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CONCERTS + RELEASE DATES

Monday, September 30, 2019

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Happy 10th Birthday to The Harding Street Assembly Lab Record Label

[Repost from The News & Advance; by Emma Schkloven]

[Lynchburg, Virginia] label Harding Street Assembly Lab celebrating 10 years with birthday bash



Nathan McGlothlin can tell a story about every recording his label Harding Street Assembly Lab has ever released.

He’ll happily divulge a misstep in the guitar part on the first single released by his band, or talk about the demos that were recorded before Richmond group the White Laces actually became a band.

There’s the album that led to a show on the roundabout at Fifth and Federal streets in Lynchburg, and the series of delays that caused #30 to be released at the same time as #39.

Founded by McGlothlin and his wife, Joanna, Harding Street Assembly Lab (HSAL) — which celebrates its 10th anniversary and 50th catalog entry with a festival this Saturday — has been giving a voice to Virginia music for an entire decade.

“He’s trying to help support a creative ecosystem that rewards experimentation and that rewards a kind of independent thinking and a kind of independent expression,” says California-based producer Chris Schlarb, who has worked with HSAL on several records.

“It’s a total labor of love. We need things like Harding Street, just like we need people like Nathan out there who are supporting the fringes of the creative world.”



Like most labels, Harding Street doesn’t produce a band’s music or design its album cover. Instead, it connects artists with the right people to help in every step of the record-making process, from crafting the songs to mixing the tracks to making the vinyl it will be cut on.

“We know somebody that does all of the parts to putting a record out,” McGlothlin says. “We can connect you, who don’t know those people, with those people. I think the magical part of what Harding Street does is we do all those things in the name of support.”

Visions of the Lynchburg label began in 2009 when McGlothlin received a call from a fellow musician in Richmond asking if he wanted to help produce a record.

While the other investors eventually backed away from the project, McGlothlin and Joanna decided to move forward. But they decided to do it their own way.

It wasn’t about making money for the couple but about helping artists share their music.

“Harding Street offered me this blank canvas to make whatever I wanted to make,” says former Lynchburg artist Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, who saw his popularity spread beyond the Hill City music scene after competing on “American Idol” last season.



“... They just support you as an artist, and let you do whatever you feel led to do creatively. That is incredibly affirming, and liberating, as an artist. I totally feel like I was able to utilize that opportunity to find my own voice musically. And that process continued after I moved.”

Harding Street’s philosophy wasn’t the only thing that set it apart.

Often, labels focus either on a specific style of sound or genre, or they focus on a geographic area, McGlothlin says. But HSAL doesn’t quite fall into either category.

Yes, there is a Virginia component — after all, the label’s slogan is “doing right by Virginia since 2009” — but there’s just as much focus on highlighting the sounds of the region.

“The way we’ve kind of pitched it is what are the sounds that are either coming out of South Central Virginia or what are the sounds that come through South Central Virginia?” McGlothlin says.

While catalog entry #34 is from Raleigh’s Band & The Beat, the act has played in Virginia several times, so they fit the bill.



Steve Scott (HSAL #38), a British poet McGlothlin adores, lives in Northern California, but he records in an ambient style, and Lynchburg has a big ambient music scene.

“You don’t necessarily always know what you’re going to get when you go into Harding Street[’s catalog],” says Richmond musician Landis Wine, whose bands White Laces and Opin have released music through the label. “There’s always new stuff to explore.”



In the early days of the the label, McGlothlin worked with bands he knew from touring with his band, TLVS, and interesting acts he’d found on Bandcamp.

McGlothlin wasn’t just taking a group’s music and putting it out there, Landis says. He was nurturing these fledgling bands, helping them find their voice and sound in a vast, sometimes intimidating, musical landscape.

“Harding Street has helped us grow in so many ways,” says Melody Ouellette, of the Lynchburg indie rock band L.A. Dies. “We have learned how powerful and useful collaboration can be when making music. They’ve pushed us to do things outside of our comfort zone, leading us to try new things musically we probably wouldn’t have thought of.”

Every HSAL release has been fronted with the McGlothins’ own money, something that can be very validating for a young band.

“Quite often, those little acts — those small decisions to help press up some CDs and help get a little bit of extra attention— those are the things that encourage artists to keep going,” says Schlarb, the California producer.

To cut down on expenses, early releases often involved some DIY aspect. McGothlin played as a studio musician on some of the albums. He and his wife would screen-print album jackets, print inserts at Kinko’s and assemble the components themselves.

One time, McGlothlin got a good deal on a large batch of vinyl, so a record ended up being printed in various colors.

Things changed at the end of 2017 with the release of Harmon’s self-titled EP.



“At that point, it had all been about Virginia,” McGlothlin says. “We really wanted to buy back into Lynchburg. Like, there’s a lot of cool stuff that’s starting to happen in Lynchburg, and we want to document that.”

Schlarb flew in to Lynchburg and recorded the album with Harmon over two weeks. He then returned to the West Coast, where he brought in studio musicians to fill out the sound.

“The album sounded so professional we didn’t want to DIY it,” says McGlothlin. “We wanted to do it as legit as we could.”

