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MOLLY

Molly Lewis

On The Lips

    Consider this your invitation to Café Molly, a lounge bar like they don’t make them anymore. The lights are low, the martinis are ice cold, the banquettes are velvet, and the stage is set for the electrifying talent of whistler Molly Lewis. After the exotica stylings of The Forgotten Edge EP and the tropicalia-indebted Mirage EP, Molly wanted to encapsulate the sound of Café Molly for her debut album On The Lips, a dreamy tribute to classic mood music, it conjures up misty visions of classic Hollywood jazz clubs, Italian cinema soundtracks and lingering embraces between lovers. Recorded with producer Thomas Brenneck of the Menahan Street Band at his newly-built Diamond West Studios in Pasadena, and with something of an open door policy during the sessions, a stream of acclaimed musicians ended up across the album’s 10 tracks, including Nick Hakim, Latin Grammy-nominated Brazilian guitarist Rogê, Leland Whitty and Chester Hansen of Canadian instrumental group Badbadnotgood, Chicano soul group Thee Sacred Souls appear on the melancholy ‘Crushed Velvet’, experimental jazz pianist Marco Benevento and El Michels Affair’s Leon Michels. With her intoxicating compositions, and wry brand of stagecraft (she might not be singing up there, but she can sure tell a joke) Molly Lewis looks set to join her heroes in the storied lore of the Los Angeles lounge scene and beyond. So pull up a chair, order your favorite drink, and prepare to fall for On The Lips.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: I Don't think i've ever been into a 'lounge' club, I know i've been into places that say they're a lounge club but they're really not, so with that in mind, i'm not sure where would be there perfect place for Molly Lewis' brilliantly rich lounge-jazz masterpiece 'On The Lips'. Lounge club, actual lounge, lounge bar, perfect for all. Sleek, smooth and sparkly.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. On The Lips
    2. Lounge Lizard
    3. Crushed Velvet
    4. Slinky
    5. Moon Tan
    6. Silhouette
    7. Porque Te Vas
    8. Cocosette
    9. Sonny
    10. The Crying Game

    Molly Burch

    Daydreamer

      For Molly Burch, the age 13 was a seminal moment in life that has shaped the path that she is on now. Burch's fourth album, Daydreamer, explores the feelings and insecurities of this critical stage. Burch has recently relocated to her hometown of Los Angeles, but while she was still residing in Austin, she visited home and did that thing our parents love to have us do: rummage through old boxes to see what shit we can throw away. Upon finding her old diaries from age 13 and younger, Burch was brought to tears. Realizing how cruel she was to herself then, and how she still harbors many of those same self-critiques. It was this visit that forced her to take responsibility for where she was currently at in life, anxiety and body issues and all, and to try to let go of old habits.

      The thematic territory mined on Daydreamer makes it her most personal album yet, and though yes, she says that about all of her albums, this one in particular is a conversation between Burch's state of being when she was younger and how she feels currently as an adult. Daydreamer boasts a sharper, much cleaner production approach and a bit more pop than Burch's previous records, thanks to producer Jack Tatum (Wild Nothing). The result is music that feels stirring and sweeping, pulling in sounds and influences of the past, while also propelling Burch into a further development of herself as an artist.

      On the surface, lead single "Physical" is a dark and sultry '80s mid-tempo jam with an intro that could very well be on the soundtrack to a John Carpenter horror film. It's also about Burch's public struggles with PMS. The album also returns to themes that have become somewhat of a signature for Burch, such as unrequited love on "Unconditional." And then there's "Tattoo," one of the more emotional songs on the album, where Burch writes an ode to her best friend in high school who took her own life in 2009. It's the longest Burch has ever taken to write a song, an ethereal ballad featuring sweeping harp and backup vocals from Luna Li (Hannah Kim).

      Though the album spends time with mournful, anxious reflections, the songs on Daydreamer never feel bogged down in bleakness or morbidity. Burch's ability to take the darkest moments of her life and translate them to a universal language lays the ground for her most masterful pop writing to-date. Daydreamer is dedicated not only to her thirteen year-old self, but the thirteen year-old selves of listeners that still lingers within them. As children, we escape the world and our scariest thoughts through daydreaming. When Burch was a kid, she would daydream about how life would look when she was older, when she'd presumably have all her shit together. Now, as an adult, she finds herself daydreaming about what's next in life, what she'll create in the future, and the person she wants to be.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Molly Burch has always been a big hit in the shop, with her 2021 LP 'Romantic Images' proving a bit hit with customers too, so it's exciting to get her latest for Captured Tracks, the captivating 'Daydreamer'. With heartfelt lyrical emotion bombs like 'Tattoo' interspersed with less emotionally wrought, but equally beautiful 50's adjacent lounge-pop swooners. It's a beautifully written, deeply emotional journey.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Made Of Glass
      2. Physical
      3. Baby Watch My Tears Dry
      4. 2003
      5. Tattoo
      6. Unconditional
      7. Heartburn
      8. Champion
      9. Beauty Rest
      10. Bed

      MOLLY

      Picturesque

        Austrian duo MOLLY return with their second album, Picturesque, via Sonic Cathedral.

        The album’s seemingly brief tracklisting belies a work of great beauty and depth, and one which turned into a one-man crusade for singer/guitarist Lars Andersson, intertwining deeply personal stories with his love for the era of Romanticism.

        “Every time I go to a museum and I’m about to pass through the era of Romanticism I stop in awe,” says Lars of the enduring appeal of the 18th century artistic movement. “Whatever it is – stories, paintings, music – it triggers something deep within me, something profoundly human.
        It really hits a nerve, and it utterly immerses me to a point where I can’t move.”

        The album replicates this feeling; a gloriously over-the-top blend of Slowdive and Sigur Rós, mixed with the single-mindedness of Daniel Johnston and the noisiness of Nirvana, it’s as bold and beautiful and every bit as ornate as the art that inspired it.

        Unlike their acclaimed debut, 2019’s All That Ever Could Have Been, which gradually came into focus with a 15-minute opening track, Picturesque hits home from the very first note of the short and sweet opener, ‘Ballerina’. That’s not to say there aren’t epics here – ‘Metamorphosis’ is essentially a 12-minute suite of three movements; blistering closer ‘The Lot’ is 11 minutes of Swans-inspired heaviness – but everything is much more direct and focused. This isn’t an album to lose yourself in, it’s one to get swept away by.

        “‘More is more’ was definitely the credo when making this record,” agrees Lars. “A big inspiration were bands like Pond and the way they manage to fill their songs up with stuff to the absolute maximum. While I definitely tried to give the listener some room to breathe at certain points and while, in good old post-rock fashion, it still builds up and breaks down, it relies much more on simple melody and harmony as opposed to noisy experimentation to transport feeling.”

        Never more so than on the first single, ‘The Golden Age’, which is the album’s centre-piece; a soaring slice of über-shoegaze that is so stunning you can’t take your eyes or ears off it.

        Like all the songs on the album, it’s based around a fairy-tale from the Romantic era. In this case, it’s Heinrich von Ofterdingen by the German poet, author and philosopher Novalis (other influences are: The Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Andersen; The Seven Ravens and Hans in Luck by the Brothers Grimm; Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué and The Golden Pot by E.T.A. Hoffmann), with Lars drawing parallels between the titular character’s mystical and romantic searchings and his own personal quest.

        This is apt as the album has been an overriding obsession for Lars for the past two-and-a-half years; as well as writing and recording the songs (bandmate Phillip Dornauer played drums), he also mixed and mastered them at his Alpine Audio studio and Picturesque is very much his Brian Wilson or Kevin Shields moment. MOLLY were in the middle of their European tour when Covid hit in early 2020, forcing Lars to retreat back to his home outside Innsbruck and giving him time and space to think about every detail of the record.

        “Well, I was on a quest I guess,” he admits. “Like everyone, I was stranded at home and at some point I just said to myself, ‘If not now, then when?’ It was an intense process. I’ve worked on music from other bands and artists before but producing and mixing your own music is an utterly different animal. It was probably the most intense thing I’ve ever done, but it was also incredibly rewarding and the feeling of it all coming together piece by piece is incomparable.”

        The artwork is just as effective. “I think of Radiohead’s OK Computer – what you hear on the record is what you see on the cover,” explains Lars. “We were inspired by what we call ‘wimmelbilder’ [hidden pictures] in German, a very specific style in art where there are a lot of little things happening. When you see it from further away, it looks organic like a lost painting from the area of Romanticism, but the closer you look the more digital it gets. It’s a nice analogy.”

        He’s right, it perfectly sums up the conflict between Romanticism and 21st century life.

        “Romanticism was basically an answer to the Industrial Revolution as well as the social and political norms of the Age Of Enlightenment,” concludes Lars. “Now, we all live in a much more industrialised, materialistic, individualistic and sterile society than any early Romanticist could have ever possibly imagined. Over 200 years later the Romanticists have lost the battle.”

        With the divine and downright pulchritudinous Picturesque, MOLLY begin the fightback.

        TRACK LISTING

        Side A
        Ballerina
        Metamorphosis
        The Golden Age
        Side B
        Sunday Kid
        So To Speak
        The Lot

        Molly Lewis

        Mirage

          Molly Lewis’s compositions seem to float into our ears from distant shores. They’re otherworldly, drawn more from landscapes of dream than from anywhere you could find on a map. Lewis is a unique presence in music today. Her trademark whistle, which brings to mind the great Peruvian soprano Yma Sumac, has graced recordings of everything from Schumann lieder and Brazilian jazz to Spaghetti Western ballads and noir lounge.

          Lewis’s 2021 debut EP, The Forgotten Edge, was produced by Tom Brenneck (Charles Bradley, Amy Winehouse). It was a critical success, drawing praise from The New York Times and NPR, and landing Lewis a spot on CBS Sunday Morning.

          Now, Lewis and Brenneck have teamed up again for her second EP, Mirage, bringing aboard Brazilian guitarist Rogê, as well as percussionist Gibi Dos Santos and keyboardist Roger Manning. Capacious and atmospheric, Mirage is Lewis’s most hypnotic effort yet. Like Eden’s Island (1970) by eden ahbez - whose “Nature Boy” is covered in one of Mirage’s standout moments - the album is based on Lewis’s visions of an imaginary island. The lush, oceanic textures of Mirage transport us to the sands of an unknown beach - all alone or in the company we’ve always dreamt of keeping.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Mirage
          2. Miracle Fruit
          3. Dolphinese
          4. Cabana Del Mel
          5. The Green Ray
          6. Nature Boy

          “The letter X marks the spot, crosses over, literally with a cross. It’s the former, the ex-. The ex-lover known simply as “an ex”. Ex- is the latin prefix meaning “out”. Exterior, an exit. Extraordinary. Excellent. It’s exciting. Generation X. X-files. X is the unknown. X is Extreme“.

