Independent Record Label | Est. 2009
Wilmington, North Carolina



Saturday, December 16, 2023

Pressing Concerns: Common Thread – Fountain (30th Anniversary)

Release date:
 December 8th
Record label: Fort Lowell
Genre: Noise rock, shoegaze, 90s indie rock, post-punk
Formats: Vinyl, digital
Pull Track: Template

This year, Wilmington, North Carolina’s Fort Lowell Records have put out new music from a couple of longtime indie rockers in 
James Sardone and Summer Set, but for their final release of 2023, they’ve gone even further and grabbed a lost southeastern-U.S. indie rock record to hoist from relative obscurity in Common Thread’s Fountain. Common Thread originated in the late 1980s in the suburbs of Jacksonville, Florida, putting out Six Marbles and a Bowl of Mud in 1990 and following it up with Fountain, released only on cassette, in 1993. The band–guitarists Joe Parker and Travis Taylor, bassist Joey Zimmerman, and drummer Craig Parlet–toured the East Coast extensively, making an impression on the co-founders of Fort Lowell Records with their noisy but melodic mix of 1980s post-punk, noise rock, and shoegaze. The label’s James Tritten and Tracy Shedd have made it clear that this reissue campaign is especially personal for them–but, as someone who hadn’t heard of Common Thread at all before this year, I can confidently say that one didn’t have to “be there” at the time to appreciate their sophomore album. 

Last month, I wrote about 
The Veldt, another band who was making loud, layered indie rock at the same time in the same part of the country. It’s enough to suggest that the American Southeast is an underappreciated part of this era of underground music–not the least of which is because Fountain sounds so different from The Veldt’s Cocteau Twins-indebted sound. Common Thread were certainly influenced by Sonic Youth, as they had a similar attitude with regards to wringing noise out of their guitars, but they also brought a British sense of dour melody to their music that Parker, Taylor, and Zimmerman (all singers and songwriters) hid underneath their instruments. At the same time, the prominent, rumbling bass that marks songs like “Sesame” and “Digit” feels very American noise rock–coupled with Parlet’s tireless drumming, Common Thread boasted a rhythm section that a lot of contemporary “amplifier worship” guitar-heavy bands didn’t really have. Fitting of a band with three different leaders, Fountain feels like a lot–it’s absolutely a statement worth shining some more light on after three decades. (Bandcamp link)

Friday, December 8, 2023

OUT NOW: Common Thread 'Fountain' 30th Anniversary Edition

Common Thread’s sophomore album Fountain is a holy grail of northeastern Florida indie rock. Originally released in 1993 on cassette tape, Fountain breaks sonic barriers. Melding influences from Echo & The Bunnymen to The Flaming Lips to Ride to Sonic Youth, Common Thread delivers a wall of dazzling dissonance unto their own. “Lydia Elle” and “Smoldering Black” convey astute lyrical poetry backed by extraordinary melodic hooks that set in deep. Fountain is a time capsule that has preserved nine incredible audible gifts, commemorating Common Thread’s ability and authority.

Originating from Orange Park, a suburb of Jacksonville, Common Thread came to the scene first in 1990 with their debut Six Marbles and a Bowl of Mud featuring Donald Kilpatrick on drums. Shortly after, Craig Parlet would replace Donald, joining guitarist Joe Parker and Travis Taylor, along with Joey Zimmerman on bass. Not too long after, the quartet documented their newly formed union with Fountain. Common Thread toured up and down the east coast, sharing the stage with counterparts such as Agent Orange, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Crowsdell (Shannon Wright), The Grifters, The Knack, The Smithereens, Sonic Boom, They Might Be Giants, and The Veldt. Their national outreach provided a roadmap for Floridian musicians who followed suit.

Parker, Taylor, and Zimmerman all took stake in songwriting and vocal responsibilities on Fountain. Parker spearheading six arioso tunes, including both singles, while Taylor has a trio of sui generis numbers, and Zimmerman closes out Fountain with his own haunting denouement “Polka-Dot-Frock”. The common thread that fuses their talents together lies somewhere between their outlook, grit, and acute tone bending desires; altogether revealing one unified voice known as Common Thread.

James Tritten and Tracy Shedd, owners of Fort Lowell Records, were not just in the audience at those Common Thread shows three decades ago, they were both close friends with each band member and fortunate to witness Common Thread’s conception. To this date, Fountain is one of the couple’s greatest influences, and continues to provide inspiration for their own various musical outlets. To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Fountain, Fort Lowell Records has made this landmark album available on vinyl record and all digital music platforms for the first time, allowing Common Thread’s magnum opus an opportunity to excite many generations to come.

