Independent Record Label | Est. 2009
Wilmington, North Carolina



Monday, February 26, 2024

Pre-Order Blab School Debut Vinyl LP

Blab School is a post-punk quartet from North Carolina.  Their self-titled debut LP comes out on Fort Lowell Records on June 6, 2024.  Taking philosophical cues from American post-punk bands like the Wipers and Talking Heads, also incorporating the goth-adjacent tones of bands like Joy Division and Killing Joke, and adding the often danceable and joyfully nihilistic aesthetic of 21st-century punk, Blab School makes music that is simultaneously urgent and fun, upbeat and crooked, loud and thoughtful.

For fans of Bad Religion, Buzzcocks, Descendants, Drive Like Jehu, The Faction, The Fucking Champs, Gang of Four, Green Day, The Hives, Hot Snakes, Jawbox, The Jesus Lizard, Les Savy Fav, Lightning Bolt, Meatbodies, Melt-Banana, Metz, Osees, Pipe, Pissed Jeans, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Superchunk, and The Thermals.

Saturday, February 24, 2024


[Repost from Port City Daily; Shea Carver, February 22, 2023]

Dead Cool and Tracy Shedd — Great music is being planned for Bourgie Nights this weekend with a little darkwave synthpop from Wilmington’s post-punk darlings Dead Cool and indie stylings of Tracy Shedd. Shedd’s music has been on “Dawson’s Creek,” “One Tree Hill,” and “The Rebound,” and she has shared the stage with Cat Power, The Magnetic Fields and Iron & Wine. She continues releasing music  — including last year’s “Let It Ride” — on Fort Lowell Records, which she operates with her husband James Tritten. Dead Cool consists of another husband-and-wife team Johnny and Angie Yeagher, who began in the height of Covid and have grown to international acclaim in a short few years. They’ve been touring, released quite a few tracks, including a catchy dark remake of  Scorpion’s “Send Me An Angel,” and will be part of the double bill at Bourgie Nights. Doors are at 9 p.m.

The Pink Stones and Summer Set — A cosmic country outfit out of Athens, Georgia, The Pink Stones, will be joining Wilmington indie rockers Summer Set at Reggies 42nd Street Tavern on Saturday. The Pink Stones combine pedal steel and down-on-your-luck stylings of country with American rock and driving rhythms on their sophomore album “You Know Who.” The band very much gives Flying Burrito Brothers vibes. Summer Set, featuring founding members Brian Weeks and Robert Rogan, are quintessential to Wilmington’s indie scene. They paired up again over the last few years after a decade-long hiatus and are working on new music. It’s their first time playing Reggies, with a new lineup as well (read more about the band and their first album release from last fall, published by Port City Daily here).

Friday, February 23, 2024

17 things to do in the Wilmington area for the final weekend of February

[Repost from StarNews; by John Staton, February 21, 2024]


Feb. 24 at Bourgie Nights: Two of Wilmington's top musical acts team up for what should be an epic, stylistically diverse double bill.

Dead Cool is the 
Wilmington goth/darkwave/synth pop duo of Johnny and Angela Yeagher, who have attracted an audience for darkly catchy, retro songs about alienation and obsession. And while songs like "The Last Time" might have such lyrics as, "The future's so black I cannot see," there's also a playful side to Dead Cool. It shows up in their videos, with a cute little white fluffball of a dog trying to bite Johnny as he strolls around Greenfield Lake in "Until Death," and in their wickedly dark cover of '80s pop hit "Send Me An Angel."

Wilmington singer and songwriter Tracy Shedd is a veteran of the national indie rock scene who matches sweet, understated vocals with lyrics that can be at once subtle and searching. Shedd's latest single is "Let It Ride," a groovy, moody meditation on patience and trust. 
9 p.m. doors, 10 p.m. show, Feb. 24. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 day of show.


Feb. 24 at Reggie's 42nd Street Tavern: Along with Pink Beds and Pink Skull Garden, this is the third "pink" band we've had in Wilmington recently. The Pink Stones hail from Athens, Georgia, and play what they term "cosmic country" or "spacey honky tonk." Good stuff.

