Molly Nilsson


A dark, incense filled basement crowded with goth types dressed in black doesn’t exactly scream pop music – this is a Molly Nilsson show though. Tonight she plays to a modest Soup Kitchen crowd, although her fan base is growing; she says the last time she played in Manchester it was to nine people including herself.

First on is the Glaswegian head honcho of Night School Records, Apostille. “If you like the next half an hour, great. If not, it’s just a sound check” he jokes. His show is one half experimental noise music and one half deadpan comedy. He ends the set by coming out from behind his hardware on stage and into the crowd, phone light shining into his face, microphone tightly tethered around his neck, screaming at individual members of the crowd. It’s well worth seeing live.

In her relatively short career Molly Nilsson’s output has been frequent. Imaginations, the album she is touring tonight, is her seventh. This latest album has seen her popularity rise, and she has since come onto my radar. I confess that I don’t know much of the other material, and unfortunately the majority of tracks she plays tonight.

One thing I do know and respect is that Nilsson designs all her own artwork, produces her own tracks and is her own tour manager. She truly has perfected her own aesthetic, all the way down to the sketchbooks with her album artwork featuring on the cover available to buy at the merch stand tonight. It’s reflected in her unique live show: accompanied by only a CDJ deck which she changes the backing track on, Nilsson lays down herself and the material she has created bare.

At least in the way it sounds, the music is certainly poppier than most of what calls itself “synth-pop” currently. However, Nilsson takes herself more seriously than other contemporary artists exploring the genre now, for example the PC Music collective. One of the tracks I do recognise is ‘Let’s Talk About Privileges’, a single from Imaginations. She introduces the song by saying, “I’ve got them, you probably have too”. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to hear a pop track that so blatantly addresses an issue such as an unfair class system.

The friend I’m with tonight describes the gig as “like watching someone doing K-Pop karaoke.” Whilst I can understand where he is coming from, and am usually uninspired by artists choosing to only sing over a backing track, I think their analogy is a little unfair. If you’re into it, you’re into it, if not, you may hate it.

Molly Nilsson: Facebook | Label

James Power

When resisting the urge to put on the new Radiohead album for the one-billionth time, I try to keep my music listening as eclectic as possible.I was the clichéd skinny jeans & Strokes t-shirt clad indie kid in school clad and have never really grown out of that. Since starting university in 2012 I’ve got into lots of electronic, house, techno music and finding it very addicting. Favourites include Jon Hopkins, Todd Terje and Nicolas Jaar. Very recently I’ve been getting into old shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride & The Jesus and Mary Chain. I’ll have probably found something new by next week. Anything Thom Yorke puts his name to is one constant though.I’m a lover of CDs (probably because as a student I can’t quite afford vinyl) and my 250+ strong collection seems to be growing exponentially. If we discussed the pros and cons of physical music compared to streaming and how we consume music today, I could bore you for hours.Soup Kitchen is my spiritual home.I’ve pledged to take a review a month of an artist that I know nothing about, so sometimes I might sound like an idiot.