Posts Tagged ‘4AD Records’

Efterklang - Altid Sammen

Seven years after their last album release, Efterklang make a welcome return with a fifth studio recordAltid Sammen on 20th September.  Today, the Danish trio also announce European tour dates and share the single ‘Vi er uendelig’ with a video starring Helena Christensen.

In support of Altid Sammen, Efterklang will perform the album in its entirety the day after release during a sold-out headline show at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie on 21st September.  Efterklang will tour Europe throughout the year and into 2020. For a number of Efterklang’s newly announced headline shows, including the Barbican in London,

Altid Sammen album opener ‘Vi er uendelig’ (“We are infinite”) is released today digitally.  The accompanying visuals, directed by Andreas Koefoed (behind the band’s film The Ghost Of Piramida), and featuring a fellow Dane, the model and photographer Helena Christensen, are a homage to an iconic Johnny Hallyday TV performance in 1964.

Altid Sammen(meaning “always together”) is deep and sonorous, steeped in the sonic experimentation that has long been their trademark since Tripper, the Danes’ 2004 debut.  As bold and ambitious in scope as their last collection of songs, Piramida, Casper Clausen (vocals), Mads Brauer (synths, electronics) and Rasmus Stolberg (bass) have taken another creative U-turn, this time fusing baroque instrumentation with their signature expansive sound.

Efterklang’s last release, Piramidacentred around a ghost town in the Arctic, was a grand and all-encompassing project that spawned a movie, live album and a series of unforgettable shows (including a live debut at the Sydney Opera House).  Their final performance in Sønderborg – the southern Danish town where the band grew up – marked a closing of a chapter, for Piramida and for Efterklang.

“We needed a break from the album and touring routine, and we needed a break from Efterklang,” says Clausen. “After the Sønderborg show, things felt very exciting – and a bit scary too.  We could think freely, and move in new directions again, just focusing on the things that excited the 3 of us.”

The video is an homage to the video for Johnny Hallyday’s Le Penitentier from 1964

‘Vi er uendelig’ by Efterklang starring Helena Christensen and the band’s own Casper Clausen. Taken from the new album ‘Altid Sammen’. Out September 20th 2019 on 4AD/Rumraket,

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Pixx 'Small Mercies' LP

Pixx (aka British musician Hannah Rodgers) is releasing her sophomore album, Small Mercies, on June 7th via 4AD Records. Although love lives at the heart of her second album, it has little to do with romance. ‘Small Mercies’ is absolutely not a heartbreak record, nor is it a celebration of new love, or sisterly call-to- arms or vengeful catharsis. Instead, it is a series of poetic examinations of love across the experiential spectrum, from the micro (self-love) to the macro (devotional faith-inspired love, love for this planet), set to a soundtrack that mixes electronic pop and grungy guitar rock with aplomb.

‘Small Mercies’ follows the 23 year-old’s debut album, ‘The Age Of Anxiety’ (2017) – an unsettling synth-pop record fuelled by Pixx’s own debilitating experience of angst – and 2015’s forlorn and folk- edged ‘Fall In’ EP.  it sees Pixx assuming different personas to examine the damage done by religion, gender-based power hierarchies and stereotypes, the tipping point of Earth’s destruction and love.

This week she shared the album’s third single, “Andean Condor,” via a video for the track. The album-opener tackles gender politics. “Mature males tend to be at the top of the pecking order/It’s stale/Detest it cos you want to,” Rodgers sings in the song. “Dance for me boy/Give me a twirl/I want to get to know you/But I probably won’t blow you.”

Alice Clingan directed the video, which features Rodgers’ in Elizabethan garb dancing with two topless men.

Rodgers had this to say about the song in a press release: “This song is written about the link between wo/mankind and nature. It is important to recognize how many times women have to face the absurdity of male hierarchy in our modern world. Having had endless conversations with (certain) men who justify the inequality of the sexes by comparing themselves to animals, I thought what better way to help them than to remind those men that they are supposed to be human, with emotional capability and growth.”

Small Mercies is the follow-up to 2017’s The Age of Anxiety. It was co-produced by Simon Byrt and Dan Carey. Previously she shared two songs from Small Mercies: “Bitch” and “Disgrace.”

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I’m happy to share “Frontier,” a new single made in collaboration with my ensemble, Darío Alva animated a beautiful sequence to admire while listening to “Frontier”.

