News

Box Of Dark Roses, the final Mope Grooves album

Listen to first single Forever Is A Long Time here

Mope Grooves

Box Of Dark Roses

(LSSN093)

Vinyl 2LP/Digital

2LP – Black Vinyl with large fold out poster zine with liner notes and lyrics written by stevie

European edition: 500

(Please note, 12XU is releasing this album in North America+Asia, please head here)

All profits resulting in the sale of Box Of Dark Roses will be donated to Survived and Punished and to individual survivors of SA/DV

Through the fog of our grief in the wake of the earth-shattering loss of our beloved angel Stevie, on this day which would have been her 35th birthday, we announce the release of Mope Groove’s final album; Box of Dark Roses. A 27 song 2 disc LP of songs that Stevie prepared for release before she left. Rest in peace sweet angel. We love you forever. 

“If i’m ever hard to get a hold of u can find my whole heart in here.”

-Stevie (from the album’s liner notes)

Stevie provided the following statement on the album before her departure: 

“all artist profits and digital proceeds will be redistributed in perpetuity to incarcerated or formerly incarcerated survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, especially the many women and other gender marginalized ppl incarcerated for defending themselves against their attackers. funds will be allocated to the Survived and Punished NY Mutual Aid Fund, a comparable organization, or directly into commissary funds or fundraisers of incarcerated survivors.

“box of dark roses is a 27 song LP where the same images repeat and repeat until you might have some idea of what roses have to do with armed struggle, trans autonomy, losing your house (again), angels, women political prisoners, violence returned to sender, suicided poets, refusing to recant, insisting on life, & how the revenge of twenty billion screaming ghost women could unmake the worst of all possible worlds”

Liner notes, lyrics, and full credits

performance by stevie (lowercase, no last name, she/her), cap (lowercase, no last name), Lee Butterfield (they/them), Penny Olives (she/her), Elias Williamson (they/them), Izzy Dupuis, Ana Díaz Sacco (she/they), Clinton O’Brien, Evan Mersky, Ana María Rodríguez (she/her), Ray Aggs (they/them), & Kyle Raquipiso”

28 June 2024

Molly Nilsson is involved in Un-American Activities

ORDER HERE

Un-American Activities is the 11th Studio album by Molly Nilsson. Written and recorded entirely on location in California at the former home of writer, poet and early opponent of the National Socialist regime in 1930s Germany, Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta. An album of experimentation, genre-mashing and, above it all, Nilsson’s instantly recognisable melodic skill and empathy, it continues the songwriter’s explorations of power, freedom, oppression and its opposing force, a love unbound.

After accepting an artist residency as part of the Villa Aurora program, Nilsson began work crafting a new album from scratch in a new environment, afforded the freedom, space and time to challenge her practice and take her music into new territory. The resulting work, Un-American Activities, is a love note not only to the artist who was among the very first to be declared an “enemy of the state” by the Nazi regime but also to both the eternal struggle he fought and the human spirit that pervades all of Nilsson’s best work. It is also a double-pointed poison pen letter: a critique of the new forms of oppression wielded by her temporary adopted country of the USA but also an acknowledgement of the promise it always offers but never fulfils.

Digital released July 7th.
Physical formats ship mid-August.

#mollynilsson
#unamericanactivities

18 June 2024

Tristwch Y Fenywod’s debut album, announced.

Black-lit liturgies, siren-like vocals, eldritch, subterranean, alien folk music exhumed from the depths of Leeds’ experimental underground, Tristwch Y Fenywod’s debut album is to be released on August 30th.

14 June 2024

Molly Nilsson’s Solo Paraiso, 10 years on.

Solo Paraiso is Molly Nilsson’s mini-album from 2014 recorded during a 2 month residency in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For its 10th Anniversary, Night School and Dark Skies Association is making the most sought after long player in Molly Nilsson’s catalogue available again on a new format with new artwork.

