Independent Record Label | Est. 2009
Wilmington, North Carolina



Sunday, August 30, 2020

We Can Make You Love This Song

Death Kit's hit single "I Can Make You Love Me" is simply perfection.  Fort Lowell Records may not have released the original version, featured in this video below, but we did have the honor of releasing video?'s remix of this same song, which was featured on the B-Side of their 7inch record for "Devadasi," also provided for your enjoyment below.

Dead Western Plains, forever!

Digging around the ol' YouTube this weekend, we stumbled on this great live video of Dead Western Plains from February 20, 2010.  We believe the venue was Plush in Tucson, Arizona, but we are not 100% sure.  The song performed is "We Are Destroyers," which was never released as a proper recording, so enjoy this concert footage instead: 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

We ❤ Ambient Music

We are very excited to share with you that Fort Lowell Records will be releasing La Cerca's next full-length recording titled A Nice Sweet Getaway; an ambient album chock full o'beautifully warm and fuzzy spacey guitars.  Ambient music in general has been a passion of ours since we were first introduced to Brian Eno's Discrete Music 30-years ago, while Andrew Gardner from La Cerca has been a favorite musician / songwriter of ours since we first learned of La Cerca in 2001.  Gardner's shimmery guitar work on A Nice Sweet Getaway is thoughtfully executed, and continues to demonstrate his skill and craftsmanship.  A Nice Sweet Getaway will be released on Friday, September 25, 2020 on all digital music download and streaming platforms. 

For now we leave you with La Cerca's album cover art and Brian Eno's definition of "Ambient Music" as featured in the liner notes of Eno's 1978 album Ambient 1 Music for Airports.

The concept of music designed specifically as a background feature in the environment was pioneered by Muzak Inc. in the fifties, and has since come to be known generically by the term Muzak. The connotations that this term carries are those particularly associated with the kind of material that Muzak Inc. produces - familiar tunes arranged and orchestrated in a lightweight and derivative manner. Understandably, this has led most discerning listeners (and most composers) to dismiss entirely the concept of environmental music as an idea worthy of attention.

Over the past three years, I have become interested in the use of music as ambience, and have come to believe that it is possible to produce material that can be used thus without being in any way compromised. To create a distinction between my own experiments in this area and the products of the various purveyors of canned music, I have begun using the term Ambient Music.

An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint. My intention is to produce original pieces ostensibly (but not exclusively) for particular times and situations with a view to building up a small but versatile catalogue of environmental music suited to a wide variety of moods and atmospheres.

Whereas the extant canned music companies proceed from the basis of regularizing environments by blanketing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncracies, Ambient Music is intended to enhance these. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty (and thus all genuine interest) from the music, Ambient Music retains these qualities. And whereas their intention is to `brighten' the environment by adding stimulus to it (thus supposedly alleviating the tedium of routine tasks and levelling out the natural ups and downs of the body rhythms) Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think.

Ambient Music must be able to accomodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.

September 1978

Thursday, August 6, 2020

MUSIC FOR THE MOVEMENT: Local bands team up to create collaborative album benefiting BLM

[REPOST from Encore; by Coral Naudet, August 5, 2020]

As with many people in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and Black Lives Matter movement, James Tritten of Fort Lowell Records wanted to get involved but didn’t know how to make a difference at first. Nevertheless, as someone with a following in the Wilmington indie-rock scene, Tritten says he realized his label is his voice; Fort Lowell gives him a platform to shed light on issues like systematic racism and inequality.

“As human beings, it is our responsibility to use [our voice] to promote equality and support the Black Lives Matter movement,” he says. “As a business, and on the most basic level, we are simply making a product available: music.”

Specifically, “GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter,” a compilation album featuring 12 local veteran and new artists, is set to hit the shelves this fall. Moreover, proceeds will benefit the New Hanover County NAACP chapter.

“On a higher level,” Tritten explains, “‘GROW’ is an outlet for people—from the artists, manufacturers, and sponsors, to all patrons and supporters—to exercise their individual alliance with Black Lives Matter and provide a positive influence towards justice. ‘GROW’ is what we are able to offer our community to help us do just that: grow.”