Holly’s third full-length album “PROTO” isn’t about A.I., but much of it was created in collaboration with her own A.I. ‘baby’, Spawn.

For the album, she assembled a contemporary ensemble of vocalists, developers, guest contributors (Jenna Sutela, Jlin, Lily Anna Haynes, Martine Syms), and an inhuman intelligence housed in a DIY souped-up gaming PC to create a record that encompasses live vocal processing and timeless folk singing, and places an emphasis on alien song craft and new forms of communion.

PROTO makes reference to what Holly refers to as the protocol era, where rapidly surfacing ideological battles over the future of A.I. protocols, centralised and decentralised internet protocols, and personal and political protocols compel us to ask ourselves who are we, what are we, what do we stand for, and what are we heading towards?

You can hear traces of Spawn throughout the album, developed in partnership with long time collaborator Mathew Dryhurst and ensemble developer Jules LaPlace, and even eavesdrop on the live training ceremonies conducted in Berlin, in which hundreds of people were gathered to teach Spawn how to identify and reinterpret unfamiliar sounds in group call-and-response singing sessions; a contemporary update on the religious gathering Holly was raised amongst in her upbringing in East Tennessee.

“There’s a pervasive narrative of technology as dehumanizing,” says Holly. “We stand in contrast to that.  It’s not like we want to run away; we’re very much running towards it, but on our terms.  Choosing to work with an ensemble of humans is part of our protocol.  I don’t want to live in a world in which humans are automated off stage.  I want an A.I. to be raised to appreciate and interact with that beauty.” Just as Platform forewarned of the manipulative personal and political impacts of prying social media platforms long before popular acceptance, PROTO is a euphoric and principled statement setting the shape of things to come.

Brand new music from Holly Herndon. New album ‘PROTO’ out on May 10th. 4AD Records.
Holly Herndon - PROTO

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In the years since Big Thief released Masterpiece, they have become enormously popular, touring at a near-constant clip. Sophomore album Capacity was critically lauded for its ability to tell small stories that spoke to a universal truth, and lead songwriter Adrianne Lenker is now widely regarded as one of the most technically skilled and lyrically incisive musicians to emerge over the past five years. Her affect is often described as “mystical,” and her songs have the predictive quality of an oracle,  she can tell the story of an entire life in under five minutes.

Cycles fascinate Lenker. Her most recent solo album, 2018’s abysskiss, opens with “Terminal Paradise,” a song about energy transference or reincarnation. “See my death become a trail/ And the trail leads to a flower/ I will blossom in your sail/ Every dreamed and waking hour,” she sings. A reworked version of the song appears on Big Thief’s new album, U.F.O.F., as does abysskiss track “From.” This is Big Thief’s first album for 4AD Records and it’s being billed as their most collaborative to date, but the re-imagining of two of Lenker’s solo tracks emphasizes how inextricably tied to her vision this band really is.

Though Lenker, guitarist Buck Meek, and bassist Max Oleartchik all attended the prestigious Berklee School Of Music, both Masterpiece and Capacity favored deceptively simple song structures over noodly, dense arrangements. U.F.O.F. maintains that sense of ease, but it is more impressionistic and more exploratory than the band’s previous work. Opening song “Contact” is slow and somber from the outset, but it descends into chaotic improvisation soon after. This album is, to put it plainly, loose and jammy at certain moments, which is the result of so much time spent on the road. Lenker is prolific, and writing on tour is as much a necessity as it is a method of self-preservation. “I’m not nervous to open up into that place,” she said of writing in front of her band mates during in-between moments on tour. “If I couldn’t write in front of them, I’m not sure how much I would write at all, because I’m always with them.”

It’s a crisis of capitalism that in order to flourish as a musician one must endure a relentless touring schedule, but through Lenker’s gaze, there’s something unquestionably romantic about her vagabondish lifestyle. On “Century,” she captures memories in short, bright flashes while James Krivchenia’s drums pitter patter like a gentle storm: “Dogs eyes/ In the headlights on the driveway/ Cool autumn rain/ Bugs died/ On your windshield on the freeway/ Wonder if you’ll be the same.” Still, transience means saying goodbye over and over again, and there is a sadness underlying many of the songs on U.F.O.F. The title track’s melody shifts with the changing wind as Lenker bids farewell to a “UFO friend,” her words dripping out in rapid succession, like a leaky faucet. Lenker’s best songs can often read as wordy on paper, a little bit overstuffed. When she sings, though, they tumble forth as if conjured from someplace outside of the atmosphere. It’s hypnotic.

