4AD 1992

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.)

1992

 BAD2001
Lush — For Love

For Love, Starlust, Outdoor Miner, Astronaut

 CAD2002
Lush — Spooky

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

 BAD2003
The Breeders — Safari

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

 CAD2004
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

 rib1
Pale Saints — untitled

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

 BAD2006
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)

 CAD2007
Michael Brook — Cobalt Blue

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

 BAD2008
Pale Saints — Throwing Back The Apple

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

 BAD2009
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)

 CAD2010
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)

 BAD2012
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

 CAD2013
Throwing Muses — Red Heaven

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

 KH1
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)

 GU1 CD
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

 GU1S
Unrest — untitled

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

 CAD2014
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)

 DAD2016
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

 CAD2017
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

 GU2
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

 7″GU2S
Underground Lovers — untitled

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

 BAD2018
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)

 GU3
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)

 GU3S
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.

New Music

Music I’ve bought (or resampled) this month.

I discovered a shelf of 12″ things this month: They were all items I’d bought in the early noughts before I started doing FLAC instead of MP3. So I had to resample them all, of course, even though I’ll probably never listen to many of them again…

But I’ve really got to stop buying so much music. Every album always seems to lead to ten more that I want to have. And with Discogs and Bandcamp existing, I can get them all like *snap*.

Like I was listening to an old Thomas Mery EP and wondering whether he’d done something else (he had; snapped two things up), and then I went to his Bandcamp, and got that one (it’s a stunning album), and then I went to his web site, and he recommends Sam Amidon, who I’m totally unaware of, so I get that album, and it’s FANTASTIC, and he’s done quite a lot, so I should get all those.

That’s all great. But!

While end-of-lifing stuff from the /music/new directory the other week, I discovered that I’d just listened to Bright Phoebus by Lal & Mike Waterson, bought in October 2017, three (3) times. And it’s such a wonderful, magnificent album. (Except the first song. Rubber Band is annoying!)

I should have been listening to that album 20 times and not listening to all the… other… music.

So! I’m cutting way back! I hope! But but but! I really want to buy all the other things that Lal Waterson has made. And Mike Waterson. And The Watersons. And that tribute album of cover versions of Lal Waterson songs. And.

OK, calm down. Just scaling back… not stopping… Perhaps just a couple of Waterson-related albums over the next month…

We’ll see, I guess!

jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Sluta+Leta&album=...+if+you+like+champagne+on+ice%3F jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=1-8+Split+Series jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Haggard&album=A+Bike+City+Called+Greasy jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Magnum+38&album=A+Tribute+to+Grace+Jones jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Herbert&album=Addiction
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Sam+Amidon&album=All+Is+Well jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Crack+We+Are+Rock&album=Animal+Trap jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Four+Tet&album=As+Serious+As+Your+Life jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Y+Pants&album=Beat+It+Down jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Edit+Ready&album=Breathe+Through+Your+Feet
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Buckle+Up jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Come+Back+Wicked jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(1)%3A+Love+in+Itself jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(2)%3A+Love+in+Itself%3A+3 jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(3)%3A+Everything+Counts+And+Live+Tracks
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(4)%3A+Everything+Counts jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(5)%3A+Get+The+Balance+Right+And+Live+Tracks jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(6)%3A+Get+The+Balance+Right jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Pentangle&album=Cruel+Sister jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Nettle&album=Deep+Waters+Still+Run
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Dem+Nah+Like+Me jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Dem+Nuh+Know+Me jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=John+Jastszebski&album=Drone+EP jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=A.+C.+Marias&album=Drop jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Dev+Null&album=E-Z+Boys+Revenge%3A+230+BPM+Eternal
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Dani+Siciliano&album=Extra+Ordinary jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Kom%C3%ABit&album=Falling+Back+Together jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Puzzleweasel&album=Farvel+til+sl%C3%A6gt+og+venner jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Braer+Rabbit&album=Fat+Content%3A+Trace jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Laub&album=Fileshaving
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Squares+On+Both+Sides&album=Flung jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Split&album=Form+or+Function jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Rhythm+King+And+Her+Friends&album=Get+Paid+Remixed jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Static&album=Ghost+Boy jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Meg+Baird+%26+Mary+Lattimore&album=Ghost+Forests
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Luke's+Anger&album=Give+Em+Some+Freq+EP jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Gone+A+Jail jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Norbert+Stein%2C+The+NDR+Big+Band&album=Graffiti+Suite+(1) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Norbert+Stein%2C+The+NDR+Big+Band&album=Graffiti+Suite+(2) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Bracken&album=Heathens
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=King+Seven&album=Hidden jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Barbara+Morgenstern&album=Himmel+Mixe jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Remote+Viewer&album=How+Did+We+Get+It+So+Wrong%3F jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Rhythm+King+And+Her+Friends&album=I+Am+Disco+Remixed jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Tujiko+Noriko&album=I+Forgot+The+Title
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Phranc&album=I'm+Not+Romantic jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Cylob&album=Inseminoid jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=RATN&album=J jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=RATN&album=J.E.P. jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Pete+Burns&album=Jack+and+Jill+Party
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shitmat&album=Killababylonkutz jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Thomas+Mery&album=Les+couleurs%2C+les+ombres jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Notwist&album=Lichter jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=To+Rococo+Rot&album=Lips jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Ambitious+Lovers&album=Love+Overlap
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Peaches&album=Lovertits jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Moves&album=Magneto+Single+Fire jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=13+%26+God&album=Men+of+Station jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Laub+%26+Schaffh%C3%A4user&album=Mofa jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=I+Start+Counting&album=My+Translucent+Hands
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Dictaphone&album=Nacht jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=No+Heathen jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=LCD+Soundsystem&album=Oh+Baby jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Herbert&album=On+Your+Feet jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Koushik&album=One+In+A+Day
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=A.+C.+Marias&album=One+Of+Our+Girls+Has+Gone+Missing jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=To+Rococo+Rot+and+I-Sound&album=Pantone+EP jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Laub&album=Phoneheadlastig+Remix jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Q%C3%BAemalo+Ya jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=DJ+Rupture&album=Redux
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Arto+Lindsay&album=Reentry jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=Revenge+of+the+Fight+Club jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=Room40+10 jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Venetian+Snares&album=Salt jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Split&album=Sarah+Dougher%2C+Kaia
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Seaya+Face+and+P.+J.+Body jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Grace+Jones&album=Sexdrive+-+Typical+Male jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=DJ+Rupture+%26+Matt+Shadetek&album=Shallows jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Four+Tet&album=Smile+Around+The+Face jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Atomizer&album=Snake
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=Solo+Swim jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(1)%3A+Blasphemous+Rumours jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(2)%3A+Blasphemous+Rumours jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(3)%3A+Master+%26+Servant jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(4)%3A+Master+%26+Servant
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(5)%3A+People+Are+People jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(6)%3A+People+Are+People jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Sonar+Calibrado jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=To+Rococo+Rot+%2B+D&album=Soul+Static+Sound jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Herbert&album=Suddenly
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Juana+Molina&album=S%C3%A1lvese+Quien+Pueda jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Guy+feat.+New+York+Undercover&album=Tell+Me+What+You+Like jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=The+Final+Crackdown jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Matthew+Herbert+Big+Band&album=The+Process%2C+the+Parts%2C+the+Many+and+the+Few jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Doctor+Rockit&album=The+Vinyl+Resting+Place
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=A.+C.+Marias&album=Time+Was jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Wevie+de+Crepon&album=Ton+Wah jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Remote+Viewer&album=Tormile jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Chandra&album=Transportation+EPs jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Ellen+Allien&album=Trashscapes+Remixes
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Tribute+To+Tiger jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Ambitious+Lovers&album=Umbabarauma jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Lola&album=Wax+the+Van jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Fish+%26+Roses&album=We+Are+Happy+To+Serve+You jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Weed+Wid+Da+Macka
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Fanny&album=Welcome+to+the+Machines jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Whowanseekwar jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Kid606&album=Wickid jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Mory+Kante&album=Y%C3%A9+K%C3%A9+Y%C3%A9+K%C3%A9

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.

SO FAR!

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

1991

 BAD1001
Throwing Muses — Counting Backwards

Counting Backwards, Same Sun, Amazing Grace, Cottonmouth

 CAD1002
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

 BAD1003
The Wolfgang Press — Time

Time (single), Time Less, Dark Time

 BAD1004
Spirea X — Chlorine Dream

Chlorine Dream, Spirea Rising, Risk

 DAD1005
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

 BAD1006
Spirea X — Speed Reaction

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

 BAD1007
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

 BAD1008
Pixies — Planet Of Sound

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

 BAD1009
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

 CAD1011
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

 CAD1012
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

 CAD1013
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

 CAD1014
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

 BAD1015
Throwing Muses — Not Too Soon

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

 BAD1016
Lush — Black Spring

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

 CAD1017
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.

