4AD 1999

Listen to 4AD 1999 on Spotify.

This is the end!

Not of 4AD, but this blog series, and more importantly, an era: Ivo Watts-Russell sold 4AD to Beggars Banquet.

So what did he do as the final year as the label boss?

Release a buttload of Gus Gus things, and a smattering of “best of” and collections and the like. We get a “best of” from His Name Is Alive and Red House Painters; we get the first two Dif Juz EPs finally collected (in original form); and we get a double album’s worth of Birthday Party live in 1981-82.

There isn’t much new non-Gustian music this year, but Brendan Perry finally releases his long-threatened solo album. He played most of this material live at the Thirteen Year Itch festival in 1993, and then waited all this time to release the album. I felt that the concert was great and I couldn’t wait to get the album, but the songs felt a lot… duller? when they finally arrived. Did he torture them to death in the studio?

So it’s not the most auspicious way to go out, but… It’s not as bad as 1997. But… what a ride it’s been! From the humble post-punk beginnings in 1980, to the imperial years 1982-1990 when everything 4AD released was vital to have. It’s a legacy that hasn’t been touched by any other record label or record label boss. It’s a magnificent achievement to have nursed these handfuls of unique and idiosyncratic bands to artistic success.

Let’s all give him, Vaughan Oliver and the rest of the 4AD staff a hand! It’s been thrilling to listen to this music again in context, and gaze at those lovely covers again.

Watts-Russell hasn’t produced any music after ending his 4AD stint, I think.

4AD would lumber on for several years as a Beggars Banquet imprint, releasing things at a pretty lethargic rate. A few of the acts with a history at 4AD would continue their association with the label (Kristin Hersh and The Breeders in particular), but it’s my understanding that at the time, 4AD didn’t have a separate staff, so it wasn’t really… “a thing”. It was just whatever Beggars Group had that they thought they could sell better under that label than under any other of their dozens of imprints.

About a decade later, Beggars decided that having all these imprints made no sense, so they downsized to one name only, and they chose the name that had most brand recognition: 4AD.

So these days, there’s a gazillion 4AD things being released. Some of them are great, some are OK, some are awful: It’s just like a normal label is supposed to be. Nobody can be a “4AD fan” any more, and that’s probably for the best.

A certain somebody (I won’t name any names because they might very well regret it) over on the 4AD Posters group has threatened to continue this Spotify playlist series with the post-Ivo years, and I think that might be interesting, so I hope that happens. I’ll be listening.

1999

 BAD CD9001
Gus Gus — Ladyshave

Ladyshave, Ladyshave (Roy’s Lady Soul Mix), Ladyshave (Old Skool Lego Mix)

 BAD D CD9001
Gus Gus — Ladyshave

Ladyshave, Ladyshave (Fully Bearded Mix), Ladyshave (Gigi Galaxy Mix)

 CAD CD9002
His Name Is Alive — Always Stay Sweet

Are You Coming Down This Weekend?, Her Eyes Were Huge Things, E-Nicolle, If July, How Ghosts Affect Relationships, Chances Are We Are Mad, As We Could Ever, Are We Still Married?, Why People Disappear, Blue Moon, Cornfield, Home Is In Your Head, Underwater, We Hold The Land In Great Esteem, Last One, Sitting Still Moving Still Staring Out, The Sand That Holds The Lakes In Place, In Every Ford, Baby Fish Mouth, The Dirt Eaters, Man On The Silver Mountain

 TAD9003
Cuba — Black Island

Black Island (instrumental), White Shadow

 BAD CD9004
Gus Gus — Starlovers

Starlovers (edit), Starlovers (Red Snapper Mix), Starlovers (Freddy Fresh Main Mix)

 BAD D CD9004
Gus Gus — Starlovers

Starlovers (edit), Starlovers (House of 909 Mix)*, Starlovers (Megatron Man Got Together 97 Mix)*

 GAD CD109/116
Dif Juz — Soundpool

Hu, Re, Mi, Cs, Gunet, Heset, Diselt, Soarn, No Motion

 M2
The Hope Blister — Underarms

Sweet Medicine, Friday Afternoon, Iota, Dagger Strings, White on White, Sweet Medicine 2, Happiness Strings

 CAD CD9005
The Birthday Party — Live 1981-82

Junkyard (live), A Dead Song (live), The Dim Locator (live), Zoo Music Girl (live), Nick The Stripper (live), Blast Off (live), Release The Bats (live), Bully Bones (live), King Ink (live), Pleasure Heads Must Burn (live), Big Jesus Trash Can (live), Dead Joe (live), The Friend Catcher (live), Six Inch Gold Blade (live), Hamlet (live), She’s Hit (live), Funhouse (live)

 CAD D9006
Gus Gus — This Is Normal

Ladyshave, Teenage Sensation, Starlovers, Superhuman, Very Important People, Bambi, Snoozer, Blue Mug, Acid Milk, Love vs Hate, Dominique

 AD9007
Kristin Hersh — Echo

Echo, Pennyroyal Tea, Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey

 CAD CD9008
Kristin Hersh — Sky Motel

Echo, White Trash Moon, Fog, Costa Rica, A Cleaner Light, San Francisco, Cathedral Heat, Husk, Caffeine, Spring, Clay Feet, Faith, (Outro)

 TAD9009
Lakuna — So Happy

So Happy*, So Happy (Thunderball Mix)*

 GAD 9010 CD
Lakuna — Castle of Crime

Lemongrass, Vega, The Veil, On The Floor, St. Paul’s Piano, So Happy, Planet No. 3, The Very Next Day

 DAD CD9011
Red House Painters — Retrospective

Shock Me, Grace Cathedral Park, Katy Song, Summer Dress, New Jersey, Medicine Bottle, Michael, San Geronimo, Bubble, Mistress, Drop, Evil, Rollercoaster, Funhouse (demo), Waterkill (demo), Uncle Joe (demo), Helicopter (demo), Brown Eyes (4 track demo), Dragonflies, Japanese to English (live), Shock Me (live on KCRW), Over My Head (4 track demo), Brockwell Park (4 track demo), Shadows, Mistress (live on KCRW), Summer Dress (live on KCRW), Instrumental