That Big Thief were inspired by New Age music while writing this album is no great surprise. The natural world, and the forces that guide it, have always been of interest to this band, and though many of their songs address anonymous women (Jodi, Betsy, Caroline, Violet, and Jenni in the case of this album) they invoke Mother Earth with unrelenting regularity. Single “Cattails” contemplates nature’s steadfast hold, the elements that remain long after someone beloved passes away. In grief, it is only human to seek out places that remind you of the person you lost, and Big Thief lean into that instinct here: “With your wrinkled hands/ And your silver hair/ Leaving here soon and you know where/ To where the cattail sways/ With the lonesome loon/ You’ll be riding that train in late June.”

Death is the only constant, and as much as Big Thief languish in the beauty of the surrounding world, fatalism grounds this album in an unsettling certainty. “Orange” is a love song arranged simply on acoustic guitar that contemplates the inevitable death of a partner. As Lenker’s sights grow darker — hound dogs howl at the stars, pigeons fall like snowflakes — she works herself up to a climactic realization: “Fragile is that I mourn her death/ As our limbs are twisting in her bedroom.” On the hazy “Open Desert,” you hear Meek’s fingers slide across the fretboard as Lenker contemplates another ending, picturing the “white light of the waiting room/ Leaking through the crack in the door.”

These are the preoccupations that keep people up at night, but Big Thief don’t wallow in angst on U.F.O.F. Moments of bliss eclipse the sorrowful. The fact that this album was recorded live off the floor gives some tracks an in-the-moment, improvised quality. “Strange” is a jaunty funhouse of a song that unwinds like a twisted nursery rhyme, as Lenker sings about seeing a luna moth cry “lime green tears/ Through the fruit bat’s eye.” As Big Thief tunnel further into this psychedelia, the accompanying arrangement starts to lose its footing; Oleartchik’s bass bubbles up from below, Lenker’s voice reverberates outward, and a synthetic sighing mist descends. Something similar happens toward the end of the arid, hallucinatory “Jenni,” when Meek suddenly breaks free to play the same sustained chord over and over again, to be eventually overtaken by Krivchenia’s thundering drums.

Big Thief get weird on U.F.O.F., to great effect. On the earlier Masterpiece and Capacity, they were making folksy rock songs U.F.O.F. isn’t an outlier, not exactly, but it isn’t as conventional, and it’s exciting to consider the directions Big Thief might go in from here. Lenker has been putting out music since she was a teenager, and while it’s long been established that she’s a formidable songwriter, U.F.O.F. documents a band coming into their own, messing around with new ideas and having fun doing it. Listening to it feels like sharing in that experience.

U.F.O.F. is out 3rd May via 4AD Records.

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Aldous Harding release her third album, “Designer”, on 4AD Records. Designer finds the New Zealander hitting her creative stride. After the sleeper success of the internationally lauded 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.

The New Zealand songwriter Aldous Harding with her third studio album “Designer”. At first glance it’s another album of her signature soft-spoken folk sound, but this time around there’s more meat on the bones. It’s her first record with drums on almost every song, and a broader instrumental palate lends the album a newfound sense of gravity. The emotional lows are lower and the highs are even higher than before.

From the bold strokes of opening track “Fixture Picture”, there is an overriding sense of an 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.

The amazing new album from Aldous Harding is out today on 4AD Records/Flying Nun Records, on limited gold vinyl pressing.

The Pixies“Doolittle” is to be thirty years old this month, it was the second studio album by American alternative rock band Pixies, released in April 1989 on 4AD Records. The album’s offbeat and dark subject material, featuring references to surrealism, Biblical violence, torture and death, contrasts with the clean production sound achieved by the newly hired producer Gil Norton. Doolittle was the Pixies‘ first international release.

Pixies released two singles from “Doolittle”, “Here Comes Your Man” and “Monkey Gone to Heaven”, both of which were chart successes.  “Debaser” the opener from that classic album, “Debaser” is a lot of people’s favourite Pixies song. When they play it live, it’s a guaranteed catalyst for chaos on the floor. Played live or on record, it’s a song that illustrates the alchemy that the Pixies are capable of at their peak. If you strip it down to its base elements, there’s really nothing to it ,  Black Francis’ nonsense lyrics – nominally inspired by the Buñuel/Dali surrealist film Un Chien Andalou, but essentially meaningless, though well-suited to being barked out by the frontman, Along with Joey Santiago’s four-chord riff and simple finger-picked accents and Kim Deal’s characteristic bassline for beginners.

