Follow The Light is the second installment of an ongoing Molly Nilsson reissue campaign and is the first time the album has been available on vinyl.
“The closest we’ll ever get to heaven, with a stolen six pack from 7/11, and though the city sleeps I better she never dreams, she never dreams like you and me.”
The beginning moments of Molly Nilsson’s second album Follow The Light now seem like the start of a personal mythology that was to reach further than she could have imagined. Few contemporary artists have so seeped into the underground pop psyche than the Stockholm-born songwriter. After releasing her debut These Things Take Time on hand-made CDrs, Nilsson’s follow up was a leap in scope and ambition. Of course, the personal takes on a tumultuous life in Berlin and the journeys to and from it inform the songs as before, but there’s a growing maturity in the songwriting in evidence. From the diary pages of These Things Take Time to a growing stature as a songwriter in touch with the universal, Follow The Light contains many of Nilsson’s now firm fan-favourites.
The Closest We’ll Ever Get To Heaven is classic Molly Nilsson. Over plaintive piano chords and little else, Nilsson narrates a story of doomed friends lost, the onset of an East German winter reminding the singer of a time lost, nostalgia frosting the windows to the past. Meanwhile In Berlin, perhaps a passing nod to Leonard Cohen in the melodic refrain, opens up the sonic palette, with synth strings fitting Nilsson’s delivery perfectly. Never O’Clock is a pure pop moment, with a lilting funk and percussion adding a carpe diem immediacy to the album’s flow. Last Forever, which remains a staple to live encores now, seven years later, is fist-pumping melancholy that only Molly Nilsson knows how to do. It’s over before it begins and begs eternal repeat. Truth, a synth pop song that sees Nilsson exploring the upper and lower registers of her voice, feels like a lost chart hit from the mid 80s. I Hope You Sleep At Night, a vitriolic lover’s admonishment gives way to one of Nilsson’s most popular songs: I’m Still Wearing His Jacket. It’s a sentiment that needs no real explanation: the mementos of a completed love affair remain in our wardrobes waiting to hurt us all over again. Hello Loneliness could also be an updated Leonard Cohen song, a peon to melancholy which reminds us that Nilsson has a knack for distilling the complex into sharp epithets. We end on one of Nilsson’s greatest songs. A Song They Won’t Be Playing On The Radio is so finely loaded with emotion that it’s the singer’s reserved delivery that makes it so powerful.
It’s been a great honour to work with Strawberry Switchblade on the unearthing of their original 1982 4-piece demo. We first came across these recordings on the impeccable Strawberry Switchblade fan site, and after securing the original cassette recording from Jill Bryson commissioned expert engineer Sean Pennycook to clean up and remaster the recordings for reissue. The only photographic evidence from the time was a scanned contact sheet from a photoshoot conducted by Peter McArthur, from which Manuel Fernandez designed a sleeve for the 7″ E.P.
“1982 4-Piece Demo” has been produced with the full consent and licensing from the surviving members of Strawberry Switchblade. Our eternal thanks go out to Jill Bryson, Rose McDowall, Janise Vanderflier and Carol McGowan, who sadly never got to see this release.
We have sold out of our allocation but we recommend the following outlets in the U.K.: Monorail Music, Rough Trade, and Norman. This release, like all Night School releases, will be distributed worldwide. Please check your local distributor / retailer.
One of our favourite artists operating, Olympia duo CC DUST, have a new 7″ out on Night School. Shinkansen No.1, backed with New Ways, is available on 7″ / Digital. New Ways in particular is a life-enhancing pop Moment.
Australian-born, New York-based musician David West announces his debut album as LIBERATION, released on Night School June 10th. A well-travelled veteran of several circuits in his bands Rat Columns, Rank/Xerox and formally Lace Curtain and Total Control, Liberation sees West reach out from the murk into a crystalline world of synthesizers, drum machines and samplers. The results are both familiar and strange: West’s vocal is unmistakeable, as is his sharp ear for hooks and incisive turn of phrase.
LIBERATION – Liberation is streaming at HARTZINE here.
