Independent Record Label | Est. 2009
Wilmington, North Carolina



Friday, June 30, 2023

Tracy Shedd / MoeSOS DC / Blab School live in concert at The Place

Wilmington, North Carolina / Saturday, July 15th / 7:00pm / $10.00

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

LET'S TUESDAY at Satellite Bar & Lounge

Join us at Satellite Bar & Lounge in Wilmington, North Carolina every Tuesday after work from 6:00-8:30pm as Fort Lowell Records hosts an evening filled with an eclectic mix of music deejayed by Tracy + James Tritten from their own person vinyl record collection, while patrons enjoy time with friends, a classic movie in the back courtyard, and dinner from Block Taco!

Monday, June 19, 2023

Kicking Bird - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

[Repost from I Don't Hear a Single; by Don Valentine, June 16, 2023]

There is a big apology to the excellent Fort Lowell Records label as I've had this for a while and been waiting for its release. But that coincided with a manic period here, but I note that some of our peers have thankfully covered it. 

Kicking Bird are a five piece from Wilmington North Carolina have fashioned up one a hell of a debut album. I suppose you would call this Indie Rock as a starting point, but the Pop content is high and the album is wonderfully Guitar driven.

With three vocalists, the scope to take the music into multi directions and the band do just that. Talking To Girls (On The Internet) is fabulous Garage Fuzz, all attitude, but Just To Be Here With You is splendid first half of the 60s Girl Pop enhanced by being rocked up part way through.

Yet, Names Are Changing is like a new generations' Cheap Trick and Stuck is great urgent Power Pop and 238 is CBGBs Guitar Pop at its very best. Impermanent Assistant is 80s New Wave Indie Guitar joy with a killer riff.

The riffs across the album are very Power Pop, even if the songs necessarily aren't. Talking To Ghosts edges towards Stadium Rock, big sounding and built around a weeping Guitar riff. Hickory River could be a torch song, if the awesome Guitar and keyboards would allow it. 

Rip Off is an epic closer, beautifully sung and phrased. Very 60s and another gobsmacking solo, this time all twang with a surprise addition at the end. The talent on show here is amazing. I remember a big argument with a label head a few years ago who said the Guitar was dead. Well chummy, it isn't and Kicking Bird are here to demonstrate why. What a magnificent album!

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

LET'S DANCE at Palate Bottle Shop

Join us at Palate Bottle Shop in Wilmington, North Carolina on Saturday, June 24th from 7:00-10:00pm as Fort Lowell Records hosts a Vinyl DJ Night of dance-centric Alternative / Indie / Underground music deejayed by James Tritten!

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Monsoon Twilight Amid a Wave of Destruction: Forest Fallows’s “Lightly Down”

[Repost from Bandcamp; by Nick Prevenas, Illustrations by Joey Yu, June 13, 2023]

Each year, just after the scalding convection oven summers of Tucson break, but before we drift into autumn—which is just “Summer Part 2” and, like most sequels, less intense—Tucson, AZ experiences an alternately gorgeous and terrifying series of rainstorms that soak the sandpapery Sonoran landscape. Monsoon season is responsible for the vast majority of Tucson’s annual precipitation, and the locals greet it with open arms, knowing that we will surely perish without it. We are running out of water. Monsoon season is essential to our survival.

Yet monsoon season is also an unpredictable destructive force that brings flash flooding, downed power lines, and inevitably dozens of stranded vehicles caught tempting fate near Tucson’s underpasses.

Monsoon season is simultaneously beautiful and humbling. It’s our annual reminder that we are all at the mercy of Mother Nature. She will save your life and tear it apart on a whim.

It took a band called Forest Fallows to accurately capture the essence of monsoon season.

Mike Barnett and Alex Morton formed Forest Fallows as a side band for songs that didn’t fit into their main projects. As of this writing, Barnett serves as the frontman for Mute Swan, one of Tucson’s most popular psychedelic-influenced bands that has more than a few songs that compare favorably to Tame Impala or King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Their Locals Only set was among the highlights of the Matt Milner-hosted era on KXCI, Tucson’s listener-supported radio station.

