Independent Record Label | Est. 2009
Wilmington, North Carolina



Sunday, January 16, 2022

Citified reemerges with “Lie Like a Painter”

[Repost from YES! Weekly; by Katei Cranford, Jan 5, 2022]

As a new year dawns, reemergence hangs in the air. And after a decade of slumber, Greensboro dream-pop group, Citified, has reemerged with a new album, “Lie Like a Painter,” out now on Fort Lowell Records.

The essence of Citified resides in the recording projects of Chris Jackson, who embarked on the endeavor in the mid-’00s as a means to funnel songs that didn’t fit the mold of his alt-rock outfit, Lookwell. A self-admitted “sucker for delay and reverb,” Jackson began his pursuit toward more sonic texture with a drum machine off eBay, an Alesis HR-16, which, as he noted, is “still in use to this day.”

Taking the name from his song, “Going Places,” Citified ultimately filled out into four-piece and back again, with the new album presenting “a collection of songs that have lain fallow for some time.” As the years have melted, these songs “breathe new life into a discography already on solid footing.”

Pulling from a foundation of influences including Echo And The Bunnymen, Let’s Active, R.E.M’s “Murmur,” “The Soft Bulletin” from The Flaming Lips, and even the old Greensboro band Slowchange Madagascar, the album’s eight-tracks ring of winter. Tinny, cold, and blustering — the echoey-fog of Casio keyboards glisten like frost on a windowpane. Underwater vocals and driving drums give the feel of thunder passing, a concept illustrated by the cover, a photo Jackson took in the Tanger Outlet Center parking lot while “waiting for a storm to blow over.”

It’s a notion carried into the material, notably so in the second single, “Sleep Sound,” which as Jackson explained, “is about putting our beloved orange tabby cat, Benny, down. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album, but I still have a hard time listening to it.”

Spanning years of songwriting, the first single, “Must Forget,” lingers from what Jackson calls his “Lookwell” era. As Citified enters a new era for itself, he recalled the origins (heavily guided by Guided By Voices) at Duck Kee Studio in Mebane. “I had a handful of songs we weren’t playing in Lookwell and took them to Jerry Kee,” he said, dropping Kee’s work with Polvo, Superchunk, and the Strugglers.

Initially, a solo-endeavor, as Citified solidified, Jackson needed a band to push the songs. “In order to promote the self-titled album, a group was formed with Franklin Kane on bass, Eric Ussery on drums, and Diego Diaz on guitar,” he explained. “Over the next several years we toured up and down the east coast and recorded two additional albums ‘The Meeting After The Meeting’ (2008) and ‘Absence’ (2009).”

Notions of reemergence abound, with Citified having hosted their previous album release for “Absence” at the old Flat Iron in 2009. “It’s a favorite venue,” Jackson admitted, “but I’ve yet to see a show in the newly renovated space.”

Regarding the new record, “Like Like a Painter,” was recorded at OPOTW, the space of which has reemerged with a new group as etc. “It took shape similar to the first Citified release,” he explained of the album. “I brought a batch of demos to Randy Seals at the now-defunct On Pop Of The World Studios in Greensboro, with the end result being a combination of new recordings and existing demos.” Seals pulled “double-duty” on drums; meanwhile, Jackson tapped Lookwell bassist, Jason Kennedy, for his assistance in that sonic arena.

Jackson eventually shared the finished product with Kim Ware of Eskimo Kiss Records. “Kim was always very supportive,” he said of Ware, who founded the late-90s Wilmington label (which housed catalogs for both Lookwell and Citified).

Eskimo Kisses folded around 2010; but Citified retained their coastal connection, joining the Wilmington-based Fort Lowell Records label for the new release. The process of which Fort Lowell head, James Tritten (a former member of the Eskimo Kiss fold) defines as something of a family affair.

