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.


Kristin Hersh — Your Ghost

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

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

Lisa Germano — Inconsiderate Bitch

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

Red House Painters — Shock Me

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

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

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

Insides — Clear Skin

Clear Skin

Kristin Hersh — Strings

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

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)

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)

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

The Breeders — Head to Toe

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

Pale Saints — Fine Friend

Fine Friend, Special Present, Marimba, Reprise

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

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)

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

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.


Belly — Feed The Tree

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

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

Ultra Vivid Scene — Blood and Thunder

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

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

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)

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

Unrest — Isabel Bishop e.p.

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

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

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

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

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)

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)

The Breeders — Cannonball

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

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

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)

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

Unrest — Cath Carroll

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

Red House Painters — Red House Painters

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

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?)

Insides — Euphoria

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

Insides — untitled

Further Distractions*, Turning Absentmindedly*

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

Spoonfed Hybrid — untitled

Bullet and Bees*, Messrs. Hyde*

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*

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.

4AD 1992

Listen to 4AD 1992 on Spotify.

1992 was another year of change for 4AD. Ivo Watts-Russell wanted to be able to pick more freely among things to release without getting in a serious relationship with bands, so he started the Guernica imprint which released three things at a rapid pace at the end of the year (and couple more the next year) before petering out. While it might be nice for the label not to commit to an artist, the artists may feel a bit… slighted? Because the audience is going “so these are the bands not good enough to be on 4AD?”

Which is a shame, because they’re better than some of the albums released on 4AD “proper” this year.

4AD released a buttload of things in 1992, and few of them have become well-loved classics. Down Colourful Hill by Red House Painters was a revelation and launched Mark Kozelek’s long-running career (still going now); Lush released Spooky, probably their best album (and it’s really good, but it was a let-down after the initial series of EPs, because Robin Guthrie’s production is somewhat sterile and claustrophobic); The Breeders did their first post-Pod EP that points to future stardom; and Belly release their first two EPs.

And I think the Gepetto EP made it clear to everybody that they’d soon have a hit on their hands: It (and Throwing Muses’ Firepile) were the first singles that would be “formatted”; i.e., released in as many formats as the UK indie chart rules would allow. From now on we get a bunch of remixes and more B-sides than anybody really wanted for every single single 4AD releases.

4AD is now becoming a commercial juggernaut with huge name recognition, particularly with the lucrative US college market, and other people than Ivo Watts-Russell would also have a say in what groups were signed. A US office is also opened around this time. *insert spooky music here*

(The first Belly EP, Slow Dust, isn’t available on Spotify, but all the songs show up in different versions on subsequent releases. Perhaps Tanya Donnelly didn’t want those early versions out there? Or did 4AD just forget to upload it? And none of the songs from the limited edition 7″ singles included with the Guernica albums are on Spotify, either.)


Lush — For Love

For Love, Starlust, Outdoor Miner, Astronaut

Lush — Spooky

Stray, Nothing Natural (remix), Tiny Smiles, Covert, Ocean, For Love, Superblast!, Untogether, Fantasy, Take, Laura, Monochrome

The Breeders — Safari

Do You Love Me Now?, Don’t Call Home, Safari, So Sad About Us

Pale Saints — In Ribbons

Throwing Back the Apple, Ordeal, Thread of Light, Shell, There is No Day, Hunted, Hair Shoes (remix), Babymaker (remix), Liquid, Neverending Night, Featherframe, A Thousand Stars Burst Open

Pale Saints — untitled

A Thousand Stars Burst Open (brass)*, A Revelation (rerecorded)*

The Wolfgang Press — A Girl Like You

A Girl Like You (7″ mix), Angel, A Girl Like You (1000 Times), A Girl Like You (Born To Be Kissed)

Michael Brook — Cobalt Blue

Shona Bridge, Breakdown, Red Shift, Skip Wave, Slipstream, Andean, Slow Breakdown, Ultramarine, Urbana, Lakbossa, Ten, Hawaii