Common Thread Fountain is now available on 12inch vinyl record, as well as all digital music platforms.

Monday, December 4, 2023

'This Water is Life': Wilmington record label uses music to do good


[Repost from Spectrum News 1; by Natalie Mooney, November, 30, 2023]

An independent record label in the Cape Fear region is using music for good.

Fort Lowell Records is releasing its third record in the series "This Water is Life," something that not only highlights local musicians’ work but also gives a platform to organizations promoting clean water.

Fort Lowell Records was started in 2009 by James Tritten. Since then, he’s released an impressive collection of records, highlighting both local artists and artists from all over the country. Now, he’s using records to raise awareness of important issues in his community.

“In 2020, we did a compilation called 'Grow,' which featured all Wilmington Indie Rock bands,” Tritten said. “And we used that as a fundraiser to raise money for the New Hanover County’s chapter of the NAACP.”

Since then, he’s started a series called "This Water is Life," which not only highlights new music from the region but also gives a platform for environmental organizations — like Cape Fear River Watch and the Coastal Plain Conservation Group — to speak on the health of the Cape Fear River Basin.

“The water problem is an ongoing thing, it has been for decades as well, but we don’t see it going away, of course, it’s not a one-time fix it and be done,” Tritten said. “So we thought by creating a series that would help bring awareness to that through music, it would help educate more people.”

The Cape Fear River is the main drinking water supply for 500,000 people, and it is contaminated with forever chemicals like GenX, which can be harmful if consumed. That’s why Dana Sargent, the executive director of Cape Fear River Watch, is happy to use "This Water is Life" to help spread the word about the contamination and the fight for clean water.

“Everything that we’re relying on in this community especially is built on the water, either on the river or the ocean or both,” Sargent said. “So this is so huge and so great that James and Fort Lowell have kind of brought these two beautiful things together.”

It’s not just the music on the album, Tritten uses every part of the record to get the message across.

“The liner note portion of the record itself here is what we refer to is written by Cape Fear River Watch where they speak to how the water is affecting us as humans,” Tritten explained. “Meanwhile on this side, the Coastal Plain Conservation Group is speaking to the wildlife and how the wildlife is being affected.”

Sargent has been writing liner notes on behalf of her organization for all three records in the series.

“James was like, 'just write what you’re thinking,' and I was thinking about the heaviness of the world, and I wrote, ‘Unless we take the time sit with the heaviness of the world, we become heavy with it, and that’s when apathy bleeds in,'” Sargent said. “And what can we do? For me, the answer has always been to immerse myself in music and nature, and so that’s kind of what this project does.”

That’s also why cydaddy, one of the two musicians on the record, says he wanted to be involved.

“Growing up in the area, you spend a lot of time growing up in wildlife, outdoor habitats,” cydaddy said. “So to be part of an intersectionalist piece of art that can bring both awareness to the local art scene and kind of bring awareness to the health of the wildlife around the community was super special to me.”

Sheme of Gold is the other musician on featured on the record. You can check out more of his work here.

Tritten is excited for the record to be released and hopes that this collaboration can help lead to change.

“The most rewarding part for me is simply bringing awareness to the community and just helping drive more projects in the community with like-minded people for a positive effort,” Tritten said. “And of course, if they can help Coastal Plain Conservation Group and Cape Fear River Watch get their agenda across to a new audience then that’s the greatest success of all.”

Click here if you would like to buy a digital download of the album or purchase a copy of the vinyl record.

You can also find a copy at Gravity Records in Wilmington.

If you would like to volunteer with Cape Fear River Watch, you can click here.

If you would like to get involved with the Coastal Plain Conservation Group, you can click here.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

“Center of Attention”, Summer Set

[Repost from Rosy Overdrive; November 28, 2023]

From Summer Set (2023, Fort Lowell)

The members of Wilmington, North Carolina’s Summer Set have played together in some form for over twenty years, although this self-titled album is the first full-length to have surfaced yet under the Summer Set name. It’s a breezy, timeless collection of indie rock of several stripes–some heavier and spacier than others, but consistently interesting. Opening track “Center of Attention” sets a high bar with its deft rendition of alt-country, folk rock, jangle pop, and power pop–a bunch of ingredients to make a song that sounds incredibly simple and incredibly catchy.

Friday, December 1, 2023

OUT NOW: This Water is Life, Vol. III ft. Sheme of Gold + cydaddy

This Water is Life is a self-sustained and ongoing series of split EPs with two express purposes: to highlight new hip-hop / indie rock music from Southeastern North Carolina, as well as to provide a platform for Cape Fear River Watch and Coastal Plain Conservation Group to deliver up-to-date authoritative reports on the health of the Cape Fear River Basin for both human beings and wildlife.

