Independent Record Label | Est. 2009
Wilmington, North Carolina



Monday, January 31, 2022

We've got beanies!

Just in time for all of this snow, Fort Lowell Records is very happy to let you know that we've got beanies available for sale!  And not just any beanie, but supercomfy, superior cotton blend knit beanies, made by OTTO CAPOTTO CAP; not those itchy acrylic kind -- these are the (really) good ones!

We've got t-shirts!

Meet Josh Putnam, photographer of the image used for our brand new Fort Lowell Record T-Shirt, shown here -- modeled by Josh himself. Not only did Josh take the original picture we used for the design of our new t-shirt, but he is also going to be the featured photographer for our new series This Water is Life, which showcases Wilmington NC based Hip-Hop + Indie Rock music on vinyl; coming soon, very soon.  For now, we are all superstoked about these new t-shirts, thanks to Josh! Printed by Elliott McDonald at Creo Print Co. on Alternative Apparel shirts, there is a very limited supply of these tees, so don't miss out!

By the way, can you guess what building in Downtown Wilmington NC makes up the 'Z' design of the shirt?

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