Of course when it all comes together, driven by one of David Lovering’s best performances on drums and executed with passion and panache and more enthusiasm than a band that’s starting to fall apart should be able to muster, it’s a majestic, superlative, enduring, adrenalized, alt-rock classic. augmented by Kim’s backing vocals. Joey doesn’t have to shred when he’s making such an uplifting, joyous noise and that bassline – well, that’s trademark Pixies.

This album “Doolittle” still sounds sensational three decades on – from Debaser through to Gouge Away. The Pixies, at their best, aren’t so much a band as a group of alchemists.

Despite being issued on hi-res SACD in the past this is the Doolittle‘s debut in 5.1. Kevin Vanbergen has created the new surround mix from the original analogue multi-tracks.

This new edition will also feature an HD transfer of the original stereo mix by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab. The album was reissued back in 2014 for its 25th anniversary. The album has been cited as inspirational by many alternative artists, while numerous music publications have ranked it as one of the most influential albums ever. A 2003 poll of NME writers ranked Doolittle as the second-greatest album of all time.

This blu-ray audio of Doolittle was released on 9th December and is on Amazon in the USA and is available to pre-order from the 4AD Records store.

Pixies
  • Black Francis – vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar
  • Kim Deal – bass guitar, vocals, acoustic slide guitar on “Silver”
  • Joey Santiago – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • David Lovering – drums, lead vocals on “La La Love You”, bass guitar on “Silver”

pixies-bluray-wallet-inside

Big Thief Share Second <i>U.F.O.F.</i> Single "Cattails," Expand Fall Tour

The next new single from Big Thief’s forthcoming effort “U.F.O.F.” (Due May 3rd on 4AD Records) has landed: the rustic “Cattails,” which follows on from the album’s gorgeous title track, released alongside its announcement in late February. “Cattails” opens on Adrianne Lenker’s jangling, finger-picked guitar and James Krivchenia’s steadfast drums before it’s later built out with a slow-rising synth hum and gleaming piano stabs. “Going back home to the great lakes / where the cattail sways / with the lonesome loon / riding that train in late June / with the windows wide by my side,” sings Lenker, her thoughts in transit somewhere between civilization and nature—she later insists, “you don’t need to know why / you don’t need to know why / when you cry,” deferring to the mysteries that run deep within the human heart.

Lenker recalls how the band’s new single came together in a statement:

“Cattails” came about while we were at the studio in Washington in the pine forest. Writing it was just one of those electric multicolored waves of connectivity just sweeping through my body. I stayed up late finishing the song and the next morning was stomping around playing it over and over again. We thought why not just record it, so James sat at the drums and we practiced, and by the time we’d finished practicing, Dom Monks—our engineer—had already sneakily set up mics and recorded it. It was beautiful that he’d captured it right away because when James and I were playing, it felt like a little portal in the fabric had opened and we were just flying. Listening back to it makes me cry sometimes.

‘Cattails’ by Big Thief, from the new album ‘U.F.O.F.’, released May 3rd on 4AD.

'Pacer'

Released in the immediate aftermath of the runaway success of The Breeders’ platinum-selling second album,Last Splash, and the Pixies calling it a day the first time round, The Amps are an important part of the Kim Deal canon.

First intended as a solo project, The Amps instead grew into a fully-fledged band with Jim MacPherson from The Breeders joining on drums and Dayton, OH musicians Luis Lerma and Nate Farley on bass and guitar respectively.  Releasing just one album, “Pacer”, in 1995, and after a whirlwind of touring with the likes of Foo Fighters, Guided By Voices and Sonic Youth, Kim returned them to the shelf, leaving behind one of her most intriguing chapters.

With the first vinyl repress on 4AD Records “Pacer” is finally getting the reappraisal it richly deserves.

The Amps released just the one album ‘Pacer’ back in 1995 – featuring Kim Deal, Jim MacPherson, Nate Farley and Luis Lerma. You’ll often hear a couple of Amps tracks when The Breeders play live

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Holly Herndon operates at the nexus of technological evolution and musical euphoria. Holly’s third full-length album titled “Proto” to be released 10th May 2019 isn’t about A.I., but much of it was created in collaboration with her own A.I. ‘baby’, Spawn. For the album, she assembled a contemporary ensemble of vocalists, developers and an inhuman intelligence housed in a DIY souped-up gaming PC to create a record that encompasses live vocal processing and timeless folk singing, and places an emphasis on alien song craft and new forms of communion.

