Chances are, if you’re a music fan, you’re probably also a fan of 4AD, whether you know it or not. With its past output, it’s no stretch to say that the venerable UK-based record label has helped shape modern music. But forget all that for a moment: The label would like to introduce you to its future tomorrow at Irving Plaza.
Founded in 1980, 4AD has been responsible for seminal records by acts like Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Pixies, and Throwing Muses, which have come to define the decade and inform the “alternative rock” sound that has inspired so many bands that have followed in their footsteps.
And while those bands may not exactly be household names, no matter what kind of rock music you’re into—“alternative,” its modern-day equivalent “indie rock,” or something more obscure—it is an almost sure bet that some of your favorite musicians were influenced somewhere along the line by a record put out by 4AD.
Like, perhaps, one by The Breeders, Red House Painters, Mojave 3, or Thievery Corporation, which 4AD released back in the 90s as it was establishing its first beachhead in America with offices in LA. The label arrived in New York City in 2000 and went on to work with bands including Beirut, Blonde Redhead, Bon Iver (including the breakthrough smash For Emma… Forever Ago in 2008), and St. Vincent, as well as local Brooklyn acts like The National and TV on the Radio.
So, yeah—to put it lightly, the label’s got history, and is in the midst of making more still with bands like Deerhunter, Future Islands, Grimes, Purity Ring, and Tune-Yards, all indisputable standouts, and all in 4AD’s current stable of musicians.
If none of this has convinced you of 4AD’s talent-spotting bonafides yet, nothing will. But, now, you also have the chance to glimpse their future with a taste of 4AD’s next generation of talent (which, from what we’ve heard of them already, will only offer more of the same: really solid music). This Wednesday at Irving Plaza, you can sign up, for free, to watch three of 4AD’s newest bands—The Lemon Twigs, Methyl Ethel, and Pixx. (You have to RSVP here to get in, but that doesn’t guarantee you entry, which is to say, get there early!)
Perhaps most note-worthy of all are The Lemon Twigs: two teenaged brothers from Long Island, Brian and Michael D’Addario, who were born to a musical family and have been playing together pretty much their entire lives. Their debut album, The Lemon Twigs Do Hollywood, produced by Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, is due out October 14. They’ve released a single from the album called “These Words,” a quirky, Kinks-esque pop number that also got the video treatment, in which the brothers appear as 18th-century dandies gallivanting about Los Angeles:
The Lemon Twigs are back in NYC after touring with Car Seat Headrest, and, last night, they made time to stop by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to play “These Words.” Turns out none other than Questlove, drummer for The Roots and Fallon’s bandleader, is a pretty big fan of the Twigs:
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) September 26, 2016
Next, Methyl Ethel is the project of Jake Webb, started in 2013 in Perth, Australia as a vehicle for the songs he’d been recording in his bedroom. It’s an origin story that will be familiar to fans of Webb’s 4AD label-mates Grimes and Bradford Cox (of Deerhunter and Atlas Sound). On Oh Inhuman Spectacle, his first album for 4AD, released earlier this year, Webb wrote all of the dark, somnambulant dream-pop tunes in addition to playing and recording all of it as well. Perth is also home to psych rock darlings Tame Impala, and you can hear traces of their influence on Webb’s songwriting—though it’s as if they’re channeled by way of early Youth Lagoon in the single “Twilight Driving:”
Finally, Pixx is the stage name of Hannah Rodgers, who hails from a village on the fringes of south London. Rodgers chose Pixx as her nom-de-stage because it was her grandmother’s nickname. While she works in the mid- to down-tempo electronic realm, for the most part, her songwriting is as inspired by Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell as it is by Aphex Twin. Just 20 years old, Pixx’s first release for 4AD was last year’s Fall In EP. Her debut full-length is due next year, but she released a new single just last week called “Grip” to tide her fans over until then:
If, by unlucky chance, you are busy tomorrow, or just don’t have it together enough to arrive early to Irving Plaza, and thereby miss out on a peak into this future, well, hey: you can take solace in the fact that 4AD will continue to look, and sound (at least) as bright as its past.