          Extreme is Molly Nilsson’s tenth studio album. Recorded in 2019 and throughout the 2020 global pandemic at home in Berlin, Extreme is a departure for Nilsson, an explosion of angry love. It’s an album of anthems for the jilted generation, soaked with joy and offering solace, bristling with distorted, Metal guitars and planet-sized choruses that bring light to the dark centre of the galaxy. It’s an album of the times, by the times and for the people. It’s a record about power. About how to fight it, how to take it and how to share it.

          Absolute Power explodes with massive guitars, double kick beats and the instantly iconic line “It’s me versus the black hole at the centre of the galaxy.” Nilsson’s performance itself portrays absolute power in its confidence but the song is a call-to-arms, an entreaty to grasp the here and now, to take the power back. It’s Nilsson pacing the ring and we’re instantly in her corner. Earth Girls takes familiar Molly Nilsson themes - female empowerment and subverting the patriarchy - but casually throws in one of the choruses of her career. “Women have no place in this world” she sings, but it’s the world that isn’t good enough. Stadium-sized but still warmly hazy, Earth Girls has its fists in the air, glorifying in harmony, almost ecstatic in its feeling good. Nilsson’s Springsteen-level conviction and righteousness bleeds through the speaker cones, the cognitive dissonance between the song’s cadences and angry lyrics redolent of Bruce in his prime. Female empowerment isn’t always an angry energy on Extreme, however. On Fearless Like A Child, Nilsson’s anthem to the female body and women’s sovereignty of it, she croons over a mid-80s blue-eyed Soul groove. It sets a nocturnal scene as the narrator surveys her past and her surroundings. Before we’re fully submerged in a dreamlike, Steve McQueen-era Prefab Sprout poem to learning from your mistakes the song erupts into one of those lines only Molly Nilsson can get away with: “I love my womb, come inside I feel so alive” she fervently sings. Against the backdrop of ever-encroaching, conservative rulings on women’s reproductive rights in places like Texas, it’s simultaneously angry and full of love.

          Every song on Extreme is a gleaming gem in a pouch of jewels. On Kids Today, Nilsson is the voice of wisdom, archly commenting on the eternal struggle between youth and authority. Wisdom infuses Sweet Smell Of Success with a transcendent love that forgives the narrator’s shortcomings and celebrates the moment, it’s a letter to the author from the author that asks “what is success” and concludes that this is it, this song, this moment. It’s a rare moment of simple reflection that is generous in its insight to Nilsson’s inner life. “Success” is a tool of power and we don’t need it… We need power tools and there are moments on Extreme where it feels like Nilsson is showing us how to find them. It's an open conversation through out Extreme. She’s a warm, comforting presence through out the album and specially on these songs of encouragement, songs perhaps sang to a younger Molly Nilsson or, really, to whomever needs to hear them. “They’ll praise your efforts, they’ll call you slurs a rebel, a master, an amateur / Merely with your own existence, you already offer your resistance.” On Avoid Heaven she’s even more direct, pleading with us to avoid concepts of purity and to embrace the glorious, ebullient, emotional mess we’re often in as a method of upending the power structures who need things to be perfect.

          They Will Pay brings back the big, distorted power chords in the form of a agit-punk, pop slammer. Of course, when Molly Nilsson does punk pop we get the catchiest chorus this side of The Bangles or The Nerves. It’s rendered in an off the cuff, throwaway manner that is just perfect in its roughness. However, it’s on Pompeii that Nilsson delivers the album’s epic, emotional heartbreaker. Like 1995 on Nilsson’s album Zenith, or Days Of Dust on Twenty Twenty, the lyrics of Pompeii are heavy with a transcendent sadness, an aching poetry that cuts to the truth of the heart like the best Leonard Cohen lines, though here delivered with an uplifting, life-affirming love. It contains the most personal moments of Extreme, a song lit by the dying embers of romance. Yet it’s here where the alchemy at the base of all Nilsson’s best work is found. Turning small nuggets of personal truth into big, generous universal moments that invite everyone to cry, to love and to fight the power. In an album of jewels, it might be the shining star.

          Molly Nilsson’s biggest, boldest and most vital album to date, Extreme is about power. Against the love of power and for the power of love.


          TRACK LISTING

          1. Absolute Power
          2. Earth Girls
          3. Fearless Like A Child
          4. Kids Today
          5. Intermezzo
          6. Sweet Smell Of Success
          7. Obnoxiously Talented
          8. Avoid Heaven
          9. Take Me To Your Leader
          10. They Will Pay
          11. Pompeii

          Molly Nilsson

          The Travels

            Starting out by hand-dubbing CDrs and forging a singular path in the global pop underground, Nilsson’s art has grown to the extent where hers is a precise songwriting devoid of unnecessary flourish. Her songs are perfect silhouettes of feelings everyone shares but that few can articulate with such heart-rending, icy pathos.

