Independent Record Label | Est. 2009
Wilmington, North Carolina



Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Happy Birthday to Ryan Trayte of Saywells Designs

Ryan Trayte of Saywells Designs, graphic designer for Luz de Vida

Happy Birthday to Paul Jenkins of video?

Saturday, August 28, 2021

From concerts to comedy to art shows, 6 ways to work it out in Wilmington this weekend

Saturday: Lauds

This Wilmington dream pop band's self-titled debut EP on Fort Lowell Records can sound like lost or forgotten songs from late '80s or early '90s college radio. Undeniably retro in their nostalgic appeal, the moody yet cautiously upbeat tunes -- filled with intricately layered guitars, lots of effects and echoey vocals -- somehow fit perfectly with our pandemic-worried world.

On Saturday, Aug. 28, Lauds -- which is singer/guitarists J Holt Evans III and McKay Glasgow, guitarist/keyboardist Boyce Evans, drummer Ross Paige and bassist Gavin Campbell -- will play a masked, outdoors album-release show for the EP at Satellite Bar and Lounge on Greenfield Street with Durham band Check Minus.

More:Wilmington dream pop band Lauds matches its retro sound to a moody modern world on new EP

Details: 7 p.m. Aug. 28, at Satellite Bar & Lounge, 120 Greenfield St., Wilmington. Free, 21 and up. Masked, outdoors show.

Lauds; photo by Ross Langdon Page

Friday, August 27, 2021

OUT NOW: the Good Graces "capital R" [Digital Single]

Life is beautiful, and it's amazing how cyclical things can be.  Kim Ware of the Good Graces used to live in Wilmington, North Carolina, and run a record label called Eskimo Kiss Records.  She released music for Fort Lowell Records' owners: James Tritten's band Audio Explorations, as Tracy Shedd herself.  Now, the Good Graces, after recently departing Atlanta, Georgia, have relocated to Shelby, North Carolina. Meanwhile, Fort Lowell Records is based out of Wilmington, North Carolina, and releasing music for the Good Graces these days... 

Including this brand new single for a fantastic pop-gem titled "capital R", which is out today -- Friday, August 27th -- on all digital music download and streaming platforms!  Check it out:

Tracy Shedd + Pinky Verde at Tiki Bar in Carolina Beach NC; Thursday, September 9, 7pm

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Wilmington dream pop band Lauds matches its retro sound to a moody modern world on new EP

[Repost from StarNews; by John Staton, August 25, 2021]

J Holt Evans III, a songwriter and guitarist with the Wilmington dream pop band Lauds, said he thinks his group should "come out as endorsers of things." Just for starters: English musician Johnny Marr of The Smiths. Pad Thai. Vaccinations. And, since he and two of his bandmates went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tar Heels basketball and recently retired coach Roy Williams.

Evans is just kidding around, of course. But while we're talking endorsements, Lauds recently got a big one from Wilmington-based independent label Fort Lowell Records, which released the band's self-titled debut EP on July 30.

"I love reverbed-out, echoey guitar music. Call it shoegaze, dream pop, whatever," Evans said.

And while the four songs on "Lauds" are undeniably retro in their nostalgic appeal, sounding at times like lost or forgotten tracks from late '80s or early '90s college radio, the moody yet cautiously upbeat tunes somehow fit perfectly with our pandemic-worried world.

On Saturday, Aug. 28, Lauds will play a masked, outdoors album-release show for the EP at Satellite Bar and Lounge on Greenfield Street with Durham band Check Minus. On Sept. 11, they'll play the Palm Room in Wrightsville Beach with indie rock act Arson Daily.

The origins of Lauds date to three years ago, after Evans and singer/guitarist/songwriter McKay Glasgow, also of Wilmington folk-rock act Tumbleweed, bonded over the songs of Neil Young. They met when Glasgow was recording Tumbleweed's 2018 album "Little Yellow House" with Evans' father, Holt Evans II, who played with the Wilmington pop band Hungry Mind Review in the '90s and early 2000s and has produced some of the best albums ever made in Wilmington, including Astro Cowboy's forever-epic "Hedonism Colosseum."