Pale Saints — Throwing Back The Apple

Throwing Back The Apple, Blue Flower, Half-Life Remembered (remix), Reflections From A Watery World

Belly — Slow Dust

Dusted*, Slow Dog*, Dancing Gold*, Low Red Moon*, Dusted (remix)*

 cdLilliput 1 & 2
Various — Lilliput

Dark Entries, Controversial Subject, Nick the Stripper, I Melt With You, Song To The Siren, Incubus Succubus II, The Spangle Maker, Stranger, Baby I Love You So, Hate My Way, No Motion, Pump Up The Volume, Mercy Seat, The Host Of Seraphim, Monkey Gone To Heaven, De-Luxe, Throwing Back The Apple, Featherframe, A Girl Like You (7″ mix), Birmingham, Breakdown, Urbana, Chlorine Dream, Signed D. C., Gloria, Are We Still Married?, Tastes Like Honey, Follow Me Down, A Thousand Stars Burst Open (brass)

Swallow — Blow

Lovesleep, Tastes Like Honey, Sugar Your Mind, Mensurral, Peekaboo, Lacuna, Oceans and Blue Skies, Follow Me Down, Halo, Cherry Stars Collide, Head In a Cave

 TAD 2011 CD
Michael Brook — Live at The Aquarium

Shona Bridge (live), After Image / Urbana (live), Andean (live), Ultramarine (live), Lakbossa (live), Cascade (live), Red Shift (live)

Throwing Muses — Firepile

Firepile, Manic Depression, Snailhead (remix), City of the Dead

 BAD D2012
Throwing Muses — Firepile

Firepile (ep2), Jak, Ride into the Sun, Handsome Woman

Throwing Muses — Red Heaven

Furious, Firepile, Dio, Dirty Water, Stroll, Pearl, Summer St, Vic, Backroad, The Visit, Dovey, Rosetta Stone, Carnival Wig

Kristin Hersh — Live at Maxwell’s, Hoboken

Juno (live), Marriage Tree (live), Pearl (live), Stand Up / Dovey / Mexican Women (live), Run Letter (live), Soap & Water (live), Rabbits Dying (live), Cry Baby Cry (live), Counting Backwards / Handsome Woman (live), Take (live), Soul Soldier (live), Bea (live), Delicate Cutters (live)

Unrest — Imperial f. f. r. r.

Volume Reference Tone, Suki, Imperial, I Do Beleive You Are Blushing, Champion Nines, Sugarshack, Isabel, Cherry Cream On, Firecracker, June, Loyola, Yes She Is My Skinhead Girl, Hydrofoil no. 1, Full Frequency (remix), Wednesday & Proud

Unrest — untitled

Yes She Is My Skinhead Girl (rerecorded)*, Hydrofoil no. 3 (rerecorded)*, Range Recording (remix)*

Red House Painters — Down Colorful Hill

24, Medicine Bottle, Down Colorful Hill, Japanese to English, Lord Kill the Pain, Michael

 TAD 2015 CD
Swallow — Blowback

Oceans and Blue Skies (remix), Head in a Cave (remix), Tastes Like Honey (remix), Peekaboo (remix), Sugar Your Mind (remix), Follow Me Down (remix), Mensurral (remix), Cherry Stars Collide (remix)

The Birthday Party — Hits

The Friend Catcher, Happy Birthday, Mr. Clarinet, Nick the Stripper, Zoo Music Girl, King Ink, Release the Bats, Blast Off, She’s Hit, 6″ Gold Blade, Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow), Dead Joe, Junkyard, Big-Jesus-Trash-Can, Wild World, Sonny’s Burning, Deep in the Woods, Swampland, Jennifer’s Veil, Mutiny in Heaven

Ultra Vivid Scene — Rev

Candida, Cut-throat, Mirror to Mirror, The Portion of Delight, Thief’s Love Song, How Sweet, Medicating Angels, Blood and Thunder, This is the Way