            Journeys offer change - the possibility of renewal - and accordingly on The Travels Molly Nilsson’s resonant voice is found curling around a new sense of optimism and wide-eyed discovery that was only alluded to in her previous work. Songs like “Dear Life” might be spiked with a barbed sense of the dejected, but the presiding feeling is one of optimism, of being in love with life despite a shield of cynicism. “Dirty Fingers” brings a melancholy recognisable from previous work but with an incessant beat and ecstatic underpinning it becomes apparent that a new force is at play here. In case the listener missed it, “The Power Ballad” brings an endearing, sincerity to proceedings that also offers a tantalising question: can you be sceptical about love but still be bewitched?

            On her 5th long-player, Nilsson’s perspective is challenged and manipulated by changes in environment and psychological space: like any other traveller the protagonist brings their own set of values and emotional states to new places, colouring them with a wash of subjectivity. Like any other traveller Molly Nilsson reacts to her environment and shares her unique version of it to other people. Based loosely on Marco Polo’s “Travels” and reading like a map of the protagonist’s geographical and inner journey, The Travels reveals new places and new emotions that are never the same to the beholder. Nilsson’s art is in turning this subjectivity into a cloak that almost anyone can don for the trip.

            Molly Nilsson

            These Things Take Time - 2021 Reissue

              "Night School announces a new pressing of the long sold out debut album by Molly Nilsson, These Things Take Time, on clear with black smoke vinyl and for the first time on CD. As a significant cultural artefact of the underground pop movement that bubbled up in the early 21st century it's an important landmark. In Molly Nilsson's herstory it remains one of her most adored works"

              It would be easy to say that Molly Nilsson needs no introduction, but These Things Take Time is an introduction. Originally self-released in 2008 on a limited CDR run with handfolded sleeve, Nilsson’s debut album has slowly taken over the hearts of many. In 2014 this modern classic of autonomous, DIY pop and punk-as-you-like attitude was released as a double vinyl a beautiful edition featuring unreleased bonus tracks across two discs, it sold out within a month of release.. Now repressed....

              Molly Lewis

              The Forgotten Edge

                In the most literal sense, globally renowned whistler Molly Lewis makes her gorgeous and curious compositions out of thin air. New entrees into the Exotica canon; sprawling, would-be Spaghetti Western scores; and a dash of Old Hollywood glamour — the whistle-led songs on her debut EP The Forgotten Edge are as complex, delicate and indelible as anything performed with viola or piano. “Whistling is like a human theremin,” said Lewis, an Australian native who’s spent the last several years in LA, and whose performances there and around the world are changing any preconceived notions of whistling by the room-full. .That’s not to say Lewis is all serious and snooty about the craft. Quite the contrary. Her sense of humor is witty, self-deprecating and zany. She’s as likely to reference the slapstick Leslie Nielsen film series Naked Gun for music video concepts as she is a classic piece of noir cinema.

                Look no further than the equatorial and breezy opening cut “Oceanic Feeling,” a lovely walk across the flotsam-sprinkled sands in the rum-pumping vein of Les Baxter. Meanwhile, the title track — and really, the entire collection here — is a loving, and albeit rather haunting, salute to one of Lewis’s heroes, the Italian composer and musician Alessandro Alessandro Alessandroni, who’s whistle and guitar you hear on the title theme of Ennio Morricone’s A Fistful of Dollars. Lewis and her ensemble create classic cinema for your mind. Her own love for the artform began when, around the age of twelve she was given the CD Steve “The Whistler” Herbst Whistles Broadway. Something contained in it clicked. “It wasn’t that I was immediately obsessed, but I knew it was something I could do well,” Lewis said. The daughter of a musician mother and a documentary filmmaker father who often focused his films on niche communities and topics, Lewis recalls watching a television documentary with her parents about The International Whistlers Convention in Louisburg, North Carolina.

                “My dad said, ‘If you ever make it into the competition, I’ll take you there’,” Lewis said. Turns out, there was no bar to entry, just a small fee. And so several years later, she and her father traveled to the convention. New to the form, Lewis didn’t take home one of the bigger prizes, but they were awarded the prize for “Whistler who traveled the greatest distance.” “We really just used the trip to drive around the United States,” she said. After studying film in Australia, Lewis moved to Los Angeles to be close to the film industry. There, her circle of artist friends grew naturally and with providence — her unique talent drawing more and more recognition. And over the last few years, Lewis’s Café Molly events at LA spots like Zebulon, Non Plus Ultra and The Natural History Museum have become fabled, elegant happenings with appearances from guests like John C. Reilly, Karen O and Mac DeMarco. Recorded with a crack team of friends and musicians during 2020’s quarantine, The Forgotten Edge is rife with incredible performances from Thomas Brenneck, Joe Harrison, Eric Hagstrom, Abe Rounds, Wayne Gordon, Gabriel Rowland, Leon Michels, and Dave Guy

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: I admit to being a little baffled when I read the notes for this one, it being ostensibly a whistle-based album. Suffice to say it's MUCH deeper than that and perfectly segues between hazy country, slow exotica and swimming library ambience. It's properly beautiful and really very surprising.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Oceanic Feeling
                2. Island Spell
                3. Balcony For Two
                4. The Forgotten Edge
                5. Satin Curtains
                6. Wind’s Lament

                Molly Burch

                Romantic Images

                  Romantic Images, Molly Burch’s third album, marks a distinct evolution for Burch, both emotionally and sonically. Recorded in Denver with Tennis’ Alaina Moore and Pat Riley producing, the collection celebrates the timeless delights of a well-crafted pop song, flirting with Blondie, Madonna, and even Mariah Carey as it forges a joyful soundtrack to liberation and self-discovery.

