J. McFarlane’s Reality Guest are on tour in UK/EU in August! The trio will be coming over for the first time and we’re excited to host them. Get in touch if you’d like to fill a date or two.
We’re so thrilled to present the debut J.McFarlane’s Reality Guest: Ta Da after an instantly sold out pressing on the Australian label Hobbies Galore.
As a member of the group Twerps, McFarlane has traversed guitar-centric, melodic pop music for some years while honing a highly unique, personal musical language. Ta Da is the first recorded unveiling of McFarlane’s affecting, oblique songwriting panache. Originally released in her native Australia on Hobbies Galore, Ta Da will be released worldwide by Night School in June 2019.
Wheezing into view with a troubled reed instrument set against a s of whoozy synth lines, Human Tissue Act is a foggy curtain the listener is invited to peel back. The dissonant notes are left to dance entwined, with clarinet heralding a Harry Partch-esque mallet percussion interlude. It’s a mood. With no resolution in sight, an audience dragged closer into uncertainty is suddenly drenched with the light of inter-weaving wah wah synth and saxophone. I Am A Toy introduces us to McFarlane’s vocal, an effortless and matter-of-fact, accented statement that quietly takes the reins. While McFarlane’s previous work in Twerps might reference 80s UK and antipodean guitar pop, Ta Da showcases a different influences immersed in psychedelic music and synths. It’s a brilliant, deft concoction swimming in Young Marble Giants-type minimalism washed with bare pop and harmony similar to Kevin Ayers making sense of a Melbourne suburb full of faces half-recognised in the blanching sun.
What Has He Bought begins with a Casio-keyboard rhythm pattern, palm-muted guitars and immaculately enunciated vocal give way to a burnt melodica part that elevates the spirits. Simple patterns repeated, like a well-tempered pop song that does what it needs to do and no more, build into the sound of summer leaking orange juice. They’re moments of joy, layered on top of each other like a melting cake. Do You Like What I’m Sayin’ recalls Marine Girls covering a classic ‘66 Garage nugget, organ lines fighting funk with guitar chords played just behind the percussion. “In a talking world, meanings are the same. Words want to hold on to the people they contain. Do you like what I’m sayin’?” We’re in a Beckett play perhaps, obtuse absurdities rendered pretty. Alien Ceremony is a heart-melter, given a melancholic timbre by bowed double bass it’s a tragi-comic piece that almost reeks of Robert Wyatt at his mid-whimsical twisting a fugue completely out of shape. Beneath the layers of harmony and twinkling instrumentation you sense there’s a genuine sadness somewhere even if it remains veiled.
Through out Ta Da, McFarlane plays with counterpoint and contrast to sometimes delirious effect. On Your Torturer, a simple, upbeat chord progression is hard panned, underpinning a flute solo which seems out of place, hence making it completely in place on this warmly surreal album. My Enemy is a slowly swinging eulogy to a failed relationship punctuated by analogue synth burbles, with our protagonist simply asking, in the aftermath, “can we be nice?” Here McFarlane’s vocal is straight forward, lyrically conversational but still not completely in focus, a surreal kitchen sink drama filtered through a dream where everything is in the wrong place. It’s a fine precursor to Heartburn, which similarly borrows BBC Radiophonic Workshop-style noise synths and the use of space to carve up the simple “You Will Make My Heart Burn” line. At this point, the listener has been in such close proximity to McFarlane’s show, the reality guest in a performance where they’re the sole audience member, that when Where Are You My Love rises on the horizon as a sleepy, psychedelic send off it’s uplifting. The vocal drifts away into the sunset, simple and direct. It leaves the listener slightly confused, perhaps, but grateful for the gentle surprise.
We’re thrilled to announce the debut album from Patience – aka long-time collaborator and friend Roxanne Clifford. Dizzy Spells will be released on May 3rd on Patience’s own label Winona Records in the U.S.A. and Night School for the rest of the USA.
You can watch the video for the Todd Edwards-produced track The Girls Are Chewing Gum below.
Without a doubt, one of Europe’s premier underground sound artists and musicians, Ela Oleans is a light amongst the grey. An artist we’re proud to have a long history and friendship with, we’re extremely excited to be working on this special collection of Orleans’ pop songs spanning her 20 year career.
Movies for Ears is a personal collection of forlorn but joyous balladry and playful songs full of humour and sadness. It will feature extensive new sleeve notes and unpublished photos.