Underground Lovers — Leaves Me Blind

Eastside Stories, Promenade, I was right, Holiday, Got of on it, Daze, Waves, Your eyes, Ladies choice, Get to know, Whisper me nothing

Underground Lovers — untitled

Leaves Me Blind (demo version)*, Mumble Head (demo version)*

Belly — Gepetto

Gepetto, Sexy S, Hot Burrito #1, Sweet Ride

 BAD C2018
Belly — Gepetto

Gepetto (remix), It’s Not Unusual, Star (demo), Dusted (demo)

 TAD 2019 CD
Throwing Muses — The Curse

Manic Depression (live), Counting Backwards (live), Fish (live), Hate My Way (live), Furious (live), Devil’s Roof (live), Snailhead (live), Firepile (live), Finished (live), Take (live), Say Goodbye (live), Mania (live), Two Step (live), Delicate Cutters (live), Cottonmouth (live), Pearl (live), Vic (live), Bea (live)

Bettie Serveert — Palomine

Leg, Palomine, Kid’s Allright, Tom Boy, Under The Surface, Balentine, This Thing Nowhere, Healthy Sick, Sundazed To The Core, Palomine (small)

Bettie Serveert — untitled

Brain-Tag*, Get The Bird*, Smile*

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

*) Missing from Spotify.

4AD 1991

Listen to 4AD 1991 on Spotify.

The most striking thing about 1991 is that a lot of the sleeves aren’t very good. Vaughan Oliver/Chris Bigg might have been going through a period of burn-out, and there’s some external designers used, too. Counting Backwards, Time, the Spirea X releases, Flesh Balloon are all pretty bad. And Mama Told Me Not To Come is just disgusting.

Musically, things are moving in a distinctly more stream-lined and commercial direction. With Trompe le Monde, Pixies are finally nothing more than just another boring rock band; all the weirdness and fun has been discarded. Throwing Muses loses Leslie Langston’s glorious bass lines. The Wolfgang Press decide to stop being such contrarians and go dancing instead. (Which I quite like.) And Spirea X… what the fuck is that even? The first band on 4AD since 1982 that I just don’t like even a tiny bit.

But it’s not all bad. His Name Is Alive return with a magnificent second album, and Heidi Berry’s Love is glorious and fresh. And, of course, This Mortal Coil release their third and final album, and it’s quite good. Not as good a Filigree & Shadow, but then very few things are.

There’s a whopping 17 “official” things released this year (and more than a few promo releases), but only a handful are vital, which makes this the worst year in 4AD history.


(I haven’t included the promo stuff in the Spotify playlist because they’re not very interesting, and, well, they’re not on Spotify.)


Throwing Muses — Counting Backwards

Counting Backwards, Same Sun, Amazing Grace, Cottonmouth

Throwing Muses — The Real Ramona

Counting Backwards, Him Dancing, Red Shoes, Graffiti, Golden Thing, Ellen West, Dylan, Hook In Her Head, Not Too Soon, Honeychain, Say Goodbye, Two Step

The Wolfgang Press — Time

Time (single), Time Less, Dark Time

Spirea X — Chlorine Dream

Chlorine Dream, Spirea Rising, Risk

This Mortal Coil — Blood

The Lacemaker, Mr. Somewhere, Andialu, With Tomorrow, Loose Joints, You And Your Sister, Nature’s Way, I Come And Stand At Every Door, Bitter (), Baby Ray Baby, Several Times (Several Times I), The Lacemaker II, Late Night, Ruddy And Wretched, Help Me Lift You Up, Carolyn’s Song, D. D. And E., ‘Til I Gain Control Again, Dreams Are Like Water, I Am The Cosmos, (Nothing But) Blood

Spirea X — Speed Reaction

Speed Reaction, What Kind Of Love, Jet Pilot, Re: Action

The Wolfgang Press — Mama Told Me Not To Come

Mama Told Me Not To Come, Mama Told Me Not To Come (inside out mix), Summer Time

Pixies — Planet Of Sound

Planet Of Sound, Theme From Narc, Build High, Evil Hearted You

Pale Saints — Flesh Balloon

Hunted, Porpoise, Kinky Love, Hair Shoes (demo version)

