Posts Tagged ‘4 AD Records’

Designer finds Singer songwriter Aldous Harding hitting her creative stride.  After Party, Harding came off a 100-date tour last summer and went straight into the studio with a collection of songs written on the road.  Reuniting with John Parish, producer of Party, Harding spent 15 days recording and 10 days mixing at Rockfield Studios, Monmouth and Bristol’s J&J Studio and Playpen.

From the bold strokes of opening track ‘Fixture Picture’, there is an overriding sense of an enigmatic artist confident in their work, with contributions from Huw Evans (H. Hawkline), Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo), drummer Gwion Llewelyn and violinist Clare Mactaggart broadening and complimenting Harding’s rich and timeless songwriting.

‘Fixture Picture’ by Aldous Harding, from the new album ‘Designer’. Released on 4AD/Flying Nun on 26th April 2019,

Aldous Harding - Designer

 

The musical project of Jake Webb, Methyl Ethel, has always been a surrealist outfit – a dark and obscured expression of life set to the backdrop of dream pop hooks.

But Triage is a more reflective album than their previous two – featuring singles ‘Scream Whole’ and ‘Real Tight’, it explores the notion of coming of age, only to reference it for the snapshots and passing memories that it has become. enjoying phenomenal successes over the last few years, the single ‘Ubu’ was recently accredited gold in Australia , and their tour dates in Australia and the UK since 2016 have all been sell outs.

The band released a brand new single on Friday called ‘Real Tight’. Their new album Triage will be out next year!

It’s coming on black, white and blue vinyl + cassette tape + CD + digitally!, There are also some extra special gifts like free t-shirts and signed Record Store Day 7″s if you pre-order vinyl from special outlets.

‘Real Tight’ is the new single taken from Methyl Ethel’s new album ‘Triage’ out on 4AD on February 15th 2019,

Image result for surfer rosa images

Surfer Rosa is one of those perfect debut albums, that lets you know what you’re in for right out of the gate. The blueprint for the album, and for so much of the guitar-based music that followed over the next decade or so, is set within the first minute of the lead track, “Bone Machine.” David Lovering’s spare yet ferocious drums, the sound of them so vast that you wonder if he’s actually playing an oil rig. Kim Deal’s muscular, melodic bassline, underpinning but never overstepping. Joey Santiago drawing blood out of a few crystal-sharp notes of guitar. Black Francis (aka Frank Black) yelping for sixteen bars of agitated verse over a relative lull of music before Santiago yanks the song back into a chorus of blistered lips and “uh-oh!”—the first instance of the loud/soft motif that the band further refine and recalibrate through another dozen frenetic and thrilling songs, most of which combust around the two-minute mark.

The Pixies made Surfer Rosa not long after their formation in Boston, Massachusetts, and just a few weeks after the release of their debut mini album, Come On Pilgrim. Both releases were themselves culled from a March ’87 demo, The Purple Tape, which included embryonic versions of several Surfer Rosa songs: “Break My Body,” “I’m Amazed” and the album’s most straightforwardly hardcore moment, “Broken Face.” At the urging of their British label, 4AD Records, Surfer Rosa saw the Pixies replace Purple Tape producer Gary Smith with a relatively unknown recording engineer, Steve Albini, who was best known at the time for his work with his own band, Big Black. After a get-to-know-you dinner at Lovering’s place, the band and Albini set to work on the record at the newly opened Q Division Studios in Somerville, a few miles north of Boston, which had ironically been recommended to them by the ousted Smith.

Famously opposed to both the title “producer” and the concept of receiving royalties on albums he worked on, Albini was paid a flat fee of $1,500 for his ten days of work on the album, out of a total recording budget of $10,000. He would be similarly forthright in his critiques of the band’s performances, alternately hailing them as “genius” or dismissing them entirely.

In press interviews at the time, the band would characterize Albini as a “brainiac” who loved lo-fi and instruction manuals but had little enthusiasm for “anything human-sounding”—the result of which meant that those ten days of recording were spent honing guitar and drum sounds, with vocal parts left until the very last evening. Special effects were eschewed in favor of an abrasive, unadorned—and soon to be much copied style that found its perfect foil in the Pixies’ deceptively delicate (and often delicately played) songs. Even overdubbing was generally avoided. “He hates overdubs,” Deal had told Melody Maker.

Though the two would later on form a deep friendship (as evidenced by their joint panel at this year’s SXSW festival), Deal was somewhat dismissive of Albini’s methodology in subsequent interviews. But Albini always had a fan in Black Francis. “I like him because he likes loud,” he exclaimed in the same interview. “All the needles were on red. He totally overloaded the tape.”

Assistant engineer John Lupner, meanwhile, was struck by the lengths Albini went to authentically capture the particular sound of Q Division Studios. Not everything was quite so meticulously planned, however. According to John Murphy—Deal’s husband at the time—the abrupt end to “Where Is My Mind?” came about by accident, as a result of the tape running out while the band was playing. “The tape started to go click click click,” he told Frank and Ganz, “and they went, ‘Well, we got most of it.

