For the Love of Music

Fort Lowell Records 2013 Celebration, Borderlands Brewing Company, Friday, May 17

Following its tenth release this year, a single by Tucson shoegaze/dream pop act fairweatherfriend, Fort Lowell Records' James Tritten is throwing a two-venue, six-musical-act affair to celebrate a new stage in the label's history.

"This is a really important show for us, introducing the new wave of acts," Tritten remarked. "We had a first show that introduced the label (September 2010 at Sky Bar), a second showcase (in April 2011 at Club Congress) to introduce the California bands, now this. It's been two years since the last show, so I wanted people to feel there's something fresh happening."

Fort Lowell, essentially a one-man part-time operation for Tritten out of his midtown home, is still very much a labor of love dedicated to vinyl records (you can get the label's discography in various intangible digital forms, but not on CD) and Tucson music, even if future releases might reach even further outside the local area. "You might see some national releases on Fort Lowell in the future, although it's too early to say who yet," Tritten said, "but even taking the label in that direction, it'll still come back to Tucson."

Before the national acts roll in, the next release from Fort Lowell will come from a familiar name in Tucson music, La Cerca, who will perform during the Solar Culture portion of the event, along with their predecessor in the discography, fairweatherfriend, which will be playing their first live shows that night (acoustic at Borderlands, electric at Solar Culture). Local supergroup (and the only act to get a full-length release to themselves on Fort Lowell) Saint Maybe will headline the main stage at Solar Culture, with Tracy Shedd and Andrew Collberg (both also label alumni) playing a more intimate singer/songwriter stage up front at the venue that night.

Shedd, who is currently working on a new album (which will apparently include a Sonic Youth cover featuring Giant Sand frontman Howe Gelb according to Facebook) set to be released this fall, will also DJ at Borderlands as part of the first part of the night, along with Paul Jenkins of electronic-influenced pop act video? Not surprisingly, based on the label's aesthetic, both will be working two turntables playing actual records, not simply cueing tracks off a laptop. Via email, Shedd provided a preview of her set, mentioning indie pop stalwarts like Belle & Sebastian, Wild Nothing and Camera Obscura: "I love to DJ and this is one of my favorite spots in town, so get your dancing shoes on, Tucson." The Borderlands event will also feature a "happy hour" two-for-one sale on the label's catalog (minus the sold out release from Young Mothers) from 6 to 7 p.m.

Joining Tritten in his championing of the once-thought-dead medium of vinyl at the label's celebration will be representatives of the website The Vinyl Scout (, which champions interesting and unique releases on wax. "I know Lela Chavis (one of the site's two operators, along with Jarryd Thomas) from her days at Zia on Oracle," said Tritten, "she's a big fan of music and a big fan of vinyl. We have parallel interests in music and culture, so it made sense to present the show with them."