                  Burch deliberately worked with more women collaborators than ever before on the album, and the results are transcendent, reveling in the passion and the power of the divine feminine. The collection prioritizes ecstasy and escape, and Burch’s commitment to collective catharsis in her lifted, airy delivery manages to exude both thoughtful introspection and carefree abandon all at once. The shadow still lurks on the album, to be sure, but the light ultimately wins, and the result is an intoxicating collection all about coming into our truest selves.

                  When it came to mixing and mastering the material, Burch put her faith in Gloria Kaba (Lauryn Hill, A Tribe Called Quest), Mikaelin “Blue” Bluespruce (Solange Knowles), and Heba Kadry (Bjork, Beach House) to truly understand where she was coming from with the music.

                  Burch designed the record to mirror the emotional journey that went into creating it, sequencing the music to work its way from jittery indecision to poised certainty over the course of ten mesmerizing tracks. Exhilarating opener “Control” takes a leap of faith as it learns to make peace with letting go, while the infectious “Heart Of Gold” grapples with wanting what you can’t have. By the time the silky “New Beginning” rolls around, Burch begins settling into a newfound sureness that dominates the collection’s second half, with the addictive “Emotion” (a collaboration between Burch and her Captured Tracks labelmate Wild Nothing) celebrating a spectrum of emotions as fuel for creativity.

                  “I’ve written quite a bit about anxiety and heartbreak in the past,” Burch reflects, “but this record is more inspired by confidence and self-love. This is the most me I’ve ever sounded on an album.”

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: With a pretty legendary lineup of collaborators and producers working in conjunction with Burch, this was never going to be anything but superb. It's with a great deal of pleasure then, that I can confirm her singular writing style and unmistakeable vocal direction is at it's peak here. A brilliantly enjoyable and gorgeously evocative selection, drenched in nostalgic production and clever writing.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Control
                  2. Games
                  3. Heart Of Gold
                  4. Romantic Images
                  5. New Beginning
                  6. Took A Minute
                  7. Emotion
                  8. Honeymoon Phase
                  9. Easy
                  10. Back In Time

                  Molly Nilsson

                  Europa - Reissue

                    When Molly Nilsson began recording her second album Europa in 2009 the world seemed to be at a turning point and she along with it. In the aftermath of a global financial crash, at the dawn of a new decade, the Stockholm-born, Berlinbased singer was busy moulding her songwriting into an idiocyncratic, personal mythology that would take her to every continent, speaking directly to hearts in every corner of the globe.

                    The first album on her own Dark Skies Association imprint, the first recorded in her home studio The Lighthouse, Europa broke new ground for Molly Nilsson at the time. But also it spoke earnestly to the world about an idealism, an openness and hope that has not dimmed in the 11 years since its release. Europa contains the songs of a young, idealistic songwriter coming to terms with her genius for cutting to the chase, saying it as it is and, most importantly, as it should be. Over 10 years on the artists’ vim and urge for... more credits.

                    Written and Recorded by Molly Nilsson at The Lighthouse, Berlin, 2009.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: 2009's 'Europa' really shows the spark of songwriting genius and emotional heft that Nilsson has become known for, and is the perfect document of a talent in the very early stages of fruition. It's fitting then that this superb LP should be remastered by James Plotkin and reissued in it's full glory. Note too, the continuation of the superb monochaomatic visual theme consistent through all of Nilsson's albums.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    In The Mood For A Tattoo
                    The Revenge Of The Stalker
                    More Certain Than Death
                    When I Have No Words
                    Berlin, Berlin
                    Europa
                    I Whisper In My Ear
                    The Crisis
                    Asleep In Stockholm

                    Molly Burch

                    Emotion

                      Austin singer and songwriter Molly Burch returns this new year with a fresh sound on “Emotion’’, a disco-tinged, dynamic shot of adrenaline produced by Captured Tracks label-mate Wild Nothing (Jack Tatum).

                      In January 2020, Burch headed to Tatum’s hometown of Richmond, Virginia, looking to write new material with a distinct pop sound and production in mind. Sharing some of her latest demos and a playlist of her favorite pop bangers with Tatum, they set out to make a heart-pumping dance track of their own.

                      On “Emotion”, Burch’s voice is as strong and masterful as ever, pairing a lighter, polished vocal performance - a surprising, but captivatingdeparture from her signature smoky delivery - with Tatum’s compelling bass lines, beats, and shimmering synths. Burch says, “for me, the theme of the song is about feeling a spectrum of emotions, embracing that sensitivity, and using it as fuel to create something positive. “Emotion” is a celebration of being alive.”


                      TRACK LISTING

                      Side A: Emotion Feat. Wild Nothing
                      Side B: Needy

                      Molly

                      All That Was EP

                        Limited-edition EP released to coincide with the Austrian shoegaze duo's extensive European tour. Pressed on snow white vinyl, it compiles three remixes of tracks from last year’s acclaimed debut album All That Ever Could Have Been that have only been released digitally to date. Maps’ version of previous single ‘Weep, Gently Weep’ takes the glacial and grandiose structure of the original and adds an avalanche of electronic beats and snow-capped synths. William Doyle (formerly East India Youth) turns the title track into an ambient epic, with sequencers bubbling like mountain springs, and the bells from the Tyrolean sheep ringing out on what is essentially an Alpine version of The KLF’s Chill Out. Mark Peters, meanwhile, combines Parts I and II of ‘Coming Of Age’ and relocates them from the Alps to the windswept hills of northwest England that inspired his own album, Innerland, resulting in six minutes of cloudy ambient beauty, before the skies clear for a stunning Kevin Shields-style sunset. Rounding out the EP is a brand new re-recording of their classic song ‘Glimpse‘, here re-titled ‘Another Glimpse’ and amplified in every way, veering from serene Sigur Rós to splenetic Smashing Pumpkins within eight minutes. 