“Fort Lowell Records had recently released ‘capital R’ for Kim’s band, the Good Graces,” Tritten explained. “My own band, Audio Explorations, along with my wife, Tracy Shedd (Teen-Beat), were both on Eskimo Kiss Records, and Kim knew that Tracy and I were huge fans of all things Chris Jackson.” Recalling “literally taking every Citified album with us on every Tracy Shedd tour we ever took,” Tritten considers Citified, “absolutely essential listening for the long drives.”

In 2021, Ware reached out to Fort Lowell with the new tracks, “and the rest is history,” Tritten said. “It’s easily been one of our favorite projects to work on. And such an honor to have Citified as part of the Fort Lowell Records family.”

With the new record and a new label, Jackson is content with a simple release, for now. “No shows are currently scheduled,” he said, “but we’ll see what the new year brings.”

“Lie Like a Painter” is out now on Fort Lowell Records

Friday, December 24, 2021

Happy Releasiversary to Moyamoya 'Hawn'!

Released as a Digital LP three years ago on this very day, Christmas Eve! Today we are excited to announce that Moyamoya's stellar sophomore album Hawn will be pressed on 140-gram 12inch vinyl record, and should be available by late spring / early summer 2022! We can't wait to drop the needle on this one! 💯 For fans of Explorations In The Sky, Maserati, The Mercury's Program, Mogwai, Mono, This Will Destroy You. 🔥LISTEN NOW:

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Happy Birthday, Fort Lowell Records

On this day (December 21), twelve years ago (2009), our record label was born out of the love and admiration for artists within our community. It all started from a conversation with Zach Toporek from Young Mothers allowing us to release their latest recordings, aided by the sale of our yellow 1976 CJ5 Jeep (AKA: Rock Crawler, with 35" tires and a 4" lift kit; damn I miss her) to help fund the first few records.  Thank you, everyone, for the continuous support. 2022 is going to be an amazing year for Fort Lowell Records, so stay tuned for new music coming your way soon. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Soda Sun, live at 191 Toole, Tucson AZ [December 10, 2021]

Soda Sun; photograph by Andrew Gardner

Friday, December 10, 2021

OUT NOW: Citified 'Lie Like a Painter' [Digital LP]

Available on all digital music platforms!
Receive an alternate version of "Sleep Sound" as a bonus track when you order Citified's Lie Like a Painter from Bandcamp!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Welcome, Desario!

Along with a great line up of new music from bands like KITIMOTO, Lauds, MindsOne, and James Sardone (Brickbat, Loose Jets) that we will be bringing you in the new year, Fort Lowell Records is very excited to share with you that we will also be releasing a brand new album from Darla Records' recording artist -- Desario -- titled Signal and Noise. This west coast quartet from Sacramento, California has shared the stage with artists such as Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Echo & The Bunnymen, The Charlatans UK, and Foals. Desario's new album is chock-full-o delicious melodies and infectious grooves, and we can't wait to share it with you. But until then, check out some of Desario's previous albums. For fans of The Cure, Citified, The Horrors, Lauds, Lush, New Order, The Ocean Blue.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Premiere of Citified "Sleep Sound"

[Repost from Blood Makes Noise; by Joe Pugsley, November 29, 2021]

North Carolina's Citified is back with "Sleep Sound", their new single from their upcoming record Lie Like a Painter via Fort Lowell Records due out December 10th. BMN is stoked to host the premiere, which is consistent with their brand of an indie rock/dream pop blend. Guitars and all instrumentation is well placed and complementary as you'd expect. Chill vibes and dreaminess throughout, Citified has not strayed much from their signature sound, but they have clearly matured and you can hear the experimentation and newfound maturity in these new singles.

