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WHAT IS SECRETLY SOCIETY?

Secretly Society is our spin on a classic idea - the record club. The pitch is simple. One record, in an exclusive, Secretly Society vinyl color, shipped to your door every month. Oh yeah, and shipping is included. find out more.

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October's Secretly Society Album

Jamila Woods

HEAVN
Label: Jagjaguwar

October 2017 Secretly Society release on Clear and Purple splatter vinyl.

Jamila Woods surrounds herself with the things she loves, things like Lucille Clifton’s poetry or letters from her grandmother or the late 80s post-punk of The Cure. “It’s just powerful to me to know the lineage and influences going into the making of the song,” Jamila says. That lineage–fragments of her life and loves–helped structure the progressive, delicate and minimalist soul of HEAVN, her debut solo album released in the summer of 2016. “It’s like a collage process,” she says. “It’s very enjoyable to me to take something I love and mold it into something new.”

A frequent guest vocalist in the hip-hop, jazz and soul world, Jamila has emerged as a once-in-a-generation voice on her soul-stirring debut. Hailed by Pitchfork as, “a singular mix of clear-eyed optimism and Black girl magic,” HEAVN is the culmination of more than two decades’ worth of musical performances, creative remixing, haunted memories and her unique “collage” writing process. “I think of songs as physical spaces,” Jamila says. “Writing a song feels like decorating my space with things that make me happy or reflect who I am.”

The message of HEAVN, the album, and Jamila, the musician and poet, are clear: all parts strengthen the whole. Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Woods grew up in a family of music lovers. She was a member of her grandmother’s church choir as well as the Chicago Children’s Choir and often sat next to her parents’ speakers, singing along to their sizeable music collection while surrounding herself with things she admired.

But it took a surprise poetry class with the high school arts program Gallery 37 for Jamila to finally find her metaphorical and literal voice. “Through poetry, I realized you are the expert of your own experience,” she says. “You can tell your story the best and no one else can tell it for you. You can focus on what you lack, comparing yourself to other people, or you can focus on what you can do right now with your voice.”

Her interest in poetry grew with age, taking her to Brown University, where she often participated in open mics. But music still lingered in the background even if she wasn’t necessarily confident of her skills. “I definitely always wanted to be a performer or be a singer,” Jamila said. “I always had that in my mind, but I didn’t think I had the voice of a solo artist.” She joined the acapella group Shades of Brown where she learned how to arrange music for her peers. It became a skill she later utilized when crafting her own songs. “I thought about the parts everyone would sing and that really influenced the way I started to write songs,” she offers.

Music–like poetry– is personal, she says: “It became a way to stop hiding, to actually be the most honest with myself through writing. It helps me check in with myself.” And that honesty translated to HEAVN, an album she describes as a collection of, “nontraditional love songs pushing the idea of what makes a love song.” Here, you’ll find the bits and pieces of her past and present that make Jamila: family, the city of Chicago, self-care, the black women she calls friends.

In 2016, Chicago-based hip-hop label Closed Sessions released HEAVN. Working with Closed Sessions gave Jamila a home to help craft a complete, singular body of work. “That’s been the coolest thing,” she says. “Just being connected with so many people in Chicago. I like that they’re local.”

HEAVN features a variety of producers, including oddCouple, a fellow Closed Sessions signee who produced five of the album’s 12 tracks. “Working with oddCouple was when I really started thinking of [HEAVN] as an album,” she adds. Other producers on the album include Peter Cottontale and even Jamila’s sister. In 2017, Jamila partners with Jagjaguwar and Closed Sessions to re-release the critically-acclaimed HEAVN.

On the album’s title track, which samples the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” Jamila explores how black people’s history influences their ability to love each other. “How do we love in our current situation, with the everyday violences we have to endure?” she asks. “Holy” connects to Jamila’s life growing up in church, sampling a gospel song and utilizing a psalm structure to talk about self love. “In church, there was a lot of emphasis on love–like love your neighbor, love God–but not self love,” she says. “When I wrote ‘Holy,’ I wanted to remember to take care of myself. It was an affirmation mantra for me.”

Elsewhere, Jamila plays with contrast to tell a bigger story. On “VRY BLK,” she uses black girl hand clap games to talk about police brutality. “It might sound innocent, but it’s really not,” Jamila says. “BLK Girl Soldier,” a song Jamila describes as a partner to “VRY BLK,” focuses on solidarity. “It’s very prideful,” Jamila says. “I’m talking about this violence that happens, but not staying in a place of feeling victimized.”

Jamila is an artist of substance. Her music, crafted with a sturdy foundation of her passions and influences, gets to the heart of things. True and pure in its construction and execution, it is also the best representation of Jamila herself: strong in her roots, confident in her ideas, and attuned to the people, places and things shaping her world.
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November's Secretly Society Album

Alex Lahey

I Love You Like A Brother
Label: Dead Oceans

November 2017 Secretly Society release on peach vinyl.

“I’m just some random from Melbourne.”

Alex Lahey likes to keep it real. The 24-year-old Australian musician takes her rise up the ranks from music student to ‘an artist with one of the most highly anticipated debut albums of 2017’ in her stride.

Lahey sees her life as ordinary: “I fall in love, I have a family, I go out with my friends, I like to have a drink.” However, most people can’t distil those universal experiences into wry, punchy indie-rock songs - three minute odes to millennial angst and all the complicated feelings that come with it. Alex Lahey can. ‘Love You Like A Brother’ is proof.