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Weep, Gently Weep (Maps Remix)
                        2. All That Ever Could Have Been (William Doyle Remix)
                        3. Coming Of Age (Mark Peters Remix)
                        4. Another Glimpse

                        Molly Burch

                        The Molly Burch Christmas Album

                          On this collection of holiday songs, Austin chanteuse Molly Burch does Christmas with a twist. Quite an omnibus, the album features classics like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Auld Lang Syne” alongside heartland hits like “Hard Candy Christmas” and “Snowqueen of Texas”.

                          “This is the most fun I’ve had making a record yet,” Burch says. And you can hear that joy on tracks like ABBA’s “Happy New Year” as well as a playful cover of Wham’s “Last Christmas” with two special guests: actor / comedians John Early (Search Party, Wet Hot American Summer) and Kate Berlant (Sorry to Bother You) add a blithe intro and backing vocals throughout.

                          Recorded by Will Paterson (RF Shannon, Jesse Woods) and Jarvis Taveniere (Woods, Martin Courtney, Purple Mountains), the album also features two beautiful originals penned by Burch to add to your holiday canon. “I hope it’s a Christmas album for people who love Christmas music and people who don’t love Christmas music. May these songs welcome in a fresh new year and many warm, happy nights.”


                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Barry says: It's November.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. The Secret Of Christmas
                          2. Hard Candy Christmas
                          3. Snowqueen Of Texas
                          4. Holiday Dreaming
                          5. Last Christmas Ft. John Early & Kate Berlant
                          6. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
                          7. The Coldest Night Of The Year Ft. Jesse Woods
                          8. What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas?
                          9. New Year Love
                          10. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
                          11. Happy New Year
                          12. Auld Lang Syne

                          Molly Sarlé

                          Karaoke Angel

                            From the cliffs of Big Sur to the North Carolina backwoods - Molly Sarlé (one third of Mountain Man) brings open-hearted, unflinching songwriting perfect for late-night karaoke comedowns, plaintive morning walks and conjuring the spirit world. West Coast incantations with a warm, Appalachian glow.

                            The work on ‘Karaoke Angel’ began in a trailer on a the pacific coast and continued with stints in Los Angeles and Durham, NC. Recorded in a church-turned-recording studio in Woodstock, NY with production by Sam Evian, a minimal but carefully assembled palette of guitar, bass and percussion form the foundation; an orchestra of unrecognizable atmospherics bounce off the high ceilings - but Molly’s delicate, expressive voice is always at the centre.

                            For fans of Laura Marling, Lucy Dacus, Wye Oak, Big Thief, Angel Olsen, Phoebe Bridgers, Molly Burch, Jessica Pratt, Julia Holter, Joni Mitchell, Weyes Blood, Tiny Ruins, Aldous Harding, Cate Le Bon.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            Human
                            This Close
                            Karaoke Angel
                            Almost Free
                            Twisted
                            Faith For Doubt
                            Kimberly
                            Dreams
                            Suddenly
                            Passenger Side

                            Molly

                            All That Ever Could Have Been

                              “Skeletal, celestial shoegaze [that] reflects the cold beauty of the Austrian Alps” Stereogum. Innsbruck-based Lars Andersson and Phillip Dornauer’s shoegaze-inspired beginnings coalesced on their acclaimed 2017 EP, ‘Glimpse’, which did just as it said, offering a tantalising peek into their world; the full, glorious vista is now revealed on their accomplished debut album. And ‘All That Ever Could Have Been’ really is breathtaking. It begins with an almost 15-minute post-rock epic and takes in nods to ambient, dreampop and even prog, with echoes of Galaxie 500, Low, Beachwood Sparks, Dungen, The Besnard Lakes, Sigur Rós and M83. Its eight tracks belie both the band’s youth and their small number, forming a mountain of sound that suggests they are more of a geological outfit than a musical one.

                              Long overdue reissue of this Molly Nilsson early release (her fourth), now repackaged and reissued via Night School / DSA.
                              “I hope you die by my side, the two of us at the exact same time, I hope we die not long from now, the two of us at the exact same time”

                              By the time Molly Nilsson released History, she had already established a fledgling cult status built on homemade YouTube videos and home-burnt Cdrs. Writing from a distance, it’s clear that History is the first classic album in her canon and arguably a classic of the 21st Century underground music panorama. While the methodology on History hadn’t changed from Nilsson’s previous 3 albums – it was recorded solo at The Lighthouse, Nilsson’s home studio based on a Berlin crossroads – on this record the songwriting reached a new peak and the emotional scythe cut deeper. Here, Nilsson managed to combine a cosmic, outward looking perspective with an intimate knowledge of the human condition and its place in these turbulent times. In truth, no other songwriter has excavated the modern psyche so clearly and perfectly.