Citified share some insight into the upcoming record including the first two singles "Must Forget" (premiered by Big Takeover 11/18) and "Sleep Sound" - "Idle time notwithstanding, the eight tunes breathe new life into a discography already on solid footing, led by two singles, “Must Forget” and “Sleep Sound.” The latter draws on the experience of putting a beloved cat down and is haunted throughout by an echo-y Casio keyboard response in the chorus that seems stuck in a fog. It is a small thing, but typical of the elements tucked away ready to reward careful listening in each of the eight songs that mark Citified’s 2021 re-emergence."

Support via links below and keep your eye out for the new full length 12/10.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

KITIMOTO, your next favorite band!

Fort Lowell Records is very excited to announce that we will be releasing the debut record from Phoenix, Arizona indie rockers KITIMOTO, titled Vintage Smell.  The album will be available this coming Summer 2022.  For now, check out the song "Time Saved" from Vintage Smell on KITIMOTO's Bandcamp page, as well as all digital platforms.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2021

‘An eggnog’s-a-flowin’ party:’ Justin Lacy, Tracy Shedd among 12 musicians to play Bourgie Nights’ annual Christmas show

[Repost from Port City Daily; by Shea Carver, December 1, 2021]

WILMINGTON – When ILM Unplugged started a decade ago at Bourgie Nights, it welcomed numerous local musicians and singer-songwriters each month to take the mic and test-drive their original tunes in front of an audience. Then, each December, the unplugged series got the tinsel treatment. Performers would sing their fave holiday carols and one original song, while spiked eggnog and general camaraderie fueled the most celebratory concert of the season. 

“I consider this the ‘Office Holiday Party’ for singer/songwriters in the area,” Bourgie Nights manager Sean Thomas Gerard said.

After a Covid-19 hiatus, Christmas Unplugged returns. The tradition takes place Friday night, featuring 12 local musicians, each performing two holiday songs and one original tune as part of their set.

“I leave the holiday aspect of the show open to interpretation,” Gerard said. “Singers are allowed to play anything that reminds them of the holidays, and obviously it is open to the celebration of all faiths.” 

A local musician and founder of rock outfit Onward, Soldiers, Gerard said he went back to a group chat he started in 2019 to cull this year’s holiday lineup. He reached out to performers who take the stage annually, including Justin Lacy, Tres Altman, and Jason Andre. Gerard also folded in newer faces to the lineup. 

It will be Tracy Shedd’s first time joining the shindig. Though Shedd moved to Wilmington a few short years ago, she has had ties to the area since the ‘90s, as her songs were featured on “One Tree Hill” and “Dawson’s Creek,” both filmed locally. 

She and her husband, James Tritten, have recorded with local artists as well on their label, Fort Lowell Records, which started in 2009 in their then-hometown of Tucson, Arizona. The couple now lives in downtown Wilmington.

Shedd has chosen to play the holiday song “I’d Like You for Christmas” by Julie London, of whom she has been a lifelong fan. She also will pay homage to her favorite decade of sounds in “Just Like Christmas” by Low.

“James and I both adore the band,” Shedd said. “They are the definition of ‘90s music for us, and we were very fortunate to perform with them in the late ‘90s when we lived in Boston, MA.”

Joining the alt-rock musician onstage will be James Sardone (Brickbat) and Brian Weeks (De La Noche, Summer Set), who will back her as well during her original song “Holding Space.” Shedd recorded it for the “GROW” compilation released by Fort Lowell in 2020, as a fundraiser and awareness campaign for Black Lives Matter.

“The lyrics mean a lot to me,” Shedd said. “It’s about being present, listening, and holding space for others.”

The song felt apropos for the return of Bourgie’s holiday concert. The last Christmas Unplugged was held December 13, 2019 and the downtown’s venue final show took place held Feb. 28, 2019 before the Covid-19 shutdown. 

“Our first show back was August 1, 2021,” Gerard confirmed.

For artists, performing live music throughout the health crisis was heavily altered. Many deferred to livestreams and other creative ways to reach audiences. Gerard utilized his downtime to create the LP “Finally Found a Paradise” in his home studio. He will perform the song “Sail off in the Sunset” at Christmas Unplugged, as well as “The Christmas Song” and “Have Yourself A Merry Christmas.”