In the words of Stephen Pastel:
“I love Ela’s music, even though we’re friends I like to think of myself as some kind of ultimate fan battling through inadequate subtitling trying to find the best meaning, understanding the nuances of everything going on, in words, phrase and gesture. If Ela plays pop, which is I think the idea of this incredible collection, I have to say that I’m not sure if it is exactly pop, because pop is about feeling slightly blank, uncrowded. With Ela’s music I feel emotional, engaged, very crowded. I can’t help but feel she’s always looking for a sense of belonging and it seems to inform all the music that she makes. Glasgow must have more of that belonging feeling than most cities because she’s spent the most time here, an exotic bird in a rainy city she maybe finds a lttle bit of comfort in. It’s a pleasure to have her here, in this awful time to be living in Britain, her illuminations feel important and hopeful. A stubborn light; someone making great timeless music out of the humdrum of the everyday.”
“Back in 2011 I was lucky enough to work at a prestigious record store in London, one of my jobs was to listen to self-released records and CDs that artists wanted to stock in the shop. I considered it a privilege and having been in that situation myself for my whole life as a musician I tried to listen to as much as possible. Most of it didn’t stick out, most of it was beholden to the predominant aesthetic of the time (whatever that was). One crisp, hungover morning I got to my desk after a brutal 45 minute cycle to find a neat pile of Cdrs and records on my desk. They were incredibly striking, austere and almost bloody-minded in their uniformity. Although definitely of the DIY ilk – these things screamed of hand-folding and being carried around on carry-on luggage – there was something beguiling about them. I’d never heard of Molly Nilsson until then.
The first record I put on was History, and the rest is history. In my whole time working at that job I’d never had such a eureka moment as when Molly Nilsson’s vocal for In Real Life jumps out following the familiar Skype intro beep. Initially I thought these songs were covers, I couldn’t believe this artist had written these songs and brought them in in tiny quantities for us to trickle out meekly. Everything about the songs was heartfelt, supremely warm in its cold detachment and in Nilsson’s voice there was something instantly recognisable. Recognisable in that it seamed so worn and travelled, like it knew me already, but also terribly romantic. Once I’d gotten to I Hope You Die, the third song on the CD, I opened up an internet browser and discovered a whole world of songs this artist had already written and been praised for. That day I wrote a glowing email to Molly at the address she’d left me to not only fawn over these songs but also offer any help I could possibly give. Many releases, concerts, beers, days and nights later I’m so, so proud to be involved with Molly Nilsson’s music and can’t quite believe I can offer History in its complete form to pick up again in your hands. Like all of Molly’s records, they’re meant to hold and to have. The rest is herstory, mine a little too, but mostly hers.”
Molly Nilsson will be embarking on an extensive North American tour of the south and east coast. Full date are listed below, get in touch, in real life.
MARCH 2nd – Gramps, Miami, FL
MARCH 3rd – Wills Pub, Orlando FL(Tickets)
MARCH 5th – Caledonia, Athens GA (Tickets)
MARCH 6th – 529, Atlanta GA (Tickets)
MARCH 7th – The Mothlite, Ashville NC (Tickets)
MARCH 8th – Wicked Witch, Raleigh NC (Tickets)
MARCH 10th – Union Stage, Washington DC (Tickets)
MARCH 12th – PhilaMOca, Philadelphia PA (Tickets)
MARCH 13th – Elsewhere Hall, Brooklyn NYC (Tickets)
MARCH 15th – Lilypad, Boston MA (Tickets)
MARCH 16th – Theatre Fairmount, Montreal QC
MARCH 19th – The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON
MARCH 20th – The Empty Bottle, Chicago IL
MARCH 25th – The Blockhouse, Bloomington IN
MARCH 26th – Exit/In, Nashville TN (Tickets)
MARCH 27th – Artemisia, Memphis TN
MARCH 31st – Gasa Gasa, New Orleans LA
Greetings. As the year tumbles to its close, we’d like to bring your attention to some merchandise goods that might be of use in your annual present giving, to yourself or a loved one of course, and also to let you know about two special events we’re organising in our home town.
MOLLY NILSSON – EMPOWERING CONTENT T-Shirt
Tour stock from Molly’s Twenty Twenty Berlin Launch. Screenprinted in Glasgow, featuring the Empowering Content design on large back print and over-the-heart smaller print.
Limited Edition. Final garments.
AMOR – AMOR Logo Shirt
Designed and Screenprinted by Turbo Island of Bristol. 4-Colour print on high quality garment. Available in two colours, very limited. Last remaining garments.
APOSTILLE – Feel Bad Shirt
Designed by Musheto Fernadez and Screenprinted in Glasgow.
Tour Stock from 2018 tour, last remaining garments.
NIGHT SCHOOL TOTE BAG
One colour screenprint on heavy, best quality on canvas shopper tote bag.
Last remaining bags.
We are delighted to announce the debut album by Glasgow quartet AMOR. Building on their two 12″s of spaced-out, blissed-in avant-disco, Sinking Into A Miracle takes a bold step into concise compositions that build on the clear-eyed, Aquarian mantras by Richard Youngs flanked by the rhythm section of Michael Francis Duch and Paul Thomson. Luke Fowler’s electronic synthesis adds flourishes and colour to the wide open spaces.