If there’s an overarching theme to Surfer Rosa, it’s a Lynchian scratching away at the underbelly of modern life to reveal tales of voyeurism, incest, and other deviant behavior. Francis put these preoccupations—that include a rather ahead-of-its-time portrayal, in “Bone Machine,” of a pedophile priest (or “preachy-preach” in Pixies vernacular)—down to his “real hardcore Pentecostal” upbringing. It’s not all about molestation, though. Two songs (“Broken Body” and “Tony’s Theme”) reference superheroes, while several others draw on a six-month period Francis spent as an exchange student in Puerto Rico the inspiration for both the Spanglish lyrics in “Vamos” and “Where Is My Mind?” with its dreamy evocation of snorkeling “in the Car-ibb-e-an.”

Though vocals were left until the final day of recording, they were by no means an afterthought. Indeed, the interplay between the band’s two vocalists, Francis and Deal, would become another Pixies trademark. In keeping with his vérité style, Albini abandoned studio trickery in favor of natural acoustics. Deal’s two most memorable vocal performances—her lead on the bouncing, pop-toned single, “Gigantic” and the oo-oohs that run throughout “Where Is My Mind?”—were recorded in the bathroom, its natural echo proving preferable, as far as Albini was concerned, to any available studio effect. The latter song’s false start jarring and seemingly throwaway on first listen is instructive as to the attention to detail from both band and engineer. Deal’s first ooh, which precedes Francis’s curt instruction to “Stop,” has a sharp rawness to it. When her voice returns in the song proper, it’s engulfed in an underwater haze much more befitting the lyrical reverie.

There are further spoken interjections elsewhere: some within the songs, such as the aforementioned opening to “Bone Machine” and Deal’s similar announcement that “Tony’s Theme” is about “a superhero named Tony,” and some in between. “I’m Amazed” begins with Deal mid-sentence, gossiping about a teacher who’s “into field-hockey players.” “Oh My Golly!” ends with Francis yelling “You fuckin’ die!” at her. He goes on to clarify that he’d done so in jest, in response to her warning that no one mess with her equipment.

Surfer Rosa was released in March 1988 in the UK and remained available only as an import in the United States until late summer, when 4AD signed a North American distribution deal with Rough Trade. Initial U.S. pressings paired the album with Come On Pilgrim. The two works were then reissued separately in 1992, after Elektra Records took on the 4AD catalogue.

Having received largely positive press notices, Surfer Rosa sold solidly in the interim, if unspectacularly—perhaps in part because, like so many landmark albums, it found itself a little far ahead of the curve. Winning the hearts and minds of college radio and Melody Maker (which named the album the best of 1988) would not yet yield widespread success. The album did not go gold in the U.S. until 2005, by which time the Pixies had disbanded, lain dormant for a decade, and then reunited for the first of several deservedly lucrative world tours.

By then, of course, Surfer Rosa had been well and truly canonized as one of the most influential albums of its time, with Nirvana and myriad others taking the Rosa model and running with it, many of them queuing up both to sing its praises and to summon Steve Albini to work his magic to record his own band’s album In Utero . Kurt Cobain listed it as his second favorite album of all time (after Iggy and the Stooges’ Raw Power)

Among the earliest advocates for the band, meanwhile, was one of rock’s greatest statesmen, David Bowie, who would later lament, “I thought it was a hell of a shame that America didn’t recognize its own with the Pixies.” His 2002 album Heathen includes a well-judged cover of Rosa’s “Cactus,” a short and sweet ballad about a prisoner so desperate for something—anything from his wife that he ends up begging her to smear her dress with blood and “send it to meeee.”

Another important step in the album’s elevation came a few years earlier, with David Fincher’s clever use of “Where Is My Mind?” in a pivotal scene toward the end of Fight Club. Since then, that song in particular has become so inescapable that you’ll even hear gentle piano renditions in HBO prestige dramas. Surfer Rosa regularly appears on all-time “best-of” lists online and in print.

Pixies
  • Black Francis – vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar
  • Kim Deal – bass, backing vocals, vocals on “Gigantic” (credited as Mrs. John Murphy)
  • Joey Santiago – lead guitar
  • David Lovering – drums

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“At the beginning of 2015 we had songs left over from the “Do Hollywood” sessions, so we decided to record them at home in New York on our 8 track. The 6 songs make up a new EP, “Brothers of Destruction.” Many of you will recognize some of the songs from our live shows. They’ve changed a lot over the past year, but these are the original versions. We consider the EP the last chapter of the “Do Hollywood” era of our group. So enjoy!” – The Do Hollywood

‘Why Didn’t You Say That’ by The Lemon Twigs, from the ‘Brothers of Destruction’ EP. Released September 22nd on 4AD Records

Lemon Twigs are going to divide opinion. This is, perhaps, a strange thing to say about a band who base a lot of their shtick on two of the biggest groups in pop music history – the Beatles and the Beach Boys around whom there is unparalleled critical consensus. Nevertheless, there will be some who consider their reference-rich songs to genuflect too closely to the old masters. Others will simply recoil at their very presence, fearing them to be a hipster contrivance, too good to be true, cynically assembled by an evil record company eager to plug a gap in the market. Look at that image of the main members – Brian and Michael D’Addario – accompanying this article: they also could be out of the Partridge Family .