 CAD C1010
Dead Can Dance — A Passage In Time

Saltarello, Song Of Sophia, Ulysses, Cantara, The Garden Of Zephirus, Enigma Of The Absolute, Wilderness, The Host Of Seraphim, Anywhere Out Of The World, The Writing Of My Father’s Hand, Severance, The Song Of The Sybil, Fortune Presents Gifts Not According To The Book, In The Kingdom Of The Blind The One-Eyed Are Kings, Bird, Spirit

The Wolfgang Press — Queer

Birmingham, Mama Told Me Not To Come, Heaven’s Gate, Riders On The Heart, Questions Of Time, Louis XIV, Fakes & Liars, Honey Tree, Birdie Song, Dreams & Light, Sucker, Mother Valentine

Heidi Berry — Love

Washington Square, Up In The Air, Gloria, Great Big Silver Key, Wake, Cradle, Hand Over Head, Silver Buttons, Lonely Heart, Bright As Day, Lily

His Name Is Alive — Home Is In Your Head

Are You Coming Down This Weekend?, Her Eyes Were Huge Things, The Charmer, Hope Called In Sick, My Feathers Needed Cleaning, The Well, There’s Something Between Us And He’s Changing My Words, The Phoenix, A Pool Of Ice, Are We Still Married?, Put Your Finger In Your Eye, Home Is In Your Head, Why People Disappear, Her Eyes Are Huge, Save the Birds, Chances Are We Are Mad, Mescalina, Sitting Still Moving Still Staring Outlooking, Very Bad A Bitter Hand, Beautiful And Pointless, Tempe, Spirit And Body, Love’s A Fish Eye, Dreams Are Of The Body, The Other Body

Pixies — Trompe Le Monde

Trompe Le Monde, Planet Of Sound, Alec Eiffel, The Sad Punk, Head On, U-Mass, Palace Of The Brine, Letter To Memphis, Bird Dream Of The Olympus Mons, Space (I Believe In), Subbacultcha, Distance Equals Rate Times Time, Lovely Day, Motorway To Roswell, The Navajo Know

Throwing Muses — Not Too Soon

Not Too Soon, Cry Baby Cry, Him Dancing (remix), Dizzy (remix)

Lush — Black Spring

Nothing Natural, God’s Gift, Fallin’ In Love, Monochrome

Spirea X — Fireblade Skies

Smile, Nothing Happened Yesterday, Rollercoaster (spirea), Chlorine Dream (remix), Fire And Light, Spirea 9, Speed Reaction, Confusion In My Soul, Signed D. C., Sisters And Brothers, Sunset Dawn

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

*) Missing from Spotify.

4AD 1990

Listen to 4AD 1990 on Spotify.

4AD head Ivo Watts-Russell has later said that he was going to shut down 4AD after ten years, but he didn’t because he felt an obligation to the bands. So instead 1990 turned into one of the busiest years ever, with 17 releases, and some of the biggest commercial successes in 4AD’s history.

Dead Can Dance released Aion, a release that I think converted anybody sceptical about them into fans. Pixies released Bossanova, which was very popular and the first release on 4AD I didn’t like since 1984. But Kim Deal from Pixies joined up with Tanya Donnelly from Throwing Muses and Josephine Wiggs and went into the studio with “producer” Steve Albini and came up with the Pod album, which I think is better than everything Pixies did ever combined.

And we got the first album from His Name Is Alive, which did much to ensure people sceptical of the other newcomers that 4AD was still spiffy.

And then there’s Cocteau Twins. Heaven or Las Vegas was their most commercial release ever, and sold a buttload of copies, and was also well-liked by old fans. Imagine that. But: During interviews Robin Guthrie had been saying increasingly dismissive things about Ivo, and he finally got fed up and released them from their contract out of the blue.