Originally from Florida, Tritten and his wife Tracy Shedd lived in Tucson, AZ (2006 to 2013), the original birthplace of Fort Lowell Records. This is the second album the label has produced to benefit a cause important to them. “Luz De Vida” was released in January 2011 with profits going towards the victims of the Tucson shooting. Among the victims was Arizona Congresswoman Gabbi Giffords. The album was composed of artists and industry professionals in Tucson and benefited the Tucson Together Fund. Tritten comments that without “Luz de Vida,” “GROW” would not be possible.

“The opportunity [with ‘Luz de Vida’] in itself is what inspired ‘GROW’ and has enabled us to proceed,” he explains. “‘Luz de Vida entirely was a complete lesson learned, one which we are bringing to the table wholeheartedly with ‘GROW.’”

Tritten says “GROW” will mirror “Luz de Vida” in fundraising efforts and has already secured $15k in donations from manufacturers who will make the vinyl. The label intends to press 1,000 records, asking a minimum donation of $30 per record. This means if those copies sell, ILM’s NAACP will receive a minimum of $30k on top of any donations made from all digital downloads and streams of the album … indefinitely.

This is Tritten’s first time working with the local NAACP. He says chapter President Deborah Dicks Maxwell’s leadership is what made them choose to align “GROW” with her vision for New Hanover County.

“It was important to us that the money from ‘GROW’ be used as a resource to help establish equality for Black citizens within our community,” he explains, “and that is the mission in which Ms. Maxwell leads by for her organization.”

The record cover was designed by local visual artist James Williams, appropriately titled “Persistence.” Williams’ style incorporates vibrant acrylics and collages to create an eclectic feel. Trevor Van Meter, local illustrator and animator created the album’s jacket, with artist Chet Childress’s work will be on the B-side of the vinyl. Liner notes will be written by Wilmington’s Third Person Project, which openly discusses Wilmington’s longstanding history regarding racial disparity and discrimination.

While Tritten and Shedd have called Wilmington their home for the past two years, Tritten’s former band Audio Explorations played a gig at the former Wilmington Exchange Fest in 1996. Shedd, too, has had her music featured on local television productions, such as “One Tree Hill” and “Dawson’s Creek.” “GROW” will include a song by Shedd, as well as a blend of seasoned performers like Sean Thomas Gerard (Onward, Soldiers), Summer SetThe Majestic TwelveLife of Saturdays. Then there are Kicking BirdLaudsPinky VerdeTeam Player; and Neon Belly, making their debut with the label. All bands featured have an indie-rock background, a connection to the Port City, and know and support Black Lives Matter, according to Tritten. Neon Belly features the newly engaged couple Lacie Jay and Matt Emmerick, who also are friends of Tritten and Shedd.

“Matt has a great sense of punk-rock rhythm and melody, while Lacie’s honest passion for her beliefs really shines through on her vocal performance,” Tritten says. “There is a grit to Neon Belly that we just adore. We are honored to have the opportunity to debut their music.” Tritten comments.”

Wilmington-based five-piece psychedelic, soul, surf, rock band Kicking Bird will also make an appearance on the album. Kicking Bird’s unique style of “beach music” was what originally led Fort Lowell to select the band to record a song for the album. After being approached by Tritten earlier this year, the band began writing a new single specifically for “GROW.”

“Kicking Bird’s excellent songwriting skills, fun throwback style and overall musical tone is what drove us to ask them to be a part of ‘GROW,’” Tritten adds. “Specifically, we love their guitar tone, which really cuts through on the lead for their song ‘What Would All the Other Girls Say (If They Knew What I Was Doing)’ for GROW.”

Guitarist Robin Cooksley says listeners can expect a fun, upbeat vibe to lighten the mood during these times of uncertainty. His bandmate Shaun Paul (Guitar, vocals) says now is the time to come to support Black Lives Matter and come to terms with their own privilege based on race and gender.

“We have been able to coast through our whole lives unaffected by the systemic racism that runs through every institution in the county today,” Pauls says. “I think this has been a serious reality check that we do not live in an equal society. Whether you’re a woman or a person of color the system is slanted against you and I think we’ve all had to realize our own complicitness by simply being comfortable.”

While the exact drop date for “GROW” is still pending, listeners can follow Fort Lowell Records on Instagram for when they announce a fall release. Once available, folks can pick up a copy at local vinyl stores Gravity Records and Modern Legend, or stream online on Spotify and iTunes.

GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter
Album to benefit NHC NAACP
Release date TBD in Fall 2020
Follow Fort Lowell Records