As someone who would like to think that every cloud has a silver lining, I’ve been appreciating all the work artists have been doing to raise money and awareness for Black Lives Matter and others across the country who need help. I’ve donated as much as I could while on the dole, and will get back to supporting those organizations in need when I get back into the workforce. I’ve also been impressed with artists ability to create in a time when it is very easy to get overwhelmed with all the darkness in the world.
I was alerted to a new compilation by Fort Lowell Records out of North Carolina a couple weeks ago. They’ve got a vinyl pressing coming out at the end of October, which you can pre-order GROW (as I just did), on Bandcamp. You can also buy the album digitally right now. The release features tracks from Merge artists The Rosebuds and The Love Language, award-winning writer John Jeremiah Sullivan’s former group Life Of Saturdays, and Sean Thomas Gerard (Onward, Soldiers) among others.
My interest was piqued because the comp includes a new song by Kicking Bird, North Carolina’s number one surf rock band to former/current/forever Chaperone superfan yours truly. They’re a thousand miles away, but Shaun and Shaylah will always have a spot deep in the center of my soul. “What Would All The Other Girls Say (If They Knew What I Was Doing)” sits right in the middle of the album and brings a completely different vibe with it.
The track is infused with a bubblegum garage sound that marries the doo-wop of the ’50s with the indie rock of the early 00’s. Shaylah’s vocals float on a river of reverb over the stunted guitar riff that opens the song. The chorus explodes with “oohs” colliding with handclaps that run into a lead guitar solo that’s been simmering under the current waiting to bubble up to the surface.
GROW is raising funds for the Hanover County NAACP. Fort Lowell Records is based in Wilmington, North Carolina and the funds will all go to helping the citizens in their neighborhoods. The area is no stranger to racial issues, and they’ve done their homework to highlight a few of the bigger issues that have faced the state. The 1898 Wilmington Massacre is one of many, many examples of white oppressors doing everything they can to stop black Americans from taking the smallest steps toward equality.
Of course, one needs not look too far into the past to find demonstrations of racial inequality. Perhaps the most openly racist and homophobic Senator of my lifetime, Jesse Helms, was a Senator from North Carolina for 30 years. He filibusterd against making Martin Luther King Day a federal holiday, and called the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the “most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the congress.” He voted against its extension in 1982. AND he was against naming Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court because he said she would support “a homosexual agenda.”
Republicans in North Carolina have been notorious, in recent years, for trying to rig elections through gerrymandering, even going so far as tampering with ballots in the 2018 elections. So, if there’s a state that needs help raising money for local organizations to fight against this attempt to suppress the vote and steal rights from people, please do what you can to lend a hand.