 CAD9014
Cuba — Leap of Faith

Cross the Line, Devil’s Rock, Black Island, King of Kelty, Starshiney, Peak Flow, Winter Hill, Havana, Hail Mary, Urban Light, Foxy’s Den, Fiery Cross

 CAD9015
Brendan Perry — Eye of the Hunter

6909e508 150 20435 45392 73139 89029 112056 130091 156059 2535, Saturday’s Child, Voyage of Bran, Medusa, Sloth, I Must Have Been Blind, The Captive Heart, Death Will Be My Bride, Archangel

 BAD9016
Cuba — Black Island

Black Island, Black Island (Agent Sumo Mix), Black Island (Groove Armada’s Desert Island Disc Mix)

 BAD9016
Cuba — Black Island

Black Island, Black Island (Isla Negra), Black Island (Groove Armada’s Desert Island Disc)

 BAD CD9017
Gus Gus — VIP

VIP (Radio Edit), VIP (Masters At Work Vocal Mix), VIP (Francois K Vocal Edit)

 BAD D CD9017
Gus Gus — VIP

VIP (Radio Edit), VIP (Heller and Farley Fire Island Dub)*, VIP (Ron Trent Remix)*

 TAD9018
Lakuna — Lemongrass

Lemongrass, Lemongrass (Schizoid Man remix)*, The Very Next Day, The Very Next Day (Grantby remix)*

 BAD CD9019
Cuba — Starshine

Starshine (edit), White Shadow, Starshine (Rae & Christian Remix)

This post is part of the chronological look at all 4AD releases, year by year.

*) Missing from Spotify.

4AD 1998

Listen to 4AD 1998 on Spotify.

I asked last week whether 4AD would even release anything good again, and here we are in 1998 and the answer is…

Yes!

There’s Kristin Hersh’ new album, and His Name Is Alive make a comeback of sorts with Ft. Lake. And then, uh, and then… uh…

Well, there’s two new bands signed: Cuba and Thievery Corporation, both fitting very snugly into the then-popular genre (with the long-winded name) What All Bars And Cafés Will Be Playing For The Next Two Decades Lounge Music.

Not my cup of Bovril, but I feel like I hear these songs weekly in bars still, and it’s not an unpleasant experience.

But what should have been the major news of the year kinda fizzled. 4AD label boss Ivo Watts-Russell was behind some of the most important releases in the label’s history: The three This Mortal Coil albums. This year he returned with his new project, The Hope Blister, and… the world shrugged.

And 4AD made another effort at making Gus Gus a thing by releasing, yet again, Polyesterday as a single. It didn’t work.

1998 may not have been a very exciting year musically, and design wise everything except the His Name Is Alive releases (where v23 embraces computer-based design effectively for perhaps the first time) is totally meh. But at least it’s a better year than 1997.

Let’s see next week whether 1997 remains the low point in 4AD’s history.

This is exciting! I can’t remember myself.

(The Murder, Misery and Goodnight mini album by Kristin Hersh isn’t on
Spotify.)

1998

 TAD CD8001
Various — Anakin

His Name Is Alive / Ain’t No Lie, Mojave 3 / To Whom Should I Write, scheer / Say What You Came To Say, Lisa Germano / Reptile, Starry Smooth Hound / Dreamt You In A Dream, Gus Gus / Blue Mug (Demo Version), Thievery Corporation / The Foundation, The Hope Blister / Dagger, Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke / Sacrifice, Kristin Hersh / Gazebo Tree, Cuba / Havana

 BAD CD8002
Gus Gus — Polyesterday

Polyesterday (Radio Edit), Polyesterday (Shot In The Leg Vox Mix by Carl Craig), Polyesterday (Bix & Ottar mix), Purple (Midnight in Reykjavik Edit Sacha,
The Light & Naughty Mix)

 BAD D CD8002
Gus Gus — Polyesterday

Polyesterday (Radio Edit), Polyesterday (Amon Tobin mix), Gun (Schizoid Man Mix), Why (DJ Vadim mix)

 CAD 8003 CD
Kristin Hersh — Strange Angels

Home, Like You, Aching for You, Cold Water Coming, Some Catch Flies, Stained, Shake, Hope, Pale, Baseball Field, Heaven, Gazebo Tree, Gut Pageant, Rock Candy Brains, Cartoons

 CAD8004
Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke — Duality

Shadow Magnet, Tempest, Forest Vale, The Comforter, Unfolding, Pilgrimage Of Children, Human Game, Circulation Of Shadows, Sacrifice, Nadir (Syncronicity)

 TAD 8005 CD
Kristin Hersh — Like You

Like You, Shake (live to tape), Your Ghost (live to tape)

 CAD8006
Thievery Corporation — Sounds From A Thievery Hi-Fi

A Warning (dub), 2001 Spilff Odyssey, Shaolin Satellite, Vivid, Universal Highness, Imcident At Gate 7, Manha, The Glass Bead Game, The Foundation, Interlude, The Oscillator, So Vast The Sky, 38:45 (a thievery number), Walking Through Babylon

 BAD8007
Thievery Corporation — 38:45

 CAD8008
The Hope Blister — …smile’s ok

Dagger, Only Human, Outer Skin, Sweet Unknown, Let The Happiness In, Is Jesus Your Pal, Spider and I, Hanky Panky Nohow

 CAD8009
His Name Is Alive — Fort Lake

Don’t Glue The World, Everything Takes Forever, The Waitress, No Hiding Place Down Her, Can’t Always Be Loved, Wish I Had A Wishing Ring, Red Haired Girl, Spirit Needs A Spirit Tool, Up Your Legs Forever (rerecorded), How It’s Gotta Be, Always Turn Me On, Rock `n’ Roll Girl From Rock `n’ Roll City, Last American Blues

 BAD8010
Cuba — Urban Light

Urban Light (7:00 pm)*, Urban Light (12:00 am)*

 BAD8011
Mojave 3 — Who Do You Love?