“As musicians, it’s always hard to catch each other playing live throughout the year,” Gerard said. “We’re always gigging or working, and rarely find the time to see our peers play. This is the one gig each year where a lot of us are in one room and can experience a show together.”

Justin Lacy has been a part of every Bourgie holiday soiree since its inception. Last year, upon the concert’s cancelation, he turned his attention to creating a lo-fi Covid Christmas album, “The Clampamp Parade,” with his favorite local indie bands all recording a track from home. 2021’s return to the stage is a touch more special, as there is a greater need to embrace a face-to-face reunion among colleagues.

“This is my very first time performing my songs in public since the pandemic,” Lacy said. “In fact, the last time I performed was the 2019 holiday showcase at Bourgie. I miss it, and I’m looking forward to getting back up there.”

Having to play only three songs instead of a full set, Lacy said, presented a feasible way to ease back into the swing of things. He also called it the most “heart-warming show of the year,” filled with vibrancy and palpable support. 

“It’s kinda like all the musician egos are (somewhat) stripped away, and everyone opens up for this playful, holly jolly, sometimes corny extravaganza,” he said. “Or maybe it’s just the eggnog.”

First performed over a decade ago at the Soapbox, Lacy’s holiday standard, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” has become an expected treat any time he takes a stage in December. “I am obligated to perform it every single year. Some kind of Faustian bargain with the late Dr. Seuss, I think,” he said. 

Lacy also recorded an original holiday tune in 2017, “Christmas on TV,” which he looks forward to dusting off the jingle bells for, even if it means he has to relearn it each holiday season. “Every year I’m like, ‘What the hell are these chords again and how did I come up with this?’” he quipped. 

The musician will debut a new track, “Honest Honey,” to appear on his solo album, slated for release in 2022. Lacy also just released the 11-track LP  “Hands” with his band Library Baby a few weeks ago; however, come Friday he only will perform solo — well, until he manages to pull friends onstage to join him, something he said he does every holiday showcase.

“[I’m] usually trying to incorporate some kind of odd Christmastime instrumentation,” he said. “This year it’s handbells.” 

The sounds reverberating throughout the venue usually culminate in a community singalong of some sort, though Gerard won’t “confirm or deny” such is the case for 2021.

“[B]ecause it’s the holidays, there is a whole lot of cheer going around,” Lacy promised. “Of all the shows I play and work every year, this one is the most fun to be part of. … The first year I attended, I prepared a solo set and some Christmas banter. When I got there, it was clear … it was more of an eggnog’s-a-flowin’ party atmosphere, not an audience sitting down ready for a story. So now I bring the Christmas party.”

Doors to Bourgie Nights (127 Princess St.) open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3. The concert is also a Toys for Tots fundraiser, with a $10 suggested donation or an unwrapped, new toy. Christmas Unplugged, presented in collaboration with Modern Legend, will feature performances by: Justin Lacy, Mike Blair, Tracy Shedd, Kicking Bird, Julia Rothenberger, Sean Thomas Gerard, Billy Heathen, Travis Shallow, Mark Jackson, Tres Altman, Kyle Lindley, and Jason Andre.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Modern Legend & Bourgie Nights presents 'Christmas Unplugged'

Fort Lowell Records is proud to share with you that Sean Thomas Gerard, Kicking Bird, and Tracy Shedd, along with many other fantastic local Wilmington, North Carolina based musicians, will be performing live in concert this coming Friday, December 3rd at Bourgie Nights for the annual Christmas Unplugged: A Holiday Songwriters Showcase event -- which is ultimately a fundraiser for Toys For Tots.  Each artist will perform two holiday tunes and one original song, all acoustic. $10 donation for entry, or simply bring a 'toy' to donate to Toys For Tots.  See y'all at the show!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

