Now, eight months after Alex died of suicide, and on what would have been his 34th birthday, his friend Shawn Cooke has released AG Forever, a compilation of songs dedicated to Alex’s memory and in the spirit of sharing the music he loved so much with others. The album is full of some of his favorite artists, including some from Pittsburgh, and also includes a bookend of Alex’s own recordings. All proceeds from the album benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The album cover was designed by Alex’s City Paper colleague Abbie Adams, with direction from his friend Hannah Lynn, who penned his obituary for CP.
“Alex was known for taking long walks while listening to music, and Hannah suggested using that imagery for the cover art,” Adams says. “I incorporated paper for his love of reading and craft of writing, and think of Alex’s reflection in the water as the glimpses we have all caught of him in the past months.”
The first song on the compilation, “Ceiling Dreams of a Floor,” is from an album of cover songs Alex recorded in September 2020 of one of his favorite bands, No Age. (Two days after Alex’s death, the band discovered his music and tweeted out praise, unaware of his suicide.) The Los Angeles band submitted one of their own songs for AG Forever, “Untitled #5.”
Alex interviewed back in 2017, and North Carolina’s Matthew Lee Cothran.
And there are local favorites, too. Alex’s former CP colleague Gem Fair’s solo project Space Buns Forever’s “Roadside America” is a breathtaking centerpiece. There’s the beautiful vocals of Clara Kent with Bilal Abbey, as well as slowdanger, SPISH, and Roger Harvey. The last song on the album is another cover by Alex, “See You at the Top.”
“The first time I heard ‘See You at the Top,’ I knew it had to be the closer,” says Cooke. “It's the last song on his first score available on Bandcamp (Duplex), to kind of provide a wider range of his work. That one’s so evocative of his presence in a way that’s hard to explain — and sounded oddly hopeful to me.”
It’s the kind of compilation I know for sure Alex would have thrown on a Slack channel and typed, “Hey man, check this shit out.”