Pop music rarely comes as honest and heartfelt as when delivered by Molly Nilsson. Having traveled around the world singing to the romantic and the doomed, Nilsson found herself in the Summer of 2014 in Buenos Aires. Inspired by the crumbling urban landscape and the heavy hearts that populate it, Sólo Paraíso is not only an ode to a specific time and space but a musical novella that meditates on youth, idealism and belonging. The soundtrack to a summer you thought you had when looking over bleached out old photo albums.

Sólo Paraísohas the feel of a bridge between the more lo fi, first phase of Nilsson’s career and the expanded sonic scope she has employed in the last decade. Recorded quickly, with instinct and feeling of paramount importance over rectitude or perfection, amongst the eight tracks of this mini LP are some of the biggest fan favourites of her career. As with all Molly Nilsson songs, each of these tracks is bursting with perfect moments. Opener Summer Cats sails over sun-kissed piano chords, chasing the sun eternally as it dips over the horizon, while show-stealer Blue Dollar draws parallels between the doomed Argentine economy and the failure of a love affair. It’s the most feel-good, romantic peon to an economic downturn you’ll ever hear. As Molly says “why is it so damn easy to break all the things that are so damn difficult to make?”

Using cracked synths, shimmering piano, heat-stroked drum machines and above all her direct, from-the-heart vocal delivery, Nilsson’s songs have never been so precise and on-point. For fellow doomed romantics, Sólo Paraíso is the perfect sound for an imperfect Summer.

Solo Paraiso will be available on vinyl for the first time in 10 years. Head here to order.

18 April 2024

The Space Lady’s Other Hits…

The Space Lady
The Space Lady’s Other Hits
(Night School, 2024)

Casual followers of Night School will probably already know how much The Space Lady’s music means to the label’s history and maybe to me personally too. It’s one of the greatest privileges I’ve had to have chanced upon the music of Susan Dietrich Schneider and to have had a hand in spreading the word around the world. That word is “love,” of course.

Back in 2010, when I made “first contact,” the sole recorded output was a CD that The Space Lady waxed in 1990 to sell on the street corners of San Francisco that were her performing home. It contained 16 songs of celestial messaging, absolute humanity, the equivalent of a hug from space itself. What if space wasn’t a massive vacuum, but a universal welcome?

When we prepared The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits in 2013, the first widely available document of her music, we had to make the economic decision to shave off the last 6 songs of Susan’s original CD to make it a single LP. The first pressing of the CD had these songs as a bonus disc and they are available for streaming, but The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits as it was presented in the physical realm was incomplete.

To remedy this, this April we’re pressing the last 6 songs from the 1990 recording session on a companion piece called The Space Lady’s Other Hits. They include live favourite Radar Love, a borderline avant take on Shakin’ All Over and a sparkling original composition called Slapback Boomerang, another live favourite. This 12” Mini LP has been remastered by Mikey Young and sounds incredible. I’m as much of a digital music consumer as anyone but seriously, listening to this music on a record is like hugging that universe back.

The Space Lady’s Other Hits will be available at your local independent record shop this Record Store Day, April 20th. Edition of 500 on clear vinyl.

22 March 2024

Yuching Huang introduces The Crystal Hum with Love

The Crystal Hum is the debut vinyl release by Taiwan-based artist Yuching Huang and her first release for Night School. A beguiling dreamscape of crackles, spluttering, love-struck Casios presided over by the the spectral vocal and guitar work of Huang, Yuching sings love songs at the end of this world and the beginning of the next. Recorded during a hiatus from her group Aemong (a duo with artist Henrique Uba) in Berlin, these songs elevate Huang’s unique vocal style and grasp of atmospherics. The Crystal Hum deconstructs balladry, Garage, guitar music and reforms it into a unified ghostly otherworld version of these languages.