Who Do You Love?, This Road I’m Travelling, Between Us, Who Do You Love? (demo)

 BAD8012
Cuba — Cross The Line

 CAD8013
Lisa Germano — Slide

Way Below the Radio, No Color Here, Tomorrowing, Electrified, Slide, If I Think Of Love, Crash, Wood Floors, Turning Into Betty, Guillotine, Reptile

 BAD CD8015
His Name Is Alive — Can’t Always Be Loved

Can’t Always Be Loved (radio), Wishing Ring (full length version)

 AD8015
His Name Is Alive — Can’t Always Be Loved

Can’t Always Be Loved (radio)*, Can’t Wait (4-track)*, Wishing Ring (First One)*

 BAD CD8016
Mojave 3 — Some Kinda Angel

 BAD8017
Thievery Corporation — Lebanese Blonde

 CAD8018
Mojave 3 — Out Of Tune

Who Do You Love, Give What You Take, Some Kinda Angel, All Your Tears, Yer Feet, Caught Beneath The Heel, Keep It All Hid, Baby’s Coming Home, To Whom Should I Write

 DAD CD8014
Throwing Muses — In A Doghouse

Finished, Reel, Snail Head, Cry Baby Cry, Call Me, Green, Hate My Way, Vicky’s Box, Rabbits Dying, America (She Can’t Say No), Fear, Stand Up (remix), Soul Soldier, Delicate Cutters, Call Me (demo), Sinkhole (demo), Green (demo), Hate My Way (demo), Vicky’s Box (demo), America (She Can’t Say No) (demo), Fear (demo), Raise the Roses (demo), And A She-Wolf After The War (demo), Fish (demo), Catch, Lizzie Sage, Clear and Great, Doghouse, People

 4ADM1
Kristin Hersh — Murder, Misery and then Goodnight

 BAD8019
Cuba — Havana

This post is part of the chronological look at all 4AD releases, year by year.

*) Missing from Spotify.

4AD 1997

Listen to 4AD 1997 on Spotify.

Listening to 4AD in 1997 is obviously listening to a label shutting down. There are no new artists, but instead there’s the first of many pilferings to come of one of 4AD’s most commercially successful bands of the 90s, Pixies.

And there’s a concerted effort to make Tanya Donelly’s solo career take off after disbanding Belly, but otherwise the label is spinning its wheels: I don’t think there’s any album they released this year that I’ve found myself listening to over the last 20 years. Not even the album by previously reliable act His Name Is Alive, or the Tarnation album, and I loved their first album.

So this is, once again, the worst year in 4AD history.

SO FAR.

What happened? Four years earlier, it seemed like everything was coming up roses. 4AD had the triumphant week-long retrospective/showcase Thirteen Year Itch in London; The Breeders and Belly were topping college label charts in the US; they had a US office; they had a deal with Warners…

Oh right. They had a deal with Warners that meant that Warners would pony up huge bucks in advances for records that 4AD recorded. But that also meant that Warners could, in effect, stop 4AD from signing bands, and could also make 4AD drop “unprofitable” acts.

Spending had gotten out of hands during the Warner years, but 4AD just didn’t have any really popular acts any more, so something had to be done.

Label boss Ivo Watts-Russell had previosly dumped bands that he didn’t want to work with any more, but for the first time, he had to tell people like Heidi Berry, who he liked working with and who was making brilliant music, that she had to leave.

No wonder he wanted to get out of the business, which he would do for good in a couple of years.

I can’t remember whether there are any further things released by 4AD that are worth coming back for in this blog series. Isn’t that exciting?

We’ve got two more years to go, though, so I guess we’ll see.

1997

 TAD7000
Tarnation — There’s Someone

There’s Someone, I Didn’t Mean It*

 ADD7001
Tarnation — You’ll Understand

Your Thoughts And Mine, You’ll Understand, The Sad Things Behind*, Land That Time Lost*

 BAD CD7002
Gus Gus — Believe

Believe, Oh, Cold Breath ’79 (Craze), Ghetto Belief

 BAD D CD7002
Gus Gus — Believe

Believe (16B Remix)*, Believe (LFO Remix)*, Believe, Believe (Biggomix)*, Believe (Premix)*

 CAD7003
Michael Brook — Albino Alligator

Arrival, Doggie Dog, Slow Town, Preparation, Miscalculation, Aftermath, Tunnel, Albo Gator, The Promise, The City, The Kicker, Exit, Ill Wind (You’re Blowing Me No Good)

 DAD7004
Tarnation — Mirador

An Awful Shade of Blue, Wait, A Place Where I Know, Is She Lonesome Now, Your Thoughts And Mine, Christine, Destiny, There’s Someone, Like a Ghost, Idly, Little Black Egg, You’ll Understand

 DAD CD7005
Gus Gus — Polydistortion

Oh (edit), Gun, Believe, Polyesterday, Barry, Cold Breath ’79, Why?, Remembrance, Is Jesus Your Pal?, Purple

 BAD CD7006
Scheer — Demon

Demon (Mike “Spike” Drake), Obsession, (Green Room) Sex Kitten

 AD7007
Tanya Donelly — Pretty Deep

Pretty Deep, Vanilla (Wally Gagel)*

 BAD 7007 CD
Tanya Donelly — Pretty Deep

Pretty Deep, Spaghetti, Morna

 BAD D CD7007
Tanya Donelly — Pretty Deep

Pretty Deep, These Days, Influenza

 CAD7008
Tanya Donelly — Lovesongs for Underdogs

Pretty Deep, Bright Lights, Land Speed Song, Mysteries of the Unexplained, Lantern, Acrobat, Breath Around You, Bum, Clipped, Goat Girl, Manna, Swoon

 JAD 7009 CD
His Name Is Alive — Nice Day

Nice Day, Drive Around the Clock, Crashed Up on the Corner, Soul Resides in the Horse Barn, Whale You Ease My Mind, Oh Sinner Man