OUT NOW: Citified "Sleep Sound" [Digital Single]

The second single "Sleep Sound" from Greensboro NC's dream pop legends Citified's third album and Fort Lowell Records debut, Lie Like a Painter, is out now on all digital music platforms.  Pre-order Citified's full album, Lie Like a Painter, today and receive "Sleep Sound", plus their first single "Must Forget", as a download right away.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Premiere: Lauds "Are You There All Alone"

[Repost from Fuzzy Logic; by Megan Petty, November 22, 2021]

It's not often in the music world that one gets the chance to share something that's essentially hot off the press, but that's exactly what I have the pleasure of doing with you right here and now.

Wilmington's very own Lauds wrapped up the recording of this, their dreamy new single "Are You There All Alone," just last week, and it's available for your listening pleasure today. I should warn you, though: this isn't the kind of song you'll just be able to listen to once and walk away from.

Instantly, and I do mean instantly, addictive, the song has an incandescent, almost gossamer-gentle glimmer, a sun-dappled seabreeze swirling around McKay Glasgow's wispy, honey-dripping vocals, and sugar-spun guitar that wouldn't sound at all out of place on a Beach Fossils record, all of which strongly hints at the band's affinity for '90s British music. For those with a taste for that era (such as your humble blogstress), there's a whole lot to love about "Are You There All Alone." As the song opens up, it reveals a sweetly nostalgic slant, something that recalls the retrospective magic of a time before pandemics and mandates and bitter division about vaccination and doing the right thing. Modern context puts Lauds in great sonic company, too, with DIIV and Wild Nothing soon coming to mind.

It's a mighty fine effort for a band that's relatively new, Lauds having come together in 2019. "Are You There All Alone" comes on the heels of the band's fantastic self-titled, four song debut EP, out now on Fort Lowell Records. This is the the kind of song that's playlist catnip for sure, but not only that, it serves as a tantalizing glimpse at what might be coming next from Lauds, sort of like the musical equivalent of showing some ankle in Victorian times. Ultimately, no matter how many times you listen to "Are You There All Alone," you'll be left wanting more. The only answer is to keep listening.

I strongly suggest you keep an eye on Lauds. North Carolinians can also see the band up close and personal on November 28, at Chapel Hill's Local 506 (buy tix here).

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a song to keep listening to. Incessantly.


Lauds - "Are You There All Alone"

Personnel: Glasgow McKay (lead vocals, guitar), J. Holt Evans III (vocals, keyboards), Ross Page (drums), Gavin Campbell (bass)

Bio: Lauds are a band from Wilmington, NC that was formed in the spring of 2019 by songwriters McKay Glasgow and J. Holt Evans III. Bonding over their love of Slowdive and Neil Young, the band plays in the style of the former while channeling some of latter’s more untamed guitarscapes. They are part of the dream pop-shoegaze-post-punk continuum, but carry an unpredictable edge. Other influences include acts on Creation Records and Captured Tracks, as well as British alt rock legends like Ride, Chapterhouse, and The Cure. 

Glasgow and Evans were both craving an outlet to make guitar-oriented rock music, and Lauds is the result. Glasgow is also a member of Tumbleweed, a folk-rock group, but had songwriting ideas that didn’t fit within their confines. Teaming up with Evans, who has spent a lot of his free time in recent years recording reverbed-out bedroom pop songs, the two founded Lauds as a project to unleash their Jazzmaster ambitions. Eventually, lifelong friend Rett Nabell and younger brother Boyce S. Evans joined them on bass and drums respectively, rounding out the four-piece. In recent news, B. Evans is making the switch to keyboards and third guitar; Ross Page, another prolific Wilmington songwriter (Color Temperature, Seeking Madras, also Tumbleweed) will fill his spot on drums. 