"Lauds kind of formed through our friendship," Evans said, and soon enough he and Glasgow had joined with his younger brother, Boyce Evans, who plays drums on the record but keyboards and guitars for live shows, to create their own version of the driving, intricate, effects-laden guitar music they'd been listening to since they were in elementary school.

"Growing up with my dad, we'd ask him to get us a Nickelback CD," Holt Evans said. "He'd say, 'You know, you need to go and listen to Joy Division right now or you're grounded.'"

He remembers hearing early U2 albums "Boy" and "October" played in the car on rides to school as a kid.

"Now I feel like I can't get away from echo or delay on any guitar part I write," Evans said.

For his part, Glasgow cites the elder Evans as an influence as well.

"Just like their dad influenced them, for the last three years we've been recording together he's been giving me the same music," Glasgow said, citing such post-punk outfits as The Chameleons and New Order.

Lauds, however, put their own spin on the dream-pop genre.

The driving "Wasted Hours" and "Wait Forever" have almost surfily coastal vibes, while the more laid-back "Never Was" is infused with a kind of pretty sadness.

Album closer "Sandpiper," a song Glasgow said was inspired by growing up mere yards from the Cape Fear River, has a more sprawling, epic feel distinct from the EP's tightly constructed first three songs.

"It took us a while to get to the sound that you hear on the record," Boyce Evans said. At first, "It was more straightforward, cleaner rock. Then we kind of turned that to 11."

Boyce's brother agreed that the band wanted to "put the vocals and the guitars and the drums all on equal footing," conjuring a vibe with their sound while lyrics speak vaguely, though at times poignantly, to difficult emotions and troublesome memories.

"If people get to our lyrics we're proud of them," Glasgow said. "But they are secondary."

The band, which started to build a local following with eight or 10 shows before the pandemic, has enough material for a few more EPs. They've also added a couple of new members, Gavin Campbell on bass and Ross Paige on drums.

In addition to a couple of self-released singles, the band also has a song on 2020's "GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter" for Fort Lowell, which has emerged post-pandemic as Wilmington's most prominent indie label, having released new records this year from Port City acts Sean Thomas Gerard, punk-rockers Neon Belly and Lauds.

As for the band's punchy moniker, it arises from Evans III being a "huge fan of one-syllable band names." He added that "we'd be lying" if he said the band "didn't have a spreadsheet of like 100 names that we fought tooth and nail over." (Three that didn't make the cut? Grouse, Flowerhouse and Orca Boys.)
Lauds have also been working on a completely unironic cover of Don Henley's moody 1984 hit "Boys of Summer," which, if they play it at Satellite this weekend, might provide a fitting coda to Wilmington's own hot, pandemic-infused summer.
Want to go?
What: Lauds (EP release show), with Check Minus
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28
Where: Satellite Bar & Lounge, Greenfield St., Wilmington
Info: Free, 21 and up. Masked, outdoors show.
Next up: Lauds plays Sept. 11 with Arson Daily at the Palm Room in Wrightsville Beach.
Lauds; photo by Ross Langdon Page

Monday, August 23, 2021

Live Concert Video of Neon Belly at The Opera Room, July 30, 2021

On the eve of their wedding last month, now husband and wife -- PMattitude and Lacie Jay -- perform a live concert with bandmates Nice Derek (drums) and Kevin Earl (bass) as Neon Belly at The Opera Room in Wilmington NC.  Watch as they perform "My Bad" and "Leslie Gore" from their self-titled debut EP.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Tracy Shedd 'Blue' 20th Anniversary Vinyl Edition

It is with great pleasure that we share with you... Fort Lowell Records has teamed up with indie pop legends Teen-Beat to bring you the debut album, Blue, by our very own Tracy Shedd on vinyl record for the very first time in twenty-years, commemorating the 20th anniversary of Blue's original release on Compact Disc by Teen-Beat.  Tracy Shedd Blue has been pressed on 140-gram blue vinyl, and is limited to (100) hand-numbered copies, which include a full lyric sheet.  Get your copy today!