                              The tracklist to Nilsson’s fourth album reads as an early greatest hits for Molly Nilsson followers and also serves as the perfect entry point to a whole world the artist has been building for the last 10 years. In Real Life crystalises the millenial obsession with relationships built online, with a generation paying for the baby boomer’s excesses with their anxiety towards the harshness of every day life. It’s a call to arms for a generation who fell in love on Skype. On I Hope You Die, one of Molly Nilsson’s most iconic songs, the songwriter flips the song title into a tale of doomed romance, a relationship based on miscommunications and the thrill of the other. It’s also one of the most heartfelt songs full of pathos written by anyone, an ode to obsession. Doomed romance, life lived on the flipside of day and the role of the outsider in society are themes that crop up through-out History. On Bottles Of Tomorrow, the narrator is sweeping up, in love with the night and examining the remains a society leaves behind.

                              On City Of Atlantis, Nilsson veers from the plaintive balladry she had begun to make her name with, embracing trance-like synth and dance music details to create an unlikely anthem using the mythological city as a means to comment on the patriarchal rendering of history by power. With by now trademark panache, she turns complicated subject matter into a glorious song that transforms into an ecstatic pop moment.

                              Hotel Home, another Nilsson classic, paints loneliness not as a debilitating anxiety, but as a powerful tool that propels the artist forward through her travels. It’s a song that hints at an endearing self-awareness also; the writer is never at home, living life on the road, content that “the world will find me when the time is ripe.”

                              TRACK LISTING

                              In A Real Life
                              You Always Hurt The One You Love
                              I Hope You Die
                              The Bottles Of Tomorrow
                              Hiroshima Street
                              Intermezzo:The Party
                              Hotel Home
                              City Of Atlantis
                              Qwerty (censored Version)
                              The Clocks
                              Skybound

                              '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.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              1. Every Night Is New
                              2. A Slice Of Lemon
                              3. Out Of The Blue
                              4. Your Shyness
                              5. Intermezzo: My Mental Motorcycle
                              6. Serious Flowers
                              7. I'm Your Fan
                              8. Gun Control
                              9. Days Of Dust
                              10. Blinded By The Night

                              Molly Nilsson

                              Single

                                Molly Nilsson is in a mood: the mood for love, perhaps? For an artist who has spent almost 10 years skirting the issue of love, almost addressing it, taking it out to dinner only to stand it up, “Single” almost lands a sucker love-punch to the listener’s heart. About Somebody seems to be about somebody, or maybe even somebody’s body, about desire too, perhaps. How else to interpret the line “Babe I want to party with you every night, and have a hard-on for the rest of my life?” But this is a Molly Nilsson song, and this is Empowering Content. Over a rousing, even anthemic, verse/chorus one-two, a soaring synth-string hook that rides the handclaps beautifully, we‘re soon left wondering whether our beloved narrator is really focusing on the “other” at all. Love lets you down: treat it mean, keep it keen, and remember if you can’t love yourself how the hell are you gonna love any body else?

                                On the flip, Quit (In Time), is a classic minor-key Nilsson elegy to obsession and addiction, sounding almost close to an early 80s Springsteen love-story. Here we imagine Nilsson at the piano, her heart a resounding bell for all longing. If About Somebody is the tumultuous onset of an affair, here we’re hopelessly drawn to the flame, unable to leave alone that which causes the sweetest pain. It’s a universal theme, the longing for something we shouldn’t have, and Nilsson seems to elucidate the feeling with a precise, razor-sharp lyrical nous that fans will instantly recognize.

                                “Single” is about the self and the other; about navigating the love of others that tries to trip us up. But it’s also about you. “Single” is because you’re worth it.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Laura says: Sublime hook-filled, synth infused pop from Molly Nilsson.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                SIDE A: About Somebody
                                SIDE B: Quit In Time

                                That we live in a world changed is beyond question. Since 2015’s Zenith, Berlin-based songwriter Molly Nilssonhas surrendered to the world, traveling from Mexico to Glasgow, observing the changing socio-political landscape and imagining a better world. For an artist who has so successfully created her own environment and gradually let others in, her 8th studio album Imaginations sees Nilsson directly engaging with her surroundings, engendering change and allowing love in.

                                Molly has built an almost 10 year career on perfectly summing up how we feel and this is no different... W ho else could write a song about privilege (Let’s Talk About Privileges) and make a heart-r endi ng c hor us of “It ’s never being afraid of the police, it’s expecting every thank you, every please.” The artist’s vision on this album is perhaps more forceful than the emotionally fragile moments of previous album Zenith, at times exemplified on songs like Memory Foam, a bright, driving pop song that belies themes of nostalgia and the past, reminding us that Molly alone can make us feel so welcome in loneliness.

                                If there’s overt anger in songs like Money Never Sleeps, an anthem for a post-capitalist utopia if ever there was one, there’s also seams of optimism sewn into the album’s genetic code. A ny revolutionary will tell you that anger alone achieves nothing - Nilsson’s mission on Imaginations is to offer some alternatives we can hold close. Not Today Satan is a song about accepting love as the agent of change; “D on’t be sad, but do get mad at all the small men who act so tall, in the end they always fall; there ain’t no sin in giving in to love, that’s just how we’re winning the f i g h t . ”

                                TRACK LISTING

                                1.Tender Surrender
                                2.Let's Talk About Privileges
                                3.Mona-Lisa's Smile
                                4.Memory Foam
                                5.American Express
                                6.Money Never Dreams
                                7.Not Today Satan
                                8.Think Pink
                                9.Modern World
                                10.Inner Cities
                                11.Theory Of Life
                                12.After Life

                                “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.