Released on: Fort Lowell Records

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Song Premiere: "Must Forget" by Citified

Chris Jackson’s musical energies found their home on Wilmington-based Eskimo Kiss Records in the mid- to late ’90s and early aughts in the group Lookwell.

The Greensboro, NC trio churned out jangly mid-tempo alt-rock that echoed at times fellow Tar Heel state act, The Connells. But Jackson also crafted slightly faster-paced and more sonically textured music that did not readily fit that mold and ultimately served as catalyst to form Citified.

Unlike Lookwell, Jackson’s Citified project was more firmly encamped in a version of dreampop that owed much to early R.E.M. and Let’s Active while also drawing inspiration from The Smiths and Ride, as well as the early catalog of UK-based label, 4AD.

What started out as Jackson with a guitar and a drum machine at Duck Kee Studios (Polvo, Superchunk) with Jerry Kee in the Triad blossomed into two full lengths (the self-titled Citified in 2005 and 2008’s The Meeting After the Meeting) and an EP (Absence in 2009) on Eskimo Kiss during the back half of the 2000s.

Now, Citified is back. Jackson returns on another Wilmington label, Fort Lowell Records, with Lie Like a Painter, a collection of songs that have lain fallow for some time.

Idle time notwithstanding, the eight tunes breathe new life into a discography already on solid footing, led by two singles, “Must Forget” and “Sleep Sound.” The latter draws on the experience of putting a beloved cat down and is haunted throughout by an echo-y Casio keyboard response in the chorus that seems stuck in a fog. It is a small thing, but typical of the elements tucked away ready to reward careful listening in each of the eight songs that mark Citified’s 2021 re-emergence.

Big Takeover is pleased to host the premiere of the other track, the early R.E.M.-like “Must Forget.”

The song is a scintillating slice of indie rock nostalgia that sparkles with brightly cycling guitar riffs, a tempered, yet kinetic drum beat, and Jackson’s glowing vocal musings that drape over the instrumentation like a warm and familiar blanket.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

OUT NOW: Lauds "Are You There All Alone" [Digital Single]

Wilmington, North Carolina's dream pop darlings -- Lauds -- are back at it again, with a brand new song for you titled "Are You There All Alone"; out now on all digital music platforms! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2021

My first and second concert ever, from thirty years ago, now on video

The year was 1991; the date, October 2nd. I was sixteen years old, and my bandmates -- Steven Haley and Frank Mazzeo -- were right about the same.  It was the first rock-n-roll band any of us had ever been in.  We were called Tumblewēd. Our first concert was held at Einstein A Go-Go in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, and thank God our friend Jamie Newell brought his VHS video camera to record the event with our friends Lazzaroni [R.I.P. Dave This]. The funny thing is, I had never seen this video until now, thirty years later, when Jamie decided to archive some of his old VHS tapes to YouTube.  Thank you again and again, Jamie, for doing this! 

Can you image doing something today for the first time ever in your live -- something that ends up shaping your very existence altogether as a person -- and then thirty years later someone shows you a video of that very moment?  It is truly a mind-blowing experience that I still can't quite wrap my head around.  The cherry on top: Jamie not only captured our first show, but also our second show which took place one month later at The House of Ill Repute [H.O.I.] on November 2, 1991 again with Lazzaroni, as well as Duel Sheep

Click the links below to watch each band's performance from both shows. Enjoy! ~ James Tritten, owner of Fort Lowell Records

October 2, 1991 - Einstein A Go-Go
November 2, 1991 - The House of Ill Repute
Tumblewēd -- [L-R] James Tritten, Steven Haley, Frank Mazzeo -- at Einstein A Go-Go
James Tritten at Einstein a Go-Go
James Tritten at The House of Ill Repute
Concert Poster

Saturday, November 20, 2021

[REVIEW] GROW: A Compilation In Solidarity With Black Lives Matter

[Repost from Daily Vault; by Tom Haugen, November 19, 2021]

The Wilmington, North Carolina imprint Fort Lowell Records assembles a very diverse cast of regional artists here, where 100% of the sales from the record are donated to the North Carolina New Hanover County NAACP.

