Fort Lowell Records presents GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

"Moved by the horrific Memorial Day murder of George Perry Floyd Jr. at the hands of four Minneapolis Police officers, Fort Lowell Records presents GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter. The project, focused on Wilmington, North Carolina, is a response to the racial injustice continuously displayed by law enforcement across the United States of America.  Friends of the formerly Tucson, Arizona-based label involved with GROW have donated their own talents to allow 100% of the sales from the record to endow the New Hanover County NAACP with working capital to help Fort Lowell’s newly adopted local community.  GROW is an effort to help address the dire effects of racism in America." - Fort Lowell Records

So, one of the great things that has come out of the societal upheaval wrapped around the persistent systemic racism in the form of police brutality has been the proverbial artist “circling the wagons” around art’s most vulnerable and marginalized groups. Collectives, collaborations and compilation have been a marked bright spot in an otherwise dark overcast sky that is 2020.

I myself have been apart a few in almost every capacity that isn’t being a musician. There is no denying how important, at least to me, it is to see all walks of life and genres create and donate in the name of this cause. That energy, from the perspective of an African American man, is something that’s not only needed but immensely appreciated.

Listening to Fort Lowell Records effort, GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter only reaffirms that appreciation.

Now all things being honest, as you get to know me as a writer and music reviewer, I am both blunt, honest and unbiased when it comes to listening and critiquing music or artist regardless of what it’s for. That said, this might be the first compilation, in a list that includes my own efforts, that I happen liked EVERY song on.

Top to bottom it is clear that there is an abundance of talented musicians in Wilmington, NC that you need to know and listen to ASAP.

That said there are some legitimate bands that you should seek out and give more than one listen to. They, at least for me, carry so much of this album that make it a “whole album” if that makes sense.

These are my Standouts:

Kicking Bird - What would all the Other Girls Say (If They Knew What I Was Doing)

Honestly one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s an entire vibe that makes me think of The Cardigans, Two Door Cinema club and Silversun Pickups with a 60’s froth that I want swim through. If I hear anything that even stands under the same roof as those aforementioned three bands, it has my automatic and undivided attention.

The Love Language - Throwing Darts

Weezer vibes all around but “Pinkerton” Weezer with better guitar playing, an airy sound and superb use of synth that seems to be well ahead of what Weezer was at that time. I feel like they, however, captured the Cali sound way before Rivers milked it for everything it was worth. No complaints here about that though. If you don’t hear, see or smell the Pacific Coast highway while driving in a drop top while listening to this, I question how well your brain works. Please do yourself a favor and look them up, their 2013 album “Libraries” might be the best album I never heard before.

Sean Thomas Gerard - Strange & Electrifying

As a filmmaker, screenwriter and music supervisor, I take great pride in how I pick music to be used in projects. It always helps when a song can build a visual for me. “Strange & Electrifying screams rom com in the most enjoyable way possible, it’s a music lucid dream honestly that has been stuck in my head for a few days now. This is a guy who has a great understand of what he can do in the studio which is harder to find among indie artist. I’m definitely going to sit through his discography and see what I have been missing.

Lauds - Don’t Mind 

They are probably the best band on the compilation. I have zero clue what rock I have been living under that I haven’t heard of these guys. I’m fairly certain i went and followed them on what little social media I could find from them. The opening guitar melodies and over all dream pop sound makes me automatically feel like they are an indie, not as polished, not as over produced (which is awesome) Snow Patrol. It just automatically makes you bop your head and want to know more about what they are doing and just how good the music in Wilmington, North Carolina is.

Fort Lowell Records

- KL Martin, BMN Contributor

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