Ever since our forebears crawled up out of the water and drew their first breath, our – which is to say human and animal (and for that matter, plant) – experience has never strayed too far from its life-sustaining force. This water IS life. It will continue to be. But what kind of life? Threats to that water are, in turn, threats to the very life it supports. 

Inspired by photography focused on water in urban landscapes against a backdrop of the evolving GenX (PFAS) water pollution problem in the Wilmington, NC / Cape Fear region, This Water is Life is a local multimedia, multi-platform project. It takes what Fort Lowell Records does best – put out and promote killer indie music of varied stripes – and fuses it with photography and other visual arts alongside river and wildlife advocacy. The goal is a virtuous circle contained within an intended series of records. Packaged together, musical and visual artists from the Port City combined with a separate, serialized and locally-specific environmental message gives rise to the future promotion of other local music acts and further advocacy.

Volume III features Sheme of Gold and cydaddy.

Hip-Hop: Sheme of Gold

Sheme of Gold is an artist born and raised in Goldsboro, North Carolina, who relocated to Wilmington to attend culinary school in 2019, six months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. His unique style of hip hop is nostalgic and psychedelic, which grabs the listeners attention right away. His stories shed light on the struggles he’s endured and the confidence and braggadocio it takes to make a man of this stature. 

Indie Rock: cydaddy

cydaddy is a solo recording project for singer-songwriter / multi-instrumentalist Cyrus Goudarzi. Cyrus’s musical journey started in high school exploring home recording and sneaking around local shows in Wilmington, North Carolina. After an album release in 2010, his musical journey continued to Chicago, Illinois, where he would fill in rotating lineups for the next several years. Following, cydaddy was a leading member of local salt rock outfit Reef Blower.  Unquestionably, cydaddy is a product of his environment in the wildlife of the southeastern coast and has a heavy heart for the natural habitats that have shaped his years.

Just as clean water helps sustain life on Earth and here in the ILM, your purchase of this record fosters the work of not only hip hop, indie rock and visual artists in Wilmington but advances the advocacy of groups seeking to protect and preserve water and wildlife in the region. This water is life.


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Illumination Opening at Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington NC

Celebrate artistry and light at Cameron Art Museum’s 9th annual artist-made lanterns exhibition, Illumination 2023. Interpreting the light that shines from within, artists from across the United States and Canada have created traditional and contemporary lanterns. This display marks the transition of the season’s change and the year’s end as we begin our return to light. The installation can be enjoyed inside the museum or outside the Studio One windows.

Friday, December 1st is the official opening event for Illumination 2023, featuring Fort Lowell Records LET'S SHINE Vinyl DJ Set, from 6:00-9:00pm.

CAM Members: Free
Not-Yet Members: $15
Students: $5

Monday, November 27, 2023

New album: Jon Rauhouse & Blaine Long || One Day Will Never Come Back

[Repost from Add to Wantlist; by Dennis, November 17, 2023]

Fans of soulful Americana take note. Jon Rauhouse and Blaine Long have written seven beautiful songs, collected on their new LP One Day Will Never Come Back. The personal lyrics of the title track clearly reflect how light and dark go together here: “Feels good, I’m OK, it’s alright, there should be a little pain // A broken heart, some cry, some laugh.” The skilled musicians do what they do best – poetic sophistication, graceful guitar melodies and magical dark vocals – but the superb line-up of guests bringing their best game takes these tracks to an even higher level. Especially the horn arrangements are a tasteful addition, but if you start a song with the words “Living like Bukowski will get you dying like Bukowski” (from Thanksgiving) you’ve already won me over anyway.

One Day Will Never Come Back, produced by Jon Rauhouse and recorded by Darren Baum, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Fort Lowell Records. Featuring Jon Rauhouse (electric guitars, pedal steel, triangle), Blaine Long (vocals, acoustic guitar), Lindsay Cates (bass) and Frank Rowland (drums), joined on selected tracks by Steve Berlin (saxophones), Ty Bailie (Hammond B3), Betsy Ganz (vocals), Raquel Denis (vocals), Paula Tesoriero (vocals), Rachel Flotard (vocals), Jesse Valenzeula (guitar), Megyn Neff (violin, viola) and Emily Hunt (cello).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Fort Lowell

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Time-lapse with Summer Set: Indie rockers debut album, return to local music scene

Summer Set; photo by Shea Carver

Summer Set has a long history on Wilmington’s music scene and have relaunched as of late. Friday, Nov. 3, marks the official release of the self-titled, 10-track “Summer Set,” now available on streaming services and vinyl through Fort Lowell Records.