 AD7010
Pixies — Debaser

Debaser (demo), Number Thirteen Baby (demo)

 BAD CD7010
Pixies — Debaser

Debaser (remix), Bone Machine (VPRO), Gigantic (VPRO), Isla de Encanta (VPRO)

 BAD D CD7010
Pixies — Debaser

Debaser (live), Cactus (live), Nimrod’s Son (live), Holiday Song (live)

 DAD 7011 CD
Pixies — Death To The Pixies

Cecilia Ann, Planet of Sound, Tame, Here Comes your Man, Debaser, Dig for Fire, Wave of Mutilation, Caribou, The Holiday Song, Nimrod’s Son, U-Mass, Bone Machine, Gigantic (ep), Where is my Mind?, Velouria, Gouge Away, Monkey Gone to Heaven

 BAD CD7012
Tanya Donelly — The Bright Light

The Bright Light, Bury My Heart, How Can You Sleep

 BAD D CD7012
Tanya Donelly — The Bright Light

The Bright Light, Life on Sirius, Moon Over Boston

This post is part of the chronological look at all 4AD releases, year by year.

*) Missing from Spotify.

4AD 1996

Listen to 4AD 1996 on Spotify.

Let’s focus on the positives: Dead Can Dance returned with Spiritchaser, and that’s a quite good album. Throwing Muses continued the streak begun with University and released another excellent album. His Name Is Alive went in a new direction: They discovered the Beach Boys. Heidi Berry released her final, and her most fabulous album, Miracle. And Lisa Germano released another really spiffy album.

So that’s all pretty good, right?

But the year is pretty much dominated by 4AD trying to make Lush the great new Britpop sensation, and I think they were successful? It did mean that they shed everything that was great about them, and I don’t think there’s anything from their six (!) EPs or the album they released this year that I enjoyed.

The other “big thing” 4AD tried to make happen was Icelanders Gus Gus, which wasn’t as successful commercially, I think. I kinda liked the music at the time, but I haven’t listened to any of afterwards. I seem to recall it being very mid-90s?

And then there’s the Paladins album, which I think a lot of people interpreted as a practical joke upon the listeners.

I’m still not sure that’s not correct, but I don’t want to hazard listening to the album again to make sure. You may feel a certain compulsion to start skipping when you get to that part of the playlist.

1996

 BAD CD6001
Lush — Single Girl

Single Girl, Tinkerbell, Outside World, Cul de Sac

 BAD D CD6001
Lush — Single Girl

Single Girl, Pudding, Demystification, Shut Up

 BAD CD6002
Lush — Ladykillers

Ladykillers, Matador, Ex, Dear Me (Miki’s 8-track home demo)

 BAD D CD6002
Lush — Ladykillers

Ladykillers, Heavenly, Carmen, Plums and Oranges (Neil Simons)

 BAD 6003 CD
Scheer — Shéa

Shéa, My World, Demon (acoustic), Nemesis

 CAD6004
Lush — Lovelife

Ladykillers, Heavenly Nobodies, 500, I’ve Been Here Before, Single Girl, Ciao!, Tralala, Last Night (Steve Orborne), Runaway, The Childcatcher (rerecorded), Olympia

 AD6005
Scheer — Wish You Were Dead

Wish You Were Dead, Hanging on the Telephone

 CAD6006
Scheer — Infliction

Shéa, Howling Boy, Wish You Were Dead, In Your Head, Demon, Baby Sized, Sad Loved Girl, I Started Something, Screaming, Goodbye

 BAD CD6007
His Name Is Alive — Universal Frequencies

Universal Frequencies, Up Your Legs Forever, Summer of E. S. P., Your Word Against Mine, Untitled

 BAD CD6016
Throwing Muses — Shark

Shark, Tar Moochers (rerecorded), Serene Swing (rerecorded), Limbobo (rerecorded)

 DAD6008
Dead Can Dance — Spiritchaser

Nierika, Song of the Stars, Indus, Song of the Disposessed, Dedicace Outo, The Snake and the Moon, Song of the Nile, Devorzhum

 BAD6009
Lush — 500 (Shake Baby Shake)

500 (Shake Baby Shake) (Mike Drake), I Have The Moon, Piledriver, Olympia (acoustic version)

 BAD D CD6009
Lush — 500 (Shake Baby Shake)

500 (Shake Baby Shake), I’d Like to Walk Around in Your Mind, Kiss Chase (acoustic version), Last Night (hexadeciman dub mix)

 CAD6010
His Name Is Alive — Stars On ESP

Dub Love Letter, This World is not My Home, Bad Luck Girl, What Are You Wearing Tomorrow, The Bees, What Else Is New List, Wall of Speed, Universal Frequencies, The Sand That Holds the Lakes in Place, I Can’t Live in this World Anymore, Answer to Rainbow at Midnight, Famous Goodbye King, Across The Street, Movie, Last One

 CAD6011
Heidi Berry — Miracle

The Mountain, Time, Holy Grail, Darkness Darkness, Miracle, The Californian, Queen, Only Human, Northern Country

 CAD6012
Lisa Germano — Excerpts from the Love Circus

Baby on the Plane, a Beautiful Schizophrenic, “where’s Miamo-Tutti?” by Dorothy, Bruises, I Love a Snot, Forget it it’s a Mystery, Victoria’s Secret, “just a bad dream by Miamo-Tutti”, Small Heads, We Suck, Lovesick, Singing to the Birds, Messages from Sophia, “there’s more kitties in the world than just Miamo-Tutti”
by Lisa and Dorothy, Big Big World

 BAD CD6013
Gus Gus — Polyesterday

Polyester Day*, Cold Breath ’79 (Crystalized)*, Polyesterday (Late)*, Polydistortion*

 CAD6014
Throwing Muses — Limbo

Buzz, Ruthie’s Knocking, Freeloader, The Field, Limbo, Tar Kissers, Tango, Serene, Mr. Bones, Night Driving, Cowbirds, Shark, White Bikini Sand

 CAD6015
The Paladins — Million Mile Club

 TAD6017
Throwing Muses — Ruthie’s Knocking

 BAD CD6018
Tanya Donelly — Sliding & Diving

Bum, Restless, Human, Swoon

 BAD CD6019
Lisa Germano — Small Heads

Small Heads, Fun Fun For Everyone (Acoustic), Tom, Dick And Harry, Messages From Sophia (Instrumental)

This post is part of the chronological look at all 4AD releases, year by year.

