by The Past Seven Days is one of the most precious records to me in my entire collection. I still flip over that, to this day.

bimble (bimble), Friday, 23 April 2004 00:03 (eighteen years ago) link

(a kind of take on the word "diffuse" iirc)

anatol_merklich, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 21:16 (four years ago) link

THat biography Facing the Wrong Way was an interesting read. it was in FOPP as one of their 2 for £5 items at the beginning of last year i think.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 21:21 (four years ago) link

djh, you want the Natures Mortes - Still Lives comp, for early-era 4AD stuff

com rad erry red flag (f. hazel), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 21:27 (four years ago) link

xp actually book is called Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD by Martin Aston

Stevolende, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 21:31 (four years ago) link

Thanks - Hadn't seen that (entertaining) Rough Guide to ... thread before..

Posting it here so I can find it speedily:

The Rough Guide to 4AD Records:

1. Bauhaus: Double Dare
2. Throwing Muses: Call Me
3. This Mortal Coil: Song to the Siren
4. The Birthday Party: Nick the Stripper
5. The Wolfgang Press: Kansas
6. Belly: Seal My Fate
7. Dead Can Dance: Anywhere Out of the World
8. Clan of Xymox: After the Call
9. Pixies: Where Is My Mind?
10. In Camera: Fragments of Fear
11. Lisa Germano: ...a psychopath
12. His Name Is Alive: Why People Disappear
13. The Breeders: Hellbound
14. Lush: Scarlet (Scar version)
15. Ultra Vivid Scene: Mercy Seat
16. Red House Painters: New Jersey ("Rollercoaster" version)
17. Dif Juz: No Motion
18. Unrest: Make Out Club
19. Pale Saints: Time Thief
20. Cocteau Twins: Frou-frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires

djh, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 21:36 (four years ago) link

"Natures Mortes".

And, ta, I was pondering this.

djh, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 21:37 (four years ago) link

also the CD version has five more tracks than the vinyl

com rad erry red flag (f. hazel), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 21:39 (four years ago) link

^that's a weird list.

Since This Mortal Coil were basically the 4AD house band you could do a lot worse than just listening to the three TMC albums. Filigree & Shadow is my favourite and one of my favourite albums of all time.

Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 21:43 (four years ago) link

The Rough Guide?

djh, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 21:44 (four years ago) link

Yes, although I guess every list would be weird.

Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 21:48 (four years ago) link

I guess that song choices are very subjective ... I think, more generally, it misses out on the early years, though.

djh, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 22:04 (four years ago) link

With the first track of 4AD's first ever album ("Double Dare"), plus another EP track from the label's first year ("Fragments of Fear"), I'm not sure I can agree with that. Not that I have any interest in defending or promoting this particular weird list from other potential or actual weird 4AD lists, mind.

The Rough Guide threads are indeed very entertaining! I'd not thought of them for years when your request jogged a neuron. :-)

And for some reason I feel a strange urge to listen to Dif Juz I've not had for even more years.

anatol_merklich, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 22:48 (four years ago) link

oh wait, there's this as well:


Volume One: 1980-1989
1-1 –Dif Juz Hu 2:53
1-2 –The Birthday Party Zoo Music Girl 2:37
1-3 –Throwing Muses Hate My Way 4:05
1-4 –Rema-Rema Rema-Rema 4:27
1-5 –Dance Chapter Anonymity 4:53
1-6 –Matt Johnson Time Again For The Golden Sunset 3:52
1-7 –Bauhaus Dark Entries 3:52
1-8 –Clan Of Xymox No Human Can Drown 3:26
1-9 –B.C. Gilbert* / G. Lewis* Barge Calm 1:06
1-10 –A.R. Kane Sado-Masochism Is A Must 3:19
1-11 –Cocteau Twins Musette And Drums 4:38
1-12 –Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares Schopska Pesen (Diaphonic Chant) 1:28
1-13 –Richenel L'Esclave Endormi 6:44
1-14 –Modern English Gathering Dust 4:23
1-15 –Ultra Vivid Scene Mercy Seat 4:07
1-16 –In Camera Die Laughing 4:35
1-17 –Pixies Tony's Theme 1:52
1-18 –Colourbox Baby I Love You So 3:18
1-19 –XMal Deutschland* Geheimnis 3:19
1-20 –Dead Can Dance In Power We Entrust The Love Advocated 4:11
1-21 –Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook These Waves 3:11
1-22 –This Mortal Coil Song To The Siren 3:32