1990

 CAD0002
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

 BAD0003
Lush — Mad Love

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

 BAD0004
Ultra Vivid Scene — Staring At The Sun

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

 CAD0005
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

 CAD0006
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

 CAD0007
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

 CAD0008
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

 BAD0009
Pixies — Velouria

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

 CAD0010
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

 BAD0011
Cocteau Twins — Iceblink Luck

Iceblink Luck, Mizake The Mizan, Watchlar

 CAD0012
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

 BAD0013
Lush — Sweetness And Light

Sweetness And Light, Breeze, Sunbathing

 BAD0014
Pixies — Dig For Fire

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

 BAD0015
Pale Saints — Half-Life

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

 BAD0016
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

 CAD0017
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.

4AD 1989

Listen to 4AD 1989 on Spotify.

The playlist is, once again, not complete because Spotify doesn’t have everything. The missing songs are marked with an asterisk*.

1989 is a year of change. None of the old 4AD heavy hitters (Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, erm Clan of Xymox) release anything this year, but instead Pixies release their perhaps most popular album, Doolittle. (Well, OK, Bossanova might be even more popular, but those people are just wrong.) Doolittle straightens out most of the weirdnesses of Pixies’ output and packages into a more easily digested format. And digested it was.

Kristin Hersh was going through pretty much the same process with Throwing Muses, but not without complaint. She’d been told by the US label they were on that she’d better come up with a hit now, and she wrote Dizzy to appease them, as well as keeping things more straight throughout the album. To her horror, Dizzy went on to become a hit.

The good thing is that it’s the only bad song on the album. Tracks like Devil’s Roof are just so irresistible, especially with Leslie Langston’s ever-evolving bass lines playing against the melodies. I didn’t appreciate this at the time, because I was bummed that this wasn’t House Tornado II, but I’ve grown to appreciate the album over the years.

And then! At the end of the year! New people!

Lush and Pale Saints make their debuts, and they both fit into the “yes, people who like other bands on 4AD will like these bands” mould, but they’re something new. It’s time for shoegaze music, and one major part of it started here (and, sure, Ride and My Bloody Valentine etc).

All in all, 1989 must be the year 4AD released the least amount of music. There’s only two proper albums this year: Doolittle and Hunkpapa. The rest of the releases are singles, EPs and one mini album.

The Spotify playlist is just two and a half hours long, which is half the length of a normal 80s year… This would change radically in the 90s: 1993 is over 16 hours long.

1989

 CAD901
Throwing Muses — Hunkpapa

Devil’s Roof, Bea, Dizzy, No Parachutes, Dragonhead, Say Goodbye, Fall Down, I’m Alive, Angel, Mania, The Burrow, Take

 BAD902
The Wolfgang Press — Kansas

Assasination K. / Kanserous, Kansas, Scratch*, Twister*

 BAD903
Throwing Muses — Dizzy

Dizzy, Santa Claus, Mania, Downtown*

 BAD904
Pixies — Monkey Gone To Heaven

Monkey Gone To Heaven, Manta Ray, Weird At My School, Dancing The Manta Ray

 CAD905
Pixies — Doolittle

Debaser, I Bleed, Tame, Wave Of Mutilation, Here Comes Your Man, Dead, Monkey Gone To Heaven, Mr. Grieves, Crackity Jones, La La Love You, There Goes My Gun, No. 13 Baby, Hey, Gouge Away

 BAD906
Ultra Vivid Scene — Mercy Seat

Mercy Seat, Codeine*, H Like In Heaven*, Mercy Seat*

 BAD907
The Wolfgang Press — Raintime

Raintime, Bottom Drawer, Slowtime

 AD908
Ultra Vivid Scene — Something to Eat

Something to Eat*, H Like in Heaven*

 BAD909
Pixies — Here Comes Your Man

Here Comes Your Man, Into The White, Wave Of Mutilation, Bailey’s Walk

 BAD910
Pale Saints — Barging into The Presence Of God

Sight Of You, She Rides The Waves, Mother Might

 JAD911
Lush — Scar

Baby Talk, Thoughtforms, Scarlet, Bitter, Second Sight, Etheriel

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

*) Missing from Spotify.

4AD 1988

Listen to 4AD 1988 on Spotify.

And here my problems really start with the “let people listen to 4AD as if they were around at the time” approach starts fraying.

Over the next few years, 4AD would start getting in to the 12″ remix business, and it starts here with The Wolfgang Press’ King of Soul single. It has three different versions of that song… and, as I pretty much expected, none of those versions exist on Spotify. Only the album version does.