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The D’Addario brothers are, respectively, 19 and 17 years old, and they’re astonishingly good at what they do. Talented, for sure. It’s obviously in their DNA: their dad, Ronnie D’Addario, was an all-playing and producing wunderkind of the Emitt Rhodes type who released a few albums of post styled Beatles Pop in the 70’s. The pair handle all instrumental chores on their forthcoming 4AD debut album, enlisting a little help from two friends when they play live (their first UK gig will be on 19th August at London’s Seabright Arms). Brian plays guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, horns and strings – he owns a trumpet, a violin and a cello and is a fan of the overdub. Michael has “merely” mastered “the basic band instruments” (guitar, bass, keys, drums). “Brian was really good at instruments from a young age,” Michael said. “I didn’t learn any instruments apart from drums till I was 13. Brian had already learned to play bass and drums when he was in elementary school.”

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Brian D’Addario (guitar, vocals, drums, horns, strings), Michael D’Addario (guitar, vocals, drums), Danny Ayala (keyboard), Megan Zeankowski (bass).

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4AD Records newcomer Pixx has a history of making videos that look like they’re taken straight from the pages of a Thomas Hardy novel. July single ‘Fall In’, the track that first really got Hannah Rodgers noticed, was a downward-looking beachside lament, all Autumn tones and a doomy aesthetic that coolly matched the music’s solemn beauty.

‘Deplore’, which is taken from the Fall In EP, sees a move to rural Surrey, and more surrealism. Here’s what directors The Marshall Darlings had to say about it:
“We like to play on this idea of magical realism in the videos we make for Pixx, and she plays the part really well. We came across an artist called Andrea Kowch who does paintings of women in rural America in these quite ghostly scenes, and we thought it would fit really well for this. We didn’t try and copy her paintings, but used them as references with each shot a vignette conveying a particular emotion, almost like a moving painting.”

Fall In EP

1. Fall In, 2. A Way To Say Goodbye, 3. Flee 4. Deplore

National Matt Berninger & Brent Knopf EL VY Return To The Moon

The National’s Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf from the band Ramona Falls have formed a new side-project, EL VY. Listen to their brilliant first track ‘Return To The Moon’ The title track from the debut album by EL VY, to be released October 30th by 4AD Records

A musical collaboration between Matt Berninger, vocalist and lyricist of The National, and Brent Knopf, the Portland musician and producer best known for his work in Menomena and his more recent band, Ramona Falls.

To the beloved listeners of Ramona Falls,

I just finished a record with Matt Berninger. We became friends way back when Menomena and his full-time band The National toured together to half-full rooms. This new thing is called EL VY and I want you to be the first to know about it. The album’s called “Return to the Moon,” it comes out late October, and you can hear the title track now if you want. We’ll be doing a short tour with a live band late this year – tickets go on sale on Friday. I’m still working on the next Ramona Falls record too. Thanks, as always, for caring and for listening.
Love,
Brent

Just to get this out of the way, the band say that their name is “pronounced like a plural of Elvis; rhymes with ‘hell pie'”. They’ll be releasing their debut album “Return To The Moon” via 4AD on 30th October. The first taster of the album is the title track – a breezy and summer-y piece of choppy guitar-pop anthemics, drenched in Berninger’s trademark reflective and majestic melancholy.

“I never worried about sending Matt something unfinished,” says Knopf of the project. “He’s able to imagine where it can go. He can grab the four bars that will become the core of the track and develop them into something amazing.”

Berninger added: “This record is more autobiographical than anything else I’ve written, but the details aren’t true. It’s written in the voices of a few invented characters, composites of different people—myself, my wife, and other people I was thinking about.”

The tracklist for Return To The Moon is:
01 Return to the Moon (Political Song for Didi Bloome to Sing, With Crescendo)
02 I’m the Man to Be
03 Paul Is Alive
04 Need A Friend
05 Silent Ivy Hotel
06 No Time to Crank the Sun
07 It’s a Game
08 Sleepin’ Light (ft. Ural Thomas) 09 Sad Case
10 Happiness, Missouri
11 Careless

For those of you waiting for a new National album, Berninger. said that the band would be changing their approach somewhat for the next release. “We’re talking about getting together, which won’t be until about October time, taking a little break and then getting together to try and write together in a room – which we’ve never done,” said Berninger. “We always work on little things and email back and forth. We have no idea whether it’s going to work or not, but that’s as far as we’ve got with the new record: trying to work out a plan and a different approach.

“That might fail miserably, but then we’ll try it a different way.”

When asked if the band had any idea or hopes on what their next record could sound like, Berninger said: “No, not really. Everybody’s been talking about it and people have different ideas about what kind of record they want to make. But every time we all talk about that, it never helps anyone figure it out. It’s never a very good creative catalyst to say ‘I’m going to make this kind of record’. It’s never been that helpful for me at least, let’s just wait to see where things go organically and naturally.”