Beasts of Seasons Sweeps NPR’s Best of 2009!


There was only one album that all three NPR Music producers agreed on for their top 10 list: Laura Gibson’s Beasts of Seasons. Here’s to the incredible staying power of a quiet record released in February. Get your copy here!

(#4) A slow-motion and passionate record, Beasts of Seasons asks a good deal from the listener. It takes time to dive into the world created by Laura Gibson and her collaborators, who include producer Tucker Martine and multi-instrumentalist Cory Gray. There’s a sad, ghostly tension in many of her songs; a languid beauty that feels as close to meditation as I may ever reach. I put this record in the same category as star-gazing. – Bob Boilen

(#5) Beasts of Seasons opens with a creeping, slow bloom of feedback and static. If it’s the sonic equivalent of darkness and what may be lurking there, then Laura Gibson‘s fragile voice and plaintively strummed guitar soon emerge as a flicker of light. It’s a mesmerizing contrast, as the curtain rises for Gibson’s arresting meditations on life and death. Producer Tucker Martine flawlessly executes this balancing act, pairing the beautiful with the gloomy to create a mysterious world of curiosities. – Robin Hilton

(#8) Laura Gibson seems to sing down into her own lungs, so quiet and delicate is her singing voice, but Beasts of Seasons isn’t as unassuming as it might seem at first. Split into two sides — marked “Communion Songs” and “Funeral Songs” — the album understandably divides its time between grieving and rejoicing, but it never radically deviates from elegant, impeccably arranged uneasiness. For all its muted grace, Beasts of Seasons isn’t afraid to pack a wallop into a whisper, as in “Where Have All Your Good Words Gone,” in which Gibson gently twists the knife: “Do you wish you were an honest man? Do you wish you were a better man?” – Stephen Thompson

Loch Lomond Daytrotter Session.

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond’s daytrotter session finds the light of day, and it’s a dandy. Do yourself a favor and visit Daytrotter to download it and many more.

  1. Blue Lead Fences – original version appears on Blue Lead Fences 7″. This is this first song I wrote on the violin. I play the violin like a mandolin because I have no skills when it comes to bowing. The song itself is themed after my childhood in which I truly thought I could fly, was as close to a dictator as any modern day eight-year-old could be. I was leading, in a small Central Oregon town, a group of children like an army willing to sacrifice themselves for their fearless leader. That all changed when they became self-aware and rebelled against my iron fist domination over them. The highs and lows of being a child dictator.
  2. Ghost Of An Earthwormoriginal version appears on Night Bats. Many of the Loch Lomond songs are based on my dreams. I had a dream that I was a giant earthworm in India and lived there for many millennia. I swallowed a human skeleton and found that I was able to walk the earth undetected by the human race. I walked and walked the earth searching for someone like me. A love song of sorts.
  3. Spine – original version appears on Night Bats. Spine is very simply an anti love song about betrayal, murder and revenge.
  4. Egg Song – unreleased. This song is based on isolating, blaming others and denial of own problems and how that can destroy you. It is about being self-aware and humble. A grown up-themed children song.

Loch Lomond’s Ritchie Young: Wax On Max

On the topic of live performance in unexpected contexts:  here we have Ritchie Young entertaining public transit-goers on Portland’s semi-iconic MAX train performing “Wax And Wire” from the stellar Night Bats EP.


The trend of impromptu musical performances in ‘street’ contexts captured on video may have started in the old country but Portland’s Penny Jam and San Fran’s upstart Left | Right Hand and more recently Seattle’s with a hand from Chase Jarvis put their west coast spin on the concept. See Ritchie Young performing at an improvised dining event at Sand Point Naval Air Station, Seattle, WA.

Rauelsson on Disco Grande, RNE Radio 3.

Disco Grande with Julio Ruiz on Radio Nacional de España, Radio 3 is perhaps the Spanish equivalent of  The John Peel Show (BBC) or Nic Harcourt’s Morning Becomes Eclectic (KCRW). Ruiz, who has been hosting the show for 28 38 years (!), took time to interview Raúl last week for his mother country radio audience:

Con un café en la mano, a las siete de la mañana, hora de allá, contestó a nuestras preguntas a propósito de ese brillante trabajo, cantado en español, “La siembra, la espera y la cosecha”.

Rauelsson on Disco Grande (excerpted)