As we get into the 90s, expect more lacunae.

After the very exciting 1987, 1988 comes off as a breathing space. Basically all the bands keep on doing what they do, and what they do is very good indeed. Vaughan Oliver is still art-directing his hands off on these releases, with some very striking result (like the Ultra Vivid Scene cover which looks like nothing else, especially in the original vinyl version). It’s all very tasteful.

And then there’s the cover of Bird Wood Cage, which is an old toilet sat on a lawn, courtesy the funsters of The Wolfgang Press, who allegedly insisted on that design just to piss Oliver off.

Ultra Vivid Scene was the only new band of the year, and only ten things were released, which I think is the least ever in 4AD’s history. But two of the releases were huge sellers, I think: Cocteau Twins’ Blue Bell Knoll, which signalled that they were going in a more commercial, bright direction. And then there’s The Serpent’s Egg by Dead Can Dance that signalled that they definitely weren’t.

Perhaps 4AD was treading the water a bit, but it’s pretty good water to be treading. Still, some fresh young energy was needed to spice things up, and that’d come next year.

My favourite release of the year is House Tornado by Throwing Muses. It’s Peak Quirkiness: Every song is just downright weird. And fabulous. My go-to song to sing to myself when my brain is otherwise blank is still Juno, after all these years.

If they were pretty
It’d be OK to say
But that day only
When she wore dresses she felt born

*sings along in his head*

Oh, and, bragging time:

I got a CADX703 this week!!!! After lusting after it for 30 years!

This has nothing to do with Bernard Valentin posting a picture of his two copies, which didn’t make me jealous at all, not in the least. Nothing to do with that!

Now I’m going to remain giddily happy for the rest of my life!

Oooh, nice print:

Anyway, bragging time’s over; here’s 1988:

1988

 CAD801
Bulgarian Voices — Volume 2: Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares

Kaval Sviri, Stani Mi, Maytcho, Di-Li-Do, More Zajeni Se Ghiouro, Tche Da TiKupim Bela Seitsa, Ovdoviala Lissitchkata, Messetchinko Lio, Ei Mori Roujke, Dragana J Slavei, Atmadja Duma Strachilu, Dve Tourlaski Pesen, Trenke Todorke, Besrodna Nevesta, Jzpoved, Ghiore Dos, Spis Li, Milke Le

 CAD802
Throwing Muses — House Tornado

Colder, Mexican Women, The River, Juno, Marriage Tree, Run Letter, Saving Grace, Drive, Downtown, Giant, Walking In The Dark

 CAD803
Pixies — Surfer Rosa

Bone Machine, Break My Body, Something Against You, Broken Face, Gigantic, River Euphrates, Where Is My Mind?, Cactus, Tony’s Theme, Oh My Golly!, Vamos, I’m Amazed, Brick Is Red, Caribou

 BAD804
The Wolfgang Press — King Of Soul

King Of Soul*, King Of Soul*, King Of Soul*

 BAD805
Pixies — Gigantic

Gigantic, River Euphrates, Vamos, In Heaven (Lady In Radiator Song)

 BAD806
Ultra Vivid Scene — She Screamed

She Screamed, Walkin’ After Midnight, Not In Love (Hit By A Truck)

 CAD807
Cocteau Twins — Blue Bell Knoll

Blue Bell Knoll, Athol-Brose, Carolyn’s Fingers, For Phoebe Still A Baby, The Itchy Glowbo Blow, Cico Buff, Suckling The Mender, Spooning Good Singing Gum, A Kissed Out Red Floatboat, Ella Megalast Burls Forever

 CAD808
Dead Can Dance — The Serpent’s Egg

The Host Of Seraphim, Orbis de Ignis, Ulysses, The Writing Of My Father’s Hand, Song Of Sophia, In The Kingdom Of The Blind The One-Eyed Are Kings, Chant Of The Paladin, Echolalia, Mother Tongue, Severance

 CAD809
Ultra Vivid Scene — Ultra Vivid Scene

She Screamed, Crash, You Didn’t Say Please, Lynn-Marie #2, Nausea, Mercy Seat, A Dream Of Love, Lynn-Marie #1, This isn’t Real, The Whore Of God, Bloodline, A Kiss And A Slap, How Did It Feel, Hail Mary

 CAD810
The Wolfgang Press — Bird Wood Cage

King Of Soul, Raintime, Bottom Drawer, Kansas, Swing Like A Baby, See My Wife, The Holey Man, Hang On Me (For Papa), Shut That Door

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

*) Missing from Spotify.