*) Missing from Spotify.

4AD 1995

Listen to 4AD 1995 on Spotify.

I think perhaps it makes sense to regard 1995 as the end of the iconic, classic version of 4AD. 4AD’s ends their association with The Wolfgang Press here, and that’s a group of people that had been with them (in various permutations) since 1980: The very first “proper” 4AD release was by Rema-Rema, which is half the people in The Wolfgang Press or something.

And there are none of the 80s “big hitters” in 1995. Cocteau Twins had left a few years earlier, of course, and This Mortal Coil had wound down, and Dead Can Dance released nothing this year. This leaves Throwing Muses as the only other band from the 80s to release something on 4AD this year. And it’s a wonderful album: University is up there with the very best of what they’ve done, and what they’ve done is very good indeed.

But as for the rest… oy vey.

This is the worst year in 4AD’s history.

SO FAR!

OK, the album by Red House Painters isn’t bad, but it’s not as good as any of their previous work. And newcomers Tarnation are excellent: I didn’t know I liked that kind of music until I heard that album, so it was a gateway drug of sorts. Thanks! And the Liquorice album is really good.

But… Mojave 3? Scheer? The Amps? Kendra Smith? The Lisa Gerrard solo album?

Of the 18 things 4AD released this year, three or four are essential.

4AD was by now not anything resembling cohesive, and had turned into just another indie label: Some good, some bad, and it no longer made any sense to buy everything they released because you knew that you’d love it all.

There’s still some good music to come over the next few years, though.

1995

 CAD4016
The Wolfgang Press — Funky Little Demons

Going South, 11 Years, Blood Satisfaction, Chains, Christianity, Derek The Confessor, So Long Dead, Executioner, She’s So Soft, New Glass, Fallen Not Broken, People Say

 BAD5001
The Wolfgang Press — Going South

Going South (7″ version), Going South (Country style), Going South (@440 mix), Chains (Wobble mix), 11 Years (Sabres Main Mix 2)

 CAD5002
Throwing Muses — University

Bright Yellow Gun, Start, Hazing, Shimmer, Calm Down, Calm Down, Crabtown, No Way In Hell, Surf Cowboy, That’s All You Wanted, Teller, University, Snakeface, Flood, Fever Few

 BAD5003
Belly — Now They’ll Sleep

Now They’ll Sleep, Thief, Baby’s Arm, John Dark

 CAD5004
Belly — King

Puberty, Seal My Fate, Red, Silverfish, Super-Connected, The Bees, King, Now They’ll Sleep, Untitled and Unsung, L’il Ennio, Judas My Heart

 DAD D5005
Red House Painters — Ocean Beach

Cabezon, Summer Dress, San Geronimo, Shadows, Over My Head, Red Carpet, Brockwell Park, Moments, Drop, Brockwell Part pt. 2*, Long Distance Runaround*

 BAD CD K5003
Belly — Super-Connected

Super-Connected, Spaceman, Diamond Rib Cage, Think About Your Troubles

 CAD5006
Kendra Smith — Five Ways of Disappearing

Aurelia, Bohemian Zebulon, Temporarily Lucy, In Your Head, Space Unadorned, Maggots, Drunken Boat, interlude, Dirigible, Valley of the Morning Sun, Judge Not, Get There, interlude, Saturn, Bold Marauder

 AD5007
Belly — Seal My Fate

Seal My Fate (US radio mix), Broken, Judas My Heart (live)*

 BAD CD5007
Belly — Seal My Fate

Seal My Fate, Spaceman, Diamond Rib Cage, Think About Your Troubles

 BAD D CD5007
Belly — Seal My Fate

Seal My Fate (live), White Belly (live), Untitled and Unsung (live), The Bees (live)

 12″BELLY 2
Belly — Seal My Fate

Seal My Fate (US Radio Mix), Judas Mon Coeur (rerecorded)

 CAD5008
Liquorice — Listening Cap

Trump Suit, Team Player, Keeping the Weekend Free, Drive Around, Cheap Cuts, Trump Suit Edit, Jill of All Trades, No Excuses, Breaking the Ice, Blew It

 CAD 5009 CD
Lisa Gerrard — The Mirror Pool

Violina (The Last Embrace, La Bas (Song of the Damned), Persian Love Song (The Silver Gun)|=Persian Love Song, Sanvean (I am your Shadow), The Rite, Ajhon, Glorafin, Majhnavea’s Music Box, Largo, Werd, Laurelei, Celon, Venteles, Swans, Nilleshna, Gloradin

 CAD5010
Tarnation — Gentle Creatures

Game of Broken Hearts, Halfaway to Madness, The Well, Big O Motel, Tell Me It’s Not So, Two Wrongs Won’t Make Things Right, Lonely Lights, Gentle Creatures, Listen To The Wind, The Hand, Do You Fancy Me, Yellow Birds, Burn Again, Stranger in the Mirror, It’s Not Easy

 CAD5011
Air Miami — Me. Me. Me.

