Tropic of Cancer, Matt McDermott (Resident Advisor), and Brion Brionson (Peak Oil, Little Lands) present a night of classics from iconic UK labels 4AD and Factory Records.
The great British label 4AD was co-founded by Peter Kent and Ivo Watts-Russell, the latter of whom would go on to release his own project on the imprint as This Mortal Coil. The pitch was simple: 4AD, as a subsidiary of the successful British indie label Beggars Banquet, would act as a “testing ground” of sorts for new artists, and if commercial sales seemed promising, the owners would promote the act to Beggars Banquet. After just a few singles, though, Watts-Russell acquired all the rights and took creative control. The change begat new, dark and emotional facets of pop and post-punk.
That sound would later help define guitar-based music in the 1980s UK. Watts-Russell first enlisted graphic designer Vaughan Oliver to establish their now-iconic visual identity, a collage of gothic and enigmatic images that would echo the music packaged within. Showcasing challenging underground acts from the beginning — Rema Rema, the Birthday Party (Nick Cave’s first band) and Modern English included — the label eventually expanded to the American indie scene. After signing Boston band Throwing Muses, they took on another Boston band in 1987: the Pixies. By the time the Pixies and 4AD connected with major label Elektra in the late 1980s, 4AD had outgrown their humble “testing ground” to create their own mysterious sonic world.