WILMINGTON — It was the early aughts when two musicians came together by happenstance over a beer at Blue Post to form what would become a quintessential sound on Wilmington’s indie rock scene.

“I needed a bass player,” Brian Weeks recalled Tuesday.

“And I happened to be living with a guy who had a bass, so it worked out — besides the fact I never played bass,” Robert Rogan added.

Summer Set was born. 

The band performed on the local music scene up until 12 years ago. However, Weeks and Rogan were sitting on multiple tracks they recorded throughout the years before being approached in 2018 about turning the songs into a finished album.

Friday, Nov. 3, marks the official release of the self-titled, 10-track “Summer Set,” now available on streaming services and vinyl through Fort Lowell Records. 

Both Weeks and Rogan are English professors at Cape Fear and Brunswick community colleges respectively and have been the steadfast hands in the band. Its lineup has consistently rotated with well-known Wilmington musicians and friends throughout the years: Jeff Reardon (Rodeo Boy), Seth Moody (The NoSeRiDeRs), Jonathan Bass (The Rosebuds), Tripp Cox (Onward, Soldier), Anthony Polcaro, and Ivan Howard (The Rosebuds). 

“Summer Set” is a retrospective of its 22 years of existence. The vinyl form will be for sale at the band’s Saturday show, wherein Summer Set is playing with Tercel at Sandspur.

It’s Summer Set’s second show in two months, an uptick from a decade-long hiatus. Aside from releasing a Christmas song last holiday season, Weeks and Rogan have been involved in other side projects, such as De La Noche, featuring Ivan Howard of The Rosebuds. They also play in Feather with a group of friends, focused on yacht rock tunes.

Over the summer, Weeks and Rogan reinvigorated Summer Set. Its new iteration consists of John Manning on guitar and Dustin Codair on drums. Manning is from Thunderlip, Coverlip and Mountain Thrower, while Codair has been playing with the two Summer Set founders for a while in Feather.

Saturday’s show will pepper in a few new tracks, but the focus will be on the songs of yore, as featured on the newly released album.

“It’s basically different eras of our music,” Weeks said. “The eras are defined by the drummer we had — or the lack of drummer — at the time.”

During those absences, a drum machine was used or Weeks sat behind a kit here and there if needed. He is also the primary songwriter and will bring a lyric or riff to Rogan to flesh out a song.

“I hope to add something good occasionally,” Rogan quipped. 

The partnership is simpatico, according to Weeks: “Bobby hears really good harmonies.”

Laid back and self-admitted perfectionists, the two said they would often spend copious amounts of time on one track while recording Summer Set’s music years ago, between 2000 and 2012. The recordings took place in various places: at Michael Swart’s studio, in Week’s bedroom and a place he dubbed “The Music Box” — a room in the backyard of an old residence 20 years ago. 

“Other than Mike Swart, I don’t know if we ever actually recorded in a real recording studio,” Rogan said.

“We would just kind of get in there during the day when it was quiet, and record the drum tracks, and then I would take the tracks to my house and add the guitar and bass,” Weeks said.

Back then, aside from being on a compilation album produced by Durham label Pox World Empire in 2005 and 2006, which featured North Carolina artists, Summer Set put out independent releases. Weeks would push one-of-a-kind CD-Rs he burned at CD Alley.

“That was pre-internet,” Weeks said. 

CD Alley was quintessential to downtown Wilmington, once located where Black Cat Shoppe is now at the foot of Market Street. Fred Champion — the owner of the record shop and a stalwart of Wilmington’s music scene in his own right — often hosted shows in his third-floor apartment on Princess Street, now Monteith Construction (the company has named one of its conference areas “Fred’s Room” in homage). Champion brought in the likes of My Morning Jacket, David Dondero, Benji Hughes, and multiple other up-and-comers of the day. Summer Set opened for Dondero and Huges throughout the years.

They also did a show with local band Glow in the Dark Scars, which was Champion’s rock outfit. It stands out as one of Champion’s favorite memories, hosted at the now-defunct The Whiskey (Seabird is located where the bar once was).

“It was pretty packed,” Champion remembered. “This was the early days before Whiskey even had a stage, so everyone was on the same level. It felt more intimate, like a private party.”

Champion calls Summer Set’s sound quintessential indie rock, as relevant today as it was when it was first recorded years ago. Though to answer how and why is a bit of a “mystery,” he said.

“It is a certain aesthetic that is difficult to put into words,” Champion elaborated. “I can easily tell you what it is not, but I would have a hell of a difficult time telling you what it is. I believe Summer Set is a band that could have been equally as successful as other Wilmington acts, like The Love Language, The Rosebuds, and Tift Merritt.”