Tracy Shedd starts the listen with the soulful and dreamy “Holding Space,” where a hypnotic quality enters the stylish delivery that's got plenty of pop spirit. The album then takes an abrupt turn onto the dance floor with the beat friendly and rhythmic “That Kind Of Love” by Life Of Saturdays, and Summer Set follows with buzzing synth and post-punk nods that flow with light melodies across “Comfortable Town.”

Nearing the end of Side A, the thumping, raw garage rock of Neon Belly's “They Boys Are Alright” brings plenty of grit to the affair, while “Come On Over” offers a gentle, nearly slo-core sort of feeling that eventually builds into a crisp indie-rocker thanks to Pinky Verde.

Kicking Bird's “What Would All The Other Girls Say (If They Knew What I Was Doing)” is both the song with the longest title and the best track present, where a charming doo-wop angle is met with a swirling indie-pop friendly execution.

The back half of the album showcases The Love Language's busy and soaring rocker “Throwing Darts,” as well as the subtle Americana of “Strange & Electrifying” by Sean Thomas Gerard. The Rosebuds turn in the best selection from the deeper cuts, where “Get Up Get Out” is part club rock, part indie rock, and is delivered with the perfect amount of power and beauty.

The impetus for this project began after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by four police officers, and the money raised will help in eradicating further racial injustices. The bands all donated their work for the occasion, and they represent obscure bands that are overlooked as well as bigger names in the world of independent rock. Regardless of popularity, though, every tune here is fantastic, and the cause is undoubtedly one of the most pressing problems we face today, which makes this an essential listen for multiple reasons.

Rating: A

Friday, November 19, 2021

OUT NOW: Citified "Must Forget" [Digital Single]

The first single "Must Forget" from Greensboro NC's dream pop legends Citified's new album and Fort Lowell Records debut, Lie Like a Painter, is out now on all digital music platforms.  Pre-order Citified's full album, Lie Like a Painter, now and receive "Must Forget" as an immediate download.

Friday, November 12, 2021

A Light in the dark: Tucson music compilation Luz de Vida II supports families of homicide victims

[Repost from Tucson Weekly; by Jeff Gardner, November 11, 2021]

Light shines through darker days,” sings Tucson band Calexico in the opening lines of the new album “Luz de Vida II,” a collection of local music to benefit those affected by violence. 

“Luz de Vida II” was released on Friday, Nov. 5, roughly 10 years after the first “Luz de Vida,” which was recorded in response to the 2011 Tucson mass shooting. Both projects were produced by Fort Lowell Records, which gathered Tucson-affiliated musicians to sing stories of hope, and donated the proceeds to charity. Sales of “Luz de Vida II” will be donated to the local nonprofit Homicide Survivors Inc., which provides support for families impacted by homicide.

“Luz de Vida II” (Spanish for “light of life”) features a variety of Tucson musicians, from the desert rock of Calexico and XIXA, to the acoustic ballads of Dr. Dog and Amos Lee, to the pop of Tracy Shedd. But whether they’re energetic or soft, all the songs are reflective and uplifting in the face of tragedy. 

James Tritten, who runs Fort Lowell Records out of Wilmington, North Carolina, says selecting musicians to perform on the album was simply a matter of contacting Tucson artists he was already acquainted with. But the idea for the album is a more complex story. 

The original installment, titled “Luz de Vida: A Compilation to Benefit the Victims of the Tucson Tragedy,” was released in 2011 and supported the Tucson Together Fund. Tritten moved to North Carolina from Tucson in 2013, and has supported independent music since. During the pandemic and protests of 2020, Fort Lowell Records released a benefit compilation of Carolina artists titled GROW. 