You can preorder direct from Night School, or from your favourite independent record shop. We are pressing a Burnt Orange Indies-only colour, standard black and CD.
White Vinyl (Ltd 500), Black Vinyl and CD
Available from November 2nd
Nothing is quite like a new Molly Nilsson album, and no Molly Nilsson album is quite like Twenty Twenty. More personal, more introspective and more than ever distilling a full range of emotions into song, Twenty Twenty could be your life.
“After a cancelled flight I found myself stranded at the Tokyo airport overnight. Between my interrupted bench naps the surroundings found their way into my dreams, particularly the big banners in the departure hall stating: 2020. Not aware that they were announcing upcoming Olympic games, my imagination wandered. 2020, a leap year. The year of the rat, the election. Perfect vision. The year of hindsight. The repetition, the ritual of the superstitious. A spell cast on the approaching future; not yet there, but close enough to be seen with full clarity. The year itself seems to draw a circle around its followers, as to protect anyone who dares enter.
And it all begins on a late-Capitalist night…”
Twenty-Twenty is Molly Nilsson’s 8th album; the latest opus of an artist in a constant state of development and strength. Twenty-Twenty is about emerging from the husk of your old self, about binning the chrysalis and daring to stand up both to power, and also to your own limits. In 2018, we see the climate changing, democracy crumbling, inequality and injustice erupting. 2020 examines the near future, seeking out clarity, reflection, renewal and opportunity. It contains anthems so tall as to induce vertigo, leaving the taste of Euro Dance in your mouth, albeit without a four on the floor beat. Here, the pop auteur is haunted by the late Prince, channelling Courtney Love and Lou Reed, anger and love.
Recorded as ever in her own Lighthouse Studios and co-released with her imprint Dark Skies Association, the record is consistent in strategy and approach to past releases, yet on 2020 Nilsson pushes the limits of what can be said in the scope of a pop song even further. Despite working with used keyboard sounds that evoke memories of a distorted past, the sound is distinctly contemporary. The record drifts between playful punk methods and hi-fi ideas, strikingly clear through the fuzz of a surrounding world painted with reverb.
Rather than gracefully dissecting, 2020 rips apart personal neuroses and insecurities, looking for the roots of issues and the equation that, when solved, will produce the future. “I don’t care if the world is through, every night is new,” 2020 erupts with fist-in-the-air empowerment, a realization that if we’re all alone down here, we can still make it. Every Night Is New is a personal and societal manifesto, a slogan comprising the different layers that make this record Molly Nilsson’s most personal, evocative and emotionally packed in years. First single Serious Flowers is a naked confessional trance hit stripped of its beat. Centred around broken trust and friendship, Nilsson sings over suspenseful synth strings with a vocal delivery so inexact and honest, its vulnerability seems almost unaware of itself. Although very much in the vein of Nilsson’s production style on her recent albums, Days of Dust, accomplishes escape and breaks free from the past. There’s a carpe diem immediacy to this fast-paced Rock Song that belies Nilsson’s near-iconic self-contained delivery: “Like I had just been saved from a burning building of desire, I got back up and I ran right into the fire.” It’s so immediate, and speaks so perfectly about the nature of desire, that you wonder how you’d never thought about it like that before.
The themes on the album are submerged in the inner life, lucidly dreaming with one eye open, fixated on the external world and its growing pains. Nilsson turns inward and seeks answers to questions imposed by physical existence, examining one’s own responsibility in the face of climate change (A Slice of Lemon), the political depression of society (Gun Control), and the struggles with drinking, between euphoria and despair (Blinded by the Night). The serious topics aren’t met with hopelessness; the tone suggests defenceless optimism and a tight grip on desire. This time around, we’re not examining the past with Molly Nilsson, we’re becoming who we want to be. We’re exploring the future, accepting who we are, clear eyed and with perfect vision, near and far sighted alike.
After a long wait, we are delighted to be shipping the official reissue of Sorrow’s neo-folk masterpiece Under The Yew Possessed. Originally released in 1993 by World Serpent, this is an expanded edition with extra sleeve notes and exclusive archive photographs. Following a limited, sold out pressing on Record Store Day Under The Yew Possessed is now available generally.
Under The Yew Possessed is the debut album by Sorrow, a group comprised primarily of Rose McDowall and her then husband Robert Lee. Originally released on World Serpent in 1993, Under The Yew Possessed was a stylistic jump from an artist associated primarily with sparkling pop music and a cult hit in the growing neo-folk movement. Self-recorded by the duo with guest musicians from the hidden reverse of the U.K.’s post industrial landscape, this is the first time this work has been available on vinyl.
We’re having a sale. Looking back over the last few years, we’re really proud of everything the label has been involved in so we’d like to offer some choice back catalogue for low prices. Onward and upward…