I can't really vouch for CD2 but it goes like this:

Volume Two: 1990-1999
2-1 –Tarnation Game Of Broken Hearts 3:03
2-2 –Lush Laura 3:27
2-3 –GusGus Blue Mug 4:12
2-4 –His Name Is Alive As We Could Ever 2:40
2-5 –Kristin Hersh Me And My Charms 4:18
2-6 –Unrest (2) Make Out Club 4:21
2-7 –The Wolfgang Press Honey Tree 2:54
2-8 –Tanya Donelly Mysteries Of The Unexplained 4:52
2-9 –Frank Black The Vanishing Spies 3:39
2-10 –Michael Brook Slow Breakdown 2:34
2-11 –Starry Smooth Hound Coco Crush 4:42
2-12 –The Hope Blister Dagger 4:55
2-13 –Heidi Berry Only Human 3:54
2-14 –Mojave 3 Mercy 4:48
2-15 –The Breeders New Year 1:57
2-16 –Pale Saints Hair Shoes 5:48
2-17 –Cocteau Twins Road, River And Rail 3:19
2-18 –Red House Painters Take Me Out 4:47
2-19 –Lisa Gerrard Sanvean (I Am Your Shadow) 3:51
2-20 –Lisa Germano The Darkest Night Of All 4:41

Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 23:48 (four years ago) link

That's a pretty solid set, interesting choices

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 23:52 (four years ago) link

i didn't really get the Dif Juz name until anatol_merklich mentioned it. So it's pronounced Dif Yuz then?

The Richenel track is a true gem and his vocal on "I Must Have Been Blind" wrecks me.

Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 23:59 (four years ago) link

Music from Memory did the good job of reissuing Richenel's mini-album La Differencia last year. This is probably the prime cut from it:


Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Thursday, 23 August 2018 00:05 (four years ago) link


Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Thursday, 23 August 2018 00:06 (four years ago) link

sorry to go off on a tangent.

Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Thursday, 23 August 2018 00:12 (four years ago) link


Thanks Jed_ - Disc One is exactly what I was looking for - I can only find it as a hideously expensive version but it gives me some titles to Youtube or the like.

djh, Thursday, 23 August 2018 11:03 (four years ago) link

Bought "1980 Forward" - the 25th anniversary compilation - for less than a couple of quid. Has some good tracks but ... the label had stopped caring by then, hadn't it?

djh, Sunday, 2 September 2018 19:43 (four years ago) link

Am Friday night drunk and compiling volume 3 of a fairly drunkenly compiled third disc of a 4ad best of.

djh, Friday, 7 September 2018 22:51 (four years ago) link

What would appear on your Disc 3 of a 4ad best of?

djh, Friday, 7 September 2018 22:51 (four years ago) link

what's the timeframe?

Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Friday, 7 September 2018 22:54 (four years ago) link

I'd certainly put this on it:


Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Friday, 7 September 2018 23:06 (four years ago) link

No particular time-frame although I do have an idea that there are bands that have been on 4ad that I don't regard as 4ad bands, Tindersticks being the obvious one. I'd include Bing & Ruth, though.

Mostly the comps have been permutations of Air Miami, Breeders, Cocteaus, DCD, Lisa Germano, GusGus, HNIA, Mojave 3, Pale Saints, Pixies, Red House Painters, Tarnation, Throwing Muses and Ultra Vivid Scene ... and outliers from compilations.