Mute Swan shares a certain haziness with Forest Fallows, but Barnett’s songcraft truly shines alongside Morton’s folkier/poppier sensibilities. It’s as if the wooziness of a Kurt Vile record was superimposed on top of Real Estate’s jangly hooks.

It’s the kind of record that could have sold a few thousand copies in an era when people still regularly purchased physical media. With the right record label and promotional push, Forest Fallows could have earned a respectable font size on several summer festival lineups. As it stands, it’s a low key gem that will surprise crate-digging freaks who find themselves in Tucson-area record shops such as Wooden Tooth or Old Paint with cash to burn and curiosity to quench.

It’s also a record that almost never saw the light of day.

After finishing the bulk of the recording, Barnett and Morton hooked up with Mike Dixon of People In A Position to Know (PIAPTK) and Joyful Noise Recordings. In addition to his endlessly inventive forays into lathe cutting that test the boundaries of what a record can actually look/sound like (he has released recorded music on slabs of chocolate and tortillas), Dixon always keeps his ear to the ground for interesting songs to share with his friends. His mixtapes and PIAPTK samples are required listening, and his partnerships with countless local artists have generated compelling music packaged in the strangest ways. A scene the size of Tucson’s needs a few enterprising, hard-working people to keep the lifeblood pumping. We’re lucky to have Mike.

As fate would have it, Dixon lived next door to Barnett and Morton when they were laying down the demos for what would become their debut record At Home. Dixon offered to hook them up with distribution through Joyful Noise and help press 350 hand-stamped records on “Comfort Lime”-colored vinyl.

I was lucky enough to hear the record before it went through test pressing hell. Initial pressings were rejected no less than four times before the recording was finally reproduced at the proper speed. The initial run of colored vinyl wasn’t right, either. Dixon went back and forth with a Dallas pressing plant that shall remain nameless, as it had neither the time nor the inclination to give this album the respect it deserved.

While At Home was floating in purgatory, my digital copy kept me company throughout the first half of 2015. Sam Fader, drummer for the late, lamented Wight Lhite, is Forest Fallows’s number one super fan; he told me that he was proud to live in a town and play in a scene that could produce a record like At Home. It’s a master class in how sequencing can enhance mood, as the fully-fleshed pop songs drift seamlessly into wordless instrumentals and back again into harmonies that could make one’s eyes well up involuntarily.

In June 2016, it appeared as if this record would finally exist in its physical form. No more test pressings. No more nightmarish phone calls with the pressing plant. No more problems. All that was left was some great music and green vinyl.

Monsoon season didn’t have any idea what Forest Fallows and Mike Dixon had gone through to make this record a reality. Monsoon season didn’t care about the year and a half of hassle and headache. Monsoon season just exists.

A summer storm hit PIAPTK’s headquarters—the “lathe cave”—with full force. A chunk of its roof became saturated and collapsed. Green vinyl, much like standard black vinyl, is vulnerable to overhead attacks from torrential rain and water-logged chunks of roofing. Only a handful of copies of the “Comfort Lime” survived. Tucson’s musical history is better for it.

Monsoons typically hit just before sundown during rush-hour traffic in order to wreak as much havoc as possible. It’s a calamitous cacophony of wind and water, swirling and slamming into sunbaked pavement. And just as quickly as it arrives, it fades into a gentle drizzle, almost as if it’s apologizing for breaking anything. When that drizzle coincides with a Sonoran sunset, I call it “monsoon twilight.” It’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

The next-to-last song on the vinyl edition of At Home is called “Lightly Down.” It’s the only song that sounds like monsoon twilight. These storms don’t end abruptly. They tail off. They let out a sigh of relief, almost to signify a sense of physical exhaustion after inflicting so much destruction—exactly like the opening vocal harmony on “Lightly Down.” After a few leftover sprinkles drop to the ground, the creosote bushes unleash their distinct after-rain smell, the clouds dissipate, and the remaining hour of sunlight slowly evaporates into a pink-and-purple sunset that hangs in the air like a painting. We all stop and stare, slack-jawed and awestruck. And then it’s gone. “Lightly Down,” with its gently ascending choruses and sparse arrangements, captures that beautiful stillness that exists between the storm and the darkness.

