The latest release from Fort Lowell Records
, the vinyl-focused label founded in Tucson in 2010, is out this week and it’s a new project from a couple of familiar faces.
Band & The Beat
is a synth-pop duo of singer Tracy Shedd and her husband James Tritten, who lived in Tucson for seven years before moving to North Carolina in 2013.
Shedd’s 2008 Cigarettes & Smoke Machines
and it’s follow up, 2013’s Arizona
were recorded in Tucson at WaveLab Studio and Fort Lowell Records, which sprang from Tritten’s love of vinyl records, put out singles from local bands such as Young Mothers, Dead Western Plains, Andrew Collberg and Howe Gelb.
The label’s first full-length album was the tribute record Luz de Vida: A Compilation to Benefit the Victims of the Tucson Tragedy
. LPs from Saint Maybe
, La Cerca
and Naïm Amor
would follow, with the label committed to Tucson bands even after Tritten and Shedd relocated to Raleigh.
It was in Tucson that Shedd and Tritten began moving from a full band arrangement to playing as a duo, first using an iPhone drum machine with electric guitars and then performing as a stripped-down acoustic duo. The new project came about as Shedd and Tritten were just jamming at home.
“We were just having fun down in our basement, messing around with some stuff, just trying to create some different sounds with her electric piano,” Tritten says. “On a Saturday afternoon, we’d been messing with it all day long and we just weren’t happy with the sound, so at 8 at night I got frustrated and went on Craigslist and typed in the word ‘synthesizer.’ I knew the sound I was trying to get out was basically a synthesized sound and by 10 that night we bought an analog synthesizer. We stayed up playing music literally all through the night.”
The two-song digital 45 from Band & The Beat is a shift away from both the electric-guitar indie rock and the acoustic Arizona
, with analog drum machine and Tritten and Shedd both trading in guitars for synthesizers.
“We didn’t want to make a Tracy Shedd record that was all of a sudden a synth-pop record, so we decided to give the project it’s own name,” Tritten says. “Tracy has played piano her whole life, but she’s been learning how to program synthesizers and make the sounds she wants. I understood a little about how to program them, but I never personally played keyboards before.”
And though the “21 / Buoy” single, the 16th release from Fort Lowell Records, is limited to digital at this point, Tritten wants to return to the label’s origins and press a 7-inch record as well.
“We would love to put it on vinyl. I’m hoping to at some point,” he says. “But we were so excited about this project and we both liked it so much that we didn’t want to wait. It’s very easy for us with Fort Lowell to put it out as fast as possible.”
In the meantime, Tritten says, look for more digital 45s from Band & The Beat. You can buy the newest release by visiting the label's Bandcamp page