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MOLLY NILSSON

Molly Nilsson

Extreme

    “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

    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 Nilsson

      The Travels Reissue (RSD21 EDITION)

        THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2021 EXCLUSIVE AND WILL BE AVAILABLE INSTORE ON SATURDAY JUNE 12TH ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

        IF THERE ARE ANY REMAINING COPIES THEY WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT 6PM ON THE SAME DAY (SATURDAY JUNE 12TH).


        TRANSPARENT GREEN VINYL LIMITED EDITIONREPRESS OF LONG SOLD OUT EARLY ALBUM FROM MOLLY NILSSON

        Molly Nilsson

        Hey Moon

          “Hey Moon” remains one of Swedish singer Molly Nilsson’s most popular songs. Originally released on her debut album These Things Take Time, the song since took on new life being covered by other artists and Molly famously never plays it live. In act of reclamation, Molly Nilsson is releasing Hey Moon as a 7” single with all profits donated to Black Lives Matter worldwide. It comes backed with a rare early song, Silver.

          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

            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

            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

              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 . ”

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Sil says: This is perhaps the poppiest album we have had in the shop this year. Catchy and sweet yet unique and elaborate in its message. Swedish Molly Nilsson transports you back to the 80s with her synth drenched compositions. This is not polished glossy plastic mainstream pop. ‘Imaginations’ has an overall home-made feel to it, reminiscent of the cold wave genre and dark side of post punk 80s aesthetics. The melodies are smart and ingenious in places yet they manage to pull together a great result when coupled with the potent lyrics and themes covered in tracks like “Let’s Talk About Privileges”, “Not Today Satan” or “Modern World”. The main characteristic in this great LP is the balance in place between evoking an array of emotions whilst sounding carefully detached from it all. As a whole this is an album where intensely personal music and universally understood pop converge successfully. A future classic indeed.

                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


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