According to Weeks, in its heyday the band played about every other month locally. They were the first, he said, to take the downtown stage at the shuttered Soapbox Laundro Lounge, which operated from 2001 to 2013 in what’s now a Waffle House on North Front Street.

Looking back, Weeks said he wished the band was more productive — perhaps more ambitious and driven.

“We were always pretty laid back and, you know — things change, things come up, but it would have been cool to continue to play more over the years,” Weeks said. “It’s just hard with full-time jobs and families to find the time to stay creative. It can be done, it’s just kind of tough."

‘Summer Set was ahead of its time’

No new music was created for the Fort Lowell Records release. Instead, it’s a time-lapse with Summer Set into Wilmington’s early-to-mid-aughts indie scene.

James Tritten of Fort Lowell began reaching out about putting together the project five years ago. Tritten calls Summer Set’s sound “timeless,” in that it spans various genres and includes traditional melodies that make for infinitely catchy earworms.

“In the early 2000s, Summer Set was ahead of its time,” Tritten said, “merging country-twang with the edgy dissonance of indie rock.”

The band’s infectious pop melodies embrace dreamy ethereal soundscapes, soul and R&B. Summer Set featured “Comfortable Town” on Fort Lowell Records’ 2020 release “GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

When Tritten and his wife, Tracy Shedd, first heard the band’s 2012 song “Camouflage,” they said it was immediate affection.

“We were asking ourselves: ‘Why is this song not available on vinyl?’” Tritten recalls. 

The song starts with stark bass piano notes, leading into a whisper of lyrical melodies, backed by shoegaze-y instrumentals and a soulful rhythm.

Tritten said it took everything in his power not to kick off the album with the track. Instead “Camouflage” appears toward the end, so listeners can fully understand the band and its power.

“When it hits, it hits hard,” Tritten described, “and feels so good. It’s the kind of song that stops you in your tracks, and makes the world stop spinning for a brief moment."

A host for DJ events at Satellite Bar and Lounge every Tuesday, Tritten has been closing out sets with “Camouflage” as of late. Before, he said he and his wife were “selfishly” tuning into the recording Weeks shared with them years ago, just waiting for the right time to compel a “Summer Set” release on vinyl. Talks had been circulating, but forward movement stalled, especially when Covid-19 hit and obligations shifted.

“James and Tracy pushed this into existence really,” Weeks said. “Some of our last songs were written eight years ago and nobody ever heard them because they weren’t released, so it made sense to put them out now.”

The Fort Lowell crew spent 72 hours choosing the arrangement of tracks on the album, with Weeks and Rogan having final approval. Tritten said he approached its pecking order the same way he would deejaying a set.

“As someone who curates music for an audience’s listening enjoyment, you often find yourself either telling a story with the selection of songs you choose to play back-to-back, or you create an ever-evolving mood with what you play at various points in the evening,” he said. “I always like to start off easy, then get into music with more energy, and take it down a notch toward the end of my set.”

The sequencing of “Summer Set” kicks off with the band’s most popular song, “Center of Attention,” from the early aughts. It’s an Americana-bent track underscored by poppy rhythms.  

On the release, it’s followed by the shoegaze rock of “Financial District” from 2002. A few more experimental-forward pieces, like “The Jetty” (2012), featuring Weeks on drums, and a key-heavy “Red Wine” (2012), with the raindrop effects heard on Toto’s “Africa” looped in, are included. Weeks called “Red Wine” more of a dance song, a different output than the band’s earlier roots sound.

“That was fun to make,” he remembered. “We were just learning how to use electronic software.”

Weeks compared it to an earlier snapshot of what he and Rogan did with Ivan Howard in the poppy, ambient-heavy De La Noche on 2019’s “Blue Days, Black Nights.”

“We’re getting a lot better at it, for sure,” he added about the advancement of technology and refining their craft.

The only change Weeks made to Summer Set’s tracks came with an additional lead guitar recorded over “Red Wine.” He then turned over the recordings to Tritten and Shedd. 

When Rogan listened back to the release for the first time, he said it brought back a swell of memories. He also was pleased with the way the project turned out.

“Surprisingly, I was really impressed,” he said. “I think why the songs stand the test of time or whatever is because we always worked pretty slowly, meticulously, in recording them.”

He called some of the songwriting sheer “magic,” in how swiftly it came together, despite how long it took to release.

“It’s interesting because I’ve been in other bands in my past, where I’ll listen back to a recording and be kind of embarrassed or something,” Weeks added. “But I didn’t get that cringy feeling here."

