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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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August's Secretly Society Album

Alex Cameron

Forced Witness
Label: Secretly Canadian

September 2017 Secretly Society release on Clear and Blue splatter vinyl.

Bearing witness to the baroque clusterfuckery of the world is no longer voluntary. We are all forced to watch. Every possible catastrophe vibrates in our pockets, demanding to be witnessed. A busboy in Tulsa with a below average data plan now holds more of the world in his head than Alexander the Great. The human burden continues to increase and empathy begins to seem like something belonging to a nostalgic past, like a handwritten letter or sex on a train. The classic response to this predicament has been a figure of ironic detachment, a well-groomed young man drinking out of a red plastic cup at a rooftop party. He explains with a smirk why the good thing is actually bad, the bad thing actually good. But now Alex Cameron approaches with his righthand man, Roy Molloy. Cameron knocks the cup from the young man’s hand and Molloy threatens him with his life.

With 'Forced Witness', Cameron’s solution to the difficulties we face is a danceable and dangerous earnestness, a sense of honesty that heals and relieves even as it cleaves us or makes us laugh in self-defense. He’s offering vivid portraits of misfits’ views of the world, presented without illusion.. Recorded in Berlin in an old East German radio station and produced by Cameron along with Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, these tracks at first seem shamelessly entertaining, the driving rhythms and rousing melodies embellished at every turn by Molloy’s warm hornwork. But the love songs and anthems contain as much raw humanity as they do a savvy grasp of the impossible loneliness of the times, especially apparent in the song “Stranger’s Kiss” -- Cameron’s affecting duet with the American singer Angel Olsen. The defiantly bloody knuckles in “Runnin’ Outta Luck” and the grime of wet dreams in “Country Figs” occupy the same space as the great sadness of the internet in the catchy and contemplative song “True Lies,” in which Cameron sings about that buzzing hive of randomized sexuality where we can either submit to the stirrings in our own laps or let our fragile hopes catfish us. Alex Cameron details penultimate track “Marlon Brando” as “a character portrait, a study of a man in the hopeless pursuit of a woman. He is a familiar character in the world, a self-assured jock, a dullard, a low grade human who uses a specific kind of language when he finds a situation outside of his control. In examining this character, the song's lyrics present an honest, eye witness account of an angry man, a damning indictment of homophobia and misogyny and their genesis in toxic masculinity.”

If there is darkness in these songs, it is not because taboos can titillate but because Cameron knows that confession has a redeeming power and that people are often at their most vivid when their skies have fallen. These songs are alive with the rich detail of life lived and the radical distinctiveness of the stories they tell feel universal. In these chaotic times when we aren't able to look away, Cameron is offering us a pure account of the world as he's seen it.
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September'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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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?

You've come to the right place. Hit one of the orange buttons above to subscribe.