Born and raised in Melbourne, Lahey initially studied jazz saxophone at university but unimpressed with “learning music in such a regimented way” she switched to an arts degree (see her ‘B-Grade University’ EP for more details). Her tenure with cult music collective Animaux allowed Lahey the musical anarchy she yearned - hell, she booked the band their first gig before they’d even prepared a single song.

Lahey stepped out on her own once she began to write songs that didn’t fit Animaux’s party space. Songs that were inspired the two people she considers the greatest songwriters of all time, Dolly Parton and Bruce Springsteen. Songs that got her noticed at a local industry conference and scored her a solo management deal. Lahey had graduated.

The ‘Love You Like A Brother’ album drops fresh off the back of Lahey’s breakthrough in 2016. Last year her ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’ single was inescapable and landed her a spot in Australian radio network triple j’s prestigious Hottest 100 of 2016. The song’s universal tale of rejection took Lahey global - its message, she says, is the flipside of the usual break-up scenario: “Yeah, you’re right. It’s not me. It IS you.”

And that no-shit-taken attitude is the backbone of ‘Love You Like A Brother’. From the stomping title track ‘Brother’ to the gently moving ‘Money’, Lahey’s debut long-player tells it like it is.

The album found Lahey back in the studio with production partner, and one-half of Holy Holy, Oscar Dawson (Ali Barter, British India). The pair pushed each other to create an intimate sonic experience that comprises scuzzy guitars thrumming over pop melodies, helmed by Lahey’s unfussy but arresting vocals.

The album’s songs traverse the everyday themes of family, heartbreak and identity. Lacey tells her stories with character… and dry humour – “I’ve figured it out,” she sings in ‘Awkward Exchange’, “you’re a bit of a dick” – but there are also moments of darkness. In ‘Taking Care’ she muses, “I’ve gained weight and I drink too much, maybe that’s why you don’t love me as much.”

‘Taking Care’ was written after Alex had an eye-opening conversation with her mother. “I was seeing someone who I knew wasn’t treating me well, and chose to ignore it, and I think my mum had picked up on it as well. She just said to me at the end of the conversation, ‘Alexandra, whatever you do, just make sure that you take care of yourself’.”

The poignant ‘Backpack’ is a tribute to Lahey’s latest relationship, and the unsure start it got off to. “When we first started going out, they warned me about how they’re really flighty, and I was like, ‘I just want you to stay. And I don’t know if you are.’ It’s just saying it’s hard to hold someone down if they’re always thinking about the next place that they’re going to. It’s hard to give someone a hug when they’re walking away. And sometimes it’s good to chase them down and be like, ‘Hey, I’m here.’”

And, in case the album’s title hadn’t given it away already, there’s a track for her brother too. “We don’t get a choice/So let’s stick together,” screams Lahey in ‘Brother’. That angsty love you’re hearing is easily explained by Lahey, “My brother and I clashed for a long time, and then all of a sudden as adults, we’re really close. I feel like this song is my gift to him.”

The themes of Alex Lahey’s album might be universal, but it’s the unique approach she takes unpacking them that’s earned her millions of Spotify streams, buzz-worthy showcases at SXSW and festival sets alongside the likes of Flume, The Kills, At The Drive-In and James Blake as well as guesting on tours with Catfish & The Bottlemen, Tegan & Sara and Blondie.
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Member's Only

Secretly Society members gain access to these limited-edition items…and many more


WHAT IS SECRETLY SOCIETY?

The record club reinvented

Secretly Society is our spin on a classic idea - the record club. The pitch is simple. One record, in an exclusive, Secretly Society vinyl color, shipped to your door every month. Oh yeah, and shipping is included.

IS IT REALLY THAT SIMPLE?

Yes. Yes it is.

WHAT RECORDS WILL I GET?

Expect a mix of new artists, established vets, and important represses from our extensive Secretly Group back catalog, featuring the best of Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, and Secretly Canadian. See the already-announced albums above!

WHAT IF I HATE THIS MONTH'S ALBUM?

Yikes! Hate seems a bit strong. We would recommend you at least give it another, fresh listen. If you are absolutely sure you'll hate it, that's totally fine. We offer an opportunity to "Skip" a month's album and go to the next one. You get 1 Skip every 6 months, so use it wisely. To use your Skip email us at society@secretlystore.com.

WHEN DO I GET MY RECORDS?

Great question. You receive your first album the month after you join, as soon as the calendar flips. So, no matter whether you sign up on September 1st or September 30th, the first record you receive will be in October. Shortly after subscriptions close on the 1st of the month, we begin shipping that month’s albums, and we'll usually be able to send out all Secretly Society shipments in the first full week of a given month. All of that adds up to US customers receiving their records in the second week of the month and international customers in the third or fourth week. We understand that the Secretly Society timeline doesn't always play nicely with album release dates, so feel free to hit us up with questions at society@secretlystore.com.

LET'S TALK MONEY.

Definitely. Here's how it works: you pay for the entire subscription up front, one time, shipping included. Cool, right? Then you have until your subscription ends to cancel your plan or it will auto-renew for another period. So, if you signed up for a 3 month subscription on August 15th, you have until November 15th to decline to renew your membership. Otherwise, we assume you're loving Secretly Society and want to continue.

OK, WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

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