Proto makes reference to what Holly refers to as the protocol era, where rapidly surfacing ideological battles over the future of A.I. protocols, centralised and decentralised internet protocols, and personal and political protocols compel us to ask ourselves who are we, what are we, what do we stand for, and what are we heading towards?

Since her arrival in 2012, Holly Herndon has successfully mined the edges of electronic and Avant Garde pop and emerged with a dynamic and disruptive canon of her own, all while studying for her soon-to-be-completed PhD at Stanford University, researching machine learning and music.  Her LP Platform closed out 2015 by gracing year-end lists from Pitchfork, The Guardian, NME, and The Wire.  In the aftermath, Radiohead hand-picked her to open up their European tour.

Just as Platform forewarned of the manipulative personal and political impacts of prying social media platforms long before popular acceptance, PROTO is a euphoric and principled statement setting the shape of things to come.

The acclaimed performer and composer reveals new single ‘Eternal’, a ghostly transmission inspired by ideas of eternal love through mind uploading; a modern-day vampire story.  Punctuated by grandiose orchestration and the voices of her Berlin-based vocal ensemble, the accompanying video was constructed from footage processed from the perspective of an intelligent machine, analysing and searching for a face, yearning for a connection.

New album “Proto” released 10th May 2019

This Mortal Coil was the given name of a strictly-studio project conceived and produced by 4AD Records founder Ivo Watts-Russell that spawned three albums – It’ll End In Tears(1984), Filigree & Shadow (1986), Blood(1991).
The project was conceived and produced by 4AD founder Ivo Watts-RussellBlood felt like a perfect conclusion to a perfect trilogy of releases.

Meticulously orchestrated, vocalists Alison Limerick, Deirdre and Louise Rutkowski return from the second album with Caroline Crawley (Shelleyan Orphan / Babacar) and 4AD signees Heidi Berry, Kim Deal (Pixies / The Breeders), Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses) and Pieter Nooten all enlisted. Over the span of eight years he, along with Blackwing Studios house engineer/ co-producer, John Fryer, and a rotating cast of musicians, created original works, musical links and reinterpretations of impeccably curated songs; introducing a new audience to the talents of a previous generation including Big Star, Tim Buckley, Roy Harper, Spirit, Gene Clark, Dino Valenti, Rain Parade, Emmylou Harris, Syd Barrett and Colin Newman, amongst others.

All three album reissues on deluxe vinyl versions differ from the original releases with each album having had its artwork reimagined by Ivo Watts-Russell and Vaughan Oliver (4AD’s long-time visual partner). presented in beautiful, hand-finished and high-gloss gatefold sleeves, using remastered audio made from the original analogue studio tapes by the late, great John Dent.

Deluxe double vinyl edition of This Mortal Coil’s second studio release.
Conceived and produced by 4AD founder Ivo Watts-RussellFiligree & Shadow (1986) was even more ornate than its lauded predecessor (a double album with each of its four sides a self-contained unit). New faces joined the cast for this record, including a variety of singers Ivo handpicked like Alison Limerick, Dominic Appleton (Breathless), sisters Deirdre and Louise Rutkowski (Sunset Gun), and Richenel.
Presented in beautiful, hand-finished and high-gloss gatefold sleeves, using remastered audio made from the original analogue studio tapes by the late, great John Dent.
Deluxe vinyl edition of This Mortal Coil’s magical debut release.
Conceived and produced by 4AD founder Ivo Watts-RussellIt’ll End In Tears (1984) defined 4AD’s emerging signature sound and involved label acts including Cocteau TwinsDead Can Dance and The Wolfgang Press plus guests such as Howard Devoto (Magazine) and Gordon Sharp covering material by the likes of Big Star, Roy Harper and Colin Newman.
Presented in beautiful, hand-finished and high-gloss gatefold sleeves, using remastered audio made from the original analogue studio tapes by the late, great John Dent.
The deluxe CD editions are being manufactured by the Ichikudo company in Japan, coming packaged in striking gatefold paper sleeves which are printed to the highest standard. Originally made available as part of a highly limited boxset back in 2011,
This Mortal Coil