The Crystal Hum thrums with buried desire, trails of nocturnal reverb seeping out of apartment windows, diaristic vocal performances and deeply emotive, evocative Western-style strings. Formulated by Yuching Huang after periods of frustration and experimentation, the album is an exercise in minimalism and paring back, with some tracks like JohnJohn featuring little else than an elastic bass, spring reverb trails, an interjecting vocal and swelling, dislocated synths. The effect is spellbinding, the soundtrack to getting lost in the labyrinthine, closed streets of Venice, Taipei, Hong Kong, or mirror versions of them in the imagination.

On opener Fly! Little Black Thing, a subterranean funk bassline roots Huang’s singing, a rudimentary, unreliable beat floundering in whimsy underneath. Demure, dream Dance music, Huang references classic lo fi experimenters Suicide and Arthur Russell as well as Night School label mates The Space Lady and Ela Orleans. In fact, after the release of Aemong’s third album Crimson, Huang credits the direction of The Crystal Hum to being enchanted by The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits, the landmark lo-fi recording made by Susan Dietrich Schneider in 1990. The new, minimalist approach to her sound world reveals and shrouds in equal measure. On the heart-melter Love, a sultry mid-tempo Casio + bass backing drops into the ether with Huang’s vocal swimming in preternatural void before emerging anew, in awe at the world. Every chord change heralds new perspectives, every guitar flurry swells and drips emotion, nothing is wasted and space billows out from between the grooves.

Huang never reveals more than necessary, making this an in-between love album: the right amount of mystery and darkened mirror shines wanely on The Crystal Hum while remaining fragile and vulnerable in the sweet spots. Turning over in pillowing smoke and night in the dark corners, Huang sings in both Mandarin and English. The songs speak of earthly matters seemingly at the edge of dissipating into nothing. Distorted, beguiling Sambas warble like sweating dancehalls in an imagined Lynchian 60s, as on Thoughts. Closer You, An Illusion warps a classic 60s Girlgroup bassline beloved of the likes of Les Rallizes Denudes into a slight ballad on the edge of the void, held back by the teary-eyed, wistful and enveloping vocal cooed by Huang. Each song feels like a love song dedicated to the bits between worlds, between beats, the negative space between people where desires, feelings and loss hangs in the air, resolute and unresolved. 

20 March 2024

Sorrow – Sleep Now Forever

Rose McDowall’s post-Strawberry Switchblade masterpiece.

Sorrow_Sleep Now Forever_One Sheet

Sleep Now Forever is the second and final album released by Sorrow, the post-Strawberry Switchblade group fronted by singer Rose McDowall. Originally released in 1999 and long since deleted it is a cornucopia of pastoral, elegiac folk music, swirling atmospherics, hymnal compositions and above it all the alternating towering and fragile vocal performances of McDowall. Recorded in the late 90s with fellow band member and co-songwriter Robert Lee, Sleep Now Forever is the definitive statement by the now defunct group and Rose McDowall’s most complete long-form work to date.

Sleep Now Forever is released for Record Store Day 2024, April 20th on 2LP (1 Side Etched). Support independent record stores.

12 March 2024

J.McFarlane’s Reality Guest makes Whoopee

Guess who’s back? Back again? From out of nowhere – if nowhere is the febrile, warped and twilit imagination of Julia McFarlane – comes Whoopee, the second album by J.McFarlane’s Reality Guest. Whoopee is an esoteric, kaleidoscopic movie in music form directed by Julia McFarlane and co-conspirator Thomas Kernot. Full of life, breakbeats and smokey vignettes on the fragile nature of interpersonal relationships, Whoopee is a stylistic evolution from everything McFarlane has done before. Surreal, beautiful in parts and replete with the aching wisdom McFarlane’s songwriting has always promised, this Reality Guest pulls back the curtain on a whole scene of naked truth.


I’m extremely thrilled to be teaming up with J.McFarlane’s Reality Guest and Felt Sense Records in Australia to drip this weird, affecting, strange as album into the world. 


Releases January 2024 UK Vinyl Edition of 300 / AUS Edition of 200

8 December 2023

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