Sharing the bill are Wilmington indie-rock stalwarts Summer Set, 
who last year came out of performance hibernation to drop an excellent new album of classic songs and newer work. With opening act Kit McKay. 7 p.m. Feb. 24, $15.


Feb. 24 at Palate: It's a busy Saturday night for Wilmington label Fort Lowell Records, with three acts on their roster in action. Along with Summer Set and Tracy Shedd, number three is Kicking Bird, which is led by singer-guitarist Shaun Paul and his wife, Shayla, who sings and plays keyboards. They both write hooky songs that rock while often carrying a girl-group sheen, with lyrics about love and life that make both the ups and the downs sound like celebrations. Kicking Bird's live show is a frenzied, sweaty affair, and their 2023 album "Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" ain't too bad either. 7 p.m. Feb. 24, free.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Two Phoenix music stars unite on stellar new album

[Repost from Phoenix New Times; by Tom Reardon, February 16, 2024]

It’s hard not to get sucked in by the poetry of Jon Rauhouse’s music.

Longtime fans of the Valley legend and sideman to the stars know what I’m talking about. Rauhouse has a way of turning a song into a spiritual experience with a single bend of a guitar string. It’s just what he does.

For the unfamiliar, please get acquainted. There's a little something for everyone in the Rauhouse repertoire, except maybe a speed metal record. The guy’s been cranking out good music since the late 1970s, but anyone and everyone is welcome to the party any time.

The last several years have been difficult, to say the least. Rauhouse has been battling the type of cancer diagnosis that would stop many people right in their tracks, but thanks to some new drug therapies, things are at least looking manageable at present. As interesting as that aspect of Rauhouse’s life is, or the years he spent touring with Neko Case, Billy Bob Thornton or as a member of Grievous Angels or Sleepwalker, there's something even more pressing to explore.

Most recently, he’s been collaborating with Blaine Long, a Valley musician with a wealth of talent and charisma. A one-time contestant on television's "The Voice," Long, like Rauhouse, has diligently been carving out a living and career making records here in Phoenix. Together, though, they have made a record. "One Day Will Never Come Back" (Fort Lowell Records) will assuredly be remembered as the finest record to come out of Arizona in 2023.

That’s no shade towards any of the other worthy candidates for this type of accolade, but it’s true. "One Day Will Never Come Back" is only seven tracks and clocks in at less than half an hour, but within these songs, is a love letter from Long and Rauhouse to life in all its glory and pain. If countrified Americana with a tremendous groove and even bigger heart is your thing, "One Day Will Never Come Back" is a perfect record for you.

In fact, on Sunday, Feb. 18, you can hear it for yourself. Long and Rauhouse, as well as some talented friends, will play the record live at The Dirty Drummer in Phoenix at 2 p.m. That’s right, a matinee show, with another of Rauhouse’s outfits, The Sunpunchers, opening up. It’s also free, so there's no excuse to miss it.

To sit and talk with these gentlemen is a distinct pleasure. What you'll find is a friendship based on respect and admiration, but also drive. The kinetic force of their will is palpable, and they often complete each other’s sentences. It’s no wonder they made such a special record.

The two met when Long reached out to Rauhouse to do a New Year’s gig at Tarbell’s in the days before COVID hit.

“I’ve been playing shows forever here and he’s been playing shows forever here. (Long) had done something huge. He had gotten on 'The Voice,' so I knew his name. There was a whole undercurrent of everyone knowing who he was because in music because he had done that. For musicians, that’s a huge grab. I don’t know if it helps that much, but it makes the world think it does,” Rauhouse says.

“I was in the scene, but I wasn’t in the scene. His name was a name, like the upper echelon. They’re the guys. I was scared of him,” Long adds.

The connection gelled, though, from playing some gigs together and talking about what else they could do. During the early days of the pandemic, Rauhouse chose to play it safe and stay close to home due to his considerable health concerns, and the two songwriters forged their friendship and collaborative partnership.

Long and Rauhouse began hosting their podcast, "The Musician’s Guide To Everything," in April 2021. You can find episodes here, if so inclined, to get an inside look at various aspects of musicians' lives and the music world. For Rauhouse, the work with Long was helpful in sustaining his health.

