Progressive…innovative…adventurous: These are just some of the words used by critics, industry types and music lovers to describe 4AD, a British label founded in 1980 by Peter Kent and Ivo Watts-Russell. The pair borrowed money from Beggars Banquet—both worked for the respected U.K. indie shop and label—to produce lesser-known bands. Their work helped to launch the careers of artists new and old, iconic and distinct, from the Cocteau Twins and Pixies to Grimes and Bon Iver. This week you can catch two recent signees who further illuminate the label’s distinguishing scope.
Copenhagen trio Efterklang comes to town to celebrate its 4AD debut, Piramida, joining New York’s Wordless Music Orchestra in a sure- to-be-captivating concert. The band’s fourth release was inspired by its visit to an abandoned Russian mining settlement in the Arctic Ocean, and makes use of hundreds of field recordings from the desolate, ghostly island, as well as a 70-piece choir and orchestral elements. With its subtle builds and dense yet clean instrumentation—qualities that sometimes recall Radiohead’s intricate minimalism—Efterklang’s new disc promises to translate to a gorgeous live experience.
If grandeur doesn’t appeal, head downtown for Purity Ring’s haunting electropop. As heard on Shrines, its justly buzzed-about debut, the Montreal girl-boy duo layers babyish coos over hacked-up synths. Eerie content (sample lyric: “Cut open my sternum and pull my little ribs around you”) adds to a light-dark tension that makes the group’s work compelling. More than opportunities to witness two of the year’s rising acts, these shows offer a taste of 4AD’s wide yet pertinent vision.—Marley Lynch
Follow Marley Lynch on Twitter: @marleyasinbob