As was part of the pattern, after leaving 4AD they didn’t really do anything much worthwhile. People are still coming clean about whether they tolerated Four-Calendar Cafe or not.

Watts-Russell would start withdrawing from day-to-day running of the label (and the artists) after this. He had been very hands-on, from doing the A&R thing to signing bands to visiting them in the studio to overseeing the manufacturing, and that ended around this time. Perceived cohesion would start to dissolve over the next few years as other people at 4AD would start bringing in bands. The “4AD fan” thing would start to become a thing of the past. Which is perhaps a good thing? Or kinda melancholic. Take your pick.


Pale Saints — The Comforts Of Madness

Way The World Is, You Tear The World In Two, Sea Of Sound, True Coming Dream, Little Hammer, Insubstantial, A Deep Sleep For Steven, Language Of Flowers, Fell From The Sun, Sight Of You (remix), Time Thief

Lush — Mad Love

De-Luxe, Leaves Me Cold, Downer, Thoughtforms (remix)

Ultra Vivid Scene — Staring At The Sun

Staring At The Sun, Three Stars (*** version), Crash (remix), Something Better

Ultra Vivid Scene — Joy 1967-1990

It Happens Every Time, Staring At The Sun, Three Stars (remix), Special One, Grey Turns White, Poison, Guilty Pleasure, Extra Ordinary, Beauty #2, The Kindest Cut, Praise The Low, Lightning

The Breeders — Pod

Glorious, Doe, Happiness Is A Warm Gun, Oh!, Hellbound, When I Was A Painter, Fortunately Gone, Iris, Opened, Only In 3’s, Lime House, Metal Man

Dead Can Dance — Aion

The Arrival And The Reunion, Saltarello, Mephisto, The Song Of The Sybil, Fortune Presents Gifts Not According To The Book, As The Bell Rings The Maypole Spins, The End Of Words, Black Sun, Wilderness, The Promised Womb, The Garden Of Zephirus, Radharc

His Name Is Alive — Livonia

As We Could Ever, e-nicolle, If July, Some and I, fossil, E-Nicolle, Caroline’s Supposed Demon, Fossil, reincarnation, You And I Have Seizures, How Ghosts Affect Relationships, Darkest Dreams

Pixies — Velouria

Velouria, I’ve Been Waiting For You, Make Believe, The Thing (The Happening)

Pixies — Bossanova

Cecilia Ann, Rock Music, Velouria, Allison, Is She Weird, Ana, All Over The World, Dig For Fire, Down To The Well (remix), The Happening, Blown Away, Hang Wire, Stormy Weather, Havalina

Cocteau Twins — Iceblink Luck

Iceblink Luck, Mizake The Mizan, Watchlar

Cocteau Twins — Heaven Or Las Vegas

Cherry-Coloured Funk, Pitch The Baby, Iceblink Luck, Fifty-Fifty Clown, Heaven Or Las Vegas, I Wear Your Ring, Fotzepolitic, Wolf In The Breast, Road River And Rail, Frou-Frou Foxes In Midsummer Fires

Lush — Sweetness And Light

Sweetness And Light, Breeze, Sunbathing

Pixies — Dig For Fire

Dig For Fire (single), Winterlong, Velvety Instrumental Version, Santo

Pale Saints — Half-Life

Half-Life Remembered, Babymaker, Two Sick Sisters, A Revelation, The Colour Of The Sky

Ultra Vivid Scene — Special One

Special One, Lightning (72 b.p.m / 4 a.m.), Kind Of A Drag, A Smile And A Death Wish

Lush — Gala

Baby Talk, Thoughtforms, Scarlet, Bitter, Second Sight, Etheriel, De-Luxe, Leaves Me Cold, Downer, Thoughtforms (remix), Sweetness And Light, Breeze, Sunbathing, Hey Hey Helen, Scarlet (version two)

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

*) Missing from Spotify.