The Tucson Together Fund disbanded in 2013. During quarantine, Tritten spoke with a friend who introduced him to the Tucson-based Homicide Survivors Inc, and he decided to direct the funds from the first “Luz de Vida” to them. Tritten eventually spoke with representatives from Homicide Survivors and they brought up the idea of re-releasing the original album. 

“And I figured if we’re going to put forward the money to get a new vinyl pressing of the first album, why not make a whole new record?” Tritten said. “That’s kind of it, it was serendipitous in that way. Luz de Vida I inspired GROW, but then the actions of GROW enabled Luz de Vida II to happen. Out of this pandemic and the environment we were all forced into, reminded us how important it is to have networks and share ideas.” 

The only artists to appear on both “Luz de Vida” albums are Calexico and Tracy Shedd. In an interview with The Bluegrass Situation, Joey Burns of Calexico explained the band’s reasoning for participating in the benefits. 

“I’ve had friends and family members who have been directly affected by gun violence. We need to find some kind of solution to gun violence and improve the situation here in our community, Southern Arizona, and nationwide,” Burns said. “I’m friends with former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and Sen. Mark Kelly and their work on this issue has been vital, not to mention inspiring. So when I was asked to be involved with the second incarnation of Luz de Vida, it was an emphatic ‘Yes!’”

Burns explains their entry for the album, “Wash,” is inspired by the healing quality of the Sonoran Desert. This is reflected in other songs on LDV2, such as Hannah Yeun’s song “All That Matters is the Wind” and The Resonars’ song “It’s the Same.”

“As a record label, when we’re putting a compilation together that represents so much, we do try to curate a certain sound, and HSI as an organization was very respectful to that,” Tritten said. “We spoke about how it’s not a wide-open canvas, we were trying to basically make it an alternative rock compilation.”

In an interview with Guitar Girl Magazine, Yeun explained that her entry for the album takes solace in nature, that no matter how difficult things may be, listening to something as simple as the wind can remind us that all things pass.

“I wrote this song during a falling out with a few new friends I had made, a traumatic breakup with someone who was actively involved with the music scene, and the death of a few dear friends,” Yeun said. “It was my way of grieving that loss, and because I was so new in town, I tended to not go out much and isolated myself a bit to write songs. I made sure to attend the All Souls Procession (the Tucson Día de Los Muertos celebration) to write the names of those I had lost that year to be tossed into the urn that they light on fire as a way to honor the dead.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

La Cerca pays tribute to Sam Jayne of Love As Laughter in Brooklyn NY

Saturday November 13, 2021 at Union Pool is a Celebration of the Wild & Wonderful Sam Jayne from Love As Laughter at 7:00 PM EST! Video tributes, live music and Sam’s fave DJs come together celebrating the way Sam would love us to. Tigers and Monkeys will perform some of our favorite Sam Jayne songs along with members of Love As Laughter, Justice of The Unicorns, This Frontier Needs Heroes, Tigers and Monkeys The Roger Sisters, Tiffany Anders, Kim Krans, Miguel Mendez, Glick and the Migs; featuring Ivan Berko, La Cerca, Steve Miller Band Band Band and more! 

Get your tix now for this free event!

Monday, November 8, 2021

XIXA, Soda Sun, and Hannah Yeun of 'Luz de Vida II' -- Live concert videos

Thank you for everyone in Tucson, Arizona who went out to the MSA Annex to join Zia Records and support Homicide Survivors, Inc. to celebrate the record release of Luz de Vida II: A Compilation to Benefit Homicide Survivors this past Saturday, November 6, 2021.  The event was live streamed on YouTube, and the video footage has been preserved.  Click the links below now to watch the individual live performances by XIXA, Soda Sun, and Hannah Yeun:

XIXA; live at MSA Annex, Tucson AZ, November 6, 2021

Soda Sun; live at MSA Annex, Tucson AZ, November 6, 2021

Hannah Yeun; live at MSA Annex, Tucson AZ, November 6, 2021