‘It definitely has that fairy dust’

Weeks played in Reverse locally before moving away from Wilmington for a short stint, only to return and start Summer Set with Rogan. The band’s last show was roughly 10 years ago — until recently. 

They joined the stage with their new crew on a joint bill with the Paper Stars in September at Bourgie Nights. They played to a packed crowd of familiar faces. One fan described it as “an old high school reunion you wanted to attend.” 

Rogan and Weeks agreed. 

“It was great to see Fred [Champion],” Weeks said. “It was my favorite part of the show, running into all of these old-school, cool people.”

The band’s sound hadn’t weathered, nor had the performances. Rogan said getting back on stage as Summer Set felt somewhat effortless.

“It’s really weird, like a muscle memory thing,” he said. “But it definitely brings me back to writing songs on Seventh and Grace — it transports me to a great time in my life.”

Summer Set performed new tracks at the show, including “My Isolation” and “Better Days.” Weeks wrote the former during the Covid-19 pandemic, a reference to being stuck without anywhere to go.

“It just kind of came together very quickly,” he said.

“That one’s a fun one to play,” Rogan added. “It definitely has that fairy dust or whatever on it, in the same way ‘Center of Attention’ did.” 

“Better Days” harkens back to a country sound the band leaned into during its early days. “It has more of a gallop to it,” Weeks described. Yet, the band’s newest additions with Manning and Codair are also bringing a more forward-rock sound. 

“I think it’s cool playing with two guitars,” Weeks said. “You know, we used to play with Seth Moody and he could play guitar and keyboard at the same time — like literally in the same song simultaneously. He’s an awesome musician.”

Moody moved to Memphis almost a decade ago. But Rogan’s holding out hope the keys will make their way back to Summer Set eventually.

“When I listened back to the Summer Set stuff, the keyboards, I never really thought of it, but that was a big part of the sound — and I would love to add those back in,” he said. “But I’m really happy with what we’re doing now. When I think about what I would do differently, it comes to enjoying the moments that we had more and not taking them for granted. Being more grateful — that’s the word I’m looking for — ‘grateful.’”

The band began practicing over the summer and are focused on recording new music now. They are polishing the tunes, with the intent to release an album of original music, perhaps next year, but no one is setting a firm timeline just yet.

“Sooner rather than later,” Rogan said. “But you know, based on our track record…”

“Hopefully, it won’t be another 20 years,” Weeks chimed in.

Summer Set’s show with Tercel will be free and takes place at the Sandspur in Carolina Beach on Saturday at 7 p.m. The band will be playing in the outdoor area behind the restaurant and bar at 103 Lake Park Blvd. S.

“Summer Set” Track Listing

  • Center of Attention // 2001-2005
  • Financial District // 2000-2002
  • The Jetty // 2012
  • The Empress //  2000-2002
  • Red Wine // 2012
  • An Invitation // 2012
  • Favorite Places // 2001-2005
  • Crackhead In My Car // 2000-2002
  • Camouflage // 2012
  • Coast to Coast // 2001-2005
Listen to the album here.

Friday, November 24, 2023

OUT NOW: Common Thread "Smoldering Black"

Common Thread’s sophomore album Fountain is a holy grail of northeastern Florida indie rock. Originally released in 1993 on cassette tape, Fountain breaks sonic barriers. Melding influences from Echo & The Bunnymen to The Flaming Lips to Ride to Sonic Youth, Common Thread delivers a wall of dazzling dissonance unto their own. “Lydia Elle” and “Smoldering Black” convey astute lyrical poetry backed by extraordinary melodic hooks that set in deep. Fountain is a time capsule that has preserved nine incredible audible gifts, commemorating Common Thread’s ability and authority.

Today — Black Friday "Smoldering Black" has been made available as the second Digital Single from Fountain on all music platforms. Check it out now, and be sure to reserve your copy of Common Thread Fountain on vinyl record before they are sold out!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

15 great new songs by Wilmington-area artists that you need to listen to right now

[Repost from StarNews Online; by John Staton, November 22, 2023]

It's been a banner year for new music in Wilmington, a corncucopia overflowing with good songs, if you're feeling the Thanksgiving vibes.

It helps that we've got two tiny but mighty labels punching above their weight and cranking out new tunes — sonic veterans Fort Lowell Records and indie upstarts Suck Rock Records — but there's been plenty of good self-released stuff, as well as a couple of former Wilmingtonians shining from afar. From rock and pop to folk and hip-hop, it's not just one scene, either.

Take a listen, and keep in mind there's plenty more where this came from. Keeping the list to 15 was a challenge, which is a good problem to have.


