4AD Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records
As the 1970s drew to a close Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent set up Axis Records. The name was changed to 4AD a year later, and under this moniker the label has established itself as one of the most important and beloved names in the alternative musicsphere.
Initially 4AD largely dealt in Gothic, doom-laden post-punk, with Bauhaus and The Birthday Party being two of the acts most closely associated with the label’s early years. They also did a good line in dream-pop at this time, too - genre pioneers Cocteau Twins were signed to the label throughout the 80s, as were This Mortal Coil, a rotating-cast project led by Watts-Russell. By the end of the decade they had acquired acts like Pixies and Colourbox, the latter of which would team with A.R. Kane to give 4AD a UK number-one single in the form of M|A|R|R|S’s ‘Pump Up The Volume’ (1987).
Expanding into the United States of A in the following decade yielded further success and led to 4AD signing of, among others, The Breeders and Red House Painters. The label’s output has continued to diversify ever since, with acts like St. Vincent, Deerhunter, The National and Gang Gang Dance all passing through. At the time of writing (14:45, Thursday 14th November, Year Of Our Lord 2019) 4AD can boast a roster that includes Big Thief, Future Islands, Holly Herndon and Grimes.