I Hate Milk, World Cup Fever, Seabird, Special Angel, Afternoon Train, Dolphin Expressway, Sweet As A Candy Bar, You Sweet Little Heartbreaker, Neely, Bubble Shield, The Event Horizon, Definitely Beachy, Reprise

 BAD5012
Scheer — Schism

Sometimes, You Said, Baby Size (version), Take You Anywhere, Unlisted track

 CAD5013
Mojave 3 — Ask Me Tomorrow

Love Songs On The Radio, Sarah, Tomorrow’S Taken, Candle Song 3, You’Re Beautiful, Where Is The Love, After All, Pictures, Mercy

 BAD CD5014
Air Miami — Fuck You, Tiger

I Hate Milk (fyt), Warm Miami May, Afternoon Train (Remix #3), See-Through Plastic

 BAD5015
The Amps — Tipp City

Tipp City, Just Like A Briar, Empty Glasses (Kim’s Basement 4-track Version)

 FTWW1
Various — Facing The Wrong Way

Scheer / Take You Anywhere, Throwing Muses / Snakeface, Red House Painters / Summer Dress, Tarnation / The Well, Air Miami / You Sweet Little Heartbreaker, Mojave 3 / Love Songs on the Radio, Belly / Super-Connected, The Wolfgang Press / Christianity (Wicked Man Remix), Heidi Berry / Miracle (new version), Sanvean (I am your Shadow), Liquorice / Cheap Cuts, Kendra Smith / Valley of the Morning Sun, The Amps / Empty Glasses (Kim’s Basement 4 track version)

 CAD5016
The Amps — Pacer

Pacer, Tipp City, I Am Decided, Mom’s Drunk, Bragging Party, Hoverin’ (rerecorded), First Revival, Full on Idle, Breaking the Split Screen Barrier, Empty Glasses, She’s a Girl, Dedicated

 TAD CD5017
Kristin Hersh — The Holy Single

Jesus Christ, Amazing Grace (rerecorded), Sinkhole (rerecorded), Can The Circle Be Unbroken

This post is part of the chronological look at all 4AD releases, year by year.

*) Missing from Spotify.

4AD 1994

Listen to 4AD 1994 on Spotify.

The most important thing that happened in 1994 was that Kristin Hersh launched her solo career. While not really that radically different from her Throwing Muses music, it gave us more Kristin Hersh, and that’s always better, right?

Also: 4AD signed Lisa Germano and released her stunning Geek the Girl album. It’s all an album on 4AD should be: Scary, beautiful, gripping.

Lush released their most accomplished album, Split, and some spiffy EPs, too.

Let’s see… Oh, yeah, Frank Black was such a dick that Ivo Watts-Russell let him go, and the incident was perhaps also instrumental in him withdrawing even further from being involved with artists on 4AD, according to that 4AD biography you’ve all read, no doubt. If you haven’t, you should.

Art-wise, I think that Vaughan Oliver and Chris Bigg of v23 make something of a comeback this year. After a couple of years of uneasily adjusting to CD-first designs, and failing a lot, this year we get a number of kinda stunning covers, including the Shinro Ohtake things for Kristin Hersh’ releases.

Some significant releases are missing from Spotify this year (in addition to the usual promo releases): Perhaps most importantly, Inconsiderate Bitch by Lisa Germano. 4AD label boss Ivo remixed a bunch of Germano songs and put out a five track EP, and it’s rather brilliant, I think. But you probably have to get it on discogs.com if you want to listen to it.

But the 10″ limited Head to Toe by The Breeders, BADD4012, is also missing, which is just weird, because… it’s the fucking Breeders, right?

The second version of Frank Black’s Headache EP (BADD4007CD) isn’t on Spotify either; something we can all be thankful for.

1994

 BAD4001
Kristin Hersh — Your Ghost

Your Ghost, The Key, Uncle June and Aunt Kiyoti, When the Levee Breaks

 CAD4002
Kristin Hersh — Hips and Makers

Your Ghost, Beestung, Teeth, Sundrops, Sparky, Houdini Blues, A Loon, Velvet Days, Close Your Eyes, Me and My Charms, Tuesday Night, The Letter, Lurch, Cuckoo, Hips and Makers

 TAD4003
Lisa Germano — Inconsiderate Bitch

Happiness (remix)*, Energy (remix)*, Puppet (remix)*, Sycophant (remix)*, (Late Night) Dresses (remix)*

 BAD4004
Red House Painters — Shock Me

Shock Me, Sundays and Holidays, Three-Legged Cat, Shock Me (rerecorded), Untitled

 lp45496
The Glee Club — Mine

Need, The Blame, No Reason, Bad Child’s Dolly, Already There, Free to Believe, Drives You Away, Remember the Years, All The Promises, Take you There, Icy Blue

 CAD4005
Lisa Germano — Happiness

Bad Attitude, Destroy the Flower, Puppet, Everyone’s Victim, Energy, Cowboy, Happiness, The Earth, Around the World, Sycophant, Miamo-Tutti, The Dresses Song, The Darkest Night of All

 TU7CD
Insides — Clear Skin

Clear Skin

 AD4006
Kristin Hersh — Strings

A Loon (strings), Sundrops (strings), Me and My Charms (strings), Velvet Days (strings)

 BAD4007
Frank Black — Headache

Headache (David Bianco), Men in Black, At the End of the World, Oddball

 BADD CD4007
Frank Black — Headache

Headache*, Hate Me*, This is Where I Belong*, Amnesia*

 BAD D4008
Lush — Hypocrite

Hypocrite, Cat’s Chorus, Love at First Sight, Undertow (Spooky Remix)

 DAD4009
Frank Black — Teenager of the Year

Whatever Happened To Pong?, Thalassocracy, (I Want To Live On An) Abstract Plain, Calistan, The Vanishing Spies, Speedy Marie, Headache, Sir Rockaby, Freedom Rock, Two Reelers, Fiddle Riddle, Ole Mulholland, Fazer Eyes, I Could Stay Here Forever, The Hostess With The Mostest, Superabound, Big Red, Space Is Gonna Do Me Good, White Noisemaker, Pure Denizen Of The Citizen’s Band, Bad, Wicked World, Pie In The Sky

 BAD D4010
Lush — Desire Lines

Desire Lines, White Wood, Girl’s World, Lovelife (Suga Bullit remix)

 CAD4011
Lush — Split

Light From A Dead Star, Kiss Chase, Blackout, Hypocrite, Lovelife, Desire Lines, The Invisible Man, Undertow, Never-Never, Lit Up, Starlust (rerecorded), When I Die

