North Carolina based Schoolkids Records re-launches in-house label

North Carolina based Schoolkids Records re-launches in-house label

Signs Chapel Hill, NC four-piece Happy Abandon!

Opens new European office in Dublin, Ireland

Happy Abandon performs at Kings: Raleigh, NC on Saturday Jan 28th

New Happy Abandon album to be released on Schoolkids Records (label) in August 2017 

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA / DUBLIN, IRELAND — January 24, 2017 — North Carolina based indie retail store, Schoolkids Records announced today the re-launching of its own in-house label.  Formerly known as Second Motion Records, the label will now release albums under the same name and share the legendary iconic fish logo. 

Second Motion Records (now known as Schoolkids Records - the label) was founded in May 2008 by Stephen Judge in Chapel Hill, NC.  Since then the label has released over 30 albums by artists such as: Tommy Keene, Bettie Serveert, The Parson Red Heads, Marty Willson-Piper, Adam Franklin & Swervedriver, Gemma Hayes, Brian Vander Ark and many others.  The label is distributed by Redeye Worldwide.  In addition, Second Motion has also previously served as a management & administrative company and worked with such artists as: Athenaeum (Atlantic Records), The Walls (Ireland), New Model Army, Daniel Lanois and Emm Gryner.  Second Motion also owns the music publication, Blurt Magazine and Blurt Online.  Schoolkids has seen unprecedented growth in a time of turmoil in the industry, and now has three stores in the North Carolina Triangle region. (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill).  Schoolkids also is announcing the opening a new European office in Dublin, Ireland since Judge lives there half the year with his wife and her son, who are Irish. It’s a dream come true for Judge who explained “I have always dreamed of having a business home both in Ireland and the United States, this is the culmination of all of my work coming full circle.”  

When asked about the name change from Second Motion to Schoolkids Records, Judge explained: “from day one, I have always wanted to have a company that reflects three aspects of the business that I love.  Which is Retail, Artist Management and also a Record Label.  I started the Management and Label under the name “Second Motion” as a play on words towards my surname ‘I second that motion’ and always intended to expand into having a brick & mortar retail store.  At that time in 2008, I never imagined that I would have the chance to own my childhood neighborhood store, Schoolkids Records and was honored at the opportunity” (Judge bought Schoolkids in 2012). 

He continued: “The timing was unique and ironically, it also played into my long-term business plan, but I never intended to have two different names.  Over the last 5 years I have focused mostly on the growth of the stores in my home market and involving myself into all aspects of retail to tackle the challenges stores face every single day, worldwide.  Honestly, this is me just setting the landscape right by putting a clear connection between the two entities and getting back to what my initial business plan has been all along.  ‘Schoolkids Records’ is obviously a stronger brand (since it has been around for 43 years) and also the fish logo is very popular, which is sentimental to me personally, as it was designed by my former boss, the late-John Hornaday, who believed in me and hired me at the store in 1990 while I was a student at NC State University.  That is what started my career in a way and I am forever grateful for his loyalty and mentorship.  He passed away in 2011 just months prior to me purchasing Schoolkids.  I know he would be proud of me and what I have accomplished so this is also a sentiment in his honor.”

When asked about the future of Blurt Magazine & Online he continued “I have also always seen media as part of the overall picture as well and always looked at Blurt in the same light that Tower Records had Pulse Magazine.  In the next year, we are going to work on making those two names synonymous with each other as well.

    The first new signing to the label will be Chapel Hill, NC’s Happy Abandon

This eclectic four-piece consists of Peter Vance (Vocals, Guitar), Jake Waits (Drums, Percussion), Justin Ellis (Bass) and Alex Thompson (Keyboards, Programming).  In just under two years since their formation, Happy Abandon has garnered a lot of regional and national press from The Indy Weekly & Paste Magazine. Paste claimed that “the stage is set for Happy Abandon to be a ground-breaking group” 

The band is set to head into the studio next week with Producers Jamie Candiloro (REM, Ryan Adams, Willie Nelson) and Jason Merritt (Tift Merritt, Hot Hot Heat) at the helm.  A US and European tour is schedule for this summer and fall, with the album is set to be released August, 25th 2017. 

The band will be performing a celebratory show at Kings in Raleigh, NC this coming Saturday, Jan 28th with Lacy Jags and Walin Storm supporting. Doors at 8pm. Tickets are $10 advance/$12 day of and can be purchased by clicking here.

Charming and brilliant vocals are prominently displayed within the piece, with a blissful and enchanting bed of music that is layered throughout. Picking up in intensity, the song entices your ears with elements of classic Indie nostalgia, with a sugary, unique twist and Pop sensibility. Echoing harmonies are laced with a haunting string section which will make you fall in love. "If I Stare," is a breakout single for the band, as they put their name on the map as a noteworthy and unforgettable musical force. “(Louise Parker, Paste Magazine)

Sample the Happy Abandon track “If I Stare” here:



Schoolkids Records was founded in 1974 in Raleigh, NC across the street from NC State University.  With three stores located in the “Triangle” region of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Schoolkids is one of the longest running mom & pop record stores in the country. 

The store has been the destination and shopping preference for many local and national bands, many of whom either worked at the store or started selling their first albums of 7” singles at the store on consignment.  Artists to get their start selling records at Schoolkids include:  Ryan Adams & Whiskeytown, Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, Dave Matthews Band, The Avett Brothers, Sylvan Esso, Ben Folds, The Connells, Polvo, Athenaeum, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Megafaun, Lost in the Trees and many others.  The store was also one of the first retail outlets to sell No Depression Magazine and to work directly with labels such as Merge Records, Mammoth Records, Dischord Records and Yep Roc Records. 

Schoolkids is a founding member of the CIMS Coalition, the first national Coalition of Independent Music Records and has been named by both Time Magazine and The Grammys as one of the ‘top ten’ most iconic record stores in the country.  Schoolkids’ owner, Stephen Judge also serves on the National Board of Directors for Music Biz (formerly known as NARM).   

Label & Management Contact

Stephen Judge

Mary Liles




Happy Abandon: