It’s not hard to see who the most influential 4AD artist turned out to be. On a crowded roster that featured legendary acts like Cocteau Twins, Bauhaus, Lydia Lunch, and The Birthday Party, Kim Deal and her band The Breeders was the band that everyone was taking notes from, perhaps even more so than her acclaimed first group, Pixies.
Do you want proof? 4AD is releasing a compilation album celebrating their 40th anniversary titled Bills & Aches & Blues which features modern artists on the label covering songs from their favourite artists, past and present, who once resided on the label. And guess who everyone is jumping to cover?
So far, we’ve already covered Bradford Cox’s take on ‘Mountain Battles’, and now we get to listen to two more Breeders songs that will appear on the compilation: Tune-Yards attempted the band’s biggest hit ‘Cannonball’ and Big Thief covering the deep cut ‘Off You’, the latter from the band’s brilliantly thorny 2002 album Title TK. That puts the band at three songs, while even Pixies are only represented with a single song. Kim Deal: 1. Black Francis: 0.
Oh, and The Breeders themselves make an appearance on the compilation as well, covering His Name Is Alive’s ‘Dirt Eaters’. The sheer omnipresence of the Deal sisters on this thing should be a pretty good indicator of how much The Breeders mean to 4AD and to alternative rock as a whole. There was a huge wave of Pixies deification when that band reformed in 2004, but the group has sputtered and wheezed throughout the past decade without Deal, including new music and live shows that don’t live up to the band’s lionized status. Maybe, then, it’s time to reconsider which of Deal’s band’s is truly the better enterprise.
Check out the video for Big Thief’s cover of ‘Off You’ down below. Bills & Aches & Blues is available now.