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A unique book of fans' memories, throw in some Villa related poems, historical facts, a bit of trivia, some one-liners, a few original photographs and you've got.
Table of contents
- The rise and fall of Aston Villa – but don’t blame Doug Ellis
- What is Kobo Super Points?
- “The best ever to wear the claret and blue.”
- Norwich City fan: Prince George should have been banned from home end | Daily Mail Online
Cronin rated it liked it. A very thorough treatment of 4AD's "Ivo years". I liked the book — but at the same time it was a struggle to get through in the sense of being for this dedicated but simple alternative music fan! When I read pop music books I generally look for a spark, a bit of fun, some gossip, scandal, a bit of pop psychology, sociology, social history, an insight into character.
For example, the book told me very little about A very thorough treatment of 4AD's "Ivo years". For example, the book told me very little about Red House Painter, Mark Kozelek's background or that of Tanya Donnelly — and I'm a junkie for that kind of stuff! In general Facing The Other Way had too little of the personal and too much of the abstract.
Plodding even. I think this book is really for the army of 4AD nerds that inhabit cyberspace rather than plain old Cocteau Twins, Belly or Mojave 3 fans like myself and I get the feeling it was written with the intention of not leaving any tiny detail out or getting any little factoid wrong in order to avoid the author being inundated with indignant mails from bedroom-bound, long-raincoat-wearing Dif Jus and Xmal Deutschland obsessives.
Nonetheless, there is a great story in there: the music business eats artists and aesthetes like Ivo and Vaughan Oliver for breakfast and that Ivo 4AD's founder and, until the mid '90s, its heart and soul is the star of the book. His pursuit of beauty in music and his unearthing of shining talents like the Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and Red House Painters is, along with the growth of 4AD and Vaughan Oliver's groundbreaking artwork, the book's narrative thread.
When, as 4AD grows, running a record business rather than a record label becomes the reality, Ivo's slow breakdown is documented, with him eventually moving to the States, distancing himself from the label's day-to-day running and, finally, selling his shares. The bitching, fallings-out, band break-ups and sackings are fascinating. For me, though, there was serious detail lacking on what exactly went on between the Cocteau Twins and 4AD and inside the Cocteaus! There's a whole book to be written just on that, maybe.
Similarly the Pixies story is too rushed through for my liking. Final verdict: well worth the read, but brace yourself for an avalanche of facts and figures. It feels like the author tried to fit too much in, and, therefore it's a slow and sometimes laborious read. Sep 16, Toby Litt rated it liked it. If, like me, you are a fan of some or all 4AD record label artists, you'll find this a uniquely informative and dispiriting book. Essentially, it tells the same story about fifty times. Ivo Watts-Russell record label founder gets a demo from a couple almost always a couple-couple of talented fragile people, loves it, signs them, and five years later everyone feels conned, debased, strung out and no-one is speaking any more.
In between, the music business has done its usual job of messing If, like me, you are a fan of some or all 4AD record label artists, you'll find this a uniquely informative and dispiriting book.
The rise and fall of Aston Villa – but don’t blame Doug Ellis
In between, the music business has done its usual job of messing with sensitive people's minds particularly where dollars are concerned. If we're lucky, during that five years we got Cocteau Twins. If we're not, we got Thievery Corporation or Wolfgang Press. Ivo comes across as charmingly inept at management. One of the book's heros is an accountant.
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Its other hero, because she found a way to reconcile dollars and sense, is Kristen Hersh of Throwing Muses. That the book sent me back to their astonishing first couple of records is one big thing to thank it for. But if you want to keep your sense of 4AD as having anything to do with the adjectives that usually get attached to it ethereal, transcendent Martin Aston has done a dutiful job of tracking down every available 4AD employee, but most of them have the same thing to say.
But this book makes the human cost of opting out painfully clear. Mar 26, Irfon-kim rated it liked it. If you have the kind of relationship with 4AD records that many fans do, this book is going to be a must-read for you regardless of what anyone says.
Also, if an insider look at the music industry is especially appealing to you, it might beer of some interest. However, it does sometimes read like a litany of days and names and events that never really gels into a compelling narrative. Not really helping is that it turns out that while there is certainly genius in many off the artists If you have the kind of relationship with 4AD records that many fans do, this book is going to be a must-read for you regardless of what anyone says.
Not really helping is that it turns out that while there is certainly genius in many off the artists represented, few of them come across as relatable or even likeable which can be disillusioning if you've been a huge fan. Capping things off is the sense that the book plays during favourites, following a tiny number of individuals with intensity and glossing over the rest at best. Nonetheless, the are interesting stories here about one of the greatest music and art institutions of its time and a truly unique business, so while I could have hoped for more, it was worth the time I gave it.