Harmon’s EP became HSAL’s first release without any DIY components. From there, they never looked back.

Removing themselves from the physical making of the album not only reduced stress for the McGlothlins, it also changed the perception of the label.



“Suddenly, there was a lot more interest in somebody being on Harding Street,” McGlothlin says. “Like we started getting demos, we started getting emails.”

Bands would show up with fully-recorded albums or ideas for artwork. All HSAL had to do was manufacture the product.

“Now, when people come to Harding Street, there’s a certain expectation,” he says. “You’ve got to come with some of those things already dreamed up.”

HSAL’s lineup of Lynchburg-connected artists has continued expanding and now includes current local acts Good Dog Nigel and L.A. Dies.

There’s also artists like Harmon and Nathaniel Roots, known by his stage name KillGXXD, who no longer live in the Hill City but still work with the label, and Wine’s current band Opin, which is based in Richmond.

“We did a really cool compilation — it’s #44,” McGlothlin says. “What we did is we took five Lynchburg bands, like current Lynchburg bands, and we said ‘We will pay for your studio time if you go to the studio and live track a new song and a cover song that we pick.’ They all did, and the cover songs were all old Lynchburg bands, like the old Lynchburg guard.”



Even when bands leave Harding Street for larger labels, McGlothlin continues to support them, says Wine.

“Appreciation isn’t attached to what you are necessarily going to do for them; it’s not transaction-based,” he says. “... When you’re hopping around between labels, sometimes things get a little bit weird, but Nathan’s always been very supportive, very consistent. He’s always wanted to see whatever the artist wants, whatever their vision is, to come to fruition.”

While bands now reach out to them, McGlothlin says he still likes to search on Bandcamp — or, as he calls it, window shop — for exciting talent.

“You know [how] most old guys sit on their back porch with their cup of coffee and they do the New York Times crossword?” he asks. “I’m searching the internet for bands.”

Harding Street, which McGlothlin estimates has put up tens of thousands of dollars, has in no way broken even, but that isn’t the marker of success in his mind.

The ultimate achievement, he says, is that he’s helped create a brand new piece of art that can now be shared and enjoyed.

“To date, we’ve made over 50 things happen, that weren’t there before. We’ve helped almost two dozen artists release things,” McGlothlin says. “It’s not world-changing, but it does change their world.”

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Friday, September 20, 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

This may very well be our favorite Tracy Shedd album review ever

[Repost from The Vinyl District; by Joseph Neff]

Tracy Shedd, The Carolinas (Science Project) I first heard Shedd as one of the later offerings from Mark Robinson’s Teen-Beat label; starting in ’01, she’s on four consecutive annual Teen-Beat samplers. While her entries always sounded fine to me, I never grabbed one of her full-length works, of which she now has six, and based on the sustained quality of The Carolinas, I feel like a total fucking dunce for the procrastination. Shedd’s bedrock is guitar-based indie pop, but she infuses it with elements of electronica that succeeds partly because the tech is applied to varying degrees (a sorta “as needed” scenario) and because her stuff never settles into standard synth-pop. If you dig Bridget Cross’ work and/ or would’ve liked to have heard Mark Robinson produce an LP for Lois Maffeo, check this out. A-

2001 Teen-Beat Sampler - Tracy Shedd "Circles"


2002 Teen-Beat Sampler - Tracy Shedd "Faint Pale Smiles"


2003 Teen-Beat Sampler - Tracy Shedd "Rise"


2004 Teen-Beat Sampler - Tracy Shedd "Living in an Abandoned Firehouse With You" (by The Magnetic Fields)


Tracy Shedd The Carolinas (September 20, 2019 - Science Project Records)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tracy Shedd talks with Wilmington, North Carolina's StarNews about her new album

[Repost from StarNews; by Brian Tucker]