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Happy Birthday to Richard Dudley of Brec, Moyamoya, and Tracy Shedd

Monday, August 16, 2021

Neon Belly EP Review by Tremendo Garaje

After being introduced at the end of last year with a great track included in GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter which already put us on the trail of this 3-piece from Wilmington, NC, and when not even two months have passed since their very first gig, we get from Fort Lowell Records the first Neon Belly's 7" EP, one of the most juicy and interesting raw basic punk debuts we have heard this year, which also has a charitable cause, since 100% profits will be donated in school supplies and hygiene products in New Hanover County.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

New Benefit Compilation Album Announcement

Fort Lowell Records is proud to announce the release of Luz de Vida II: A Compilation to Benefit Homicide Survivors, featuring brand new music from Amos Lee, Dr. Dog, Calexico, L'Orange, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Tracy Shedd, XIXA, Gabriel Naïm Amor, Hannah Yeun, The Resonars, Soda Sun, Acorn Bcorn, and Juarez! 100% of proceeds go to raise money for Homicide Survivors, Inc.. Out November 5, 2021 on 12inch vinyl record [in partnership with Zia Records] and all digital platforms. Stay tuned here for more information to come in the months ahead!
Amos Lee
Dr. Dog
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Tracy Shedd
Gabriel Naïm Amor
Hannah Yeun
The Resonars
Soda Sun
Acorn Bcorn
Luz de Vida II: A Compilation to Benefit Homicide Survivors

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Lauds performed songs from their new EP + more, live at Bourgie Nights [Wilmington NC]

Lauds, August 13, 2021

Thursday, August 12, 2021

OUT NOW: New Vinyl Record From Port City Punks, Neon Belly

Fort Lowell Records is very excited to share with you that the self-titled five-song debut EP from Wilmington, North Carolina's punk rockers -- Neon Belly -- is officially available on assorted colored vinyl record. 100% of the sales from this record will be used to provide School Supplies & Hygiene Products in New Hanover County as part of a charity drive managed by Wanda's Creative Hair Salon at 1001 Castle St, Wilmington, NC 28401 [Phone: (910) 297-1745]. 

Neon Belly features newlyweds Lacie Jay (vocals) and PMattitude (guitar / bass), along with Nice Derek (drums / producer). The 7inch record is limited to (100) hand-numbered copies and pressed on assorted colored vinyl. The EP includes one cover song -- "Don't Hide Your Hate" -- originally recorded by Filth and written by Dick Bakker, with adapted lyrics by Lacie Jay, and was mastered by Grammy-Nominated Mastering Engineer, Jeff Lipton, at Peerless Mastering (Dropkick Murphys, Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird, LCD Soundsystem).

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Punk for a cause via Neon Belly

[Repost from Scene Point Blank; by Loren, August 10, 2021]

Fort Lowell Records has announced a new EP from Neon Belly of Wilmington, NC. The self-titled 7" Ep comes out on Sept. 3 with a 100% charitable cause in mind -- specifically that the band will donate all profits to provide school supplies and hygiene products in New Hanover County, NC.

Limited to a pressing of 100 copies, the EP includes five songs, one of which is a cover/adaptation of "Don't Hide Your Hate," originally by Filth. To keep namedropping, the band itself plays a high energy punk band in the vein of early '80s hardcore such JFA, Government Issue, and 7 Seconds.

Fort Lowell released GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter previously, which partially inspired the for-charity concept here. 

  1. The Boys Are Alright [2:16]
  2. D.O.I.I. (Dissemination of Intimate Images) [2:12]
  3. My Bad [1:29]
  4. Don't Hide Your Hate* [1:38]
  5. Leslie Gore [1:40]
*Original song by Filth, written by Dick Bakker; Adapted Lyrics by Lacie Jay

Neon BellyPhoto by Janice O'Leary

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Rock band Kicking Bird emerges from pandemic as one of Wilmington's most potent live acts

[Repost from StarNews; by John Staton, August 9, 2021]

Wilmington has seen plenty of fun gatherings since things began to reopen, but one of the most lit reopening moments of 2021 remains the rock and pop band Kicking Bird's incendiary mid-April show at Palate. With much of the crowd still wearing masks at the outdoor gig, people danced their heads off, including a gaggle of kids (most of them belonging to one band member or another) who rocked out directly in front of the stage.

