I’m not even sure exactly how to go about describing the music of Loch Lomond, an 8 piece band out of Portland, Oregon fronted by Ritchie Young. Apparently, the band started as a solo recording project of sorts for Young back in 2003, but over the past few years it’s grown into its much larger incarnation, an ensemble complete with strings, keys, guitars, drums, and a few other things. Imagine Neutral Milk Hotel crashing into Sufjan Stevens and you’ll almost get the idea.
This song is from their newest record, Lament for Children, which will be released this week on Hush Records…
I hate to be all like “I told you so” but in this case I told you so! Loch Lomond’s record Lament For Children has just been picked up by Hush Records. And by all rights it will be all over any blog worth it’s salt in the next week or so.
Loch Lomond is from Portland and travels in the same circles as Laura Gibson who I wrote about last week. Their new record, Lament For Children, is out now. Lead singer Ritchie Young shares some of the odd vocal eccenctricities as Colin Meloy from The Decemberists. There’s a slight lilting English accent in the song “Bird and a Bear” as well as references to “porcelin spoons”. Instruments include saw, mandolin, banjo and cello so you know that I’d like it. How `bout you?
In contrast to When We Were Mountains, Loch Lomondâ€™s second album Lament For Childen is a much more focused effort. Where Young previously made attempts toward a variety of more diverse genres such as vague hints of electronica and jazz, Lament For Children consists of eight folk-driven songs. What remains are Youngâ€™s engaging lyrics and interesting vocal delivery. His vocals remind me a bit of The Decemberistsâ€™ Colin Meloy, who he happens to share a label with. Such an example is shown on the acoustically rendered â€œTicâ€, where Young demonstrates a similar slight vibrato and emotional choral outburst. Youngâ€™s lyrics display a vivid line of an assortment of different characters. There are no awkward love songs or awkward flamboyance in Youngâ€™s lyrics, with each song telling a story in their own right. The lyrics for â€œTicâ€ tells the tale of a man with sociophobia, viewing his own faults as a reason to avoid human. â€œSinginâ€™ I am not an animal and I am not an animal, he cried!â€ Young bursts out emotionally over a brooding violin. Such a song would pale well in comparison to Joseph Merrick, otherwise known as â€œThe Elephant Manâ€. â€œSpineâ€ is another exceptional song that shows Loch Lomondâ€™s instrumental diversity, delivering a more electric song that while not as lyrically powerful, is generally more catchy than â€œTicâ€. Still, Young is a powerful presence and the chorus led by a simplistic electric guitar adds for nice transition. â€œGrandad & Toothacheâ€ is just as odd as the name represents. Itâ€™s just as chilling as well. Young begins the song with a haunting acoustic guitar and whispered vocals, already setting a different pace than those of the previous energetic songs on the album. A series of various strings and plucks eventually weave themselves into this eerie song, with the lyrics being similarly spine tingling. â€œI think we can thank grandad, grandad for the toothachesâ€ may sound awkward in contrast to the songâ€™s dark feel, but the interpretation of Youngâ€™s lyrics are up to you, no matter how perverse your interpretation are. If it were up to me, I think Young may be hinting at something a bit deeper than candy. Such risks and engaging qualities make for a very impressive record, both lyrically and musically. All eight tracks on Lament For Children are highly enjoyable and I would suggest picking it up when it releases on March 13th.
Loch Lomond is the amorphous vehicle of Portlandâ€™s Ritchie Young. Young, who started Loch Lomond as a solo project in 2003, originally released the debut album When We Were Mountains courtesy of In Music We Trust Records. Following this initial release, Loch Lomond roamed the Pacific Northwest scene in various incarnations ranging from Young himself to a ten person ensemble. Lucky for us, several of those performances were recorded.
The upcoming EP Lament For Children, courtesy of Hush Records, is the end result of all of those recording sessions. Though the album wonâ€™t be available until early March, we have a sneak peak of the track â€œTicâ€ for download today. Fans of Damien Rice rejoice, youâ€™re ready to start the week off with rootsy acoustic rock topped off with catchy lead lines. True to their name, Loch Lomond bring a decidedly celtic flair to table with haunting harmonies and melodies that you wonâ€™t be able to shake for days to come.
If you dig this track then be sure to check out the bandâ€™s MySpace page where you can taste test a few more tracks in pure streamy goodness. Be sure to pick up the EP next month and keep your ears open for a full length due to drop later this year.
Loch Lomond is a band from Portland playing some kind of rough but nice folk-inspired indie rock, not so far from the sound of bands like The Decemberists or My Latest Novel. The band started as a solo recording project of Ritchie Young in 2003, and after the first album release the band grew into an orchestra of some size. Actually I don’t know the number of members today, – the photos I’ve seen show from six to eight members, and the press releases say 6 in one of them and 9 in another… So, let us just say that they are many.
Loch Lomond began as the solo project of the very talented Mr. Ritchie Young. Through the past few years the group has grown into a six member band on a mission to bring chamber pop to the masses. Their exquisite new ep Lament For Children is out on the 25th.
LOCH LOMOND MASTERMIND Ritchie Young second-guesses himself most of the time. But on those rare days that bring self-confidence, he writes beautifully emotive folk/rock songs. “I don’t know how to do anything else,” he said recently by phone, his voice gentle and kind. “I’d rather do what I love and eat Top Ramen with ketchup packets than do anything else. Might as well….” Young adds, trailing off as if lost in thought. His soft-spoken nature and slight indifference explain the wandering, meandering feel of his delicately textured songs. It’s obvious that music is his love and, since he was about 16 years old, also his escape.
Young grew up in Bend, among the desert vistas, among the hunters, and among the great expansive outdoors. When he accidentally shot a kid above the eye with a nail gun in wood shop, he found himself grounded for an entire summer. It was then that he discovered an acoustic guitar in his dad’s closet, next to a .22, along with a Neil Young tablature book. “So I picked it up and taught myself to play,” Young said.
Young moved to Portland in 1997, later hooking up with local rock back the Standard, who would, in 2002, move to the East Coast (Long Island first, then Raleigh, North Carolina) for easier touring and networking. A few years later, Young opted out of the band. “I quit the Standard to work on Loch Lomond,” he said. “It’s my baby and it was all I was thinking about the whole time so it seemed like what I needed to do.”
Local label In Music We Trust Records released Loch Lomond’s debut album, When We Were Mountains, in 2003. Recorded on a four-track in Rob Oberdorfer’s (of the Standard) basement studio in Northeast Portland, Mountains is a great start, but didn’t offer the warm, organic feel Youngâ€”vocalist, guitarist and percussionistâ€”was hoping for. “It didn’t translate well live,” he said.
While Mountains was primarily a solo effort, Loch Lomond’s new EP, Lament for Children, reveals Loch Lomond for what it is today: an eight-piece outfit, a full fleshed-out band, string section and all. “We’ve solidified into a band,” said Young. “It’s as good as it’s ever been. A lot of the members are/were in other bands, so Loch Lomond was always a secondary side project for them,” he continued, “but now people are more focused on Loch Lomond and they’re taking time to throw themselves into this and really care about the music.”
According to Young, “The musicians I play with are my main inspiration. When we play together liveâ€”and half or all the crowd is dead silentâ€”the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I hope people that come to see us can get that same feeling.”