2009 has been a banner year for Portland’s Loch Lomond, punctuated with triumph, tumult, and above all, artistic growth. Night Bats, the band’s first physical release since the much-loved Paper The Walls full-length and the follow up to their digital-only Trumpets for Paper Children EP, captures Loch Lomond at a unique and singularly brilliant time in their evolution as an undeniably powerful creative unit.
Having toured extensively this year with The Decemberists and Blitzen Trapper (among others), Loch Lomond now emphasizes in its new recorded output a directness and sharp pop sensibility that was only hinted at previously. Lead track “The Ghost of an Earthworm” is a shimmery, hooky gem devoid of much of the chamber instrumentation that peppers most of Loch Lomond’s catalog (here, replaced with bright electric rhythms, making it perhaps the most straightforward song the band has ever recorded); they even cover the Bee Gees’ “Holiday”(from Bee Gees 1st). “Spine (MMIX)”is a dramatically different reading of one of singer Ritchie Young’s most-loved songs, highlighting the band’s musical muscularity.
Title track “Night Bats” is as expansive as it is arresting, and is, along with “Ghost of an Earthworm”, one of the most shining examples of Young’s exemplary ability to tell bizarre, often allegorical stories with stunning dry wit and biting precision. “Wax and Wire” is, simply, quite possibly the richest and most jaw-dropping track Loch Lomond has put to tape.
Masterfully mixed by producer-to-the-stars Tucker Martine (REM, Sufjan Stephens, Laura Viers), produced by the entire band collaboratively and recorded/engineered at Mystery Machine studios by Lee Howard (Nick Jaina, Run On Sentence), Night Bats showcases Loch Lomond at their strongest.
Ghost Of An Earthworm
Wax & Wire
A Cave, A Canoo will mark Shortâ€™s third release on Hush Records. Captain Wild Horse (rides the heart of tomorrow) was released in Chicago in 2006, Water For The Day in 2008.
A Cave, A Canoo was produced by Short and Alexis Gideon and was recorded at Liophant Studios by Alexis Gideon, with some finishing touches done by Adam Selzer at Type Foundry Studios. The album was written and recorded over the period of a year, and its depth of sound reflects the wealth of time spent in its making. There was little to no pressure — be it financial or emotional — in its composition, allowing Short to focus her attention on the detail and nuance in each song. As a whole, the record is crafted with an interwoven, almost circular, approach, allowing the songs to slowly stretch out and find their home. Some songs took weeks to mull over and define while others represent first takes, captured at two in the morning.
â€œI was able to assemble and record the songs like writing a short story on a chalk board with a big eraser in hand, or like making a collage without using glue until the very end.”
While defined throughout by Short’s warmth and clarity, A Cave, a Canoo is a collaborative affair. The album’s diverse and imaginative musicians include longtime-friend Rachel Blumberg (The Decemberists, M. Ward, Norfolk and Western), legendary upright bass player Glen Moore (Oregon, Nancy King), and electric guitar virtuoso Alexis Gideon (Princess, White Hinterland).
In creating its so
Mike Johnson (of Parks & Recreation, Reclinerland) has once again teamed up with Grammar School Pictures for another deadpan short film. On the heels of the hilarious YOU ARE STANDING IN FRONT OF A CAVE, The End dives headlong into 99% pure monologue territory, über-minimal cinematograhy, and the pacing one might expect from Tarantino:
The 11+ minute static shot scene is impressive not only for Johnson’s uncut performance but, Shelby Lutjen’s (The Girl) as well, for not cracking up.
In the background are the strains of several HUSH songs appearing on the massive (28–mostly exclusive–track) DECA compilation which recently celebrated it’s first birthday. If you missed it the first time around, here’s an apt reminder to go and spend some time with it. FREE in the HUSHshop.