Was hoping someone would (by coincidence) suggest a (great) track that I owned but had dismissed.

djh, Saturday, 8 September 2018 15:17 (four years ago) link

Insides? Spirea X? TMC? Lush? Belly?

Was that a repress of a Cocteaus LP I just saw in rough trade?

koogs, Saturday, 8 September 2018 16:02 (four years ago) link

Yeah, was head over heels


koogs, Saturday, 8 September 2018 16:06 (four years ago) link

Though I included a That Dog song on Vol 3, I tend to think of the Guernica stuff as slightly separate (possibly because the Insides and Spoonfed Hybrid albums are two of my favourite *ever*.)

I don't own much This Mortal Coil (going to buy some of the re-issues), not keen on Belly and only like the odd Lush track (particularly "Desire Lines") though I'm open to the idea that I have just heard the wrong tracks.

djh, Saturday, 8 September 2018 19:01 (four years ago) link

eight months pass...

Any thoughts on current 4ad? Anything worth exploring?

djh, Sunday, 2 June 2019 19:41 (three years ago) link

I think that between Aldous Harding, Holly Herndon, Big Thief, and The National they've had a pretty stellar year so far.

ˈʌglɪɪst preɪ, Sunday, 2 June 2019 20:11 (three years ago) link

There's no longer a "4AD sound". It's just curatorial imprimatur that someone on staff found the artists, if not the current release, excellent. My fandoms moved on to other curiously similar brands (A24:film::4AD:80s rock), but I'll at least give every 4AD artist a listen.

I like the new Holly Herndon, though it doesn't flow so well as an album (or collection of avant compositions). Its closer to where I expected music to be now (30 years ago) than most music.

despondently sipping tomato soup (Sanpaku), Monday, 3 June 2019 00:55 (three years ago) link

Had a massive 4ad "rediscovery" over the last year or so which has probably helped me to find Harding and Herndon (both would fit on "the curated 4ad", I'd guess).

djh, Saturday, 15 June 2019 20:43 (three years ago) link

one year passes...


Glen Johnson's Arcane Delights - a 4AD special.

djh, Friday, 4 December 2020 08:19 (one year ago) link

I quite like this:


(Dry Cleaning)

djh, Friday, 4 December 2020 08:20 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Genuine 4AD rejection letter. 1980. pic.twitter.com/HMs9SACgc5

— Steve @ Pressing Matters. (@HarbingerSound) April 16, 2022

mookieproof, Sunday, 17 April 2022 04:52 (five months ago) link


begrudgingly bound by duty of candor (morrisp), Sunday, 17 April 2022 06:37 (five months ago) link

four months pass...

So I did a little guide for the first two decades


The absence of Xmal Deutschland is because I essentially ran out of room. The absence of the Red House Painters is incredibly intentional.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 12 September 2022 13:49 (two weeks ago) link

> Kurt Ralske’s final album as Ultra Vivid Scene was also that artistic guise’s creative high point

so wrong about this... 8)

koogs, Monday, 12 September 2022 13:58 (two weeks ago) link

and i can't find page 2 where you obviously talk at length about pale saints.

koogs, Monday, 12 September 2022 13:59 (two weeks ago) link

Pale Saints were also on the 'where can I squeeze them in' list, believe me. (But Comforts of Madness is in my shoegaze guide over there.)

As for the UVS claim, DJP agrees with me -- as does, famously from on here, Kurt Ralske himself!

Ultra Vivid Scene (and anything else Kurt Ralske's done) -- C/D?

Ned Raggett, Monday, 12 September 2022 14:10 (two weeks ago) link

Joy 1967 - 1990 or whatever it's called is one of my all time favorite albums.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 12 September 2022 20:29 (two weeks ago) link

Great little primer Ned. Each of those albums is a classic. The omission of Pale Saints is almost unforgivable though!

The Ghost Club, Friday, 16 September 2022 10:04 (two weeks ago) link

It was a hard call, but the limit was 20 and I'd reached the point where I wouldn't forgive myself if I left out the solo Kristin or Lisa Germano in particular.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 16 September 2022 14:56 (two weeks ago) link

Well, that's fair. It really is an impossible task to pick just 20 from such a fertile period in the label's history!