New single from Wilmington-based Fort Lowell Records' "This Water Is Life: Vol. III," a series of albums split between local rappers and indie rockers designed to draw attention to our area's significant water quality issues. Cydaddy's "Cheers (Water Mix)" is a sweet piece of lo-fi indie pop, suffused in melancholy and regret but also tinged with hopefulness.

Doggy Daycare "ACID WALK"

That intro, man oh man. Doggy Daycare's new single is big and bold and fuzzy and psychedelic, like a slice of the coolest grunge that somehow escaped your notice back in the '90s. According to a social media post by the band, "acid walk" is "an ode to being in love and definitely not (about) doing drugs while hiking."


New single from Wilmington-based Fort Lowell Records' "This Water Is Life: Vol. III," a series of albums split between local rappers and indie rockers designed to draw attention to our area's significant water quality issues. Sheme's laid-back delivery and raw subject matter about the things we do to get by are set to some soulful samples, with a guest spot from D$5.

Summer Set "THE JETTY"

Longtime Wilmington indie rock band wrote this song some years ago, but it's new to us, as it just came out Nov. 3 on their new, self-titled album for Fort Lowell Records. Definitely has the beachy sheen of classic Summer Set, with some boom-bap drums and hazy vocals about not losing your grip on the jetty, or on life for that matter.

Tracy Shedd "LET IT RIDE"

Wilmington singer Shedd's latest single, a groovy, moody meditation on patience and trust, came out in August on Fort Lowell. Shedd's vocals are pristine here, sweet and understated.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

inifinitikiss US Tourdates

Nov 22 at Flight Gallery in San Antonio TX
Dec 5 at Yes We Cannibal in Baton Rouge LA
Dec 22 at Drip Coffee in Columbia SC
Jan 6 at LoFi Brewing in North Charleston SC
Jan 12 at The Orange Spot in North Charleston SC

A Gunslinger Gone Bridge Tender: Jon Rauhouse & Blaine Long LP Review

[Repost from Blood Makes Noise; by Taylor John Salvetti, November 17 2023]

One Day Will Never Come Back by Jon Rauhouse & Blaine Long is someone looking backward and opening the waterways for a safer passage.

You’ll hear a certain tremor in Blaine Long’s vocals, it’s become canonized with this certain style of vocals and poetic delivery. But it feels different here. It’s no surprise that Long’s voice is appropriate—no, crucial—to the pairing of Jon Rauhouse’s instrumentation and work on the pedal steel. Some might hear it as a lonesome instrument. Still, even the likes of Lloyd Green and Jimmy Day (the great steel players of the past) were cutting through up-tempo songs and party favorites just to get to the ones that were slow and low, the ones where pedal steel can do what it does best: weep in an open tuning. 

The instrumentation on One Day Will Never Come Back is Rauhouse waving you down the stream, just having opened the bridge for you and yours to sail safely through. He’s not gone, no, but a fettered few years of quarantine and chemotherapy have put him in a state of obligatory reverie. He’s still making music and touring when he can, but this album feels like a live-in-the-moment manifesto. “I’m 64 and older than Elvis and Jesus,” says Rauhouse on “Thanksgiving.” It’s an ego death, it’s a call to action, it’s that feeling of impending doom that is immediately followed by beautiful acceptance.

“I’m an earthbound angel stuck on this merry-go-round,” sings Long on the lead single, “Hey Babe,” released in October of this year. One can’t help but see the tenderness of existence in these songs. It doesn’t leave you wanting much. The bases are covered, the sun has set over an arid landscape, and this rings true in the final track, “The Queen is Dead.” It’s a low and slow melodic instrumental with a sweeping chamber orchestra, a delicate guitar lead, and a click of snare rim that feels like it’s keeping time for something larger.

One Day Will Never Come Back is an album of accumulation. It feels like time and life, bundled into seven tracks, like we’re all sitting at the same table, a fine meal shared between friends. Our wish is that there could be more: more friends, more food, more time, and more life. But we can only get so lucky.