 BADD4012
The Breeders — Head to Toe

Head to Toe*, Shocker in Gloomtown*, Freed Pig (originally appeared on «Sebadoh III»)*, Saints (htt)*

 BAD4013
Pale Saints — Fine Friend

Fine Friend, Special Present, Marimba, Reprise

 CAD4014
Pale Saints — Slow Buildings

King Fade, Angel (will you be my), One Blue Hill, Henry, Under Your Nose, Little Gesture, Song of Solomon, Fine Friend, Gesture of a Fear, Always I, Suggestion

 DAD4015
Dead Can Dance — Toward the Within

Yulunga (spririt dance) (live), Rakim (live), Song of the Sibyl (live), I Can See Now (live), American Dreaming (live), Cantara (live), The Wind That Shakes The Barley (live), I Am Stretched On Your Grave (live), Desert Song (live), Oman (live), Tristan (live), Sanvean (live), Don’t Fade Away (live), Persian Love Song (live), Piece for Solo Flute (live)

 CAD4017
Lisa Germano — Geek the Girl

My Secret Reason, Trouble, Geek the Girl, Just Geek, Cry Wolf, …a psychopath, Sexy Little Girl Princess, Phantom Love, Cancer of Everything, A Guy Like You, …of love and colours, Stars

 BAD4018
Throwing Muses — Bright Yellow Gun

Bright Yellow Gun, Crayon Sun, Red Eyes, Like a Dog

This post is part of the chronological look at all 4AD releases, year by year.

*) Missing from Spotify.

4AD 1993

Listen to 4AD 1993 on Spotify.

1992/1993 sealed 4AD’s fate: They had two major hits in the US college market with Belly’s Feed the Tree and The Breeders’ Cannonball; both going into heavy rotation on MTV (back when that meant something). Major label Warner Bros came sniffing seeking grunge acts, and Ivo Watts-Russell signed a distribution deal with them that, to me, seems totally ridiculous and set any band on 4AD up to fail: Warner would start furnishing the advances to the bands 4AD signed, and for every album a band released, the advance would be doubled.

This, of course, meant that any reasonable band that kept releasing stuff would soon be completely unprofitable for the labels, so they would have to be let go, right? We’ll come back to that in a few years. I mean weeks.

But other than those blockbuster hits (both singles and albums from Belly and The Breeders), there was a pretty nice album by His Name is Alive; two good albums from Red House Painters; a really good album by Heidi Berry; Dead Can Dance’s probably best album; and the brilliant album by Insides (on Guernica).

And the Spoonfed Hybrid album which I think is very spiffy. And there’s a story behind why it’s on Guernica:

CT: I never knew until I read Martin Aston’s Facing The Other Way a couple of years ago that Ivo had refused to release Spoonfed Hybrid on 4AD proper because he didn’t like my singing on A Pocketful Of Dust. I don’t like it much either, to be honest, it was much better on the demo. So it goes.

IM: Ivo said he didn’t like Chris’ voice, but I don’t think there was ever a “Lose Chris’s voice and I’ll release it on 4AD” conversation.

A certain lack of communication, I guess.

But, hey, not a bad year at all: Most of the albums 4AD released in 1993 are albums I like a lot, but there’s one that’s pretty bad. (It rhymes with “Rank Black”.)

And then!

There was the Thirteen Year Itch week-long music festival in London! Which I attended! It was fabulous! There was a nice showcase of 4AD artwork (mostly focusing on the CD designs) and a cinema that showed the videos you can see above (I made a playlist; it’s missing the Ultra Vivid Scene video which isn’t at Youtube). And, of course, the venue, which was… pretty intimate, as I recall?

Strangely enough, the concert that made the greatest impression on me was Brendan Perry’s solo show. He premiered all the songs that would end up on his sole solo album, and I loved them to bits. Even more strangely, when the album was finally released, I was totally underwhelmed…

I couldn’t find the That Dog. album on Spotify, so I guess whoever owns the rights (I think 4AD just licensed the album for the UK?) hasn’t made it available.

1993

 BAD3001
Belly — Feed The Tree

Feed The Tree, Dream On Me, Trust In Me, Star

 CAD3002
Belly — Star

Someone To Die For, Angel, Dusted (rerecorded), Every Word, Gepetto, Witch, Slow Dog (rerecorded), Low Red Moon (rerecorded), Feed The Tree, Full Moon, Empty Heart, White Belly, Untogether, Star (rerecorded), Sad Dress, Stay

 BAD3003
Ultra Vivid Scene — Blood and Thunder

Blood and Thunder (radio edit), Don’t Look Now (Now!), Candida (theme from Red Pressure Mounting), Winter Song

 CAD3004
Frank Black — Frank Black

Los Angeles, I Heard Ramona Sing, Hang on to Your Ego, Fu Manchu, Places Named After Numbers, Czar, Old Black Dawning, Ten Percenter, Brackish Boy, Two Spaces, Tossed (Instumental version), Parry the Wind High, Low, Adda Lee, Every Time I Go Around Here, Don’t Ya Rile Them

 BAD3005
Frank Black — Hang On To Your Ego

Hang On To Your Ego, The Ballad Of Johnny Horton, Surf Epic

 cd box set45135
This Mortal Coil — 1983-1991

All the other This Mortal Coil albums, and: Another Day (Roy Harper), Mr. Somewhere (The Apartments), With Tomorrow (Gene Clark), Holocaust (Big Star), Kangaroo (Big Star), Carolyn’s Song (Rain Parade), I Want To Live (Gary Ogan & Bill Lamb), Alone (Colin Newman), Drugs (Talking Heads), Help Me Lift You Up (Mary Margaret O’Hara), Song To The Siren (Tim Buckley), Morning Glory (Tim Buckley), I Must Have Been Blind (Tim Buckley), Several Times I, The Jeweller (Pearls Before Swine), I Come And Stand At Every Door (The Byrds), I Am The Cosmos (Chris Bell), You And Your Sister (Chris Bell), ‘Til I Gain Control Again (Emmylou Harris), Nature’s Way (Spirit), Strength Of Strings (Gene Clark)

 CAD3006
His Name Is Alive — Mouth by Mouth

Baby Fish Mouth, Lip, Cornfield, In Every Ford, Lord, Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace, Drink, Dress and Ink, Where Knock Is Open Wide, Can’t Go Wrong Without You, Jack Rabbits, Sort Of, Sick, Blue Moon, Ear, Lemon Ocean, The Torso, The Dirt Eaters (mbm), The Homsick Waltz

 BAD3007
Unrest — Isabel Bishop e.p.