Moving to Wilmington helped indie rocker Tracy Shedd finish sunny new album

‘The Carolinas’ comes out on Friday, Sept. 20, the same day Shedd plays a downtown gig at Bourgie Nights with De La Noche.
For her new album “The Carolinas,” Tracy Shedd wanted to make an upbeat record.
The Wilmington indie rocker’s latest effort — it comes out Sept. 20 on Fort Lowell Records (digital) and Science Project Records (vinyl) — certainly qualifies, its sound far removed from the stripped down, acoustic material of 2013 record “Arizona.” On Friday, Shedd plays an album release show at Bourgie Nights in downtown Wilmington with electronic soul and rock band De La Noche.
“The Carolinas” was written when Shedd and husband/bandmate James Tritten lived in Raleigh, where they moved after eight years in Tucson, Arizona. A few months before Hurricane Florence they moved to Wilmington. The storm mattered little, endearing Shedd to the area even more and helping her finish a record that had lain dormant for two years.
“It’s a long time to sit on a record. It’s not normal for me. Unfortunately, we had deaths in our family and needed time to heal,” Shedd said. “I wanted to make sure the album was still what I envisioned. I wasn’t there yet. I think Wilmington helped me with that. It cheered us up, and we made great friends. I felt like I could finish.”
Shedd’s sunny vocals were recorded in Wilmington, and Tritten mixed the synth-heavy album. “Santa Fe” echoes Tucson with a Western feel that meets dance-floor energy. Building like daybreak, “Free Love” is like a song in a Sofia Coppola movie. “Kissing and Romancing” is Beach Boys as gnarly garage rock. (“The washed out, distorted sound was on purpose,” Shedd said. “We wanted a loud, noisy song.”) “Letters” is spare, a song Shedd said is “about having people you love in your life. They’re important to you, and you should share it with them.”
One reviewer smartly described “Arizona” as a candle flame of a record, an intimate, bright light in a dark room. “The Carolinas” is very different, a candy-colored daydream that reflects her move East.
As a child, Shedd wanted to be a classical pianist. After her parent’s divorce, Shedd lived with her father and the grand piano stayed with Mom.
“I think by default I picked up the guitar because that was easier to transport and play,” she said. “I (had) keyboards but it was easier for me to write on guitar. I think that’s changing the older I get. It’s easier to write on the piano. I’m more open minded to play around a bit. That was ‘The Carolinas.’ I was open to no guitar on (songs). Let’s play all synth on this.”

Everybody's talking about Tracy Shedd's new album 'The Carolinas'

Tracy Shedd's latest full length record The Carolinas is coming out this week - Friday, September 20 - on Science Project Records (vinyl) and Fort Lowell Records (digital).  Here are the latest record reviews, from Here Comes the Flood and Power of Pop:

[Repost from Here Comes the Flood; by Hans Werksman]

Tracy Shedd returns to electric, eclectic indie rock with her new album The Carolinas. The first lines is of the opening track pretty much sums about what's top come on this concept album of moving to North Carolina with her husband James Tritten: If there's an easy way, no we won't take it. If there's an easy day, no we won't waste it".

The influence of the music of the couple's side-project Band & The Beat comes to the fore in the Free Love, with it's Eighties-inspired synth rhythm. Her love for garage rock gets a nod with songs like Kissing and Romancing and Good Times. Shedd is obviously quite happy in her new abode and her relationship is doing great as well (Letters). Few albums can earn the badge "all killer, no filler", but The Carolinas has every right to wear it proudly.

The Carolinas will be released on September 20 via Science Project Records (vinyl) and Fort Lowell Records (digital).

Tracks:
1) Catching the Breeze
2) Holding On
3) Free Love
4) Tinder Heart
5) Letters
6) Kissing and Romancing
7) The Rest Will Follow
8) Santa Fe
9) Good Times
10) 4:00 AM

---

[Repost from Power of Pop; by Kevin Mathews]

The rest will follow...

There’s a calm assurance in Tracy Shedd‘s music making – a succinct understanding of where (and when) the foundation comes from with enough building blocks taken from personal experience and idiosyncratic nuances.

On her latest album (#6), The Carolinas, Shedd borrows liberally from 80s pop sources – specifically indie pop and synth pop – certainly a fecund period of pop-rock history, for sure.

A song like “Holding On” evokes New Order very strongly but features enough of Shedd’s own alternative rock sensibility to escape being labeled as simply derivative.

“Kissing and Romancing” is a straight-forward lo-fi indie popper with enough alt-rock energy to keep things this side of intriguing, whereas “Good Times” comes across with crystal clear melodies and chord changes that verges on power pop, but not quite, if you know what I mean.

Overall, there is a suitable minimalist approach that serves the dynamic songs very well. This allows Shedd’s personality to shine through without too much complication in terms of arrangements/instrumentation.

Opening track, “Catching the Breeze” is the current single and it is aptly titled, with a casual simplicity and tuneful engagement that begs repeated listens. The track is a fair encapsulation of what The Carolinas is all about. Shedd is content to make her music count for herself, without too much decoration but with enough conviction in the details to reward the dedicated listener.

Check out the video for “Catching the Breeze” below.

The Carolinas will be released on Friday, September 20th, 2019 on Science Project Records (vinyl) and Fort Lowell Records (digital)

… still there’s more …


Sunday, September 15, 2019

New music video for "Catching the Breeze" by Tracy Shedd

Tracy Shedd is about to release her sixth studio album, titled The Carolinas, this coming Friday, September 20th with yours truly (Fort Lowell Records), as well as Science Project Records To help celebrate, Shedd just dropped a brand new music video on us this weekend for the opening track from the record, "Catching the Breeze."  This makes the third music video that Shedd has teased us with for The Carolinas in the past month!  Be sure to order The Carolinas today!

WATCH NOW:

Monday, September 2, 2019

Happy Labor Day

Making albums, let alone music in general, is truly a labor of love. To celebrate this Labor Day, we've got the latest album on vinyl from one of our favorite songwriters in Tucson, Arizona - Andrew Gardner - and his band - La Cerca - on deck, whose 2018 record - Night Bloom - was release by Xemu RecordsCheck it out here for yourself here!  'Next up' on the playlist is definitely going to be La Cerca's 2014 Fort Lowell Records release - Sunrise For Everyone.