“It was very helpful. The last think I had done with Neko (Case, who Rauhouse has toured and recorded with for over a decade) was a tour cycle we finished in March (2020). We had several tours booked after March that got shitcanned. Because I got so sick, I couldn’t go on tour. Being able to play with Blaine … we get along really well. He’s a great songwriter with really good sensibilities. It was just easy and a no-brainer,” Rauhouse says.

For Long, it was breath of fresh air, as well. After being on "The Voice," things got a little crazy for him.

“I was getting bullshit offers, weird stuff, because of 'The Voice.' To come through the storm of that stuff and band members … everything got really ugly and wild, but everything got settled (with Rauhouse). We were friends who played music together. It was really nice,” says Long, who had one prospective bandmate ask him for $20,000 thinking being on "The Voice" had made him rich.

The perspective Rauhouse and Long bring to "One Day Will Never Come Back" is refreshing. While the subject matter is not always the happiest, the overall tone of the record is one of hope and triumph. The collaboration between Long and Rauhouse really does seem to be one of comfort and openness, which can be difficult in the music world due to egos and agendas driven by the thirst for fame. But there's none of that here.

Long and Rauhouse assembled a veritable all-star team to bring "One Day Will Never Come Back" to life at Darren Baum's Phoenix studio, Sonic Piranha. Longtime Rauhouse compatriots Lindsay Cates (bass/vocals) and Megyn Neff (violin/viola), as well as Rachel Flotard of Visqueen join in here, as well as some truly awesome contributions by drummer Frank Rowland, and Emily Hunt (cello) on multiple tracks.

“Nothing Lasts Forever” opens the record, and it’s just classic Rauhouse. The guitars carry the listener as if on a cloud. Before you know it, though, you are right into “Jerome,” which features some excellent work by Mitski’s Ty Bailie on the Hammond B3 organ and Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin on saxophone.

“I’d worked with Steve Berlin on a couple of projects he was producing, so I knew him. I had been thinking about (him), and another friend called and said, ‘Steve Berlin says hi.’ I was like, ‘Oh, this is synchronicity. Tell him I have a couple songs I want him to play on,’ and he said, ‘I’ll do it.’ So, that’s how that happened,” Rauhouse says.

“Jerome” also boasts some excellent backing vocals from Betsy Ganz, Raquel Denis and Paula Tesoriero. Local fans will recognize those names from groups like The Sunpunchers and Paula T & Company, as well as acclaimed solo work. The song is truly soulful and the vocal harmonies blend wonderfully with Long’s distinctly rich voice and Berlin’s saxophone blasts.

Bailie’s work on the Hammond B3 is also pretty darn fantastic. It’s hard to pick the best track on "One Day Will Never Come Back," but “Jerome” is one of those songs that should be on every radio, everywhere if people still listened to the radio like they did in the days “Jerome” evokes.

Jesse Valenzuela of Gin Blossoms’ fame contributes a guitar track on “Pretty Love Song.” Valenzuela’s solo fits the track perfectly, and Gin Blossoms fans will recognize his deft touch. For Long and Rauhouse, it was a treat to have him join the studio fun.

“It was two passes, see you later, and they were both perfect,” Rauhouse says with a twinkle in his eye.

“It was just cool. Good music wins. The best thing on that song is that we didn’t ask him to do the solo. In my head, I was thinking, ‘Do you want to do the solo?’ but I was just grateful to have him on it and he asked, ‘Do you want me to do the solo?’ and he went at it twice … I think that's my favorite,” Long says.

With friends like these and a strong partnership, there's no telling what Long and Rauhouse can accomplish. As the album title implies, there's really no point in looking toward the past. It is comforting to know these two men are looking steadfastly at what is coming next. And there's something truly poetic about two friends making great music for the rest of us to enjoy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Dead Cool + Tracy Shedd at Bourgie Nights in Wilmington NC Saturday, February 24th


From the coastal charm of Wilmington, North Carolina emerges intriguing electronic duo, Dead Cool. Their namesake, drawn from a Chrome Cranks number, resonates with the unique chemistry of Johnny's multifaceted vocal, synthesizer, and guitar prowess, coupled with Angela Yeagher's bass rhythms and harmonizing vocals. Infused with the evocative notes of darkwave, post-punk, and synthpop, Dead Cool's musical offerings, established since 2020, have been garnering an enthusiastic following both domestically and internationally.