Kicking Bird -- which is led by the married couple Shaun and Shaylah Paul, who write songs and sing lead on different tunes -- has been playing locally for several years now. But by late 2019, right before the pandemic shut everything down, the band had established a reputation as one of Wilmington's most potent live acts thanks to hooky, exuberant rockers like "Radio Waves." Kicking Bird came roaring out of the pandemic with that rep fully intact, and has killed during sweaty shows at both Palate and Satellite.

On Thursday, Aug. 12, the band will play the pier at Carolina Beach's Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar along with local upstarts Pleasure Island. Kicking Bird also has a new batch of really fun songs, "The Covid Tapes," which they recorded late last year and released earlier this month.

Shaun Paul sings and plays guitar and Shaylah Paul sings and plays keys. Transplanted Brit Robin Cooksley plays lead guitar, with Tom Michaels (The Frondeurs) on bass and Greg Blair (Holland Shelter) on drums.

And while their mix of girl-group vibes, tweaky guitar solos, poppy hooks and amped-out riffs can make Kicking Bird sound like they could be the house band for a dance party straight out of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," Kicking Bird essentially traffics in syrup-free, powerfully delivered rock 'n' roll love songs.

"I think we're a pop band at heart, with punk tendencies," the stylishly mustachioed, heavily tatted Shaun Paul said over early-evening beers at the Satellite recently. "My number-one favorite music is The Supremes and The Ramones, and they're basically the same thing. That style of three-chord pop that's got a hook chorus, a couple of ooh-ooh-oohs in it, that's what I love the most. Everything, for me at least, kind of starts with that."

Shaun grew up in Wilmington -- his parents own the legendary Hot Wax surf shop, which he now manages -- playing in local bands and graduating from Hoggard High School. He and Shaylah first met in Chicago, where he was living at the time and where she's from, in 2008 when he was in a band with her ex-boyfriend. In 2009, they ran into each other at Chicago bar/venue The Empty Bottle and Shaylah gave Shaun a demo CD she'd recorded.

"I was like, You should check out my band,'" Shaylah said. "And he was like, 'You should check out mine.'"

They ended up playing together in a group called Chaperone -- "Pretty much as long as we've been together we've been in a band together," Shaylah said -- before the couple got married, had a now-9-year-old son and moved to Wilmington.

Shaun actually started Kicking Bird in Chicago with his brother-in-law, but the band only played a couple of shows there before he and his wife relocated. Shaylah initially joined in 2015 so that the band could use her songs and would have enough material to play a two-hour gig at Satellite.

She writes her own songs -- "What Would All the Other Girls Say (If They Knew What I Was Doing)," released last year on Fort Lowell Record's Wilmington-centric GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter is a slice of girl-group heaven -- and also collaborates with her husband on his tunes.

When they take the songs to band practice, Cooksley will add ragged guitar riffs, and Blair or Michaels will sometimes change the direction of tunes with their rhythmic insight.

A multitude of influences are apparent, from the obvious girl-group and punk-pop leanings to boozy guitar rock and even, on the very groovy "Stacy London," some '70s-style classic rock vibes.

"We're just trying to listen to everything that's out there, old and new," Shaylah said.

"The Covid Tapes" finds the band reveling in rock songs about love that are very easy to love. The driving, hooky "Don't Stop!" has Shaun and Shaylah singing, "Don't stop/ Ever giving me what I want/ Baby, it's you." The rocked-out girl-group progressions of "Red Sonja" -- Shaun's ode to Shaylah's red hair? -- turn poetic when he sings about the "diamonds crushed back to coal in the middle of your eyes."

At the end of the day, Kicking Bird is a family affair. Not only are the Pauls given to to doing endearingly goofy, cute-couple Instagram posts together, but drummer Blair and guitarist Cooksley "and their families are like our best friends," Shaylah said. "Our kids are pretty much cousins."

As for their wider Wilmington family, promoter Catherine Hawksworth of the Modern Legend music and gift shop has been a big proponent of the band, whose high-energy show makes fans of most everyone who sees them play.

They should make plenty during their gig at the Ocean Grill, where the outdoor stage and laid-back vibe is a perfect fit for the band's expansive, often thrilling sound.

"It has been a dream of mine" to play there, Shaylah Paul said. "What more could you ask for as a band than to play on a pier" -- her husband finished her sentence -- "during fireworks!"