                                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.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                The Closest We'll Ever Get To Heaven
                                Meanwhile In Berlin
                                Never O'Clock
                                Last Forever
                                Truth
                                I Hope You Sleep At Night
                                I'm Still Wearing His Jacket
                                Hello Loneliness
                                A Song They Won't Be Playing On The Radio

                                Molly Nilsson

                                Zenith - 2022 Repress

                                  A sweeping, cinematic, emotional change is in the air. Molly Nilsson’s sixth studio album Zenith begins with clear, wide eyes open to Earth as we would love it to be but seldom is. Recorded in her home of Berlin and whilst touring and, as ever, conceived, produced, written and recorded in solitude, Zenith is Nilsson’s big statement and consequently her most affecting work to date. It sees her reveling in big arrangements, sweeping synth strings, bigger choruses and emotions. Like the rest of us she looks within and to endless sunsets in wonder and puzzlement.

                                  That Molly Nilsson is a DIY cult figure is beyond question; she has always written directly and with wit straight down the line between the universal and the personal. The difference with Zenith, and you can hear it in the opening chords of opener The Only Planet, is that her scope is now much wider and her heart heavier than ever before: over a post-ecstatic dusk, Nilsson serenades the globe in a loving embrace. Following on, 1995 is, arguably, one of Nilsson’s finest songs to date. It’s one of those songs to learn the lyrics to, to listen to on repeat, a reason to wear the grooves down to the bone, it’s why pop music can be one of the greatest art forms we have. It’s an example of how, on this album, Molly draws the listener closer to her heart than ever before.

                                  There’s simply no escape from the line “The plans that you made / when you still had the time / I’ve saved all the things that you left behind but by now I guess I’d consider them all mine /Windows 95, is only a metaphor for what I feel inside / Although I’m older now / there’s still an emptiness that’s never letting go somehow.” Show-stopper Mountain Time is the soundtrack to being on the run, from societal conventions, from normative ideas of happiness, from your surroundings. It’s the intoxicating call of the renegade. That’s not to say that Nilsson’s light touch has been forsaken for grandiose statements. Bunny Club begins as a demo-sketch before breaking into a fast-paced tale of doomed romance with big rave synths and Bus 194 (All There Is) sees Molly joyride through a city on a happy hardcore bus.

                                  But it’s tracks like Tomorrow and another contender for best-ever-Molly moment, Happyness that the true scale of what she’s accomplished reveals itself. We’re locked in a spiraling orbit, strings and bass whirling, gazing at the spinning planet below us as we contemplate both the ultimate freedom in loneliness and the glimmer of hope in the Other. Can we ever be truly with someone? Are we ever truly alone? Over the 13 tracks here we get the impression that Nilsson may always be restless; like anyone else she has conflicting feelings of love and hate. It’s just not many other people can tell you exactly how you feel before you know it yourself.

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  1. The Only Planet
                                  2. 1995
                                  3. H.O.P.E.
                                  4. Mountain Time
                                  5. Bunny Club
                                  6. Intermezzo: Palimpsest Galore
                                  7. Happyness
                                  8. Lovers Are Losers
                                  9. Clearblue
                                  10. My Body
                                  11. Titanic
                                  12. Bus 194 (All There Is)
                                  13. Tomorrow 

                                  Molly Wagger

                                  Flambeaux

                                    Molly Wagger are a Scottish four piece consisting of lead singer Charlie Denholm, brother James on guitar, David Ayre on bass and Edward Hulme on guitar. The quartet write melancholy but thoughtful songs with a streak of cold Edinburgh winter running through them.

                                    The lads spent several weeks last summer holed up in Muirhead studio, in the glorious and green region of Scotland recording the album under the watchful production hands of Sam Annand (of Architeq) and Robin Sutherland. Sam’s analog desk and space echoes are deployed (as well has his mercurial skill) to full effect.

                                    Flogging Molly

                                    Alive Behind The Green Door

                                      Recorded live at Molly Malone's in 1997, "Alive Behind The Green Door" was Flogging Molly's very first recording. It documents the raw and raucous energy of their early days, and includes three Flogging Molly originals only found on this CD, early live versions of songs that are now fan favourites, and the only recorded version of "Delilah" which was a staple of the band's live show during their early years.

                                      Flogging Molly

                                      Within A Mile Of Home

                                        The worthy follow up to last year's excellent "Drunken Lullabies" effortlessly picks up their trad-Irish influenced punk baton and runs with it at exuberant velocity. Their brash Pogue tinted punk rock hoedown is usefully interspersed with the now staple heartfelt ballads, giving you just enough time to get some breath back into your burning lungs before you're cudgelled into a frenzied dancing again. Acetylene party music.

                                        Hog Molly

                                        Kung Fu Cocktail Grip

                                          Seattle legend Tad Doyle returns to the fray with new band Hog Molly. One of the leading lights of the grunge scene that threw up Nirvana, Mudhoney and many more, he is back and rocking out more than ever. Relentless, driving hooks & thick as molasses sludge grooves, produced by Jack Endino.


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