Isabel (single), Teenage Suicide, Love To Know (originally performed by The Marine Girls.), Nation Writer, Wharton Hockey Club

 DAD3008
Red House Painters — Red House Painters

Grace Cathedral Park, Down Through, Katy Song, Mistress, Things Mean A Lot, Fun House, Take Me Out, Rollercoaster, New Jersey, Dragon Flies, Mistress (piano version), Mother, Strawberry Hill, Brown Eyes

 CAD3009
Heidi Berry — Heidi Berry

Mercury, Little Fox, The Moon And The Sun, One-String Violin, Darling Companion, Distant Thunder, Heart Like A Wheel, For The Rose, Follow, Ariel, Dawn

 BAD3010
Heidi Berry — The Moon And The Sun

The Moon And The Sun, Unholy Light, Zither Song, You Upset The Grace Of Living When You Lie

 (shuffle)
Various — 4AD Presents The 13 Year Itch

Lush / Desire Lines (demo), Kristin Hersh / Your Ghost (demo), Mistress (itch), Underground Lovers / Your Eyes (rerecorded), The Wolfgang Press / Peace On Fire, Unrest / Where Are All Those Puerto Rican Boys?, The Breeders / Invisible Man (demo), Bettie Serveert / Totally Freaked Out, Brendan Perry|R / Happy Time, Firefly (rerecorded), Pale Saints / One Blue Hill (demo), His Name Is Alive / The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light, This Is The Way (part 2)

 (shuffle)
Various — 4AD Presents The 13 Year Itch

The Breeders / Cannonball, Isabel (single), Dig For Fire (single), Pixies / Allison (Peter Scammell), Frank Black / Los Angeles (John Flansburgh), Bettie Serveert / Tom Boy (Jesse Peretz), The Wolfgang Press / Kansas, His Name Is Alive / Are We Still Married? (The Brothers Quay), His Name Is Alive / Lip (itch), His Name Is Alive / Can’t Go Wrong Without You (The Brothers Quay), This Mortal Coil / Late Night (Alexander Spaszt), Michael Brook / Breakdown (Miles Aldridge), Heidi Berry / The Moon And The Sun (Angela Conway), Red House Painters / 24 (Mark Taylor), Throwing Muses / Counting Backwards (Katherine Beickmann), Pale Saints / Blue Flower (Peter Scammell), Swallow / Oceans And Blue Skies, Lush / Superblast (Brett Turnbull), Ultra Vivid Scene / Blood And Thunder (Miles Aldridge)

 BAD3011
The Breeders — Cannonball

Cannonball, Cro-Aloha (rerecorded), Lord Of The Thighs, 900

 CAD3012
Unrest — Perfect Teeth

Angel I’ll Walk You Home, Cath Carroll, So Sick, Light Command, Food & Drink Synthesizer, Soon It Is Going To Rain, Make Out Club, Breather x.o.x.o., West Coast Love Affair, Six Layer Lake, Stylized Ampersand

 CAD3014
The Breeders — Last Splash

New Year, Cannonball, Invisible Man, No Aloha, Roi, Do You Love Me Now? (rerecorded), Flipside, I Just Wanna Get Along (rerecorded), Mad Lucas, Divine Hammer, S. O. S., Hag, Saints, Drivin’ On 9, Roi (reprise)

 BREED 2
The Breeders — untitled

Grungé (demo), New Year (demo)

 CAD C3013
Dead Can Dance — Into the Labyrinth

Yulunga, The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, The Carnival Is Over, Ariadne, Saldek, Toward The Within, Tell Me About The Forest, The Spider’s Strategem, Emmeleia, How Fortunate The Man With None

 BAD3015
Unrest — Cath Carroll

Cath Carroll (10 cc mix), Vibe Out!, Goodbye, Hydro

 CAD3016
Red House Painters — Red House Painters

Evil, Bubble, I am a Rock, Helicopter, New Jersey (remix), Uncle Joe (remix), Blindfold, Star Spangled Banner

 BADD3017
The Breeders — Divine Hammer

Divine Hammer (remix), Hoverin’, I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You), Do You Love Me Now? (jr?)

 GU4
Insides — Euphoria

Walking in Straight Lines, Bent Double, Darling Effect, Distractions, Relentless, Skin Divers, Carly Simon, Yes, Skykicking

 GU4S
Insides — untitled

Further Distractions*, Turning Absentmindedly*

 GU5
Spoonfed Hybrid — Spoonfed Hybrid

Heaven’s Knot, Naturally Occurring Anchors, Tiny Planes, Stolen Clothes, Lynched, 1936, Getting Not to Know, Somehow Some Other Life, A Pocketful of Dust, Ecnalubma, Boys in Zinc

 GU5S
Spoonfed Hybrid — untitled

Bullet and Bees*, Messrs. Hyde*

 GU6
That Dog. — That Dog.

Old Timer*, Jump*, Punk Rock Girl*, Zodiac*, You are Here*, She*, Angel*, Westside Angst*, She Looks at Me*, Family Functions*, Ralna*, She Looks at Me (reprise)*, Just Like Me*, Paid Programming*, This Boy*

 GU6S
That Dog. — untitled

Buy Me Flowers*, Untitled*

This post is part of the chronological look at all 4AD releases, year by year.

*) Missing from Spotify.