We’ve been waiting a long time to announce this. One of our favourite contemporary songwriters and age-old friend Roxanne Clifford steps out from behind her guitar and into the disco to pen one of her best songs, The Church. Clifford’s songs and voice drove her band Veronica Falls through 2 classic bittersweet guitar pop records and we’re overjoyed to be working with her as Patience.
The Church is a heart-meltingly bittersweet slice of genius pop. Clifford is one of the most naturally gifted songwriters we’ve ever worked with and so we’re extremely proud to introduce Patience.
The Church / My Own Invention is released on May 6th, limited to 300 7″s with screen-printed sleeve by Roxanne. The 7″ is sold out from our web-store but you can pick one up by clicking: MONORAIL or ROUGH TRADE or wait for BIG LOVE, NORMAN and PICADDILLY, who will all get some copies.
“Experimental; Conceptual? That’s what these sort of things are usually called, when references are anything but immediate: in the feeling, hearing, and seeing, especially by many. Even more troubling, when the accustomed in us gets ajar… We lack articulation of the seemingly unfamiliar! Even at that, I think the most charitable review of this live electronic exploration will suggest the four sections bordering on insanity.
How else? Even when not a few self-styled patriots were booking their flights out of the country, with an election looming to signal the end of a nation, and a band of modern day faith-heads detonating grenades in every other street corner, two dreamers swim against the currents and sneak through the lagoon into the country collecting inputs of derelict art; of garbage can noise; of hooting; honking horns on screeching brakes squelching tar; rackety generator booms? For an imagined program! What’s that? Who, what do these doods think they’re doing with Lagos?! I’ll call it rebirth. That simple.
How to find a centre here? The output? The hum-drum of the street’s daily accent compels the sense of the immediate, the terrestrial; and then those primitive, primeval-seeming echoes of the earliest beginnings of the big bang and its wave-sound simultaneously releasing Sun Ra’s reverb sensation of end time! This should not be danceable but these guys are suggesting the possibility of rhythm in the inchoate. Believe me, you can’t miss the Lagos Faaji, Sakara flow, Awurebe, Afrobeat slices; its jazz, highlife/Euro- Afro funk/rock/rap and seedy night echoes too. But in their otherworldly dimension. No matter the accolades, I will encourage a therapy of some sorts to the creators of this production.”
Sola Olorunyomi, poet, bassist, co-editor of Glendora Review Kunle Tejuoso, Jazzhole, Lagos
Lagos Sessions featuring: Billy Bao, Ambido, Diana Bada, Duro Ikujenyo, Mark Ido, Oduyomi Isaiah Oluseye, Joel Isioma Okoh, Orlando Julius, Mendo, Emeka Ogboh.
We are truly excited to present the next stage in our ongoing reissue project with cult singer Rose McDowall. Upon leaving Stawberry Switchblade, Rose embarked on an exciting if tumultuous adventure, recording with friends in Coil, Current 93, Psychic TV and Felt, while enlisting members of The Sugarcubes and Into A Circle for her own debut solo recordings. The Sunflower Demos, later re-named Cut With The Cake Knife, document her head-space at the time, as well as point to what the future was to bring. As such they are the most direct pop songs she ever wrote, still smitten with the bright/melancholic dichotomy she had so perfected with her partner Jill Bryson in Strawberry Switchblade.
Check out this montage of rare stills from the period, all featured on the new edition of Cut With The Cake Knife.
The pressing is: 500 x Black Vinyl, 500 x Clear/Black Vinyl and limited CD. You can preorder the CD and Black vinyl from us HERE, as well as our limited edition T-shirts. We are out of the Clear/Black vinyl allocation but you can pre-order from your favourite record store. We recommend MONORAIL MUSIC / ROUGH TRADE / NORMAN Our partners Sacred Bones are pressing the album in America and we recommend picking the LP up from them if you are a U.S. resident. Both versions feature remastering by Brian Pyle (Ensemble Economique), new unearthed photos from the period and extensive new liner notes from Rose.