2016 seems to be the year I only write reviews for albums I get months in advance. The latest from Fort Frances and Christopher The Conquered were in my earholes for a long while before I actually got to write about them and it was driving me crazy. That’s why I’m telling you about Night School right now. Their record doesn’t come out on Graveface for over a month, but you can mark it in your journal or diary so you don’t forget.
If you dig stuff by Dum Dum Girls or Honeyblood, you’re gonna love Night School. Alexandra Morte (Whirr) fronts the Oakland-based trio with a Ronnie Spector-ish vulnerability that belies the heavy guitar and drums surrounding her voice. With harmonies from drummer Baylie Arin and bass by Cheyenne Avant they make an undeniably sweet sound.
The opening guitar riff on “Casanova” might be my favorite thing on Blush. It’s a very simple kind of thing, but when it’s joined by the other instruments it creates such a joyful noise. “Last Disaster” is the album’s lead single, but for my money this is the best song on the record. Morte’s lyrics show us a woman in a downward spiral: “It must be nice to hold your head so high, to see a breaking heart and not even wanna cry. It doesn’t matter anymore, I put my guts out on the floor, and for what?”
The songs fit very well into the style they’re going for with Blush. Tunes about love and heartbreak that could have easily come out in the heyday of The Shangri-La’s or The Shirelles. None encapsulates the feeling like “Teen Feelings,” a jaunty romance that finds the right balance of näiveté and sincerity. “Telling stories at my parent’s place, unintentional smile when I see your face, I wanna grab you by the hands and take away the space between your lips and mine.”
You can pre-order the record here (I got the colored vinyl) and then sit in your room and wait for June 17th to come. If you’re lucky enough to be on the west coast you may be able to see Night School perform some songs. They’re just playing a few shows during the last week of June in Portland, Seattle, LA, and Santa Cruz. Hopefully once the record is out we’ll get a national tour that will at least bring them as far east as Chicago.