Jon Rauhouse & Blaine Long One Day Will Never Come Back will be released by Fort Lowell Records on Friday, November 17th.  PRESAVE / LISTEN NOW:

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Summer Set - “Center of Attention”

[Repost from more than adequate; by Matty Monroe, November 5, 2023]

RIYL: 70s soft rock/power pop revival with a little bit of twang, Dr. Dog, Fruit Bats, Woods, Kurt Vile

This one was a last minute addition to the show as I had to cut some tracks due to FCC violations, but God am I glad to added it to the show as this song is just charming as hell. While I wrote my own RIYLs for this one, here’s the list the band/label provided:
FOR FANS OF: Beulah, Beachwood Sparks, BRONCHO, Destroyer, Devendra Banhart, Dr. Dog, Drug Cabin, Girls, Good Morning, Grandaddy, Irving, KITIMOTO, MGMT, Helado Negro, The Nude Party, Pavement, The Radio Dept., R.E.M., The Replacements, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, The Sea and Cake, Spiritualized, Spoon, Small Black, Steely Dan, TOPS, Kurt Vile, Wilco, Wild Nothing, Woods, Yo La Tengo

That’s a lot of band with some pretty disparate sounds, yet I do hear all of this somehow in this track, as at the end of the day: it’s some great porch beer music. Special thanks to my good friend Taylor Grimes from Swim Into The Sound for recommending this one on Twitter!

Friday, November 17, 2023

OUT NOW: Jon Rauhouse + Blaine Long 'One Day Will Never Come Back' [12inch LP]


“Hey babe.” Anyone who’s ever spoken with pedal steel guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Jon Rauhouse has heard his signature greeting, at once playful and genuine. It’s just the way Rauhouse sounds when he says it: affable, anachronistic, hep, like a man from another time. 

The catchphrase informs one of my favorite songs on One Day Will Never Come Back, Rauhouse’s new album of bruised and tender songs with singer/songwriter Blaine Long. Titled, you guessed it, “Hey Babe,” Long wrote the song with Jon—deep into treatment for cancer at the time—at the front of his mind. “I’m an earthbound angel stuck on this merry-go-round/We take it day by day, night by night,” Long sings with plaintive resignation in his voice. 

One Day Will Never Come Back is a slim volume, only seven songs, but like At Fillmore East, Giant Steps, and Maggot Brain before it, it packs a lot of life and death into the proceedings, alternating between black comedy, celebratory rave-ups, and warmhearted expressions of thankfulness. Weaving together touches of desert twang, Byrdsian chime, and soulful horn arrangements and into its Americana contours, it represents a deep friendship and connection between Long and Rauhouse. With Rauhouse acting as producer, they cut the album at Sonic Piranha Studio, a familiar zone to both songwriters, who record their podcast The Musicians Guide to Everything podcast there, exploring the ins-and-outs of the industry with guests like Jakob Dylan (The Wallflowers), Billy Bob Thornton, and Neko Case, all of whom Rauhouse has accompanied on record.

Best known for his three-chair turn on The Voice in 2016, Blaine has shared the stage with artists like Beth Hart, Clint Black, Jonny Lang, and Nils Lofgren. He and Rauhouse found themselves sharing stages together after Long invited Rauhouse to join him for a “Christmas” or “New Year’s” gig at Tarbell’s years back. One Day Will Never Come Back finds them joined by a close-knit roster including Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, Rachel Flotard (Visqueen), Jesse Valenzuela (The Gin Blossoms), and Lindsay Cates and Megyn Neff, Rauhouse’s compatriots in the SunPunchers. 

Trading lyrics and musical ideas all along the way, Rauhouse and Long cut into a soulful racket with “Thanksgiving,” an ode to the life of a gigging musician that includes Rauhouse in a rare vocal turn, confessing in a groggy voice: “64 and I’m older than Elvis and Jesus.” Bad role model Charles Bukowski makes a lyrical appearance, as do “The Garden of Eden,” alongside “tombstone stop signs” and “bad girls and long nights.”

On “Pretty Love Song,” the duo welcome Valenzuela to sit in. For Long and Rauhouse, who grew up in the Phoenix metropolitan sprawl, it was heavy with meaning.  “Growing up, I couldn’t listen to non-Christian music, but somehow I got a hold of The Gin Blossoms first album, Up and Crumbling,” Long says. “I had to hide that cassette, when you’re a sheltered little kid, you hold onto those items like gold, they're little scriptures. It was a big moment. He just turned our song into a Gin Blossoms song in seconds.” 

Rauhouse–whose doctor has since deemed his cancer “treatable, not terminal”—also found himself drawing from his own background, including a harrowing scene from his youth in which Rauhouse witnessed the shooting of a friend in a mobile home. 

“I’ve never written autobiographical music before,” he confesses. “But I have a completely different view on the whole world now.” Zooming far enough out, he knows that the moment we have is fleeting. I like to read the title One Day Will Never Come Back as a recognition that the only moment we really have is this one. These seven songs, about near misses and second chances, find Rauhouse and Long living in that moment, open to the pain, open to the laughs, open to it all. 

~ Jason P. Woodbury

Jon Rauhouse + Blaine Long One Day Will Never Come Back is now available on all digital platforms.