Tracy Shedd is an indie rock musician who has released six studio albums with Teen-Beat, New Granada Records, Devil In The Woods, Science Project Records, and Fort Lowell Records, licensed music to Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, The Fosters, and “The Rebound” (ft. Catherine Zeta-Jones), performed at CBGB, The Florida Theatre, plus festivals such as CMJ and SXSW, and has shared the stage with Cyndi Lauper, Cat Power, Iron & Wine, The Magnetic Fields, and David J (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets); not to mention Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth sat in on drums for her during a US tour. In this current era following her time spent performing under the name Band & The Beat, Tracy Shedd has been and continues to focus on releasing individual tracks through Fort Lowell Records as digital singles and on various compilation albums.

Monday, February 12, 2024

'Never gonna get back to normal': Cancer halted his touring. But he's not done making music

[Repost from AZCentral; by Ed Masley, February 8, 2024]

Jon Rauhouse had been hoping to get back out on the road with Neko Case in 2024.

The multi-instrumentalist from Phoenix has played steel guitar, banjo and more in Case’s touring band for more than 20 years, but had to pull out of a summer tour in 2021 while undergoing treatment for the prostate cancer he’d been diagnosed with earlier that year.

When he agreed to the tour set to launch on March 13 in Missoula, Montana, he was “feeling really good,” he says. “And then the bottom dropped out of my adrenal glands.”

Those glands “control your heart rate, your blood pressure, your temperature, your digestion, all this stuff,” he says. “It was, like, literally killing me. Now, I'm OK. I take one pill in the morning, one in the afternoon. I get through it, go to sleep and do the same thing the next day. I'm gonna have to do it forever. So I won’t be able to get back to touring with Neko.”

The pills have helped a lot, he says, but not enough to put his body or his bandmates through another tour.

“I have to take these weird pills twice a day and they have all these side effects and I just can't do it,” he says. “Not on a tour bus. I can still do shows. I'm playing in the Sunpunchers. I'm playing with Blaine Long. I'm playing with Norm Pratt, doing a bunch of studio stuff. I'm making more records. But I'm never gonna get back to the normal of what my life was.”

When Rauhouse said he couldn’t do the tour this year, Case volunteered to build a tour around him.

“She said, 'Look, I'll tell you what. We'll do a short tour that starts in Phoenix, you do as much as you can and then go home when you can't,’” he says. “I think she missed me. I know I miss her.”

Rauhouse has been keeping busy on the music front

That tour isn't happening, but Rauhouse has been doing all he can to get back to some semblance of the life he knew and loved before cancer made so much of what he used to do impossible.

“I have really good days,” Rauhouse says, “and really bad days.”

Last year, Rauhouse recorded a great new album with Long titled “One Day Will Never Come Back," released by Fort Lowell Records in November 2023. He and Long will be playing selections from that album with a 10-piece band in a special matinee performance at the Dirty Drummer on Sunday, Feb. 18.

In January, he recorded eight songs with the other members of Sleepwalker, a band he used to play with in the ‘90s.

Neko Case is tracking part of her next album with Rauhouse in Phoenix

And Case says she’s planning on coming to Phoenix before the tour starts with recording engineer Jeff Gallagher to track Rauhouse’s parts for her next album.

“She's like, 'I'll just have Jeff come in and set up his recording rig with some good mics in your living room and do it,'" Rauhouse says.

"I'm like, 'That'd be great with me. I’ll play in my pajamas.' That's better than sending me to Vermont and getting a hotel room, renting a car and all that stuff. So it's working out. It's just all different. And I do feel guilty that people are making concessions.”

Rauhouse may not be on the open road, but his music is going international

The normal life he once enjoyed included tours with not just Case but Jakob Dylan, Billy Bob Thornton and Iron & Wine with Ben Bridwell.

