Label: 4AD Website: www.4ad.com From:London Founded: 1980 Founder: Ivo Watts-Russell Exclusive artists: The National, Camera Obscura, The Mountain Goats Europe only artists Beirut, Deerhunter, Bon Iver, M.Ward How many indie labels can argue the longevity, legacy and devotion to true ‘independence’ that 4AD can? Very few that’s who. The label has become an epicenter for exposing American underground indie rock. So much so that the success of 4AD can be attributed to the increased comparative success that many American bands achieve in England. Throughout their impressive quarter decade reign of indie-supremacy, 4AD have continually been recognized as exposing unconventional indie-pop bands that manage to maintain permanence and credibility. Born in the 1980’s (shut up Calvin) the label began to acquire a distinctive identity. Following the signing of substantial cult bands such as the Cocteau Twins and the Pixies, the label increasingly concentrated on the underground American music. 1987 – The Pixies - 'Debaser' The Pixies became the defining success for the label throughout the band’s 7 year career. Their prominence also characterized the trend of American bands on 4AD that received enormous acclaim in England, yet limited domestic success. 4AD’s prosperity continued to grow throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s achieving an increased commercial success whilst upholding its independent integrity. During the beginning of the 1990’s, the label established a branch in Los Angeles, extending its American activities; a decision which proved to be lucrative with the signings of bands such as the Breeders and the Mountain Goats. 2002 – The Mountain Goats- 'This Year' Similarly to the Pixies, The Mountain Goats are famed for their highly literate melancholy lyrics and strong underground following. This is especially apparent in the autobiographical song ‘This Year’- after all, song matter doesn’t get much more depressing than counting down the days until adulthood and emancipation from an abusive, drunken step-father. It is his songwriting ability that has led some to refer to him as "America’s best non-hip-hop lyricist". Recently, the label has continued in its tradition of signing and promoting bands with an emphasis on intelligent, underground American rock; notable examples include The National, Deerhunter and Beirut. Despite owner Watts-Russell selling his share in 4AD to the Beggars Group, the label continues in its ethos of true independence. 2008 – The National- ‘Slow Show’ The National continue the 4AD theme of producing dark intelligent American indie pop. Their sound is made distinctive by Matt Berninger unique, baritone voice and mellow, melodious compositions. In compiling a ‘Best Of 4AD’ spotify playlist (which can be found here ) I realised that I was almost able to compile a playlist of my favourite bands- a testament to 4AD’s outstanding catalogue of artists. 4AD has been, and will no doubt continue to be, an epicentre for talented independent artists that will display longevity and distinction.