Sep 28, William rated it really liked it Shelves: music. A pretty thorough look through the evolution of 4AD records. Still seems sad that 4AD has become just another record label compared to what it once was.
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Lots of interesting tidbits about the design of the covers. Sadly, there aren't enough pictures to go along with these tales, and what is there are quite small I sort of wish this would have been more a coffee table type book. It seems they didn't do enough research on Cindytalk and omitted the fact that Gordon Sharp is trans. They just mention A pretty thorough look through the evolution of 4AD records. They just mention he goes by Cindy today not going into why.
Robin Guthrie comes off as a bit of a jerk especially as his drug use increased as does Frank Black. By the last couple of chapters I was just waiting for the book to be finished. Wish they would have talked a bit more about Scott Walker instead of some of the bands they were still hoping to have a hit with post-Ivo and spent too much time talking about.
Despite these problems, the book was a great read - especially for anyone that was there during the label's heyday. Feb 12, Eric rated it liked it. I don't think you can find a more definitive history of 4AD than this book.
“The best ever to wear the claret and blue.”
Culled from interviews conducted over a few decades, Aston leaves no detail out. I also was inspired to check out more of Lush's material as well as Tanya Donelly's work with Belly and as a solo artist. All this said, I would say it's best to be a huge fan of the label's output to really enjoy this book. Yes, it's long, and for a hardcore fan, it wouldn't be long enough. Since I'm not a hardcore fan, I found the pacing to be off-putting. It took me almost two months to finish, and I make commitments everyday to read.
Oct 11, William Strasse rated it really liked it. There are pretty much 2 types of 4AD fans I fall into the 1st category. At the time I was discovering the 4AD catalog, they were putting out some of their last great records as far as many people were concerned. This is one label that actually inspires some interesting questions about what There are pretty much 2 types of 4AD fans This is one label that actually inspires some interesting questions about what matters most in developing and maintaining a successful record label. I suppose part of that is just being young and not set in your ways.
The particular group of fans I fall into tend to also be the ones most set in their ways, yet I look at 4AD now and say, "Well, they're doing what successful labels do So I guess my point is that, in order to develop a label or brand , you have to have a certain identity but there comes a point where you have to not be constrained by that identity and the way you've done things in the past. Reading this book, I look at 4AD and what they represented during the 80s with a mixture of fondness bordering on wishing I could go back and actually be born a little earlier, so as to really bask in all of that alternative-ness that I came in on the tail end of and yet, at the same time, it all seems a bit overly precious and up its own arse to me.
That is actually part of the reason that part of me wishes I could go back to that time - all of that seems like such a luxury now. The truth is a label like 4AD could not exist now. The industry has changed so much and, as we so often hear, not for the better. Labels like 4AD, Factory, Creation and a small handful of others that defined a lot of the sounds of the 80s and 90s existed in that very small window of time where indies became viable, then a force to be reckoned with, and now have become almost a thing of the past in terms of competing with major labels.
Norwich City fan: Prince George should have been banned from home end | Daily Mail Online
The time where an artist on an indie label could make almost as much as someone signed to a major, all on a handshake deal and having pretty much complete creative control are absolutely gone Having said all of that, the book is well-written and provides a pretty exhaustive history of the label. To be honest, there were times where it was a bit too much even for me mostly in the later chapters where I was more interested in the travails of Ivo and the label than the music that was actually being released at the time.
I found myself going back to check some releases I didn't know about or had known about but never bothered to track down. I also found out quite a bit of backstory on some artists I knew from later projects Gary Asquith of Renegade Soundwave comes to mind. Jul 11, Scott Hamilton rated it really liked it. I finished this a week ago but held off reviewing it because I was so torn about whether to give it four or five stars. Five stars indicates perfection, and the book wasn't perfect—though in mostly forgivable and even endearing ways save the editing mistakes.
The label, including many of its artists, is so near and dear to my heart, and has been for 25 years or so, it's hard for me to be objective about this incredible book that unearthed so many secrets and answered so many questions I had.
But I don't care equally about every artist, where the author clearly felt they were all deserving of the full treatment. And what a treatment it is. Such a huge undertaking, resulting in a monster of a book. That Aston is a fan is never in doubt. You can sense his excitement when he gets to turn another figurative page, and his passion is evident. But many of the transitions are amateurish, and many of the more significant artists profiled get less than their due compared to less significant ones.