Everyone’s life has a small, scattered handful of perfect moments, when everything lines up as if it was part of a dream. Most of our lives are spent dodging the monsoon. It lets up often enough to deliver scattered moments of unshakable beauty. You just have to know when to look and when to listen.


ADDITIONAL NOTE: Fort Lowell Records is excited to share with you that we will be releasing Forest Fallows' stunning sophomore album At Best.  Stay tuned here for more information to come!  For now, enjoy At Home:

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Kicking Bird - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

[Repost from Faster and Louder; by Lord Rutledge, June 1, 2023]

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, the debut album from Wilmington, North Carolina's Kicking Bird, is one of those albums that can't be assigned to any one genre of music. I might loosely describe it as indie rock with a power pop heart, but such an oversimplification still falls woefully short. On this release, Kicking Bird really owns its lack of originality. This is ironic because Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is one of the most unique and fresh-sounding records I've heard in quite some time. Influences are sometimes palpable, but they're all over the place and all-encompassing. Most of the time, I'm sure a song sounds familiar but can't for the life of me pinpoint the specific influence. And when I can, I'm pleased as punch (Yay! I'm not the only one who realizes that Hefner's "The Hymn for the Cigarettes" is one of the greatest songs ever written!). The delightful "Stuck" manages to be discernibly Weezer-ish without succumbing to the shortcomings of almost every other discernibly Weezer-ish song in the universe. There's a real skill in stealing from so many places and with such a personalized spin that it all comes out sounding like something that hasn't been done before. Husband-and-wife songwriters Shaun and Shaylah Paul have contrasting yet wonderfully complementary styles that contribute greatly to Original Motion Picture Soundtrack's engaging flow. This album literally plays like the soundtrack to a trip to the beach. More than anything else, this is a fun record. These songs are clever and quirky and musically playful without one hint of pretension, and the hooks are always front and center. This is a truly stellar collection of songs from a band that's blessed with considerable talent and just as much charm. If you want to hear one of the best records of the year, hit up Ft. Lowell Records and get your paws on Original Motion Picture Soundtrack!

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Pressing Concerns: Kicking Bird

[Repost from Rosy Overdrive; May 30, 2023]

Kicking Bird – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Release date: May 19th
Record label: Fort Lowell
Genre: Pop rock, power pop, indie pop
Formats: Vinyl, digital
Pull Track: Talking to Girls (On the Internet)

While I’ve written about plenty of East Coast bands in Pressing Concerns before, Wilmington, North Carolina’s Kicking Bird hail from a part of the Atlantic shoreline I believe I’ve yet to touch on. Released on local label Fort Lowell, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the five-piece band’s full-length debut, following a handful of singles and an EP in 2021. The first Kicking Bird album is a big old guitar pop record, an overstuffed collection of songs that feature three different vocalists (guitarist/bassists Shaun Paul and Tom Michels and keyboardist Shaylah Paul) and makes itself home in the world of vintage college rock, jangle pop, power pop, and wide-eyed indie rock.

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack knows how to make a good first impression–the roaring “Names Are Changing”, the smooth and persistent “Lauren”, and breezy surf-garage-pop of “Talking to Girls (On the Internet)” are all Pixies-as-straight-power-popper classics. The opening trio is hard to beat, but Kicking Bird toss out more rock-solid pop rock throughout the rest of the album– “Stuck” anchors the midsection of Original Motion Picture Soundtrack quite gamely, “238” chugs and handclaps its way into the heads of anyone who would hear it, and the fluffy “Rip Off” closes things out with a track that really underlines Kicking Bird’s 60s girl-group influences. It’s a commendable, hot-out-of-the-gate debut from a quite likable band. (Bandcamp link)