In addition to playing on albums by Case, Thornton’s Boxmasters, Calexico, Dr. Dog, K.T. Tunstall, the Old 97's and Giant Sand, he's done several albums of his own since he started playing steel guitar in the late ‘70s.

He’s still doing session work. He’s just doing most of it out of Sonic Piranha in the Coronado neighborhood of Phoenix.

“I have a buddy of mine who's a producer out of New York,” Rauhouse says. “Every three or four months, he calls and has some project he wants steel on. So I do it at Sonic Piranha and mail it off to him.”

He’s been doing the same thing with his friend Jim Kaufman, a Phoenix-born producer now residing in Los Angeles.

“He had some country guy from England that ended up with a No. 1 song in Australia, No. 2 song in the U.K., big in Japan on one of the songs I did,” he says. “So that was really cool.”

Recording an album with Blaine Long was 'a great experience'

He’s especially proud of the album he and Long recorded after raising nearly $6,000 in an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

That allowed them to cover the studio time and assemble a stellar assortment of backing musicians, from Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and Rachel Flotard of Visqueen to Jesse Valenzuela of Gin Blossoms, Mitski organist Ty Bailie, and Lindsay Cates and Megyn Neff, who play with Rauhouse in the Sunpunchers.

“It felt really good to just go, ‘OK, this is what we're gonna do and this is how we're gonna do it,” Rauhouse says. “And it was such a great experience. I didn't feel the need to have anybody who wasn't pleasant on the record.”

Long, a singer-songwriter who famously appeared on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2016, has been playing with Rauhouse for four or five years.

“Maybe two years before COVID, just out of the blue, he contacted me on Facebook Messenger and said, 'Hey, I'm doing a New Year's Eve show at Tarbell's. You want to play?'” Rauhouse says. “We did it, had a blast, and I've been playing with him ever since.”

They even started their own podcast, the Musician’s Guide to Everything, with guests including Thornton, Case and Jakob Dylan.

The music on “One Day Will Never Come Back” is a true collaboration, with Rauhouse producing songs they wrote together at Sonic Piranha.

“A lot of it was his meat and I just put some seasoning on it,” Rauhouse says. “But ‘One Day Will Never Come Back,' I wrote that one and he seasoned it a little bit for me. And then he wrote the instrumental because I'm the instrumental guy."

Rauhouse is also recording a solo album of steel guitar instrumentals

Rauhouse says he’s also working on a solo album of steel guitar instrumentals, much of it based of recordings he’s stored on his phone.

“When I come up with a riff, I'll just turn that note recorder on my phone on,” Rauhouse says. “I have (expletive) back to 2012 on there, so I was going through all that stuff and found four or five songs that are really good steel guitar songs. So I'm gonna do those and write a couple new ones.”

“I found the last song we were working on,” he says. “I didn't realize we’d run the whole thing, just me and him, on the phone. It’s two guitars doing harmony picking, like Speedy (West) and Jimmy (Bryant). It's not steel guitar. It's two guitars. So I took it to Sonic and had him sweeten that up with EQs. Then I called Tommy's son and got him to play bass on it. And I got John Utter on drums.”

He’s doing his best to release all the music he can.

Releasing new music and 'counting time'

“I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I feel like I'm counting time here until the end,” he says.

“I don't know that. They're not telling me that. But I don't have a great diagnosis. I'm fine. I just feel like I need to get these things out, for some sort of twisted reason that the cosmos might care. But I don't think the cosmos will care.”

Beyond just documenting his ideas for the cosmos, making music gets him through the tendency to let the darkness get the best of him at times.

“It helps a lot,” he says. “And if it's with other people, it helps even more, because I've come to realize I can sit and noodle and do all this stuff by myself, but it's not near as fun as just having one other person there to bounce stuff off of — you know, trade ideas and stuff like that.”

How to see the Jon Rauhouse and Blaine Long release show

When: 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18.

Where: The Dirty Drummer, 2303 N. 44th St., Phoenix, Arizona

Admission: Free.

Details: 602-840-2726,