You made up for it by leading your list with House Tornado, though. Absolutely the best Muses album imo and seriously underrated to this day. Mexican Women still slays me.

The Ghost Club, Friday, 16 September 2022 20:07 (two weeks ago) link

Much as I respect your views Ned I can't help but wonder at citing licenses and ring-ins like Unrest and Lisa Germano as core 4AD - even Mojave 3 were Creation refugees. For a 20-from-20-years I'd be tempted to do one per year. 1980 is tough - Gilbert/Lewis 3R4 is probably best but violates my own ring-in rule. 1981: Matt Johnson Burning Blue Soul. 1982: Cocteau Twins Garlands. 1983: Xmal Deutschland Fetisch. 1984: This Mortal Coil It'll End in Tears. 1985: DCD Spleen and Ideal. 1986: Cocteau Twins Victorialand. 1987: Lonely is an Eyesore with a regretful nod to Sleeps With the Fishes. 1988: Throwing Muses House Tornado (regrets to Surfer Rosa). 1989: Pixies Doolittle. 1990: Breeders Pod + Pale Saints Comforts of Madness (regrets to Heaven or Las Vegas). 1991: The Wolfgang Press Queer (past peak but so much fun). 1992: The Birthday Party Hits (OK, cheating, but Spooky is lousy, sorry, and In Ribbons is caught between aesthetics. OK, UVS Rev, I'll agree there). 1993: I guess I can't deny Breeders Last Splash but I prefer Spoonfed Hybrid. 1994: Hersh Hips and Makers with regrets to Clear Skin and Lush Split. 1995: Kendra Smith Five Ways of Disappearing or if she's a label refugee, The Amps' Pacer; I like the Tarnation album too but it's not 4AD for me. 1996: His Name is Alive Stars on E.S.P. (their perfect record). 1997: uhhhh I will skip. 1998: really lost interest here, the Hope Blister record was awful. 1999: not much for me here either.
After such intense fandom I was done by the millennium. Since then I've been pleasantly surprised when new music I like is on 4AD, feels like catching up with a friend. Dry Cleaning, Deerhunter, Holly Herndon, Grimes, nice ones.
(by the way I was guided by this very nice site for the year by year releases: http://4ad20.themysteryparade.com)

assert (matttkkkk), Saturday, 17 September 2022 00:42 (two weeks ago) link

1998 had Kristin Hersh's Strange Angels (better than Hips and Makers), and 1999 had Brendan Perry's Eye of the Hunter... The Hope Blister album WAS disappointing.

Jaime Pressly and America (f. hazel), Saturday, 17 September 2022 01:53 (two weeks ago) link

disagree on Strange Angels ... and the less I hear Brendan Perry sing the happier I am

assert (matttkkkk), Saturday, 17 September 2022 01:55 (two weeks ago) link

2005 was the first year 4AD had zero new releases I cared about or bought

Jaime Pressly and America (f. hazel), Saturday, 17 September 2022 02:17 (two weeks ago) link

It's amazing to me how many shared experiences Ned and I had in life. Both growing up in Southern California sharing the same love of music for the same type of bands. I do agree with others that Pale Saints is the biggest omission. Pale Saints are one of my biggest loves in the world so of course I would say that. I do understand only 20 spots but they needed to be included. My Clan of Xymox pick would have been the debut as it was a gateway for me and very personal. I love Mojave 3 but my go to album is Out of Tune. Loved that you picked Treasure over Las Vegas. To me 4AD are about This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance.

You are so much more educated than I am in regards to this stuff so thanks for sharing Ned.

Bee OK, Saturday, 17 September 2022 02:36 (two weeks ago) link

Loved what you wrote as well matttkkkk, a lot of stuff to check out.

Bee OK, Saturday, 17 September 2022 02:37 (two weeks ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.