4AD Records Celebrates Belated 40th Anniversary With Covers Collection Featuring Future Islands, Big Thief, More (EXCLUSIVE)

Esteemed independent record label 4AD is belatedly celebrating its 40th anniversary with “Bills and Aches and Blues,” an 18-track collection of vintage songs recorded by new and current acts on its roster. The series launched digitally today with Tkay Maidza covering Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”; U.S. Girls reworking The Birthday Party’s “Junkyard”; Aldous Harding interpreting Deerhunter’s “Revival”; The Breeders taking on His Name Is Alive’s “Dirt Eaters”; and Maria Somerville covering Air Miami’s “Seabird.”

Founded in the U.K. in 1980 by Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent, 4AD has been home to such alternative music favorites as Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins, Stereolab, TV On The Radio, Lush, Grimes and the National. This new project aims to spotlight the label’s up-and-coming acts such as Somerville and Jenny Hval, both of whom are releasing their first music for 4AD as part of the collection.

“Bills and Aches and Blues,” which takes its name from a lyric in the Cocteau Twins song “Cherry-Coloured Funk,” will be available on vinyl and CD on July 23, and in a deluxe vinyl boxed set later this year. Additional tracks include Tune-Yards’ version of the Breeders’ classic “Cannonball”; Future Islands covering Colourbox’s “The Moon Is Blue”; Big Thief covering the Breeders’ “Off You”; and Becky and the Birds covering “The Wolves Act I and II” by Bon Iver, who has released music for 4AD internationally.

“Once I heard the weird melodies, I could really imagine myself singing it,” says Australian artist Maizda of her “Where Is My Mind?” cover. “I love how offbeat the original song is, and I tried to stay true by keeping all the little quirks and imperfections, because I think those are what make me unique as well.”

“The first time I heard ‘The Moon Is Blue’ by Colourbox was when [keyboardist] Gerrit [Welmers] sent it over to all of us as a possible cover for the compilation,” Future Islands vocalist Sam Herring tells Variety. “I was immediately on pins, feeling, ‘Why the hell have I never heard this before?’ Musically, it was such an interesting mix of old and new. We just felt we could complement the original perfectly with our own strange sonic palette. Then again, I could never come close to those perfect vocals.”

See the track list for “Bills and Aches and Blues” below:

Tkay Maidza, “Where Is My Mind?” (Pixies)
U.S. Girls, “Junkyard” (The Birthday Party)
Aldous Harding Revival (Deerhunter)
The Breeders, “Dirt Eaters” (His Name Is Alive)
Maria Somerville, “Seabird” (Air Miami)
Tune-Yards, “Cannonball” (The Breeders)
Spencer, “Genesis” (Grimes)
Helado Negro, “Futurism” (Deerhunter)
Efterklang, “Postal” (Piano Magic)
Bing and Ruth, “Gigantic” (Pixies)
Future Islands, “The Moon Is Blue” (Colourbox)
Jenny Hval, “Sunbathing” (Lush)
Dry Cleaning, “Oblivion” (Grimes)
Bradford Cox, “Mountain Battles” (Breeders)
SOHN, “Song to the Siren” (Tim Buckley / This Mortal Coil)
Becky and the Birds, “The Wolves Act I and II” (Bon Iver)
Ex:Re, “Misery Is a Butterfly” (Blonde Redhead)
Big Thief, “Off You” (Breeders)

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